How Safe and Reliable are Older Motorcycle

Performing proper maintenance regularly is the key to keeping an older motorcycle safe and reliable.

Everybody loves the way a classic bike looks and feels, but making sure it is well maintained is critical to both the motorcycle and the driver. 

What mileage is too high for an older motorcycle?

Depending on the condition of the motorcycle you’re looking at will determine how high that bike can go in mileage. In general, most motorcycles that have over 40,000 miles could be considered past their glory days.
But more importantly, the maintenance and care of the bike will be the determining factor in whether or not you can get more miles out of your ride. If you’re looking at buying a used motorcycle, then you’ll want to have the engine inspected for signs of wear or neglect. Also, check how the bike got stored. Is it sitting outside in the backyard for years? There are a lot of things to consider when parking a bike outside. What is it exposed to the elements?
If you can gain access to a motorcycle service history report, you will have a pretty good idea of how well maintained the bike has been and any major issues or repairs.
The type of motorcycle will also be a leading factor when deciding if a higher mileage bike is worth buying. For example, most sports motorcycles have significant engine wear from all the extreme conditions it has been driven through.
In fact, you should be wary of purchasing a sports bike that has more than 25,000 miles racked up. If you can’t get access to the bike’s service history report, then we’d say you should probably take a hard pass unless you’re looking to recondition it from scratch.

Is mileage the most important factor when looking at used motorcycles?

Most people assume that the motorcycle’s mileage will tell you the whole story about the bike’s condition. However, this is just not the case. The mileage can be a good indicator, but you will need to dig a little deeper to see if it’s worth your cold earned cash.
Mileage is primarily used when determining the value of a motorcycle. But when it comes down to the bike being reliable or safe, you’ll want to go beyond those numbers to see what the overall health of the motorcycle looks like.

Here are some other things you should consider when looking at an older motorcycle:

Ownership – Knowing how many owners a bike has had will help you understand the cycle’s history. Typically, one owner will provide a better regularly maintenance bike than several previous owners.

  • The owner’s age can also play a role; younger riders tend to be harder on motorcycles than the older proud owner. You will want to ask how it was stored and how often it was taken out for a spin. All of these factors can provide you with a clearer picture of how the bike has been treated over the years.
  • Maintenance Records – Asking to see the bike’s service records and history is a critical step when trying to figure out if the motorcycle was taken care of accordingly. This will reveal any issues the bike may have experienced and how often it was brought in for regularly scheduled maintenance checkups.
  • Usage – Knowing what the motorcycle was used for will help you determine if the bike was over-used or abused. If the bike was a showpiece that was only ridden a few times a month when the weather was good, then that tells you the cycle has probably been well cared for when it comes to maintenance and upkeep.

Note: Unless you are well-versed in looking at a motorcycle’s condition and knowing where to inspect for any issues, we suggest allowing an expert to give the bike an overall inspection. This can help save you a lot of headaches in the future for a small price. It will also give you some peace of mind when purchasing an older bike.

Wrapping Up

Investing in an older motorcycle can be both safe and reliable as long as you do your homework. Take the time needed to have the bike inspected and ensure that the maintenance records are available for your reading.
There is nothing more appealing to a motorcycle lover’s eyes than a well-oiled classic bike that looks amazing on both the inside and out!

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