motorcycle mileage

Is It Worth Buying a Motorcycle with 50,000 Miles or Is It a Lot?

Is It Worth Buying a Motorcycle with 50,000 Miles or Is It a Lot?

When buying a used motorcycle, potential buyers need to consider many factors, including their budget, the model and type of the bike, the owner’s riding style and experience, maintenance records, accident history, and mileage.

Mileage often tops the list of concerns for many motorcycle buyers. A low-mileage motorcycle is generally perceived as being nearly new and a more profitable purchase, while high-mileage motorcycles tend to be avoided due to fears of costly maintenance, reduced resale value, and a perceived shorter lifespan.

However, high-mileage two-wheelers, especially those with 50,000 miles on them, aren’t always a bad deal. Many motorcycle experts provide anecdotal evidence suggesting that a bike ridden regularly with high mileage can be more reliable and performance-oriented than a low-mileage motorcycle that has mostly sat idle in the garage.

To reach 50,000 miles and still perform adequately, a two-wheeler certainly has had proper and timely maintenance, repairs, and new parts installed. Therefore, if you are considering a motorcycle with 50,000 miles, several factors must be considered to make an informed decision.

This article explores whether the mileage of a used motorcycle truly matters in the long run and if a bike with over 50,000 miles can make for a worthwhile investment. 

1. Determine the Type of Motorcycle You Want to Buy

Whether 50,000 miles is high-mileage for a used motorcycle depends on its type. There is a wide range of motorcycles available on the market, each having its own lifespan.

Street bikes and sports bikes tend to degrade at a much faster rate than cruisers or touring motorcycles. Sports bikes are designed for speed, maneuverability, and agility. Therefore, they experience significant wear and damage by the time they collect 20,000 - 30,000 miles.

For larger motorcycles, a high-mileage point comes after 40,000 miles. For powerful and expensive touring motorcycles, a high-mileage point may be over 50,000 miles.

Therefore, it is important to understand that mileage is only a vague or basic benchmark and should not be heavily relied upon when choosing a second-hand motorcycle.

For example, 50,000 miles on a Honda Gold Wing is not high-mileage; these motorcycles last for over 200,000 miles and more because they are built for longer engine lifespan and longer distances. In contrast, 50,000 miles on a Honda CBR650R might be considered high-mileage. This bike is designed to get the maximum power from the engine.

These bikes are also ridden more aggressively than touring motorcycles, which puts extra strain on the moving motorcycle parts. Therefore, it is important to research how many miles can be expected of a particular motorcycle you are interested in.

Additionally, in a single motorcycle genre, you will find motorcycles featuring different engine capacities, technologies, suspension and braking systems, tire setups, and frames/chassis. Each motorcycle brand offers a different advantage to its customers.

As a result, no two sports bikes, cruisers, touring motorcycles, or street bikes are the same. For this reason, mileage is not the accurate indicator for any motorcycle type. 

2. Is It Possible for a Motorcycle with 50,000 Miles to Perform Well?

A motorcycle with 50,000 miles may still perform at its maximum potential, provided it was well-maintained by its owner, received high-quality new OEM parts as needed, and was used gently, albeit regularly. Motorcycles that had only one owner also tend to perform well no matter how many miles are reflected by the odometer. 

3. Research Platforms to Find Out if a Motorcycle with 50,000 Miles is Worth Buying

To find out whether a particular motorcycle model you are interested in is worth buying with 50,000 miles on it, you need to conduct extensive research. The best research platforms are usually motorcycle forums where enthusiasts discuss different issues in detail and offer advice based on personal experiences.

Furthermore, you can also look for facebook groups for a particular motorcycle model and ask how many miles owners are getting out of their bikes. You can then collect data about different motorcycle types from these research forums and compare them to reach a conclusion.

When collecting data, it is important to analyze the expertise of the people offering solutions and answers to your questions. It is quite possible that the people answering your questions are just as less-informed about the topic as you are.

So, don’t rely on just one page, group, or forum. Reach out to more people so you can get a general idea on what to expect from different motorcycle types having 50,000 miles on them. 

4. Focus on the Age of the Motorcycle

When considering mileage of a motorcycle, many motorcycle enthusiasts make the common mistake of overlooking the age of the bike. A ten-year-old motorcycle with only a couple thousand miles on its odometer isn’t necessarily a good deal. It is a clear indication that this motorcycle has been sitting idle in the garage.

If the signs of wear and tear are visible, they also confirm that the bike was not stored properly all this time, leaving you to deal with major mechanical failures if you end up buying it. If a motorcycle stands idle for a long time, its fuel, engine oil, and brake fluid go bad. The thickened engine oil can obstruct the engine which can be an expensive repair.

If the prospective owner manages to identify these potential mechanical problems in a motorcycle with 50,000 miles at the time of purchase, he can negotiate the price with the seller for all the repair work, replacements, new tires, fluid change, and other maintenance related tasks.

If the owner is not willing to acknowledge these maintenance costs, then the high-mileage motorcycle is not worth buying.

On the other hand, a motorcycle that is about 2-3 years old and has 50,000 miles on it could still make for a worthwhile investment.

To ensure that you are grabbing a profitable deal, you need to inspect it properly or have a trustworthy and competent motorcycle mechanic do it for you. 

5. How to Inspect a Used Motorcycle with 50,000 Miles Before Buying?

When inspecting a used motorcycle with 50,000 miles on it, start with the basics and for deeper mechanical issues, it is best to either pay for a mobile mechanic who will inspect the bike at the owner’s place or have someone knowledgeable accompany you. Here are some areas to check when buying a high-mileage motorcycle:

5.1. Cleanliness

When inspecting a used motorcycle with 50,000 miles on it, check how clean it is. Pay attention to any broken parts or difficult-to-reach parts for dust accumulation, rust build-up, scratches, and other signs of damage. Check whether reflectors are broken or the chain drive is covered in road grime or mud. 

5.2. Engine Oil

Next, check the color and consistency of engine oil. If the engine oil is thickened or black, it means it hasn’t been changed in a while.

5.3. Tire Condition

Check the tire pressure and tread. Look for deflated tires or signs of damaged tread pattern. Tire pressure and tread pattern is included in the daily motorcycle safety checks. Neglected motorcycle tires tell you a lot about the rider and how he used the motorcycle over the years.

You can also check the age of the tires to figure out when was the last time the motorcycle received new tires. Owners usually take pride in keeping their motorcycles, no matter how many miles have accumulated on the odometer. If you find that even these little things need to be fixed on a used motorcycle, inform the owner and try to negotiate the price accordingly. 

5.4. Check for Signs of a Drop

Also, ask the owner whether the motorcycle has ever been into an accident or dropped. To check the veracity of the owner’s claims, take a walk around the bike, pay close attention to the handlebar grip ends, brake levers, crash bars if present, clutch, exhaust system, hard saddlebags if present.

In the event of a crash or a drop, all these motorcycle parts make contact with the ground and get scratched. It might be perplexing why dropping a motorcycle is such a big deal. Even though it doesn’t necessarily impact the vehicle’s performance. But this particular question will give you some insight about the person you are purchasing the motorcycle from. 

5.5. Cold Start

Another way to test the condition of a used motorcycle with 50,000 miles on it is to ask the owner not to start the bike before you arrive. It is important to test the motorcycle when the engine is still cold. Once you arrive, do not start the bike before checking whether the engine or exhaust is cold to the touch. If both parts are warm, it means that they have started the bike despite you requesting otherwise.

If the owner respects your request and allows you to test the motorcycle cold, pay attention to any irregular engine sounds, whether the motorcycle starts with difficulty, does the motorcycle exhaust blow excessive amounts of smoke, or does the motorcycle simply fail to start in the first place. 

5.6. Test Ride

Another way to assess whether a motorcycle with 50,000 miles on it is worth buying is to take it for a test ride. A lot of owners are hesitant about test rides because they don’t know who the prospective buyer actually is.

To convince them that you really are interested in the bike, you can either ask them to accompany you on the test ride or simply give them 60 - 75% of the total asking price of the motorcycle in cash. Both these methods should allow you to get a test ride of the bike. 

6. Who Should Buy a Motorcycle with 50,000 Miles on It?

Though it again depends on the type of motorcycle on sale, but as a general rule if we consider standard street bikes, cruisers, or sports bikes, it would be easier to draw a conclusion. Motorcycle enthusiasts who also enjoy doing repair work themselves find the problems mentioned above least concerning because they prefer fixing the bike to their preferences.

As a result, a motorcycle with 50,000 miles and minor issues is worth buying for them. In contrast, motorcycle enthusiasts who want a vehicle that they can ride after a quick inspection and service from the mechanic, with no desire to fix anything on the bike themselves or spend a hefty amount of money on repairs, they should avoid a high-mileage bike with these mechanical problems.

But when a touring motorcycle, a large-sized cruiser, or a heavy adventure motorcycle having 50,000 miles and good running condition is under question, anyone can buy the bike because 50,000 miles is nothing on these massively powerful two-wheelers. 

7. Last Words

Whether to buy a motorcycle with 50,000 is a highly subjective topic, depending on multiple factors. For some prospective buyers, 25,000 miles would be too much while others would still consider a bike with over 40,000 miles on it, primarily because of the model, the owner, and the physical and mechanical condition of the bike.

When planning to buy a high-mileage bike, it is also important to consider future maintenance costs and negotiate the price accordingly. Motorcycles with higher mileage, especially entry-level cruisers and sport bikes, are available at really low prices compared to low-mileage newer models.

Also consider your usage of the bike. If you buy a motorcycle with 50,000 miles that is well-maintained and has had a single owner, and you use this bike for about 2,000 - 3,000 miles a year, this motorcycle can last you a while with proper maintenance.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase a high-mileage motorcycle is based on personal preferences and budget. By conducting research, asking direct questions from owners, and thoroughly inspecting the bike, you can ensure that your money is invested in the right vehicle. 

Popular Collections

Related Readings

Reading next

2024 Triumph Rocket 3 Storm R and GT Review
2024 Triumph Rocket 3 Storm R and GT Review

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.