Here’s How Much It Costs To Maintain A Harley-Davidson


Summary

  • Regular maintenance is key to a well-running Harley-Davidson and can prevent costly repairs down the line.
  • Insurance costs for a Harley are relatively low compared to other motorcycles, with average rates at $24 a month.
  • Customization options for Harley-Davidsons are endless, but can be a pricey but enjoyable way to personalize your ride.



Owning a Harley-Davidson is a perfect example of the mantra – you get what you pay for. For many riders, a Harley is the bike of their dreams that they’ve fantasized about taking casual rides around town, along the back roads, on big cross-country road trips, and gigantic motorcycle social events like Sturgis and Daytona Bike Week. Even though particularly new Harley-Davidsons will certainly come with a higher price tag than some of their Japanese competitors, they are still a much more cost-effective mode of transportation when compared to many four-wheelers.

But much like any kind of vehicle, a Harley-Davidson comes with its own cost of ownership. After purchasing, you will also have to invest money in proper maintenance, upkeep, storage, upgrades, insurance, and riding gear. After all, the good things in life come with a cost. But ask anyone who rides a HOG, and they will tell you it is very much worth the investment. So let’s take a deeper dive into the financial commitment of owning a Harley, and where your money will be going.


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Regular Maintenance

The best way to understand proper maintenance of your Harley-Davidson is as long as you take care of it, it will take care of you. This means the longer you keep up with regular services with a certified Harley-Davidson technician, the less you will find yourself paying in the long run. Because if you decide to neglect keeping your bike serviced (assuming it is unnecessary), don’t be surprised when those repair bills give you a miniature heart attack. Not to mention, ignoring your Harley’s regular maintenance will open the door to bigger mechanical and technical problems in the future.


If you want your motorcycle running at its best, that means following Harley’s maintenance intervals. For new motorcycles, they start at 500 miles, which is known as the break-in period. After that is the 1,000-mile service, and then in 5,000-mile intervals. These services will involve technicians replacing the oil, changing out the oil filter, checking for fluid leaks, inspecting the transmission fluid, inspecting the brake pads and discs, checking tire pressure and treads, and making sure the bike has proper throttle operation. Checking of all electrical functions, the air filter, and a road test is also part of the process. Depending on the model class, these services can range from $250 to $450.

Harley Davidson Ultra Limited
Anthony Capobianco


Official maintenance costs will vary depending on your location and choice of establishment to perform your Harley-Davidson’s repair services. These figures also do not reflect the cost of labor.

However, once the Harley reaches its 10,000-mile point, this is when maintenance costs will start to increase upwards of $600. Any motorcycle that reaches this milestone has certainly spent ample time on the road, meaning that additional services will need to be made in order to extend your bike’s longevity. The 10,000-mile service will include new spark plugs, likely replacing at least one of the tires, lubricating the steering head bearings, fastening any loose bolts, and replacing any cracked bits. The same can be said for the 20,000-mile service, which is very much the same as the 10,000-mile service, but will include changing the front fork oil to improve suspension effectiveness.


Standard Service Pricing Menu

Year and Model

Service

Estimated Price

2016 and Earlier V-Rod

1,000 and 5,000-mile Service

$291.66 (20W50) | $323.52 (SYN3)

2017 and Newer Sportster

1,000, 5,000, 10,000-mile Service

$286.45 (20W50) | $311.97 (SYN3)

2017 and Newer Softail

1,000, 5,000, 10,000-mile Service

$300.59 | $332.48 (SYN3)

2017 and Newer Touring

1,000, 5,000, 10,000-mile Service

$322.93 (20W50) | $367.57 (SYN3)

Dyna

1,000, 5,000, 10,000-mile Service

$300.62 | $332.51 (SYN3)

2017 and Newer Street

1,000, 5,000, 10,000-mile Service

$266.98 (20W50) | $286.11 (SYN3)

2016 and Earlier Touring

1,000, 5,000, 10,000-mile Service

$346.90 (SYN3) | $308.63 (20W50)

Insurance

2023 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114
Harley-Davidson


Overall, the cost to insure a motorcycle is much more affordable than a standard vehicle. Of course, the price you pay to insure your Harley-Davidson will depend on a multitude of variables. That will include the state you currently reside in if you have a valid motorcycle endorsement, how much riding experience you have, the type of motorcycle you own, your credit rating, and any recent traffic violations or accidents. Plus, factors like involvement in law enforcement, your marital status, and if you’ve taken a motorcycle safety riding course are also decisive.

One big plus to owning a Harley-Davidson is that they have some of the lowest rates on the market with a healthy selection of coverage options available. According to reports, the average monthly rate for motorcycle insurance on a Harley is $24 a month, which is 29% less than the national average. It should also be noted the large touring models will come with a higher price point than the smaller Sportster models. For example, insuring a 2020 Iron 883 is estimated to cost between $20 and $50 a month. But the cost to insure a 2020 Road King Special is estimated to be between $90 and $140 a month. Might seem steep, but insurance is one of those things where you are better off having it and not needing it rather than having to need it and not having it.


Storage

2021 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special Snake Venom
Image taken by author

Keeping your Harley-Davidson safe in storage is a big factor in maintaining your bike during the off-season. When winter rolls in, nearly every motorcycle is on hiatus until the snow melts and temperatures warm up. While homeowners with a garage or shed keep their bikes stored away, those that rent may have to either get permission from a family member or friend, or pay their local Harley dealer a winter storage fee.


This will usually involve dropping your motorcycle off at a storage facility where your bike’s battery will be kept plugged into a charger for those chilly winter months until spring rolls back again. Although the cost for this service will vary depending on the specific dealership, customers can generally expect to pay in the neighborhood of $200 to $300. Also, the riding season varies on where in the country you are located, so some states will have longer riding seasons than others. Those who live in warmer states like Tennessee, Georgia, or Alabama may have more time in the year to take their motorcycles out than those in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Repairs and Customization

toxic teal custom harley-davidson road king at SEMA
Imaged by Anthony Capobianco


If you stem off regular scheduled maintenance, your Harley will need some repairs done at some point, depending on your riding habits. Some customers can expect their bills to range from a few hundred dollars to the thousands. But if you’re regularly out doing burnouts, then you need to pay up for some new tires. If you brake more with the front brake than the rear, then you will need new front pads more often. Or, heaven forbid, if you go down and scratch up your bodywork, you will find yourself paying for a new set as soon as your local dealer can get them ordered. A Harley-Davidson is already a big financial commitment. Careless and reckless riding will only put yourself, your motorcycle, and your bank account at a higher risk.

However, there is also the more fun part of owning a Harley-Davidson: the customization. The market for OEM and aftermarket parts for Harley-Davidsons is so massive that nearly no two motorcycles ever look the same. This means owners have the opportunity to transform their rides into something that reflects their own personal style. Whether it’s a high set of ape hanger handlebars, a more comfortable seat, a loud set of pipes, or a crate engine to boost performance, it all depends on your preferences.


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This is the area of Harley-Davidson ownership where riders can really embark on a shopping spree to trick out their bikes. Depending on how a Harley owner wants to customize their ride (and the cost of parts and labor), one could easily spend thousands of dollars making their H-D unique. In rare cases, the price to personalize a motorcycle can also cost more than the actual listing price of the motorcycle itself. As we said before, it’s all down to what you have in mind.



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