Is Motorcycle Ownership for You?
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Economy (You are here)
- Part 3: Safety
- Part 4: Lifestyle
- Part 5: Concluding Thoughts
Photo courtesy of: www.imageafter.com
"My first car was a motorcycle" -Adam Corrola
Motorcycles can make a whole lot of sense economically, if that's what you're aiming for. Many riders don't do it for the economy however. For example, sportbikes often consume tires every few thousand miles, and chains not long after. They have transmissions that start falling out of gear around 35,000 miles and engines that prefer frequent fluid changes. A new bike can cost an easy $10,000 and you'll still probably want a second vehicle for bad weather and if you have any familial obligations.
With that said, there is a large market for used bikes under $2500, most of which will not suffer from the same ailments listed above. Bikes with less power will keep everything alive longer: chains, tires, sprockets, transmissions and the engines themselves. Higher power usually means tighter tolerances and more maintenance. Find satisfaction in something mild, and you'll find both your initial investment as well as subsequent maintenance bills are all going to be lower. Harleys and GSX-Rs together seem to account for about 80% of prospective biker's daydreams, but also both happen to be at the top of the class for maintenance costs.
On that note, learning to work on the bike yourself will do wonders to keep your checkbook in line and economy on your side. Anyone can do it with some patience, but if you're one of those "mechanics are above me" types then you're going to lose out here, and will be opening up your checkbook often, probably scratching your head at the seemingly extortionate costs of motorcycle maintenance.
If you aren't willing to make the concession for a less racey bike, then you must be willing to spend the cash to keep it on the road, and often these bills will tip any scales of economy you think a bike might offer. Motorcycle ownership is a rewarding commitment, but a commitment nonetheless. If you're interested in a motorcycle, go online and read what others spend on maintenance for the particular bike, or style of bike, that you would like. I have always had excellent luck with Honda motorcycles, and not so great luck with Kawasaki, but I'm sure many have had an opposite experience.
One additional note: Time is Money. Bikes will often shave time off your commute if your typical route includes traffic. Vague ground among most, is whether or not lane splitting is legal on California highways. It is, and most bikers eventually get into the habit. If you're headed down a crowded freeway everyday, you can find your commute time being halved simply because traffic will become an increasingly smaller inconvenience as your comfort on the bike increases.