How many Miles Is Too Many For A Harley-Davidson Motorcycle?

Is it your dream to own a Harley-Davidson motorcycle? Harley-Davidson is one of the world’s largest and most iconic motorcycle manufacturers. Harley-Davidson® motorcycles are also often considered essential to join many MCs (Florida MCsTexas MCsCalifornia MCs, etc.) worldwide. 

Yet, the price of a new bike might hold you back. New Harley-Davidson motorcycles can start at over $10,000. But again, the good news is you can consider buying a used bike. When buying a used bike, one of the first things you consider is its mileage. So, if it’s a Harley you are considering, they are designed to last with regular maintenance. 

A Harley Davidson motorcycle can last for well over 75,000 miles. That is if they are well-maintained by a responsible rider. In fact, there are many Harleys on the road that have lots of miles on them (over 100,000 miles). 

So, even though the mileage on a used Harley is around 50,000 miles, you can still consider buying it!

But this would apply more to a cruiser and to trikes. Harley also has sports models. And sport bikes are typically driven harder and experience more engine wear. So, anything above 25,000 miles on a sports bike is considered high mileage. 

What to consider when looking at a Harley motorcycle’s mileage

As mentioned, the acceptable mileage on a used Harley cruiser is around 50,000 miles. This is provided it is a well-maintained bike and can be a smart buy. 

But the mileage number is one of many things to consider. What other important factors should you consider while looking at used Harley motorcycles?

Model or type of bike

The first thing you have to look at is the type of motorcycle. A Harley sports bike (such as the Sportster) is more for everyday rides, commutes, etc. But a cruiser model such as Electrca Glide is for long-distance touring. 

So, the acceptable mileage on a cruiser model will be much higher than that of sports motorcycles, even if it has fewer miles on it.

The mileage of a Harley touring bike could go even higher. Riders’ experiences show that they can go as high as 150,000 miles or more. 

Rider usage and maintenance

It is also essential to see the motorcycle’s service records. How has the previous owner used the motorbike? You can also ask for a vehicle history report. It should have good maintenance records. Through this, you can find out if it was in an accident. 

Two motorbikes with the same mileage could have gotten very different treatment. And that is important for the condition of the bike.

Moreover, if the owner has not maintained the motorcycle well, it could show signs of rust. Harleys are prone to rust because their bodies have a high amount of metal. They need regular cleaning and protection from rust. 

Signs of rust along with high mileage is e a bad thing. It shows that the bike is not in good condition.

 So, does a Harley motorbike’s mileage matter?

The short answer? Yes, it does. But only if when you are also considering the other factors mentioned. A Harley’s odometer reading is the most basic way to judge its condition. But other than the lots of miles, a more rounded look at a number of factors is essential. 

How long do Harleys last compared to other motorcycle brands?

Harley Vs. Indian

Indians and Harleys can both last well over 100,000 miles if the owners maintain them well. Indian motorcycles use an integrated, shaft-driven transmission. It works less hard than the Harley chain drives.

Harley Vs. Honda

Harley is an iconic brand. But Honda has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959. 

The average top-end Honda bike lasts for 150,000 miles. But some Hondas have been known to last up to 400,000 miles on the odometer. This makes it longer lasting than Harleys. But either can be a good purchase.

Harley Vs. Triumph

Triumph motorcycles can last between 100,000 and 200,000 miles on average. Their motorcycle engines also have some of the most state-of-the-art, innovative technology. So, their longevity can match Harley-Davidson engines.

How long do Harley engines and other parts last?

A Harley engine can last over 100,000 miles if the bike has proper maintenance and gets regular service. And if it’s stored and ridden responsibly over a long period.

A rear Harley tire can last around 9,000- 10,000 miles. A front Harley tire can last between 15,000 and 20,000 miles. But tire longevity depends on riding style and climate too.

A Harley battery can last around two years. It also depends on different factors, such as climate, driving habits, and battery type.

A Harley clutch can last between 20,000 and 60,000 miles. But one that is ridden hard or doesn’t get routine maintenance may need replacing after 5,000 miles.

How to keep your high-mileage bike running like new

Break it in the correct way.

If your old bike had an engine rebuild, you need to break in the engine like it’s a new engine. The break-in period of most motorcycles is the first 500 to 1,000 miles. During this time, the engine will have a lot of internal friction. So avoid using more than ¾ of the throttle for the first 500 to 1,000 miles.

Also, avoid hard stops, jackrabbit acceleration, and aggressive starts. And use the highest gear possible.

Get familiar with the service manual.

No matter the mileage, it is a good idea to follow the maintenance guidelines in the motorcycle’s service manual. This means regular oil changes and lubrication. And also servicing the brakes and checking the valve adjustment.

Always check the air filter.

If your air filter is dirty, clogged, damaged, loose, or missing, this affects your motorbike. Keep the air filter clean, especially if you ride your motorcycle in dusty and sandy areas.

Use coolant instead of water.

Coolant contains additives that lubricate the internal components of your radiator. This helps to prevent rust and corrosion inside the radiator tubes. You should also drain, flush, and replace the coolant at least every two years.

Inspect the final drive periodically.

You should inspect the motor chain, sprocket wear, and rear drive housing every once in a while. Keep the chains well-lubricated and adjusted. 


The bottom line is that Harley-Davidson bikes are iconic, and they have a loyal following as well. So, it’s no wonder if you are eyeing a used motorcycle or even considering the merits of buying a new Harley. Mileage is always an essential factor in any motorcycle you want to buy. 

But it’s not the only factor. Do consider other factors as well. That way, you can be sure to get a good deal and ride for a long time. Good luck with finding a great deal.

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Mike, the motorcycle enthusiast behind SuperBike Newbie, fell in love with superbikes during his college years. He owns a diverse range of motorcycles and offers valuable insights into motorcycling advice, maintenance, safety gear, and laws. Despite two decades of riding experience, he continues to learn and shares his knowledge on his website. Mike also has a keen interest in motorcycle club culture. While not a club member, he aspires to be one someday.

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