By Sergio Laurente
Recently, one of my non-motorcycle riding friends asked me about the purchase cost for my Harley Davidson. He guessed that it was in the $20k range and was surprised to hear I paid less than half that. After the conversation, I realized that some folks have a preconceived notion that getting on two wheels is automatically paired with high costs of ownership. Some believe insurance premiums to be astronomical or that to enjoy the ride they have to invest in all the fancy gear or performance add-ons. Even current or recent riders may put their financed motocycle up for sale, with the intention of ‘saving money’ for whatever other financial things that may have come up in their lives.
Yet in reality, a solid, dependable, and FUN motorcycle can be had for much less than a Panigale. A quick peruse through Craigslist can give anyone plenty of viable choices for $1k-2k. Whether it’s a Yamaha FZR only needing a carb cleaning, a nearly perfect Suzuki GZ, or Kawasaki Ninja 250 with a minor fairing crack, there are plenty of options available to get (or keep) you on the saddle.
Case in point, I purchased the very used Kawasaki ZX7 pictured for just over $1k. The fairings were missing and it had seen better days. With some minor repairs totaling less than a few hundred dollars more, I had a solid and DMV-legal runner with inexpensive insurance and low maintenance costs. I took it up and down the Angeles Crest highway dozens of times, each run as fun as the last. It was definitely not the prettiest bike and it did not at all resemble what it once was from the dealership floor — but it never failed me, during or in between rides. I did eventually sell it, as I am one of those types to cycle through different vehicles for the experience, but that ZX7 had plenty of worry-free miles ahead of it.
My point is this: If someone is interested in becoming a rider, or someone is thinking about getting out due to their pockets being emptied, let them know that so much is out there and readily available without the need to obtain a credit line. Cost should not be the sole deterrent from the enjoyment of owning and piloting a motorcycle. If anything, you can be a bit selfish and tell them you would really enjoy a riding buddy.