Honda is a well-known Japanese brand and a true international motorcycle giant.
They are one of the biggest producers of motorcycles internationally and enjoy a strong reputation for reliability, quality, and affordability.
Honda is present in just about every single major international market for motorcycles.
This article answers the question: “How Long Does A Honda Motorcycle Last?”…
Here Is The Short Answer To: How Long Does A Honda Motorcycle Last?
Honda motorcycles, like their cars, are known for their superlative reliability.
You can fully expect a Honda motorcycle, if properly kept and maintained, to last well over 120,000 miles, possibly reaching even higher depending on the model and how it is used. Both in components and overall quality, Honda is a motorcycle brand that is built to last.
How Many Miles Can You Expect?
Honda is ranked only just a tiny bit behind industry-leader Yamaha when it comes to reliability, so you can expect to more easily reach as high as 100,000 miles or more on a Honda motorcycle.
With less reliable brands, only the most meticulous care and attention to maintenance would ensure that a bike made it anywhere close to 100,000 miles.
The chance of reaching that milestone with Honda is greatly increased.
How Reliable Are Honda Motorcycles?
Honda is only slightly behind the industry leader Yamaha when it comes to reliability.
They have been consistently praised for their incredibly low 4-year failure rate of just 12 percent.
This is compared to 40 percent among BMW bikes, for example.
That means that among all the Honda motorcycles purchased around the world in 2017, at least 88 percent of them are still on the road and doing great.
Some people point to Honda’s above-average maintenance costs and say that it’s a problem, but in fact, it’s more of a trade-off.
It is true that, by and large, you will pay more for a typical Honda service than you would a Kawasaki or Suzuki service.
However, the trade-off is that the bike is constructed well enough that the likelihood of any unexpected repair being necessary is much lower.
Overall it means a competitive overall maintenance cost, with owners mostly only paying for scheduled maintenance.
Consumer surveys consistently place Honda high up on the list in people’s minds for reliability.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t problems that frustrate owners.
First, Hondas don’t all come with kill switches. In fact, the majority of models don’t have one, which is a point of annoyance for many owners.
There have also been issues with the quality of some of Honda’s peripheral materials and controls, like the switchgear, for instance.
Some have said this and some other buttons and switches are often of poor quality and break easily.
Certain cables are also complained about, like the clutch cable and speedometer cable.
Some owners have reported having to change these components multiple times during their ownership period.
There are some people who argue that reliability isn’t really the problem for Honda, but rather price vs. appeal.
You pay a premium price for a Honda, even when the bike doesn’t look particularly premium or illustrious in its design.
How Long Do Honda Motorcycles Last Vs. Competitors
For this comparison, we’ll be putting Honda alongside Yamaha and two non-Japanese competitors to see how they square up.
These will be Triumph and Vespa.
Mechanically speaking, and looking across the entire Honda range, there are very few genuine problems to speak of.
Some models, however, have suffered from issues in the carburetor and fuel lines.
Easily worn clutch components have also been a problem.
None of this has stopped Honda motorcycles from easily lasting to 100,000 miles or more.
What about the competition? Yamaha is perhaps the only brand in the world that enjoys even greater ratings in reliability than Honda.
That’s not to say Yamaha has been without issue, however.
They were forced to recall many 2015 YZF-R1 models for gear wheel and pinion gear issues, which are clear safety problems.
Overall, however, Yamaha bikes are the only brand that is even more likely to break the 100,000-mile threshold than Hondas are.
As for Triumph, while this is a prestigious brand, the bikes are known to have issues with their regulators/rectifiers, which leads to dead batteries, difficulty starting, and even a broken instrument cluster that doesn’t work at all.
Other common problems include stator failure, problems with the cam chain tensioner, excessive engine noise, which while sometimes dubbed “normal” by the OEM is indicative of cam chain and gear problems.
Finally, Triumph bikes are known for their problems with batteries going dead.
In all, to get a Triumph over the 100,000-mile mark would take a huge amount of maintenance, and possibly almost “rebuilding” the bike entirely over that time.
How does Honda compare to Vespa? It’s rare to see these compared since Vespa manufactures scooter-style bikes only, which are much smaller in comparison to the huge range of Hondas.
Vespas are a lot smaller but solidly constructed.
Common issues seem to be electrical, with poorly routed wiring sometimes being a problem.
They also don’t do well with aftermarket parts, and many problems arise from people trying to modify them with non-OEM parts.
For these reasons, a Vespa won’t last as long as a Honda, generally speaking, but when properly maintained can get to 50,000 miles, which is impressive for a small bike.
Which Are The Best And Worst Honda Models?
At the “best” end of the Spectrum, the two best models are arguably the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin for the modern bike, and for an older model, the 1987-1990 Honda CBR600F Hurricane has long been loved by Honda riders.
The Africa Twin is regarded by many as the best power sports vehicle of any brand, ever.
It is particularly lauded for its 998cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke parallel-twin engine, its versatility, and its affordability at just $13,599.
The Africa Twin comes with an enviable suspension that is so adjustable and customizable that the bike can be made perfect for just about any rider.
This adds to its universal appeal.
As for the CBR600F Hurricane, this was instantly a modern classic.
Its powerful and sporty profile has instant aesthetic appeal.
It was fuel-efficient but sporty, offered superlative athletic handling but was also a reliable everyday rider.
It was every bike to every rider.
Turning now to the more negative end of the spectrum, the CBR300 series of motorcycles could be argued to be the worst since they have been the most recalled models over the years.
Another more notable bad Honda example model however has to be the 2014 Honda CTX1300.
This bike was criticized for its low 7000rpm redline, low-lying windshield, lack of cruise control despite being a touring model, and an unappealing design that one critic characterized as “all the charisma of a toaster oven.”
Did Honda Motorcycle Have Any Models Recalled?
Yes. Despite superlative reliability, Honda has not been totally immune from the need for recalls on some models.
The most recalled bike is the CBR300 series.
Over the past 5 years, there have been multiple recalls on this series, with each affecting anywhere from 3000 to 12,000 bikes.
Most recalls on this bike have been related to engine and cooling or powertrain.
One example was a recall of 3,898 CBR300R models because the circlip on the transmission main shaft was detaching and sometimes causing gear misalignment.
In June 2021 Honda recalled over 28,000 motorcycles over the issue of dim reflectors.
While this is a safety issue, it at least isn’t a fundamental construction issue and can be easily fixed by simply swapping the reflectors out.
This recall affected the 2020-2021 Super Cub C125, CB500X, CB650R, CBR300R, Rebel 300, and some others.
Are Honda Motorcycles Expensive To Maintain?
In general, Honda models are more expensive to maintain than other brands, but not all.
Honda sits at around $1000 per year, which is high for a bike that’s not a “prestige” brand.
However, the regular annual cost is offset by the fact that Honda’s reliability means that unexpected repair costs are very unlikely, meaning that costs will remain steady year on year with no nasty surprises.
How Long Do The Brakes Last?
Honda’s brakes are built to last. This kind of hardware is what Honda does best.
You’ll have to change the brake pads about every 20,000-30,000 miles, but the rotors and mechanical parts should last much longer.
How Long Do The Tires Last?
You won’t have any problems with tires lasting up to their maximum recommended lifespan, which is 5 years on Hondas as it is on just about every motorcycle.
Even braking and solid, reliable performance mean that Honda tires last.
How Long Does The Gearbox Last?
There’s a very good chance that you will go all the way through your Honda’s life without ever having to change the gearbox.
There may be some minor switches like a replacement gear switch, but the gearbox itself is solid.
Worst-case-scenario is that a Honda’s gearbox will only last 60,000-70,000 miles, which for most brands would still count as very impressive.
How Long Does The Chain Last?
Honda chains are solidly built and you can fully expect them to last at least 18,000 to 20,000 miles.
Better yet, the chain can be replaced without changing the sprockets. Each set of sprockets should last through at least two chains.
What About The Insurance?
Insurance for Honda motorcycles is affordable because while the bikes are expensive when you buy them brand new, they do depreciate quickly because of an overcrowded marketplace.
This means that insurance may start at the higher end such as $1000-1100, which is $300 above the US national average for motorcycle insurance.
However, within 3-5 years the cost will plunge to the average or below because of depreciating values.
Best Tips To Prolong The Lifespan Of Your Honda Motorcycle
First and foremost, never skip routine maintenance.
Hondas will typically gift you years of hassle-free riding if you just stick to the OEM-recommended maintenance schedule.
Next, don’t get complacent with your Honda’s reliability.
Don’t assume that because all is well now, you could skip out certain maintenance.
This is a path to disappointment and added maintenance and repairs.
Third, if you have a Honda sports bike, then take good care of the carburetor and fuel lines because these can easily get gummed up.
They need regular cleaning to keep them working properly.
If you have a cruiser or touring Honda bike, then the best way to prolong the lifespan is to maintain steady cruising speeds, don’t pull wheelies, or take unnecessary risks.
Maintain the bike well and it will serve you well for many years.
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