What is High Mileage for a Motorcycle?

What is High Mileage for a Motorcycle

If you are looking to buy a used motorcycle, you may want to know, “What is high mileage for a motorcycle?” Mileage on your bike is an important buying factor, but there are other factors to consider alongside the bike’s mileage. In this article, we will discuss high mileage, service records, and how to maintain a bike with high mileage.

What is High Mileage for a Motorcycle?

A high mileage bike is one that has driven a high number of miles. For most motorcycles, 40,000 to 50,000 miles is considered high mileage.

You will want to pay attention to motorcycle mileage because it tells you how long and how much wear your bike has undergone since its original purchase.

Motorcycles with lower mileage tend to run smoother and last longer. If you want a bike as close to new as possible, you will want to look for a motorcycle with lower mileage.

Here are the pros and cons of both high mileage and low mileage motorcycles:

High Mileage Bikes

  • Pros: High mileage bikes are much more affordable. Since they have been used, the value of the bike decreases, which makes it more economical.
  • Cons: Motorcycles with high mileage may not last as long or run as smoothly as lower mileage bikes. The reason for this is that high mileage bikes have already undergone more wear and tear since purchase.

Low Mileage Bikes

  • Pros: Bikes with low mileage are more likely to last longer than bikes with high mileage. Since low mileage bikes have not had as much usage, they are closer to the original condition.
  • Cons: Low mileage bikes are usually more expensive than high mileage bikes because their value has not been decreased as much from usage. If you find an extremely cheap low mileage motorcycle, there is probably something wrong with it.

What about Service Records?

What is High Mileage for a Motorcycle

A motorcycle’s mileage is not the only thing you should watch out for when buying a motorcycle, though. As you look at any used bike, you will want to consider the service records too.

Service records detail what work has been done on the bike. Work on the bike shows that there has been an issue, or improvement, with your used bike since it was newly purchased. The service records can help predict whether your bike is in solid condition or not.

Because of what the service records show, they are more important than mileage. The mileage tells you how many miles the motorcycle has driven, but it does not tell you about the quality of that ride or motorcycle. The service records, on the other hand, are good at predicting the quality of your purchase.

Suppose, for example, you are choosing between two bikes. The first bike has 40,000 miles, and the service records show no evidence of damage. The second bike has 30,000 miles, and the service records show evidence of damage. Which do you choose? In this case, you should probably choose the first bike.

If two bikes are virtually the same with the exception of the mileage, you should choose the bike with lesser miles. Say you are deciding between bikes three and four. The third bike has 42,000 miles and no record of damage, and the fourth bike has 32,000 miles and no record of damage. Choose the fourth bike.

When looking at service records, you will want to look for regular service and damage-related service. Regular services include things like oil changes or routine check-ups, and they help to ensure that the bike has been taken care of and will run smoothly.

If you see damage-related services on the service records, you may want to consider a different bike altogether because it shows that there has been an issue with the bike in the past.

If a used bike does not have a service record at all, you should consider moving on from that bike. The lack of service records normally shows that the previous owner did not take care of his or her motorcycle properly.

How to Take Care of a Motorcycle with High Mileage?

What is High Mileage for a Motorcycle

Like any other used piece of machinery, taking care of a high mileage motorcycle requires care and maintenance. If you do not take proper care of your high mileage bike, the miles and lack of attention will take a toll on your bike and your ride.

Here are some tips for taking care of your high mileage motorcycle:

  • Break-in period: You should break-in your used motorcycle just as you would a new motorcycle, especially if there was an engine rebuild.

In the first 500 to 1,000 miles, you will want to avoid using more than ¾ of the throttle, excessive speeds in any gear, hard stops, aggressive starts, and lugging your motor.

  • Follow the service manual: No matter how many miles are on your bike, always follow the service manual.

The service manual will tell you how often to get oil changes and lubrication, how to check the valve adjustment, how to service your brakes, and many more important service features to keep your bike running smoothly.

  • Air filter: Always check the air filter frequently. The air filter will prevent any dirt or debris from getting stuck in the engine. If the engine is dirty, it will not run properly or last long. Engine failure often occurs when dirt or debris gets inside the engine.
  • Use coolant: For liquid-cooled motorcycles, it is recommended to use a coolant instead of water in the radiator. Coolant contains additives that will protect and lubricate the radiator, which lengthens its lifespan.
  • Inspections: You should check the motor chain, sprocket wear, and rear drive housing every once in a while. Look for any wear or needed lubrication.


What is high mileage for a motorcycle? 40,000 to 50,000 miles is considered high mileage for a motorcycle, but mileage should be considered alongside service records. If you find a motorcycle with higher mileage but no evidence of damage, that bike will probably run smoother and last longer than a motorcycle with lower mileage and evidence of damage.