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Longevity of modern sportbikes?
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Longevity of modern sportbikes? - June 17, 2008, 09:56 AM

This came up on a car forum I frequent where a member stated that modern sportbike engines where pretty much shagged at 30k miles. I figured a properly maintained bike that wasn't abused shouldn't need any internal work for 80-100k miles so I sent off an email to Motocycle Consumer News to get their opinion which I've pasted below. What do you folks think?

-------------

Hugh,

A response from our tech guy, Matthew Wiley, is below.

Regards,
Franke Santos
MCN Associate Editor

-----Original Message-----

I must admit I do not have a definitive answer to your question, there are
so many variables. In my opinion it comes down to a combination of care &
service of the motor combined with type of use the bike receives. Simply put
a sport bike that is used on the track or ridden very aggressively on the
street will certainly wear out more quickly, particularly if oil changes are
at all compromised. On the other hand a bike ridden concretively & serviced
meticulously should last well beyond 50k miles or more. And that is the
problem, many factors are involved.

The current generation sport bike motors are manufactured to be as light
weight as possible down to each & every component; bearing surfaces are as
few & narrow as possible to reduce friction, power output & RPM are very
high, max power output is the highest priority. Engine temperatures are very
high in order to meet EPA specs by burning as many hydrocarbons as possible.
Another EPA related factor is oil & filter change intervals. In the quest to
use less oil suggested oil change intervals are now quite long, 4-6k mikes
in many cases. Some manufacturers even recommend changing the oil filter
every OTHER oil change, all in the quest to be environmentally friendly. To
that same end the fuel systems are set as lean as possible, any
modifications such as aftermarket exhaust, air filters, etc. can make this
worse. Even if the fuel injection has been re-mapped there can still be
issues as a result of the quality of the fuel map (injection
re-calibration). I have had bikes on the dyno that the owner paid good money
to have re-mapped that were running so lean at some throttle settings that
engine damage had already occurred or was inevitable in the future.
Modifications can have a positive or negative impact on longevity.

My point is this; sport bikes invite abuse such as extremely hard riding,
wide open track use, stunting, adding performance mods that may not be set
up correctly, etc. Meeting the full service requirements including routine
valve adjustments & throttle body synchronization is extremely expensive.
Overhauls are even more expensive $2000 & up. Combine hard use with
skimping, maintenance poorly set up exhaust & fuel injection or any
combination will certainly equal shorter life expectancy for high
performance motors, power has its price.

I have not seen too many high mileage late model sport bikes these last few
years, I cannot say if this is because they don't exist or I just haven't
seen them. The majority of sport riders I encounter don't ride very many
miles. I have seen very high mileage sport bikes from a generation or two so
ago with 100k miles & no major failures, I have serviced many 80's-90's
bikes with 50-80k miles. I know a mechanic at a Triumph dealer whose
personal bike (I forget which model but it is one of the late model sport
series) with 90k+ miles & no major repairs, ridden hard but serviced
meticulously... My point is that results will vary. Dead at 30k even of
serviced regularly? That depends on modifications made, the quality of the
services received combined with the type if riding, 'service' is more than
just an oil change. I am sorry I cannot provide a better answer.

M. Wiley
6/12/08


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June 17, 2008, 10:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughtwg
modern sportbike engines where pretty much shagged at 30k miles.

Guess nobody told any of our bikes that.


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June 17, 2008, 10:35 AM

Most people wreck their bikes before hiting the 3k miles, you have to take that into account. Others dont really care about maintenace just like cars, yet they expect them to run fine for years just refuling.
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June 17, 2008, 11:51 AM

I have never had a bike long enough to get 30,000.
My 03 gsxr has almost 20,000 and it still runs great.
I know many with Harley's that have over 80000 and still going.

I would expect my gsxr to run well past 30k. It shows no signs of slowing down!


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June 17, 2008, 12:25 PM

100k easy on previous sport bikes. I don't know about the newest of the new.


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June 17, 2008, 12:29 PM

This is really about the 160HP litre bikes 16k RPM 600s. I know that Sport Tourers and Cruisers and what not shouldn't have any problem going 100k+ miles. The bone of contention on my car forum was the idea that the modern sportbikes wont last as long as the sportbikes from the 90s (leaving out the TLC from the Squidiots).

RRSheDevil:
What kind of bikes do you have and how many miles are on them?

Thanks,
Hugh


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June 17, 2008, 12:39 PM

interesting read...


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June 17, 2008, 12:59 PM

05 CBR1000RR has 26000 and counting.
07 CBR1000RR has probably close to 20000 (if not over) but I'd have to ask Tony. And it will probably double that this year, as we won't be buying another bike till next year.

The 02 954 had over 45,000+/- when we sold it.

Bobby (noriHaga) had something like 80,000+ on his bike before the accident and there are a couple of old timers that are still around that put higher mileage on bikes.


Every time we hold our tongues instead of returning the sharp retort, show patience with another's faults, show a little more love and kindness, we are helping to stock-pile more of these peace-bringing qualities in the world instead of armaments for war. -- Constance Foster
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June 17, 2008, 01:04 PM

got around 43 on my 95 FZR 600. No stunting or track...just commuting. Does need another carb clean and synch but runs pretty good.


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June 18, 2008, 10:58 AM

A guy on CBRForum has over 100k on his 04 F4i, original engine with no overhauls or major repairs
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June 18, 2008, 11:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RRSheDevil
05 CBR1000RR has 26000 and counting.
07 CBR1000RR has probably close to 20000 (if not over) but I'd have to ask Tony. And it will probably double that this year, as we won't be buying another bike till next year.

The 02 954 had over 45,000+/- when we sold it.

Bobby (noriHaga) had something like 80,000+ on his bike before the accident and there are a couple of old timers that are still around that put higher mileage on bikes.
So....I guess the Vette is the grocery getter?


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June 18, 2008, 11:18 AM

I have 29,748 on my 2005 Ninja 636. I just change the oil and some other minor stuff. I have never gotten it factory serviced (I don't trust the fuckers)
We'll see how long it lasts.
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June 18, 2008, 12:01 PM

02 R6 => 25k+ and still running great at the time I sold it

04 R1 => 30k+ and still running great


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June 18, 2008, 12:34 PM

I ahve my RF900 right at 28K, no probs, runs like a champ... All I've done is earl-change and the usual maint.
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June 18, 2008, 12:58 PM

Good read.


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