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Motorbike Lifespan

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by TheMav, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Generally speaking, do motorbikes have as good longevity compared to cars? This can obviously depend on the car and the bike and how each gets treated but I ask in a general sense given most motorbikes will have much lower mileage than cars of an equivalent year model.

    I am looking to buy a used Street Triple within the next year or so and it looks like there can be about $3-4k difference for only 20-30,000 km difference in mileage for a similar year model bike. If the bike is going to last over 200,000 km then I would rather save the $3k but if the engine is going to give up at 100,000 km then it might be worthwhile paying extra for something with 20,000 km rather than 50,000 km.
  2. In general motorbikes do not last as long as cars. There are any number of reasons for this such as:
    - Electrical and mechanical bits are more exposed to the weather
    - The motor and gearbox are more highly stressed that that of cars
    - They have not been made to last as long by the manufacturer, since most bikers do not do 25,000km/year and expect their vehicle to last 10 years like car drivers do
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. bikes have gotten a lot better.... but they wont last as long as comparative cars... you'll get more distance/years out of a hyundai than a hyosung or a landcruiser compared to a 1200GS.

    id say you could expect 60,000 before any significant replacements on the 675, and probably a rebuild after 100,000... but you might as well get a new bike.

    bear in mind that cost vs performance on a bike is high.
  4. Dunno about the car v bike comparison, although a Street Triple would have to be compared with maybe an MR2 rather than a Corolla.

    I do know of one Striple that has been flogged absolutely mercilessly for well in excess of 100,000 kms and still appears to be going like a rocket.
  5. My Honda VFR had 171000kms on it when I sold it but you are asking about a Street Triple....

    The street triple is a budget bike, it won't last as long, same as a Z800 and other bikes built to budget.
  6. FJR's are known to run for several hundred thousand kays without major work, and they are not lacking in specific power output.

    I would suggest that usage and servicing are the major implicating factors.
  7. Currently somewhere around 138,000km on the zx9r , apart from the first 4600km all by me . Other than normal services and consumables like tyres , chain and sprockets , brake pads the only thing to break has been 2 fuel pumps .
  8. It's not usually the engine that gives up these days. It's the suspension, brakes, chain/sprockets, electrics, wheel and head stem bearings etc all getting to the end of their life more or less together and making it cheaper to buy something newer. Do them all separately and it's a more complex decision.

    Certain engines might wear out their valve seats and start to run smoky though. Others gulp oil for the rest of their lives (and the owner's) but just keep on going.

    And people crash bikes more often than they wear them out.

    I roughly estimate an extra $1k off for every 10k done, and a $1K off for each year.
    It would be easier to answer the question if you can estimate how many km a year you would be doing.
  9. bikes have smaller engines then cars, rule of thumb smaller engines don't last as long as bigger ones

    my 92' cbr250rr import is supposed to be good for 100,000 km according to Honda...however i am the 9th owner in Aust!

    i have done 7 track days 16,000 to 18,000RPM + all day long, bought it with 24,000km (probably BS K's) its lasted me 25,000km, crashed it twice at the track, thrashed it mercilessly on putty road as well....but alas its finally giving up the ghost, compression test is bad for cylinders 2 & 3 but not blowing any smoke, so maybe valve adjustment is way off or burnt valves?

    anyway you could easily get 300,000km on a toyota camry & corrolla, my mates 89' camry is still going strong but everything else is falling apart but you don't treat bikes as lightly as an A to B car, so its hard to compare

    personally i couldn't ride a bike for that many kays without craving for something different eventually,

    I have had my 600 for 30,000km now & i can't wait to try something else
  10. Bikes run at higher average RPM and have less dispersion of road impacts (2 vs 4 wheels + wider tires) vs cars so they will as a rule not last as long. Long living bikes have a lot of torque (cruisers) and they last longer than high revving sports bikes.

    Cheers Spocky
  11. Cheers fellas.

    From this and existing knowledge, I have deduced that bikes will not last as long as comparable cars however this does not mean that the odometer reading should be considered more heavily on a bike than on a car because:

    - the average bike will travel much less and therefore accrue much less mileage each year compared to a cager
    - it will take many years before a moderately used bike will reach the end of its lifespan
    - once desired/necessary, bikes will usually be cheaper to replace than cars
    - people usually change their bikes for reasons other than it dying of old age

    Thanks for reviewing the post and helping with future purchasing decisions.
  12. I have an '89 VFR750F with 20,000km on the clock, and fully expect it (or its engine, if nothing else) to be able to at least double the distance it's done.

    Another thing to take into account is go karts. If the core mechanicals are still good, but the rest of the bike is falling apart/murdered, they make for sweeeet gokarts :D.
  13. As with anything mechanical generally speaking the service and maintenance history is more important then how hold it is. I have seen some very low KM vehicles that were more suited to wrecking than selling.

    The other thing to consider when looking at any used vehicle is how far away is the next major service and how much will it cost.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Well of course.. who would not expect a vehicle to last at least 40,000km..
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  15. #15 коннор, Dec 9, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013


    Yeah, no point picking up the bike that's a grand cheaper if you'll be spending half a grand on a service a month later, then be buying new tyres, chain/sprockets, and brakes a couple of months after that.
  16. I'm thinking you've accidentally left a '0' out. There are quite a few known examples of VFR750s doing in excess of 400,000km on the original engine.
  17.  Top
  18. "20,000km on the clock"

    Three words: Five digit odometer. I sometimes enjoy being tricksy with my words and seeing if anyone figures things out :p.

    I've only come across one person who has killed a VFR mechanically (i.e. without wrapping it around a tree or suchlike)... and he was using it for sidecar racing.