Originally posted by MagoSA
I suspect that the price of used motorcycles is about to go up, as people will start snatching them up. You can't beat 45 miles/gallon and have as
much fun on one. Plus a good motorcycle holds about as much as a Prius does... LOL
As a biker of both choice and economy I agree about commuting to an extent but not whole heartedly. There are a number of factors to take into account
with motorcycles that mean just comparing fuel economy is slightly false.
For me, personally, it works. I use my bike for my 130 mile a day commute. Bike does about 48mpg on a steady motorway run @ 80 mph. My car in the same
situation does about 34mpg. Ace! But what about other costs?
Big one first: Tyres! I live in the UK. It rains. A lot! No way can I put crap boots on her. So how much does a set of half decent tyres cost? £200 a
set. £120 rear, £80 front roughly. A rear will be crap after about 6,000 miles and a front after roughly 10,000 miles. My fiance's car just had its
third ever set of tyres fitted at £250. Car has done 115,000 miles. Roughly 10 times cheaper than the bike.
Servicing. Bikes need much more regular servicing than cars. My next door neighbour went 45,000 miles between services on her car. It still runs fine.
My bike starts feeling like a dog after 8,000 miles between services. Service items are generally more expensive for bikes. Did a service on the car
last week, £14 for 5 litres of cheap oil which the car will run happily with, £4 for an oil filter and £9 for an air filter (£27 all in, good for
16,000 miles). Oil and filter change on the bike today cost £21 for 3 litres of motorcycle grade oil, £7 for fuel filter, £14 for air filter (£42
and will need more spending within 8,000 miles).
Clothing: I'm lucky, I have somewhere to put my gear when I get there and don't have to wear a smart suit. Couldn't keep a suit unrumpled under my
bike gear. Then there is the cost of the stuff. A decent textile two-piece suit will run about £300 and last about 2 years of hard use. Helmets need
replacing every 2-3 years (providing no crashes) and cost between £120 and £300. Boots last about 18 months and cost roughly £80 to £100. Gloves
about a year and between £40 to £60. So approximately £300 a year outlay on clothes.
Licensing: I believe this isn't as much of an issue in the US. From what I can gather you can pretty much decide you want a bike and that's it. Over
here, if you want to ride even a boring 500cc commuter machine you are looking at an average of about £600 worth of training and test fees to get a
full motorcycle licence. A massive initial outlay for someone who just wants to commute.
Freezing your knackers off twice a day
Detours: Bikes are fun. They are meant for twisty back roads, not perfectly straight motorways. About once a week I get the urge to go the fun way
home... which is twice as long thus negating fuel savings.
Danger: Bikes are 10 times more likely to be in an accident. For a new biker this is even higher.
Fuel Economy: Unless you drive a very frugal car, or a very thirsty bike, this will probably be better. With petrol prices constantly rising this will
only ever become a bigger factor.
Commute Time: One of the main reasons I use the bike. Takes me an hour on the bike thanks to filtering through all the traffic jams. Two hours in the
Parking Costs: I would have to pay for city centre parking for the car. Last time I looked this was about £8 to £10 a day. Bikes park for free.
Bikes aren't the be all and end all for cheap commuting. It's great for me because I have been a biker from the age of 17. I would never not have a
bike so will always have the outlay on things like clothing whether I use it to go to work or not.