How long do motorcycle wheel bearings last?

Have you been riding your motorcycle for some time and never really considered your wheel bearings? You are not alone. The wheel bearing is one of the most overlooked components on a motorcycle.

 It depends on how often you use your motorcycle and what type of rider you are. The faster you ride, the quicker you’ll need to change your wheel bearings compared to someone who rides slowly. However, wheel bearings should be changed at around 20,000 miles or every 3 to 5 years regardless of use.

How many miles do motorcycle wheel bearings last?

Wheel bearings last about 20,000 miles, depending on how you treat your motorcycle.

The truth is wheel bearings are a small item that goes overlooked and often or not is never thought about. However, this small, seemingly inconsequential item can cause a lot of damage if not replaced and inspected frequently.

High-quality bearings can last much longer if the bearing is checked for play occasionally and adjusted if needed. However, even if you are not experiencing any problems with your wheel bearings, everything is OK is not always a sign.

If you regularly pay attention to your wheel bearings and grease and tighten them if needed, your wheel bearings can last for many years without any problems, but maintenance is the key.

Wheel bearings deteriorate for various reasons other than wear and tear and age. A poorly fitted wheel bearing and incorrect adjustment will cause the wheel bearing to deteriorate prematurely.

Collisions cause wheel bearings to go bad and should be checked if you have a collision.

How do I know if my motorcycle wheel bearings are bad?

You may notice excessive wear on one side of your tyre, or you can experience strange clicking noises and a rumble being transmitted through the handlebars.

The symptoms are subtle when a wheel bearing breaks down and get progressively worse.

At first, it’s normal to have a whirring sound that is not normal for your motorcycle; this will then progress to vibration at first. The vibration is very low, progressing to become noticeable through the handlebar. A clear sign the bearings are disintegrating. 

If you experience sloppy steering, you need to replace the wheel bearing immediately. Sloppy steering indicates the bearing surfaces have deteriorated to a large extent and are now becoming critically dangerous for the rider.

How much does it cost to replace motorcycle wheel bearings?

If you can do your wheel bearing replacement, wheel bearings are surprisingly well priced, even for a decent bearing like SKF.

However, if you need a mechanic, the prices will be based on labour rates, which can be high depending on the workshop you use.

The primary dealer will be charging more than 100 pounds per hour for a mechanic so, you may not see much change out of 300 pounds to change a single wheel bearing.