When buying a used motorcycle, how many miles is too many miles?

regardless of year, if the bike is in good condition and had never been down, how many miles is too many miles?

12 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You shouldn't disregard year. I would rather buy a bike 5 years old with 30,000 miles than a 15 year old bike with 10,000 miles. Just sitting for a long time can crudd up the inside of the motor and cause more repair than running.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Mileage can be a "relevant" thing. But knowing the history of the bike is MORE important. Age can be more relevant than mileage because after a certain number of years, parts become less and less available which means you could buy a low mileage bike that is around 10 years old and the first time you need a part, say a clutch, electronics, and other internal engine components, you may not be able to get them at all, at any price.

    I will give you an example. I have been in the process of restoring a 1979 Yamaha 650 Special (XS650SF). Though the bike had only 19,000 miles on it, and even though this was one of the greatest production output bikes Yamaha ever manufactured, obtaining parts was near impossible. My best resources were private businesses that specialized in parting out this and a few other model Yamaha motorcycles that had gone out of production. I had to settle for buying used parts most of the time. Yes there are some folks that specialize in making aftermarket parts, and especially for this bike because they have had a strong following, but if it wasn't for that, I would have been wasting my time. Unless you are really good at fabrication and can make almost any part you need, you are better off buying a newer model bike that is still in production, or at least has an engine/transmission which are still in production. It may take some research, but it will be worth it in the long run. Suzuki is an example of bikes from 650cc to 1500cc that have been around for a long time. The VS700 Intruders started around 1985 or 86. Today they are 800cc engines and the name on the bike is the M50 but they are virturally the same bikes as they were in 1985-6 with a little bit bigger displacement engine. There are several other styles and manufacturers of motorcycles which fit this description. Good luck in deciding which one is for you!

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  • 1 decade ago

    It really depends on the bikes make and model. Some bikes like the KZ900 will run forever. Harleys need top end work at around 50k but the trans and crank last many 100s of thousands of miles. Two strokes have a short motor life, but are easy to rebuild. To answer this question one needs to know what kind of bike, how was it ridden and how was it taken care of.

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  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Lots of variables to consider... Of course, touring bikes would be expected to run up more miles than a cruiser or sport bike would. I've seen BMWs with over 100K miles still running strong, and cheap Chinese junk bikes totally trashed with just a few hundred miles. The more miles showing on the bike, the more important the maintenance history becomes.

    Kelley Blue Book's web site has a chart showing the average miles dealers expect to see on used bikes, according to size and style...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    10,000 miles or less for anything that cost very much and steer clear of anything with over 20,000 miles.

    Don't ever buy any Suzuki! My brother and I bought 2 new bikes for a summer vacation. His 1200 Bandit leaked gas and ruined the motor before it got 2000 miles. We asked Suzuki to replace the motor so we could go on vacation.

    It took 2 months to get a rep, then he said it’s to expensive and would cost $3000. After 4 months and the vacation gone they got the motor rebuilt at a their cost of $3700. The dealer wanted to replace the motor but Suzuki Rep squashed that.

    The gas stained cases and burnt exhaust pipes were not replaced. The bike got nicked and scratched all over from being apart for 6 months. The rep rode it and looked at it, then said it’ good as new. It ran like crap and looked worse.

    We called Japan, and even wrote the US CEO all for nothing. We spent $15,000 for the bikes to get ripped off by Suzuki. We spent our vacation hassling with Suzuki, and not one person there gave a damn!

    Beware Suzuki’s warranty is not worth the paper it’s on! Buy one of their lemons, get shafted, we did!

    I’m a 30 yr garage vet and I know when a rep and a manufacturer have ripped off a customer. This one stinks to high heaven! RUN from buying any Suzuki!

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    OK for bikes 'Made in Japan' from 1995 to today. Mileage is just the tip of the iceberg. Assume its been driven Hard then deduct from worst case scenario by simple visuals or tests or smells.

    Check both Front Fork seals, brake pad wear indicator marks, metal scoring on brake disks, chain stretch, gear tooth wear, smell the oil (for anti-freeze) by the dip stick, is it clear or dark brake fluid, how green is the color of anti-freeze fluid.

    If most of the above satifies you or your mechanic friend, you got the beginings of a good bike. Treat it like a new friend and it will carry you for years and miles.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Depending on the bike and the age

    The older

    2 cyl.20,000 miles is alot

    The newer 2 cyl.

    40,000

    4 cyl can go over 100,000

    The older ones I wouldn't buy with more than 40,000

    the newer ones at 60,000 miles I wouldn't buy

    unless it had a real low price..

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  • Nimbus
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I wouldnt buy a used bike with more than 20000 unless i knew the first owner very well, and the price was low

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  • S_W_Y
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    A Harley regardless of the milage is always a value.

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  • 1 decade ago

    if your a good mechanic, it wouldn't matter what the mileage would it??? I mean you could work on it and do whatever to it to put it back on the road..

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