How Long Does A Harley Davidson Last? (Solved & Explained!)

Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle company that barely needs any introduction.

It is arguably the most iconic motorcycle brand not just in its home country of the USA, but in the entire world.

Harley-Davidson is seen by many as a pinnacle of motorcycling culture with their bikes carrying a lot of classic prestige.

At the same time, however, the company is modernizing and was among the first to offer production-ready electric motorcycles.

This article answers the question: “How long does a Harley Davidson last?”…

Here Is The Short Answer To How Long Does Harley Davidson Last

Although a Harley-Davidson is typically a fairly maintenance-intensive motorcycle, you can fully expect to get 100,000 miles or even more out of the bike if you look after it properly and don’t push it too hard on the road.

The bikes have suffered from some reliability issues in the past, and it’s still not on par with many of the Japanese brands in that respect, but it has done much to recover and improve, and now the brand is once again seen among the reliable brands of the motorcycle world.

How Many Miles Can A Harley Davidson Last?

With proper maintenance where you stick to the advised repair and maintenance schedule, and by responding to any issues you notice with the bike quickly, there’s no reason at all that a Harley-Davidson bike won’t last you at least 100,000 miles.

The trick is to take care of the components, keep the bike clean, don’t overtax it while out on the road, and don’t use the bike in stunts or dangerous activities.

If you do these things, then nothing will stop you from reaching 100,000 miles and beyond.

How Long Do The Brake Discs & Brake Pads Last?

On a Harley-Davidson, braking needs a fair amount of strength on many models, which means that brakes can wear down faster – brake pads at least.

For brake pads, expect them to last about 20,000 miles on average, but if you don’t do too much harsh braking, you might get up to 30,000 miles.

For the brake discs, they are made of sturdier stuff and should last somewhat longer than the brake pads, at least up to 50,000 miles if you’re not overtaxing them.

If you use your Harley-Davidson for racing or more extreme riding, then you may not get that kind of mileage.

Rather than just pay attention to mileage, you should take the time to inspect your brake discs where you can. 

Feel for any pulsing through the brake lever when you apply the brakes, or juddering when you press on them hard, that’s a sign that the brake discs need attention.

Next, look at the discs themselves.

Check to see if there are any cracks, pitting, or evidence of deep ridges throughout the disc, then it might well be time to change.

You shouldn’t notice these things until reaching high mileage, but it’s hard to be sure.

How Long Do The Tires Last?

Since they’re used for cruising mostly as opposed to high-pressure sports bike usage, and given the fact that Harley-Davidson typically invests in great tires usually from the prestigious Dunlop brand, it’s safe to say Harley tires will last up to their recommended life of 5 years.

Motorcycle experts point out that anything after 5 years is a little too old for any motorcycle tires, regardless of their actual condition.

How Long Does A Harley-Davidson Battery Last?

Harley-Davidson batteries come with an Advanced Glass Mat (AGM) battery.

These typically have a longer life than conventional motorcycle batteries, and these AGM batteries have been engineered specifically for Harley models to work in harmony.

You should expect anywhere from 4-5 years of healthy activity from this battery.

It will only be shorter than that if something goes very wrong with the bike.

One alternative battery you can also get that is lighter is a Harley-Davidson lithium LiFe battery, which offers more cranking amps than the standard AGM battery and is just 17 lbs in weight.

How Long Does The Drive Belt Last?

The drive belt is a piece of equipment that many motorcycle owners can lose track of when it comes to maintenance because the regular maintenance interval is so long.

The drive belt on your Harley-Davidson can last up to 100,000 miles before it needs to be replaced.

That said, you should always be on the lookout for hairline cracks, any fraying on the edges, and any other signs of undue wear and tear in the belt.

All such wear can reduce the life of the belt overall and could force you to get a new one prematurely.

Harley-Davidson has been making bikes with modern drive belts since 1980, so it knows a thing or two about creating quality.

Check on it after its first 1,000 miles and then again every 5,000 miles or 12 months to make sure it’s all in good order.

How Long Does The Gearbox Last?

The gearbox on your Harley-Davidson should be good for at least 40,000 miles.

This is one area in which Harley-Davidson consistently provides solid construction and dependability.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll never have any problems with the gearbox in 40,000 miles, but just that you shouldn’t have to have it replaced until around that milestone.

If you experience any difficulty in shifting, then you should bring it up with a mechanic because sometimes small gearbox issues like a stiff downshift or gear slippage can start minor and turn into much more serious problems later.

How Long Does The Chain Last?

You’ll likely get 25,000 miles out of your Harley-Davidson chain, and as much as 30,000 or even 35,000 if you ride steady and maintain the related components well.

The chain needs to be kept clean and free of contaminants, and well lubricated.

These are its two basic requirements.

You’ll want to clean and lubricate it at least every 1,000 miles or so.

Once you get used to it, it’s an easy job you can do yourself and save some money.

Ideally, you’ll do it every 600 miles when it’s a Harley-Davidson.

Do You Have To Use Harley-Davidson Oil?

No, you don’t.

While Harley-Davidson is known for its own brand of engine oil, you definitely don’t have to use it if it’s too expensive, not available in your area, or if you have an alternative brand that you prefer.

Most Harley-Davidson models are happy with any brand of 20W50 viscosity oil.

Some benefit more from 50W, including the Electra-Glide 1200 (Shovelhead) and the E/EL Knucklehead.

Some good alternative brands include Silkoline, Putoline, and Motul.

What About The Insurance?

Harley-Davidsons will almost certainly cost more than the average annual rate of $700 for motorcycle insurance in the US.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 monthly, making it at least $1,200 annually, or even $3,600 on some models.

Insurance is expensive because of the prestige name, the power of the engines, and the generally high value of the bikes when new.

All of these factors drive up the insurance premium rate, even when the rider is very experienced.

Best Tips To Prolong The Lifespan Of Your Harley-Davidson

There are several easy things you can do to prolong the lifespan of a Harley-Davidson:

1. Read the owner’s manual carefully.

When you have just bought the bike, it’s a good idea to read the manual and understand as much about your bike as possible.

This is true even if you’ve owned a motorcycle before, because each motorcycle is a bit different, even models within the same marque.

2. Break in your bike.

If your bike is new, don’t forget to take the bike out and run it according to guidelines outlined in your owner’s manual (this is why step 1 is important).

The manual will give you good advice on how to ride the bike in its first few hundred or even a couple of thousand miles.

3. Keep up with oil changes.

Your Harley will need an oil change roughly every 5,000 miles, so make sure you keep up to date with oil levels and changes.

Don’t automatically assume Harley-Davidson oil is always the best oil, either.

The right viscosity (20W50) is the most important thing.

4. Keep the air filter clean.

Make sure that about every 10,000 miles, you also remember to replace the air filter in your Harley.

That will help keep the engine ticking over properly.

5. Check the tires.

Don’t let wear in the tires get away from you.

Riding a Harley is a different experience from riding a sportbike.

Often your position is more prone and open.

You need the proper balance and safe, stable riding.

Tires are the most important factor in that.

6. Never neglect maintenance issues.

If you encounter a maintenance issue, no matter how small, get it seen right away.

You can’t have your Harley-Davidson be allowed to have small issues turn into serious problems.

They’re expensive to fix and could shorten the Harley’s life.