What's Too High of Mileage When Buying Used Cycles

Jake Robison - June 28, 2022

Buying a motorcycle is an exciting time and buying a used one is a great way to get the bike of your dreams at a discount. However, unless you are a seasoned motorcycle buyer, it can be hard to know if you are getting the best deal possible or getting swindled. While there are several factors that determine the quality of pre-owned motorcycles, most people’s first instinct is to check how high the mileage is on bikes that catch their eyes.


The average person shopping for a used bike may be wondering if there is a number of miles a bike can have that is considered too many. Despite how common it is to check the mileage on any used vehicle, it may not be the only thing that matters. Here is what you should know about motorcycle mileage and what to look for in your next used bike purchase.

How Important is Motorcycle Mileage?

So, is motorcycle mileage the most important part of buying a used bike? In short, the answer is no. There are a few factors that will determine the overall quality of a used bike, only of which may be the mileage. While mileage is a determining factor in the bike’s overall value, even bikes with high mileage can be a great value, especially if the bike was meticulously cared for by its previous owner or owners.

Is Cycle Mileage More Important Than Its Condition?

If a high-mileage used motorcycle has caught your eye, don’t dismiss it based on miles alone. If the bike is still in good condition, then it may still be worth it. High-mileage bikes can have a lot of life left in them when they are cared for properly and driven responsibly.

What is High Mileage for a Motorcycle?

Oftentimes low mileage bikes are sold for more money simply because of the number of miles on the odometer. However, if the bike was poorly maintained, that price tag may not be worth it. While it is important to check the mileage, especially for late model bikes, there are other things that you should be looking at when shopping for a used motorcycle.


Motorcycles that have racked up more than 40,000 miles are considered high-mileage bikes. If the bike has been well-maintained, then it is likely to still be a valuable purchase. Typically, sports motorcycles are driven aggressively and more likely to reflect their mileage than leisure motorcycles. For that reason, sports bikes are considered high mileage if they are above 25,000 miles.

Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle

Since it has been established that mileage is not the only factor in determining whether a used motorcycle is a good deal, it is important to know what other things should be checked. Here is a list of what to look for when buying a used motorcycle to ensure you are getting the best value possible.

Consider What Type of Motorcycle You’re Buying

First and foremost, consider the type of bike you are shopping for and what that means for its condition. As mentioned previously, sports bikes are going to experience engine wear faster than other kinds. Cruisers and touring bikes are going to last a little longer, as they aren’t ridden hard and fast throughout their life.


Additionally, different types of bikes are built to take on different levels of use. For example, touring bikes are built to handle high-mileage driving, as the average person puts over 10,000 miles per year on that kind of bike. These bikes will not need maintenance as frequently. Sport bikes are built to accelerate fast and brake hard, which puts more stress on the system as a whole. Still, no matter the type of bike it is, the more lovingly maintained the machine is, the longer it will last despite its mileage.

Check the Habits of the Previous Owner

Since it has been established that owner maintenance is a huge part of the longevity and quality of a used bike, it is crucial to check with the previous owner to see how they cared for their bike. If the bike has passed through a few owners, it is likely that it has been treated differently by each one who picked it up.


If possible, check the previous owners’ ages and maintenance habits. Younger owners tend to ride more recklessly than older owners and may skip critical maintenance tasks. Try to find out how the bike was stored and how often it was ridden for more information on the bike’s condition.

Look for Service Records

Service records are a critical part of determining the value of a used motorcycle. Before handing over the money for the used bike, you will want to find out what the bike was used for and how often the previous owner or owners rode it. Combine that information with a complete service record for a full picture of how the bike was handled throughout its previous life.


Service records should show what maintenance the bike has undergone, where it went to be serviced, and how often it was serviced. If you are not familiar with the mechanics of a motorcycle, be sure to have a professional mechanic take a look at it for you. They will be able to identify any major issues and tell you if the bike you’re considering is a good deal or not.

Check the Motorcycle’s Primary Use

Aside from whether the bike was a sport, leisure, or another kind of motorcycle, its intended use will make a difference in the motorcycle’s lifespan. The bike’s year, make, and model will also make a big difference in the bike’s overall longevity. For example, bikes designed for beginner use won’t be made to last as long as those meant for proficient riders. Determining what the bike was designed for means a great deal about what to expect from a used model of that bike.

The Bottom Line

Riding motorcycles is a classic American hobby. Whether you are a seasoned rider or just diving into the hobby, it is crucial to know what factors determine a good deal on a used motorcycle before spending any money. Use this guide to help you get the best deal on your next ride.



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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