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High Mileage For A Motorcycle

We hear this a lot. we can even guess what comes next. Either “We can’t afford it right now,” or “It has a high mileage.” We can’t do anything for you if your wallet is too thin. Put up a lot of effort and a wise investment. But we do have some strong feelings about the second conclusion. How many miles can a motorbike travel in a day? The solution is obvious, but it’s not straightforward.

Mileage Is Irrelevant

The truly quick response to this query is yes. This is something that we believe many riders focus on because it significantly affects the “book value” given by organizations like Kelley and NADA. Additionally, mileage is important for value on modern motorcycles. However, the majority of folks who inquire about high mileage aren’t concerned about book value. Instead, they are worried about longevity. Numerous variables affect longevity. Mileage is the sole factor, and in our opinion, it is not very significant. What one should instead inquire about is “How much service can we obtain from a motorcycle?”

Let’s explore a few factors to take into account when trying to figure out a solution, keeping in mind that mileage is not the only element determining that response.

Who Was The Owner?

When compared to a bike that is handed off to a new owner every riding season, a bike that has been owned by the same rider for 50 years is likely to have been treated very differently. A rider who has had a bike for a long time is probably willing to give it some extra care. Numerous owners aren’t always a bad thing, but having one owner for a very long time is frequently beneficial.

Similar to an older rider, an older rider is likely to have been aggressive with maintenance spending and conservative with the throttle. Due to personal circumstances, younger riders are frequently (though not always) a bit more eager to abuse a machine and a little less willing to pay for its upkeep. For the same reason, a dirt bike that has been used as a learning tool by a family of children may have suffered slightly more damage than a weekend toy bought by an experienced rider.

What Exactly Is It?

The bike itself may be still another element. A larger displacement motorcycle designed for more experienced riders with a higher initial price tag might not have experienced this destiny, whereas the majority of learner motorcycles will have drops, bangs, and neglected maintenance.

When expressed in terms of kilometers, the lifespan of a large touring bike could be 10 times greater than that of an off-road racing vehicle. Touring bikes frequently have low-revving engines that provide enough power by sheer displacement to complete the task at hand without the engine having to exert too much effort. It’s possible that the miles traveled were straightforward motorway miles with little stress placed on the drivetrain (and chassis!).

In contrast, a small-displacement motocross vehicle is tailored for high power and is frequently driven aggressively. These bikes are frequently damaged and ruined, and because of the surroundings, their appearance may suffer. Water, sand, dirt, and dust can get into tight spaces like the engine, gearbox, and bearings. All of those things will hasten to wear and reduce the useful life of both the bike and its parts.

Even so, motorcycle architecture has some bearing. The vibration that is intrinsic to some designs, like a single or a 45-degree V-twin, is not present in some engine layouts, such as a flat twin or an inline six. Since higher temperatures call for greater operating clearances, air-cooled bikes typically have shorter lifespans. Additionally, the chassis design is a factor. Rigid or poorly suspended motorcycles cause the chassis to absorb more shock. Similar to cars, low-weight bikes frequently give up some material strength to be light. Broken frames or subframes are a couple of examples of this.

Was It Put To Use?

We are not asking, “Is it new?” Was the motorbike regularly ridden? When put back into service, many motorcycles with unusually low mileage (from not being ridden) exhibit issues. When bikes are left sitting, moisture may build up and damage even the most durable parts, seals can dry out and let fluids through, and tires tend to degrade.

Problems may be made worse if a bike was just not used, as opposed to being purposefully “mothballed” (a colloquial word for preparation for long-term storage). Rings and pistons can jam in their bores, fuel can spoil, jets in carburetors can clog and corrosion can start flaking off petrol tanks. In general, a motorbike with more miles and some use (but not abuse) will show fewer issues than one with fewer miles and no riding history.

What Was It Used For?

Was it being handled carefully if it was being ridden? Or did the rider continuously use the throttle, shift without a clutch, pull wheelstands, and then crash the bike back to the ground? If it’s a touring bike, was it loaded up two-up and pulled a trailer, or was it ridden solo? When he had the chance, was the rider repeatedly yanking the engine off the rev limiter? Was it gradually warmed up, or was it constantly pushed to redline operation from ice-cold? Was it covered in sand, dust, and dirt? Is it an air-cooled bike that has sat idle in city traffic its entire life? The life of a motorcycle can be considerably increased or decreased depending on all of these factors and more.

And Where Was It?

The previous query had a storage component to it. A bike kept outside will show significant wear even if it is frequently used. Seats frequently have vinyl coverings that might crack, paint that will age and fade, chrome that may bubble and peel, and aluminum that will oxidize. All of the elements—heat, cold, wetness, filth, and precipitation—can be damaging. Many of these issues are alleviated by being stored inside a building, and being in a temperature-controlled setting is even better. Look at the location where the bike was kept.

Is It Even Accurate?

Speedos are easily detachable, interchangeable, replaceable, and modifiable, mainly if they are mechanical devices. Refrain from assuming the accuracy of every odometer reading you see. Odos may show figures that are greater or lower than the real mileage due to additional factors like tire sizes and non-stock sprocket changes.

How Was It Taken Care Of?

This is, in my opinion, by far the key factor in determining how many kilometers a motorbike will endure. We can start with upkeep and repair. For many people, buying a motorcycle is a fairly pricey investment. A person who lavishly maintains their vehicle—repairing and fixing it whenever necessary (or, even better, more frequently than necessary!—is frequently the kind of person who understands that getting the most out of every dollar doesn’t always require cutting costs.

Similar to misuse, abuse can also be corrected, repaired, or undone. Damaged motorcycles that have been properly fixed can be more affordable than motorcycles that have not been mended or maintained. A motorbike with a high odometer reading that has undergone multiple rebuilds on its primary components may be just as reliable as one with a lower reading. The refurbished motorbike serves as an excellent illustration of this.

A bike that has been refurbished frequently has parts that have been refreshed, changed, and recoated. These parts are frequently found in deteriorating conditions. Even though older motorcycles that have served numerous owners faithfully may have a lot of miles on them, with plenty of new or fine-used parts fitted, they can frequently look as nice as they did in the showroom – and they frequently run as they look.

In a similar vein, there comes a point where a motorcycle’s parts have been replaced so frequently that they no longer accurately represent the motorcycle’s age or mileage.

Contextual information is also provided by general conditions. Unaltered factory wiring, gleaming paint, gleaming chrome free of imperfections, and matching, good-condition tires all in some way save mileage. There are other locations you can go to learn about the condition that is unrelated to the odometer.

What Does “High Mileage” Imply To You?

And now we will ask you a question. How much maintenance should a motorbike with a lot of miles receive? Brand-new tires? A reworked engine? A rebuilt fork?

A motorbike is rarely “shot.” Instead, the bike’s worth as a percentage of the cost of doing more expensive and extensive repairs only keeps declining. A two-stroke top-end rebuild happens quite regularly, but it’s also a really simple task to complete. Comparably, a liquid-cooled bike may travel a great distance before needing extensive maintenance, but when that time does come, it might be pricey.

A bike’s age, rarity, and cost should all be taken into consideration when determining what you mean by “high mileage.” A motorbike with a lot of kilometers on it but good maintenance and an asking price much below book value may qualify as “high mileage.” Additionally, it can be a pretty sweet offer with a ton of dependable service left in it. A 1948 Panhead with 100,000 miles on it that is still in its original condition is difficult to locate, expensive, and also averages (as of this writing) less than 1,500 miles a year, which seems very reasonable to me!

How far is too far in miles? We are not certain. A motorbike can never have too many miles on it if you love it deeply enough. And if you truly adore it, you’ll add a lot of them.

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