Now check out our tips on buying a high-mileage motorcycle.
Type of bike and use
Whether high mileage is an issue could depend on the type of bike.
High mileage over a short period is not an indication of misuse. Touring bikes do this and they often have a long life.
Some engines, for example, are under-stressed and last a long time. Flat-cylinder engines, large-capacity V-twins, multi-cylinder engines, most cruisers and liquid-cooled engines will provide many more miles/kays of life than high-stressed, high-revving, single-cylinder, air-cooled engines.
If they claim to have had an engine rebuild, check the receipts for accuracy and date/odo.
Dirt and adventure bikes usually have had a much harder life than most other bikes. In particular, check the steering head bearings and fork seals which can be damaged from rough terrain and frequent wheelies.
Adventure bikes also get very dirty and may not have been cleaned as often. This can lead to problems with rust.
You also need to check how the bike’s kays were accumulated.
Many riders rack up big numbers on their odo without encountering a lot of problems.
Go to the owner’s home and check out where they store the bike. Is it sitting in the back yard with no cover, or is it in a hermetically sealed cabinet in their living room?
An old bike with low kilometres might seem attractive, but it could have been left in the shed for years where rust can get into the tank, seals can dry up and crack, and fuel can go off, clogging carbie jets.
A bike that has been regularly used is better than one that has been unused for a long time.
Check the log/service book to see how regularly service intervals were reached and make sure every service has been done and stamped.
I hope you score a well-cared-for gem that gives you many more years of fun.
However, be aware that almost all high-mileage bikes will need some sort of repair work shortly after you buy them.
Don’t be surprised; be prepared!
Make sure you keep some of your budget aside for repairs and maintenance.