How many miles do motorcycles last? Ask Dave Zien. Zien put over a million well-documented miles on his 1991 Harley-Davidson FXRT. Of course, Zien had the engine overhauled nine times as he burned through 105 rear tires on his way to this lofty goal. But it illustrates a point.

The question of how many miles is a lot for a motorcycle doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. A large part depends on the owner, how they ride, and whether or not they kept on top of maintaining their motorcycle. People ride differently, so engines are subjected to different levels of use and abuse. The fact that there’s all kinds of different types of engines is another variable that prevents there from being one universal answer.

According to NADA Guides, “You can reasonably expect a motorcycle with 40,000 miles, an impeccable service record, and a clean body to be worth purchasing, even though some riders would judge the bike as being high mileage. On that same note, an off-road bike with 40,000 miles will likely look rough and not perform well, as off-road miles are tougher on a motorcycle than street miles.” NADA also stated in its discussion on “Motorcycle Value Versus Longevity” that even a motorcycle with 50,000 miles, if well-cared for, could still be a smart buy.

Latus Motors Harley-Davidson, who’s won a race or two with V-twins, wrote “For smaller sports bikes, a mileage above 20,000 to 30,000 is on the high side, while larger motorcycles are considered high mileage after the 50,000-mile point. But mileage is just one piece of a larger picture when shopping for a used bike — there are ways of keeping a motorcycle going well past 100,000 miles — service history is often a better indication of long-term performance.”

Surprisingly, Kelly Blue Book doesn’t base its motorcycle evaluations on mileage.

“Kelley Blue Book does not give dollar figures to add or deduct based on mileage for motorcycles. The reason for this is that the condition of the motorcycle is of far more importance than the number of miles it has been ridden. A motorcycle that has been ridden several thousand miles on surface streets will have less wear and tear than another motorcycle that has the same number of miles but has been ridden over rougher terrain. It is between the buyer and the seller to determine how much to add or deduct from the Kelley Blue Book Value based on the condition of the motorcycle.”

Taking all three sources into consideration, 25,000 miles would be considered high mileage for a sportbike (midpoint between Latus’ approximations) while high mileage for bigger motorcycles would be 45,000 miles (the average between NADA’s 40K and Latus’ 50K). There was a constant variable between all three. The key to longevity is maintenance. No go wrench on those motorcycles!