/ Tips & Advice

How long do motorcycle engines last?

Hint: It’s much longer than you might think.

Person working on a motorcycle engine

If you own a motorcycle, you may be wondering exactly how long you’ve got with your trusty steed by your side. It’s a valid question, as any self-respecting motorcyclist would want to maximize their time with their beloved bikes. Luckily, we've got you covered in that department. Keep reading to find out how long motorcycle engines last. 

So, how long do motorcycle engines typically last? Well, it depends on the type of engine and the person taking care of it. Well-maintained motorcycle engines can last years and years, while even the toughest ones can break when handled poorly for too long. How long a motorcycle engine will last also depends on when it was made. Newer and larger displacement engines produced with modern technology are more likely to last longer than their older and smaller counterparts. For example, a modern-era Kawasaki Vulcan S 650 has a better chance of getting up to 100,000 km than a similar bike produced in the 90s.

Motorcycle engine close-up

If we're looking for exact figures, the average motorcycle engine can last a good 10 to 15 years, any major breakdowns or accidents notwithstanding. In terms of mileage, those figures translate to roughly 100,000 to 160,000 km. The above numbers are estimates and will vary from engine to engine, model to model, and manufacturer to manufacturer. Let's take a look at what can be done to ensure a motorcycle engine lasts a long time.

What is motorcycle engine wear?

The moment a motorcycle leaves the factory and reaches its owner for its first ride, engine wear begins. Engine wear occurs when contaminants slip through the filtration systems and attack the inside of the motorcycle engine. Engine wear can also be brought on by chemicals, metal-to-metal contact, and general mechanical stress from daily use.

How to prevent engine wear

Regular maintenance and proper usage of the motorcycle are keys to preventing engine wear. Make sure you use top-quality oil and air filters to protect your engine against foreign contaminants. You should also only use the recommended motor oil for the particular brand and motorcycle. Taking regular short trips can also be tough on your motorcycle engine, so try to avoid those when you can.

Long story short, if you want your motorcycle to last a long time, you're going to need to be diligent with cleaning and maintenance procedures. Taking care of a motorcycle engine is not necessarily a glamorous affair. Even so, you will thank yourself down the line. Imagine spending more than a decade riding your bike and it's humming along just as steadily as the day you bought it. There's a certain pride that comes along with keeping a motorcycle in top shape. It's almost a badge of honor among riding groups, as it shows an admirable level of passion and dedication.

How long a motorcycle engine lasts depends on many factors, but if given the proper care and maintenance that it needs, a decade or more of use is not impossible. Many older motorcycles are still out there plying the roads, and in some regards, they run just as good, if not better, than what today's best has to offer. 

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