Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Does Commuting by Motorcycle Save Money?

Is it cheaper to ride your motorcycle to work? Ken from Spot Motorcycles isn't so sure.  Check out his post on the topic and the cost calculator he's devised.  I never really thought the lower fuel cost when commuting by motorcycle necessarily offset the cost of frequent tire replacements and gear (particularly for a year-round rider), but I do know "sport-commuting" is a heckuva lot more fun that taking the four-wheeler.  More difficult to drink coffee during the commute, but more fun for sure.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's definitely not. Take into account the tyres, the servicing (4k service intervals are a joke), petrol (fuel economy isn't that great for most bikes), the gear you need etc etc. It's actually quite expensive.

Still, I commute by bike as it's quicker and more fun, plus I have more control over my destiny.

September 10, 2009 at 9:47:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other commenter is correct. Motorcycling is damned expensive. Tires (rear, especially) approach $200 for mid-range performance and must be changed at the maximum of every 10k miles. And while you may be accustomed to seeing idiots in your town riding without real helmets and in their tee-shirts, you need to spend money on gear lest you ever go down. You would need two jackets (a perforated one for warmer weather and a thicker weight for winters). Two sets of gloves (again, warmer and colder). And a pair of boots. The boots don't necessarily need to be moto-specific, but they should be. All told (with helmet, durr), you're looking at about a grand on decent gear. And don't balk at that...the gear will save your life and it also makes riding a far more comfortable and confident experience. DO NOT RIDE WITHOUT GEAR. The rest of us will shake our heads, laugh, or you and call you a "squid."

Then there is maintenance. Bikes aren't like cars. They are reliable but require a more fussy approach to preventive care. This includes lubing chains at every 300k or so (doesn't cost anything but time) and the frequent (3000k) changing of oil with a REAL oil...not that crap you put in your car or are sold at the Jiffy Lube. Many if not most bikes share lubricant between the engine and transmission, so a bike-specific oil is in order. Oil changes are about $50 if you do them yourself (easier than it sounds), and much more at the dealer should you not own a single wrench.
Finally, you must religiously check tire pressure. On your car, it's just a matter of fuel economy and tread life. On a bike it's a real safety issue. A bike with improperly inflated tires will handle like crap and drastically shorten the already short tire lifespan. Like chain lubes, this doesn't actually cost anything but should be done very frequently...ideally before each ride but at the minimum of once per week.

Almost all modern bikes are reliable, but when something does go wrong, it's usually not cheap. Unlike cars, motorcycling is considered a luxury and is priced accordingly. Again, for the price of one decent motorcycle tire you could go to some auto store and get four tires on your car. The same is often true of other parts.

Now, all of that being said, why would anyone want to ride? Ans: It's fuggin' awesome. I have about 100k cumulative miles on bikes and unless it was raining I was grinning like a bastard the entire time. Who really enjoys driving an Accord or Camry?

No one.

November 13, 2009 at 12:27:00 AM EST  

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