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What Are Really High Miles On A Motorcycle?

You’re probably searching for your first motorcycle and in the second-hand classifieds, you’re wondering what high miles are.

There is no perfect indicator of high motorcycle milage, but generally speaking, 20,000 miles and higher is considered to be excessive. 10,000 to 20,000 is considered to be reasonable, though checking the service history and a full mechanical inspection is recommended. Any motorcycle with less than 10,000 miles is considered to be low and safe.

When we say there isn’t a perfect indicator, it’s because there are more things at play. Read on as we share more about our thought processes.

Motorcycle Milage at a Glance

The miles on a motorcycle do differ between the styles. A 250cc dirt bike, for instance, might be clapped out at 4,000 miles if it’s used every single weekend for competitive racing. Yet, big-bore 4-stroke that’s also used on the dirt might happily reach 25,000 miles. Take for example the KTM 690R which has a reputation for reliability.

A lot comes down to the rider and their style. If they’re new to riding and they’re young, then you’ll find most riders do twist that throttle a little hard. The more they move towards the redline,t he more likely they are at prematurely ending the life of that engine between their legs.

What type of rider owned the motorcycle? This plays a solid part in whether you shoudl buy it or pass on the offer.

Add in the fact that these riders generally aren’t the most financially stable, and you’ll see their workshop records aren’t quite pristine. To say it another way – the owners may skip necessary servicing and be causing damage to the engine and other components without realizing due to a lack of maintenance. Argh!

It’s More Than The Miles

When you’re inspecting a used motorcycle, it’s certainly more than what the odometer says. After all, there is some people do who illegally wind back motorcycle speedometers. Fortunately, it’s not that common practice in the industry and there are tracking methods today to find such criminals.

Beyond the miles, you need to look at:

  1. The brand you’re buying. Have they got a good reputation? Brands like Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, Indian, Harley-Davidson and Zero have all built themselves up.
  2. Who serviced the motorcycle. Was it the dude down the street or a licenced dealership? The later is considered to be 300% more trustworthy and you’ll know the owner did look after the motorcycle well.
  3. Why they’re selling. Everyone has a reason to sell their motorcycle. Ask them what it is. Often they’re just upgrading to a bigger machine, but it’s good to know their reasons.
  4. Signs of wear and tear. You need to be on the lookout for underbody scrapes and wear along the pegs as well as scratches and leaks. What does the motorcycle sound like when idling and at speed? Look at a YouTube video before you go for an inspection and listen to the sound of that particular motorcycle idling so you’ll have an idea towards what you should be hearing.
  5. Where the motorcycle was ridden. There is a big difference between a motorcycle who cruised the highways racking up many miles, and the one that was used as a daily commuter in city traffic. One was constantly stopping and starting and the other had a relatively easy life. This is why we’re not afraid of high KM motorcycles.

Adventure Motorcycles and High Miles

Frontaer is a motorcycle brand geared towards the dirt bike and adventure riding crowd. Needless to say….we know a thing or two about riding.

We typically come across ADV motorcycles from BMW, Indian and KTM online which have high miles and some of these are beyond 30,000. Does this mean that you shouldn’t buy it? Not necessarily. One of the best advantages is that you know the bike was not just enjoyed but well maintained and had a good life. You’re simply letting it continue the journey.

Adventure motorcycles, whether they’re used on the road or on the gravel roads, are predominantly cruising along at a set speed. They’re also ridden by riders who are 45 to 65 without the testorone of younger riders. Think smooth throttle and acceleration without the need to show off. This is the type of motorcycle you’ll want to buy.

The best part is that much of the competition will be scared. They’ll be told by the dealerships that they should only buy new motorcycles. After all, it’s profit for the dealer. So you’ll be able to get a discounted price on an adventure motorcycle with high miles and snap it up before anyone else does. Most importantly – get out there riding without the high upfront expense!

As always – if you’re spending more than $10,000 then you’ll want to pay the $200 for a qualified mechanic to do an inspection. They can prepare a fully detailed report which will give peace of mind as to whether this is a machine worth buying.

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