Motorcycle transmissions are part of what makes riding so satisfying. Shifting through the gears effortlessly and hearing your engine rpms rise is part of what makes motorcycling great.
Unfortunately not all transmissions will last the lifetime of your motorcycle. So how much should a motorcycle transmission rebuild cost? Well the answer is going to depend what type of bike you own. Certain bikes like Kawasaki ZX6Rs, a high performance middle weight sport bike, will cost more to have a transmission rebuilt than a dirt bike.
Dirt bikes racing in motor cross are ran hard and their engines and transmissions are designed to be rebuilt. In fact a transmission might only last one season of racing between being rebuilt.
A street legal sport bike’s transmission is designed to last longer than a purpose built racing bike.
How Long Do Motorcycle Transmissions Last?
With proper maintenance a cruiser, touring, and sport bike transmission should last the life of the motorcycle. In fact its not uncommon for motorcycles with 100k miles to still have the original transmission.
Dirt bikes have a shorter life time than road bikes due to their higher level of abuse that they take. The average dirt bike lasts around 600 hrs or somewhere around 12,000 miles. The transmission should last this long.
Racing whether track or on the dirt will reduce your transmission’s life. This is because racing spins the gears faster and gets the transmission fluid hotter. It won’t ruin your motorcycle, but higher speeds and torques will reduce transmission life.
The best way to keep your motorcycle’s transmission running well is to change the fluid at the appropriate intervals.
Despite proper maintenance a transmission can fail. This can be caused by a manufacturer defect, such as a fatigue failure in a gear, or other issues. When parts break inside the transmission it is time for a rebuild.
How To Tell If Your Transmission Needs To Be Rebuilt?
So how do you know when your transmission is the problem with your motorcycle? Well there are several key signs to look for that will determine if its the issue.
- Lack of response: The transmission refuses to shift gear
- Leaking transmission fluid
- Grinding sound or shaking when transmission is operating
- Burning smell coming from transmission
- Won’t shift into gear
- Loud operation in neutral
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be worth looking into refreshing the transmission. So how much should rebuilding the transmission cost?
How Much Does A Transmission Rebuild Cost on A Sport Bike?
Based on several rider’s repair builds, a middle weight sport bike like the Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R will cost around $1500-$1800 dollars to be rebuilt. If the issue needs to be diagnosed (they don’t know its the transmission yet), the cost could increase to $2000.
It also depends on the brand of motorcycle you own. A Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, or Suzuki will be much cheaper to rebuild than a Ducati. In fact one owner was quoted $3500 for a transmission rebuild on a 2014 Hypermotard (supermoto styled motorcycle), and only $400 was for parts.
As you can see there can see there can be quite a bit of differences between rebuild costs. The factors include: brand, motorcycle style, and shop labor rates.
Since most of the cost is due to labor, be sure to get several quotes from different shots. You don’t want to get ripped off, but you also want to have the work done by a reputable shop. Thankfully internet reviews can be very helpful in determine how shops treat their customers.
How Much Does A Harley Transmission Rebuild Cost
Harley’s have much more reasonable repair prices, especially at independent shops. A Harley dealership will charge around $1800-2000 for a transmission rebuild, while an independent shop could be as low as $700 and up to $2000.
Adventure Motorcycle Transmission Rebuild Cost
Adventure motorcycles see a lot of abuse off-roading and touring. One of the more popular adventure motorcycles is the BMW GS1200.
If you need the intermediate shaft replaced in the transmission, BMW only sells the intermediate shaft with all of the gears for $1100-1500 depending on the model. This can drive the total cost of a transmission rebuild north of $2000.
Is It Cheaper To Replace The Transmission
Some times it might make sense to just replace the transmission. Used transmissions for many motorcycle models are normally between $400-800. A brand new motorcycle transmission might cost $1000-2000.
Depending on if you do the labor yourself, it might be cheaper to buy a used transmission and replace it. However if you plan to higher it out, replacing the transmission is still labor intensive and likely will cost more than rebuilding the transmission.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out our other post on how much a valve adjustment costs here.