On the Road to Clarity: Understanding High Mileage in the Motorcycle World

Embarking on the thrilling journey of acquiring a second-hand bike? Picture this: a spectrum of motorcycles, some proudly flaunting 50,000 miles, while others boast new engines with a mere 25,000 miles on the odometer. Buckle up as we dive into the heart of the matter – what defines high mileage for a bike? Join me on this exhilarating ride and unravel the mysteries that could shape your decision when cruising the market for a used motorcycle.

What is High Mileage on Used Motorcycles

Used bikes have different mileage readings. For large bikes like a 2007 CBR1000RR, 50,000 is considered high mileage. But for smaller bikes, 20k is on the high side. Mileage is a good starting point when understanding the value of a motorcycle. But it is not the most important thing.

Unless it’s a late-model, you will want to look at more than just the mileage to know the longevity of a used bike.

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How to Tell if a High Mileage Motorcycle is a Good Buy

A motorcycle will not suddenly die if it has many miles on it. It depends on the type, the brand, and how it is used and maintained. Ideally, you will pay more for a low-mileage bike than a high-mileage bike because the former is considered newer.

But it’s not always that simple. You may find that the owner of an 18K miles bike did little in the way of maintenance, while a 40,000 miles bike has a complete service record. That is why you need to look at the history of the motorcycle you plan to buy.

If a high-mileage bike has a full-service history, does not have engine and oil leaks, and there’s no indication of physical damage, you can consider that bike a good buy.

For a sports bike, 25,000 miles is considered high mileage. This is because sports bikes use high-revving engines and tend to be driven aggressively. Hence, they show a lot of wear in a short time.

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How Important are Service Records?

Service records will tell you if a bike has been taken for scheduled maintenance. It also tells you about the bike’s repairs and if it has been in any accidents. It’s good to know what the motorcycle was used for when looking at service records. This way, you can see whether the owner took good care of it according to its use.

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What about Owner Habits?

You will find that some bikes pass through different hands every riding season, while others stay with their owners for decades. Motorcycles that have had one owner for a long time tend to receive better care and maintenance than those that pass through many owners.

On the other hand, young owners tend to ride aggressively, while older owners are less likely to get into go and stop situations.

Keep your High-Mileage Motorcycle in Good Condition

Now you know what is considered as high mileage on a motorcycle. If you are planning to own one, here are some tips to keep yours in great shape.

  • Break it in as if it were a new motorcycle.
  • Follow maintenance recommendations by the manufacturer.
  • Check your air filter from time to time- A missing, damaged, or clogged air filter lets in debris that will eventually cause the engine’s failure and breakdown.
  • Use coolant instead of water for liquid-cooled motorcycle.
  • Check the final drive periodically.


Motorcycle mileage does not tell you everything about the reliability and durability of a used bike. It’s best to check the service history, owner’s habits, and physical state of the motorcycle. After you have inspected these things, you can decide whether the high mileage is worth it.