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For a air cooled dual sport bike, what is the common/typical life span, in miles, before engine or trans rebuild ?
 

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Too many factors..some people change the oil, other people dont. Some people baby them and others ride them hard. I have seen many pristine 87 models and ive also seen 2006's that have been trashed. Somehow i dont think i answered your question
 
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If you eliminate the best and the worst as 20% of the total. That should leave you with 80%. The general life span of those 80% are around what ? Assumes oil was changed and bike was not abused but used as it was designed.



Example it is common for Honda Goldwings with normal maintenance to see well beyond 100,000 miles. Some see well over 300,00 but that is a exception as some that barely make it to 50,000 miles.



The guestion does have a answer for bikes serviced normally and ridden as designed.





Too many factors..some people change the oil, other people dont. Some people baby them and others ride them hard. I have seen many pristine 87 models and ive also seen 2006's that have been trashed. Somehow i dont think i answered your question
 

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mine came with records stating regular maintenance was done by the owner. it was ridden off-road only until 2007. only difference in maintenance was he changed the oil every 400-600 miles and used motul synthetic since 07. it now has 15,757 miles on it and has a base gasket "weep". I think QWERTY said in a post he had 47k on his but don't take my word for it I'm sure he will chime in soon enough.
 

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About 24k here, on the stock chain even. I'd imagine mine was somewhat neglected by the p/o but I think it's got a long life ahead.
 

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I have 1500 mi on mine now, and just had to split the case to replace a gear. Mainly off road riding at Walker Valley WA. Motor runs fine.
 

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Skip to the end for short answer lol.



This is a very difficult question to answer, because, as xdac said, there are so many variables that can affect the life of the engine. But you seem like a smart guy, so you already knew that
The reason it is so hard is because an average mileage considering the vast differences based on all these factors doesn't necessarily mean anything. Factors that can contribute to longevity of the motor and trans: oil level (forget to put oil in, put too much or too little oil in, not watch the oil level and let it get really super low as the bike burns oil, etc. etc.), service intervals and quality of maintenance/repair services, luck (ex: unlucky=not noticing that the oil filter you just bought is not the right one, because the box it came in says TW200...), use (ride like an ass hole or an old lady), break in procedures, regular engine warm up practices (or lack thereof when riding), possible quality control issues from the factory, etc. Anyway, assuming the WORST of all these things, you could need a rebuild 300 miles from brand new. Assuming the BEST of all these factors, the bike will probably go about 30,000 miles without needing a top end rebuild (the highest mileages without rebuild I remember reading have been about 25-30k), 50,000+ miles with a couple rebuilds. My TW has 15k miles on it now and has basically had two top end rebuilds. The first was because of the negligence of the work done by the utterly incompetent dealer service personnel whom I used to pay to "maintain" my bike, before I knew better. They put the wrong oil filter in the bike and the top end was f'ing toast a few minutes later. The second rebuild was done by myself a couple thousand miles after the first rebuild, because one of the valve adjuster nuts backed out, and my friend was on the bike and didn't know/think to shut it off right away. However, the bike has had tons of problems since 3k miles (some of them undoubtedly due to the failing service department before I started doing my own maintenance) and I suppose my particular unit probably would have needed a top end by now anyway.



SHORT: If you are a realist/pessimist, expect about 15k miles out of an average TW. If you're an optimist and you think you can do everything right (maintenance, break in, go easy on the bike, etc.) then expect about 30k before a top end job is needed. Of course depending on the particular circumstances, your experience could be more or less than these numbers.
 

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Qwerty has posted that he has 46k, with no rebuilds. I can easily see that if you know how to take care of it.



I don't know why heat and engine speed are so rarely mentioned when it comes to lifespans. If you run the thing near red line in lower gears at low speeds doing hill climbs or something in high temperatures you'd be damn lucky to get even 10k. If you run it like I do, always 80 degrees or below, cruising the road at no more than 55 mph or so it should easily see 50k with good maintenance.



The faster it runs, the faster it wears out. Don't run it at 8000+ all day long, mine feels best at 5000-6500, which is about 40-55 mph with 14/47 gearing.



The hotter it runs, the faster it wears out. High internal temps put more stress on the parts.



Keeping it at 35-55 mph for air-cooling is optimal.



Those are some good simple tips to remember if you want it to last as long as possible. Of course if you can afford to buy a new TW every year(used isn't too costly) screw what I said and have fun beating the hell out of it!
 

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I did mention use (ride hard or ride easy) as one of the factors of engine wear. It is my opinion that 50k without a top end rebuild is highly unlikely even with very easy use and perfect maintenance, although not necessarily impossible. Apparently Qwerty is almost there...? And I know there's a guy who has at least 70k by now, but has also done at least two rebuilds.
 
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