The Cost of Motorcycle Maintenance

Jake Robison - June 28, 2022

While motorcyclists get to feel the wind in their hair and the freedom of the open road, riding comes at a higher cost than many realize. The price of the bike and safety gear is just the start; once you've been on a few rides, you'll realize that maintenance is every bit as important as the initial purchase.

It can be costlier to fix a motorcycle than to repair a car, as parts and competent mechanics can be hard to find. If you're trying to save money on motorcycle repairs, you're in the right place. Read on to learn the true cost of motorcycle ownership, repairs, and maintenance.

Repair Expenses for Motorcyclists

According to the experts, bikers should make repairs every 5000 to 20,000 miles, depending on various factors. The average rider spends about $1000 per year on maintenance and repairs, but figures vary. For instance, it costs more to fix a custom show bike than it does a cheaper model with stock parts.

The more you're on the road, the higher the cost of maintenance will be—and off-roading increases the risk of damage. Dirt, rocks, mud, and debris can cause serious problems that are expensive to solve. When considering the purchase of a motorcycle, be sure to consider your location, weather, and riding habits before signing on the dotted line.

The Rider's Repair List: The Basics

The cost of motorcycle maintenance depends on a rider's focus on preventing mechanical failures and accidents. It's more expensive to wait for a flat tire than it is to inspect and inflate it before every trip. A similar philosophy applies to chain lube, oil changes, and other simple maintenance tasks. Below, we'll outline the most important motorcycle maintenance jobs to include in your yearly budget.

  • Oil changes. It's best for riders to change their oil every 3000 miles or so; it's possible to get a little more mileage out of synthetic oil. Any oil will wear out faster if you're taking shorter trips or riding in the city. Expect to spend $75-$100 for an oil change.
  • By going easy on their brakes, riders can avoid frequent pad and rotor swaps. A set of brake pads may last upwards of 40,000 miles, which is enough to get most riders through the year. Brake pads typically cost $30-$50 per set, with rotors being more expensive. You'll incur at least two hours of labor cost when visiting a shop, so be sure to budget for it.
  • Chain lube and maintenance. A motorcycle chain may last up to 20,000 miles, so most riders will replace them about once a year. New chains can cost up to $250, not including installation costs. If drivetrain work must be done, the job will cost more. Chains wear out faster when bikes are left outside. Use a waterproof cover when you're parked and minimize wet-weather riding to prevent oxidation and rust.
  • Tire changes. A motorcycle's tires are one of its costliest parts. Riders should expect to pay $300-$500 for a set, depending on size, make, and quality. Avoid used and worn tires, as they increase the risk of accidents and property damage. Tires should be changed every 3000 miles depending on location and riding style. Off-roading is rough on tires, so stay on smooth roads if you're trying to cut costs.

These are just a few of the most important parts of a motorcyclist's maintenance budget. Count on the experts at the American Motorcycle Trading Co. to provide the purchase and maintenance advice needed to make every ride a safe one.

Avoiding Scams and Ripoffs: What to Look For in a Repair Shop

A motorcycle is a sizable investment, and it's only natural to want the highest quality repairs. When choosing a repair shop, look for one staffed by people who know and love motorcycles. By looking for these qualities, riders can find the right shop for the job and keep more of their hard-earned money.

  • Industry certifications. A reputable repair shop will have certifications from several bike manufacturers and associations. When they're displayed, these certifications document a shop's experience and competence. When riders choose certified shops, they'll get quality repairs and preserve their warranty coverage.
  • Local reputation. There are a few ways to assess a repair shop's service quality. Online ratings and reviews are a great place to start, as previous customers' feedback will give you an idea of what to expect. Often, friends and family members who ride can provide repair shop recommendations.
  • According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, motorcycle thefts are on the rise. If you're considering a particular shop, visit it and evaluate its security practices. Find a shop with closed-circuit TV monitoring, an alarm system, and a burglar-resistant entrance.
  • Workmanship and parts guarantees. Next, consider the shop's warranty policy. Are labor and parts covered, or are there numerous exclusions? Before bringing your bike in for repairs, be sure to understand the policy and request it in writing. Ask about liability insurance, which protects owners and their bikes from the cost of damage done during the repair process.
  • Experienced technicians. Choose a repair shop that does more than simple maintenance. Technicians should have the experience and ability to solve complex issues while ensuring that each customer's bike delivers safe, effective performance.

When you're looking for a repair shop, only the best will do. By considering these aspects, you'll find the right facility and keep the bike in great shape for years to come.

Proper Maintenance Brings a Lifetime of Great Rides

While many people assume that it's cheaper to ride and maintain a bike than it is to have a car, that's not always the case. Servicing and repairing a motorcycle can be surprisingly expensive, but it doesn't have to break the bank. With the information in this guide, riders can account for important expenses and keep their bikes on the road. If you're looking for a high-quality, late-model Harley-Davidson, check out the American Motorcycle Trading Co.'s selection online or call for more details.



Jake Robison


Jake Robison has operated powersports dealerships since 2003.  With an extensive background in the motorcycle industry including sales, service, parts, finance, management and powersports training, he covers all things motorcycles and enjoys sharing valuable information to newcomers on two-wheels

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