What Is High Mileage for a Motorcycle?

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If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle, you know there are few greater pleasures in life than taking off down the road, the city at your back, and the whole world in front of you. It’s escapism at its finest. However, motorcycles, like any vehicle, eventually age. Though it seems like some cars can power on for years, motorcycles have different considerations to keep in mind. Curious what high mileage for a motorcycle looks like? Here’s what you need to know.

Be picky when buying used

Everyone has that one friend who has absolutely pushed their car to the limit. It’s usually something like a ‘95 Honda Civic that is pushing 300,000 miles but somehow still goes from point A to point B. Some cars are definitely built to last. Motorcycles, on the other hand, aren’t nearly quite as durable. In some circles, a bike with 40,000-50,000 miles on it is nearing retirement. Ultimately though, it typically comes down to how well the bike has been maintained.

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Whether you’re trying to price your own motorcycle to sell or are in the market for used motorcycles, don’t let a higher-than-average mileage scare you off. If you (or the seller) have detailed maintenance records, the bike is in good condition, and there’s no evidence of existing damage, it’s probably a good value, regardless of whether you’re buying or selling. On the other hand, if none of these boxes are checked, that’s just a series of red flags that are telling you that it’s probably not the best option for you right now, even if the price is right (or you need to get yours of your hands).

Proper motorcycle maintenance

With all this talk about maintenance, it’s important for all motorcycle owners to know how to take care of their bikes and keep a log of repairs, oil changes, and visits to the mechanic. Firstly, if you’re not sure at what level your fluids are right now, that’s not a good sign. You should have a general idea of how many miles until your next oil change and should always keep the rest of your fluids topped off as regularly as you can. It saves your bike from getting gunked up which can lead to more serious issues down the road.

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Second, as far as maintenance records are concerned, you don’t need to keep a daily journal for your motorcycle but it’s a good idea to have detailed notes on any milestones. These include any repairs it’s needed, notes on oil changes, and any other items of interest. Conversely, if you’re buying and the seller can’t procure any of these types of maintenance records for you, that’s a good sign that the bike might not be in the best condition. That means it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

When to buy used vs. new

Depending on your finances, there may be a strong urge to buy new if you can afford it. It comes without a lot of the baggage used vehicles have and you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re the sole owner of the motorcycle. Plus, if you live in Florida and are looking to take a trip to sample some Cajun seafood in Covington, LA, you might not want already-high miles on your ride. Even if you’re rolling in the dough, there are still plenty of reasons to consider buying used outside of the price.

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Consider what else the seller is offering. If they’re offloading a lot of their accessories in the mix with the motorcycle, you could get your hands on some amazing gear for a steal. This is a great idea, especially for first-time buyers who might not realize just how expensive motorcycle gear can get. Plus, you’re avoiding the harsh depreciation that hits a new motorcycle the second it rides off the lot.

The open road

A motorcycle can be an incredibly worthwhile investment, especially if you know what you’re looking for. High miles don’t have to be a dealbreaker when thorough records are involved and there are even some cases in which a used motorcycle turns out to be the better pick over a brand new one. Just make sure to do your research before buying and you’ll be riding off into the sunset before you know it.