What is the Average Motorcycle Mileage?: A Guide to Buying Second Hand Motorbikes

If you’re in search of the perfect used motorbike, you might be wondering: what is the average motorcycle mileage? The answer to this question is dependent on a variety of factors such as whether the bike’s had regular maintenance, what type of motorcycle it is, and more.

Discover all the information you need below on what to look for when you’re looking at purchasing a high-mileage bike.

What is High Mileage for a Honda Motorcycle?

red honda touring motorcycle on average motorcycle mileage

What is considered high mileage is going to depend on the type of motorcycle you are intending on purchasing. Sports bikes are considered to be high-mileage bikes from as little as 20,000 to 30,000 miles, while larger motorcycles wouldn’t be considered high mileage until about 50,000 miles.

What is the Average Annual Mileage for a Motorcycle? 

According to Ericomotorsports, the average biker rides around 3,000 miles per year, because motorbikes are less likely to be used as commuting transportation, or on as regular a basis as a car. Bikes are often stored in garages when not in use, some are vintage bikes, and some are just touring bikes that are perhaps used on the weekends or on road trips.

Based on this, we can assume that most bikes are doing less than 5,000 miles a year because a motorcycle isn’t the average form of transportation for most people. 

To discover what your motorcycle’s average mileage could be, we’ve created a motorcycle mileage chart which compares the official statistic of miles a user is likely to do versus what the estimated mileage would be based on research around bike usage.

Is it Worth Investing in a Motorcycle if the Mileage is High?

A lot of people, when they are investing in motorcycles, can get hung up on the mileage of the bike. However, mileage isn’t the only thing to consider when purchasing a motorcycle. The longevity of the bike you’re purchasing is not just dependent on the mileage and while this is something to consider, there are a few other factors you should look at before you make your decision.

Things you should consider when purchasing a high-mileage bike are:

  • Who owned it previously?
  • What type of bike is it?
  • Has it been used regularly, or is it a weekend or occasional-use bike?
  • How has it been stored when it’s not in use?
  • How has it been cared for?
  • Has it been used in extreme weather conditions such as hot, cold or wet climates?

All of these questions are integral when looking at purchasing a new motorcycle. If the mileage is high, then the condition of the bike needs to be looked at thoroughly before making your final decision. If the bike has been cared for really well, and has a full service and maintenance history, you should feel more comfortable about your purchase.

How to Tell if a High-mileage Motorcycle is in Good Condition?

If you’re looking at a high-mileage bike that’s in good condition, there’s no reason you won’t be able to ride it for thousands of miles and many years. However, there are a few factors to look at when you’re inspecting the condition of a used bike.

Checking the motorcycle service history

Take a look at the service and maintenance history of the bike before you consider a purchase. This should give you some clarity around the amount of owners, the work that’s been done (if any), and how the bike’s been treated (has it had a regular service, does the owner have the service manual, etc.)

A bike that’s been owned by the same rider for 20 years is likely to have treated the bike significantly better than a bike that’s been through multiple riders. A more experienced rider will treat the bike with a lot more care than those who are seeking a summertime thrill, so consider the owner themselves, as well as the service records.

Take it for a test ride

If you’re an experienced rider, it’ll be simple for you to tell whether the bike is in good condition. If you’re new to riding, keep an ear out for any strange noises, smells, or any difficulty when it comes to physically riding the bike itself. If it’s hard to handle, there is a chance that something isn’t quite right.

Check for physical damage, corrosion, or oil leaks

When you’re looking at a used motorcycle, it’s good to take a look for any mechanical issues that are simple to spot. Even if you’re not a mechanic or an experienced rider, it’s simple to check the bike for physical damage, oil leaks, or corrosion. 

It’s also wise to ask the owner if the bike’s been in any accidents or collisions, this way you’ll know if anythings been repaired, as this can create a shorter life expectancy of the bike.

Take the bike for an inspection

If you’re not a seasoned rider, taking the bike for an inspection by a professional is also a great way to see what condition the bike’s in. This may cost a fair bit of money, however it’ll be worth the offset if there is something wrong with the bike, as you’ll save yourself the cost of fixing the bike up in the future.

What Are the Different Bike Types and What Mileage Should You be Looking For?

parade of different types of motorcycle

The average mileage for the bike you are looking to purchase is going to vary bike-to-bike, based on the type of bike you’re looking at. Different bikes have different motorcycle engines, so based on what bike you’re after will affect the mileage you’ll be looking for.

There are a few types of motorcycles available, from touring bikes to sporting bikes, you’re going to be looking at a range of different factors when you’re considering mileage for each of these bikes, which we’ve broken down for you below.

Touring Bikes

If you’re looking at a touring bike, these bike engines are designed for longer usage as they are larger motorcycles, so they are longer lasting and tend to be in better condition when you’re purchasing a used model. Most of these bikes are equipped with storage boxes or saddle bags to accommodate long-term storage of equipment or luggage, and offer spacious seating for the rider plus a passenger with room to spare.

Touring bikes tend to be used over weekend trips or road trips. They’re not everyday bikes, therefore we can assume that the mileage levels are going to be around 5-8K miles per year. However, some riders can do 20-30K of yearly mileage if they’re long-term riders, so it all depends on the previous owner.

These bikes have more longevity to them, as they’re built for these long-term trips, so, they’re going to have high mileage, but if they’ve been looked after, they are going to provide you with safety and smooth riding for many years.

Cruiser Bikes

Similarly to touring bikes, cruiser bikes are also popular for long trips. Still, based on their design, they offer less comfort than a touring bike. In this case, cruiser motorcycles typically do go beyond the national average, but do far less miles than a touring bike.

As a cruiser bike is typically used for longer journeys and for weekend trips, these bikes have stability and support to them, meaning they’re likely to be in better condition despite high annual mileage.

Sports Bikes

The ever-popular sports bikes are mainly a weekend bike, which naturally leads to lower mileage, so it’s safe to say that most sports bikes don’t do more than 3K miles per year. 

However, as with any bike, it’s hard to say what the typical average mileage is because sometimes these bikes can be used for commuting or for competing on a rare basis.

A sports bike is going to be less of an investment opportunity at high mileage because these bikes are faster and lighter-weight than a touring or cruiser bike, so there’s more change of wear and tear or work that needs to be done.

Scooters & Lightweight Motorcycles

For those looking at a lighter motorcycle, or a scooter, these tiny bikes are mainly powered by 125-250cc engines which allows riders to cover shorter distances at lower speeds. 

Therefore, when you’re looking at investing in a scooter, it should be predominantly for commuting reasons. You aren’t going to build up much speed or explore your local area with these bikes.

Investing in a scooter with high mileage is going to require you to take a close look at the maintenance history and the amount of owners the bike has had because these bikes aren’t meant for long trips or high speeds. If they’ve been treated poorly, it can cause some mechanical issues for users down the road.

Conclusion

Despite the significance of a motorbike’s mileage, we can safely say that it is not the only factor you need to focus on when purchasing a motorbike. There is no “best motorcycle for high mileage,” because each bike is unique: its owner, its working and storing conditions, and its mileage all contribute to the wellbeing and safety of the bike.

Based on the average motorcycle mileage, and the types of inspections and checks you need to do on the bike, you can use these tips to help you find a great second-hand motorbike that may have a higher mileage than you anticipated but works to the best of its ability.

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