Average Life Expectancy Of A Motorcycle Engine [Solved!]

Motorcycle Engine

An engine is the heart of a motorcycle. Without a proper functioning engine, bikes won’t run.

For your motorcycle to run smoothly for years, you need the engine to last long. The higher the life of the engine, the better it is for the motorcycle.

So, how long will a motorcycle engine last? The life expectancy of a motorcycle engine is highly subjective and depends on a lot of factors. Typically, a motorcycle engine should last somewhere between 50,000 miles to 250,000 miles depending on the make and type of the engine, and the maintenance and usage by the rider.

Manufacturer Specification On Engine’s Life

While the engine manufacturer’s do not specify any life expectancy on the bike engine, they do however provide a warranty period. This warranty period while varies from motorcycle to motorcycle and engine to engine, the usual warranty period is around 2 to 5 years.

My motorcycle had a warranty period of 5 years or 70,000 kilometres (~43,500 miles), whichever is earlier. The same warranty period can be extended to the bike engine as well.

So, the usual warranty provided for a motorcycle engine is around 45,000 miles.

However, this warranty does not equate to the life expectancy of the engine. If anything, it refers to the minimum life expectancy of a motorcycle engine.

Manufacturers certainly won’t like quoting warranty if the component does not even survive throughout the warranty quoted time. How dumb would that be. We can definitely say that the engine will last more than the warranty period.

Life Expectancy Of A Motorcycle Engine On Road

Now comes the dilemma. The engine lasts more than the warranty period. But how long?

We do not have a concrete data or the exact figure on the life expectancy of a motorcycle engine. Any figure you come across here or elsewhere is at most a sensible approximation based on the motorcyclist’s experience.

Typically, a motorcycle engine should last somewhere between 50,000 miles to 250,000 miles depending on the make and type of the engine, and the maintenance and usage by the rider.

Engine Life Expectancy

To get a ballpark figure, we conducted a small survey asking our friends who are avid motorcycle riders and have their engine damaged.

The survey with 27 responses showed that the average life expectancy of a motorcycle engine was 127,000 miles. And the median life expectancy was 100,000 miles.

Engine Life Expectancy - Median

Please keep in mind that this survey though sheds some light on how long a motorcycle engine lasts, is still a subjective answer given by people based on their experiences.

Factors Affecting The Motorcycle Engine Life

The life of a motorcycle engine will heavily depend upon various parameters that will influence not just the life, but also the performance, mileage and revving of the engine. These factors which affect the motorcycle engine life are:

  1. Type of the Engine
  2. Coolant type
  3. Maintenance
  4. Usage of the Bike

Type of the engine

The type of the engine is a dependent factor for the engine life expectancy. The capacity of the engine may not have a huge impact, the functionality still affects how long the engine lasts.

Simply put, lower cc engines are typically built for fuel economy while the higher cc engines are built for performance.

This difference in functionality creates a difference in the life expectancy of an engine. With other factors remaining same, lower cc engines should last longer with more distance to be traveled.

Coolant type

The coolant type is also a factor that affects the engine life. Many believe that liquid coolant engines usually last longer when compared to air cooled engines.

The reason being water cooled systems cools down the engine much faster and prevents engine overheating far better than an air cooled system.

However, there is no backing evidence that substantiates this belief. An air-cooled engine can equally run for a longer duration as that of a liquid-cooled engine. The effect a coolant has on the engine life expectancy is still unproven as on date.


This is, hands down, the single biggest factor that determines the life of the engine. You can see the stark contrast in the engine life of a poorly maintained one and a very well-maintained engine.

If you service your motorcycle regularly, change the oil frequently, do not overheat, and take care of other components of the motorcycle as well – your engine will definitely last for a long time. A detailed maintenance tips is provided in the next section below.

Usage of the Bike

Lastly, along with maintenance, the usage of the bike by the rider also affects the engine life. If you constantly ride at high rpm, overheat the engine, stress out the engine through overloading, jammed brakes etc. your engine wont last much longer.

So, along with bike servicing while off the road, you need to take care of your motorcycle on the road as well. The usage of the bike will certainly enhance the performance as well as the life of the engine.

How To Increase The Motorcycle Engine Life

Here are the major maintenance tips to the increase the life of your motorcycle engine.

  1. Change the Engine Oil frequently
  2. Replace oil filter regularly
  3. Engine Flush
  4. Replace the Air filter

#1 Change the Engine Oil frequently

For better preventive maintenance of the engine, you need to change the engine oil as frequently as possible. The thumb rule for frequency of changing the oil is every 2000 miles for mineral oil; 5000 miles for semi-synthetic oil; and 8000 miles for synthetic oil.

Make sure you are visiting the mechanic or bike service center regularly to change the oil. Also, use a good quality oil for your engine. Poor quality and cheap oil will do more harm than good. If you are focusing on performance, try switching to a synthetic oil.

#2 Replace Oil Filter

Change the oil filter whenever you are changing the engine oil. Oil filters not only removes the dirt, but also the magnetic materials contaminating the oil.

The oil filter carries magnet in it that attracts these materials before they go into the walls between piston and cylinder. If at all they go to these walls, they will start damaging them which will decrease the engine life.

So, replace the oil filters at least once every 2 times you are changing the oil. Replacing the filter every time you are changing oil is a much better option as well. Oil filters are not at all costly and you don’t have to think too much here.

#3 Engine Flush

The motorcycle oil goes through cycles of heating and cooling. Sometimes, the engine even overheats and the oil absorbs that excess heat.

Due to these cycles of heat change, the engine oil breaks down into finer molecules. Add to it the carbon particles, hydrocarbon, and moisture if any in the engine – will all combine to form a sludge.

These sludge deposits in various nooks and corners of the engine and if left unchecked, will also start depositing on every surface.

The sludge starts to form only after a considerable usage of motorcycle. An approximate of 8000 miles. So, engine flush every 8000 to 10,000 miles traveled.

Engine flush is a chemical additive designed to clean the sludge deposited in the engine. All you need to do is pour the additive in the oil port, idle for 10 minutes, then drain the oil.  The additive mixes with the oil and dissolves the sludge to clean the engine.

#4 Replace Clogged Air Filter

If the air filter is clogged, the engine will start receiving a fuel rich mixture. That is, more fuel than required to the proportion of air present going into the engine. This will result in incomplete combustion, carbon deposits and overheating of the engine.

The general thumb rule is to replace air filters every 12,000 miles traveled. If you live or ride your bike in a dusty area, change the filter much more often.

Replacing the air filter can make a huge difference in your engine performance. A clean filter can enhance fuel economy, lower the emissions, and of course, increase the engine life. So, change those air filters regularly.


While the life expectancy of an engine varies from motorcycle to motorcycle, our survey indicated that an average motorcycle engine lasts around 100,000 miles.

The mean life expectancy from the survey was 127,000 miles and the median was 100,000 miles.

Typically, a motorcycle engine should last somewhere between 50,000 miles to 250,000 miles depending on the make and type of the engine, and the maintenance and usage by the rider.

How long did your engine from the first motorcycle last? Comment below.