Author Topic: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?  (Read 8798 times)

vanillathunder12

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Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« on: September 12, 2014, 11:33:22 AM »
I've run the numbers and right now I think I would save ~$300/month if I were to sell my car and get a motorcycle. I need a form of transportation as I have somewhat irregular work hours and don't feel safe using a bicycle (~4 miles away from work on busy roads, lack of biking lanes, and not the best of neighborhoods).  Public transport is also not available at 4am (when I need it).

A little background:

Live in LA, so very little rain and constantly good riding conditions

Getting quotes for motorcycle insurance at ~$150/year versus $1,250 for current car insurance

Save ~25-$30/month on gas

Save $180/month on parking

The money I could get for my car would cover license and training costs, gear, first motorcycle, and still have ~$2,500 leftover (not in a liquidity crisis, but could invest the money).
I've read up on the risks of motorcycles and would be wearing all my gear all the time, getting lessons and then my license. Grocery store is in walking distance and outside of moving every year or every other year I never need to transport anything in my car besides myself.

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Spec7re

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 12:08:36 PM »
Motorcycles have higher maintenance and shorter lifespan than cars.  Make sure you account for this.  Also, make sure you account for the hassle and chance of death using a motorcycle as a primary form of transportation.

I own a 2009 SV650 with 10,000 miles on it.  I estimate it to be worth $4000ish.  My insurance is $80/year and it gets around 50 mpg.

My car cost spreadsheet shows it costing about $0.20/mile assuming 10000 miles/yr and depreciating it to near 0 around the time it hits 80,000 miles.  You can probably find some low end used cars that will be around $0.20/mi.

Maintenance will be at least $500 a year for tires and two oil changes.

180/mo saved on parking could push this in the motorcycles favor.  If your yearly mileage is really low, that will also help make the case for the motorcycle.

eil

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2014, 01:02:00 PM »
This question comes up quite a lot, I would do a search of the forum threads for more opinions. My answer is: it depends on your situation, skills, and abilities.

On TCO: Spec7re is right that motorcycles (usually) have a shorter lifespan than cars, but this is not always the case. Many motorcycle engines are all clapped out after 30k miles, but others can last as long as a car engine, or longer. Look for bikes in the touring and sport touring categories, these will often go practically forever as long as maintenance is kept up. But these are going to be bigger, heavier bikes too, which may not make them suitable for beginner riders and urban traffic.

Since motorcycles are necessarily much simpler machines than cars, almost all maintenance and repairs are within the ability of an average mechanic. Being your own mechanic is a necessity if saving money is your goal because $500 for two tires and an oil change at a stealership is ludicrous. There is loads of free leaning and community support on the Internet. You need at least a couple hundred dollars in tools and a clean place to work. If you don't have a garage, make friends with someone that does. I see people rent storage units as makeshift motorcycle garages. This works in a pinch but is too spendy for the long term.

On safety: The statistics say that motorcycles are far less safe than cars. Can't argue with science. However, take into consideration the kinds of riders you see most often on the roads. Most are either pirates on cruisers or ninjas on sport bikes. They're into motorcycles either for the image or the thrill of speed. Or both. Safety is way down on the list of priorities. Maybe one out of every 10 other riders I see is rocking ATGATT and riding sensibly.

Maybe it's a false sense of security, but I feel very safe when I commute to work on my motorcycle. Compared to driving my car, I have fewer blind spots. I'm only blind to my immediate left and right and it's very hard for a car to get there without me noticing. I still check before changing lanes, though. I sit higher than most cars, and I can shift my point of view to either the extreme left or right of the lane very easily, so I can see further ahead. Because the bike is smaller, there is usually more space between me and other traffic, so there is more time to react to a malicious or inattentive driver. As well, the bike accelerates and decelerates quicker than a car and is much narrower, making for many more escape routes than a car has should things go sideways.

On practicality: If you're going to ditch your car completely, you need a bike that is practical. These are few and far between in the U.S., unfortunately. You'll probably end up with a standard bike and adding cargo capacity to it (in the form of panniers, top-case, tank bag, etc) or getting a touring bike with those things already installed. The NC-700X is a very popular all-around commuter and utility bike but it's fairly new so might be rather expensive, even if used. Don't discount scooters as well, the biggers ones have all of the power and fun of a motorcycle and also usually carry quite a bit of cargo.

I have a particular fondness for the vintage Suzuki GS line of motorcycles. They are plentiful on craigslist, cheap (under $1000 for a runner, especially this time of year), easy to work on, very reliable, and have a great on-line community. I own a 1980 GS850GL and a 1981 GS750E, but I'm selling the E next spring because I like the GL just fine and don't need two motorcycles.

If I were in your shoes, I would learn how to ride, get an entry-level bike, and ride it for a year before settling on getting rid of the car.

There is a lot more that I can ramble on about, but this post has already reached wall-of-text status a long time ago, so I'll just end it right about... here.

mdub

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2014, 02:08:24 PM »
I highly recommend taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course to learn how to ride a motorcycle.  Sure you can figure out how to ride a motorcycle, but they will teach you how to downshift and stop properly, how to monitor traffic, what to do with road debris, cut a figure 8, short turns while keeping balanced, etc.  All valuable lessons to learn that you might not even think of learning until it's too late.

ATGATT, ATGATT, ATGATT, ATGATT, memorize that and always practice it.  ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME!!!

I'd like to drop the Honda XR650L in the mix if you like to do any type of camping, it is a street legal dirt bike (I own one, 43mpg).  They have not changed the styling, engine etc in 20 some odd years so you can get parts on ebay no problem.  Also you can learn to do all of your maintenance by reading the thread about them over at http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114834.  You could also throw the KLR650 or it's little brother the Kawasaki super Sherpa(250cc) in the mix if you are only going 4miles to work.  I would not recommend a 250cc on the highway though if you are looking at long trips.

With my suggestions above there are height requirements of approx 6ft, unless you add in a lowering link otherwise you won't be able to get both of your feet flat on the ground.  With a 650, you can do highway with out feeling like you've maxing out the engine, and if you wanted to tour the state not problem.  Go camping down fire roads, no problem etc.

And if you buy a used one, it doesn't hurt to bad if you accidentally drop it....

No matter what, Motorcycle Safety Foundation course (and it should yield a reduction in motorcycle insurance)
ATGATT, no tank tops and flip flops, or brain buckets.  Get a DOT/SNELL approved helmet, wear gloves, wear a jacket with armor and boots.

Best of luck to ya in your decision.

BlueMR2

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2014, 04:04:26 PM »
Motorcycles have higher maintenance and shorter lifespan than cars.  Make sure you account for this.  Also, make sure you account for the hassle and chance of death using a motorcycle as a primary form of transportation.

My car cost spreadsheet shows it costing about $0.20/mile assuming 10000 miles/yr and depreciating it to near 0 around the time it hits 80,000 miles.  You can probably find some low end used cars that will be around $0.20/mi.

Maintenance will be at least $500 a year for tires and two oil changes.

"It depends" as always depending on your cars, bikes, location, and mechanical skills.  My case is on the extreme side where it would work.  Also, some bikes are known for being totally worn out by 30k miles, others by 60k, and yet others go over 100k no problem.  I happen to have one where people are passing 100k with basically the same types of needs that any car of the same era would have.

I lost track of the thread where I mentioned my costs and they were questioned (or I would have updated there days ago...), but in my case my calculated cost per mile is around $0.50 for my normal daily driver and $0.60 for my all wheel drive car (gas mileage is worse on this one, but parts are cheaper).  I came up with $0.25 for my bike.  So, the bike is, on average compared to the cheap car, $0.25 cheaper per mile on the variable cost side.  Some of the details that I can remember: the cars and the bike only need 1 oil change a year (full synthetic, and I don't go a lot of miles) they all use 4 quarts of comparable priced oil with a comparable filter.  Tires only last half as long for the bike, but they cost half as much a piece and there are half as many (so 1/4 as much per mile).  Repair parts for the bike are way cheaper than for the cars, seem to be just as durable so far, and there are less parts to break.  Labor costs on the bike are also much cheaper as I can do a much larger percentage of work myself in my garage (without needing a lift).

On the fixed cost side, both of my cars end up being the same for insurance, $350 a year.  The bike is $180 a year.  Bike saves $170 over one car.  Car registration is $50 a piece, bike $25.  Continues that common thread that bike is about half a car.  I wonder, are 18 wheelers 4.5x as expensive as a car?  :-)

Even keeping the cars, the fixed overhead to overcome with owning the bike (and considering oil as time limited rather than mileage) is around $250 a year (rounding for easy math as I'm doing this back of the envelope now since my spreadsheet was lost in my computer crash).  If I save $0.25 a mile (presuming I'd only be driving my cheapest car), I can break even at around 1000 miles of car travel moved to motorcycle (I remember it being 600-800 on my spreadsheet, but that had real numbers, these are all estimates from what I remember).  If I dumped one or both cars, well, it just gets better.

Could I get a $0.20/mile car?  I dunno, it doesn't seem very likely to me, but I have an open mind about it.  Low cost of ownership will be a huge factor should I happen to find myself in the place of needing a replacement beater for bad weather...  Right now I'm in a decent place with my 2 fun cars that I try not to drive too awful much.  :-)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 04:12:05 PM by BlueMR2 »

The_Dude

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2014, 06:00:55 PM »
If you live only 4 miles from work and that is your primary reason for owning a vehicle you might also consider a scooter as they can be even cheaper to own and operate plus they usually come standard with more storage (not a lot) than a motorcycle and protect your legs from wind chill.

I also ride in SoCal though I ride a non mustachian Harley.  I have 61K trouble free miles and I've only changed the oil up until 60k at which point I did about $100 of preventative maintenance.

Riding in SoCal I will highlight three things.

1) For those who don't ride a motorcycle regularly don't underestimate how cold wind chill will make you.  I ride my bike year round and in the middle of the night at 60+ mph you can still get damn cold.  Plan on different or adaptable gear winter versus summer.

2) Free parking!!  Up until a few years ago I was saving $8-10 a day in parking and that single fact paid for my motorcycle operation costs.  The 45mpg was just gravy on top.  Many places in LA let you part for free on a bike.

3) In California lane splitting is legal.  Not maybe safe but when I'm riding in the carpool lane legally and am stuck behind some bozo matching the speed of the regular traffic with nobody in front of them I'm thankful lane splitting is legal.


vanillathunder12

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2014, 06:09:47 PM »
Thanks for all the advice!  Very useful for someone who has very little knowledge of the subject.  Right now I am preemptively looking at used 250cc standard bikes in the area (can't bring myself to have a scooter as my only form of transportation as a full-grown man, and am willing to pay slightly more for it), and then if it works out I might upgrade size several months to a year later.  Definitely going to be ATGATT with a full face SNELL helmet, and will take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course before getting my license (no point in saving up for retirement if I am just to to wreck myself three months into owning a motorcycle).

I don't really drive much - maybe 4,000 miles a year at the upper end.  My dad's had the same 1974 BWM since 1985 and it still works for him (although he doesn't put many miles on it, and is a professional car mechanic).  I am sure the internet can teach me how to perform basic oil & tire changes as well.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 06:23:11 PM by vanillathunder12 »

CarDude

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2014, 06:28:13 PM »
I wouldn't recommend a motorcycle from a safety perspective. I'd get a car instead.

astvilla

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2014, 08:50:52 PM »
This question comes up quite a lot, I would do a search of the forum threads for more opinions. My answer is: it depends on your situation, skills, and abilities.

On safety: The statistics say that motorcycles are far less safe than cars. Can't argue with science. However, take into consideration the kinds of riders you see most often on the roads. Most are either pirates on cruisers or ninjas on sport bikes. They're into motorcycles either for the image or the thrill of speed. Or both. Safety is way down on the list of priorities. Maybe one out of every 10 other riders I see is rocking ATGATT and riding sensibly.


I always wondered about that and that's what I was thinking too. I see motorcyclists just pass by me instead of following the rules of the road. I do know a cyclist that got a leg injury and I do worry the safety too. Me personally, the savings isn't worth my life IMO. If everyone rode a motorcycle or moped like in some Asia cities, I'd do it in a heartbeat but too many vehicles in general. If you're a careful cyclist, it might be okay but something going wrong with the bike is much worse than something wrong with a car.

foobar

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2014, 09:46:45 PM »

On safety: The statistics say that motorcycles are far less safe than cars. Can't argue with science. However, take into consideration the kinds of riders you see most often on the roads. Most are either pirates on cruisers or ninjas on sport bikes. They're into motorcycles either for the image or the thrill of speed. Or both. Safety is way down on the list of priorities. Maybe one out of every 10 other riders I see is rocking ATGATT and riding sensibly.


Sure. That means that instead of my chances of dying being 30x that of being in a car, it might only be 5x. :) Probably not much worse than riding a pedal bike instead of a car. Except of course you cover a lot more miles.

I wouldn't do this for money. I would do it because I like riding a bike instead of being in car.

TheFrugalFox

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2014, 11:46:19 PM »
Someone mention a KLR650 earlier. Having had one for a while, you ether love em or hate em. Having had one, I hated it -  lot's of issues. Sure, the problems are well documented and most are relatively easy to fix but why not just get and XR or XT and be done with it. I sold the KLR and now have a 1995 Honda Shadow 1100 - what a nice bike, especially for 2 up sunday cruising. But for you, if you want a smallish but fun bike for your small commute and still have fun on the weekends, I would consider a DRZ400.

CerebralPrimate

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2014, 01:10:39 AM »
Someone beat me to the DRZ recommendation, I see.

When I'm not working in the M-E I live in SE Asia (Thailand). The vast majority of the population gets around via scooter or motorcycle. It's SO economical... which is a necessity when people tend earn just $400-$500/mo. Nothing like buying fuel with an eye-dropper.

OK, so that's an exaggeration, but I can basically fill my 125CC Honda for about $6.50... and that fuel will last me about a week!

On my once year trip to the states to go visit my folks in Florida (they got old and it's the law) I cringe when I use their vehicle to visit old friends and top off the tank as a courtesy. They have a Honda CRV and if it's empty-ish it's $50+... ouch!  When I think of the costs to own and drive a car full time, it feels like a kick in the gut (or lower)... so if I ever took a job back in the states, I'm not entirely sure how I'd handle that. I do know that owning and using a mid-sized motorcycle would be a definite part of the plan.

swestache

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2014, 05:45:08 AM »
DR-Z 400 daily commuter reporting in.

The stock tank is literally 10 liters, gets ya about 160 km. So not enough for a commuter really, I have to gas up about once a week or so which is still annoying.

But don't let that discourage you, it's a solid bike for a beginner and super reliable, just buy some oil to top it up from time to time. It's not very fast so you won't kill yourself when you inevitably start playing around in the beginning. I don't test the limits anymore but it did 145 km/h once and sounded like someone was strangling a jetfighter while doing so !

Otherwise great "little" agile bike to sneak through traffic jams, it's surprisingly enjoyable to slowly go around still standing cars, some on the left, some on the right. It's a bit like climbing, requires full concentration.

My heart is racing when I'm lane splitting though, that shit is obviously very very dangerous even at low speeds. It surprises drivers when you lane split and that's a very very bad thing.

As for safety, once you know what actual gear looks like, you'll start shaking your head constantly in disbelief. I just can't help but notice the scooter drivers with brain buckets and a MC-jacket riding in shorts or the squids in flipflops trying to race you. What is it about scooters that make people think they're so safe you don't need gear ?

Safety is two things:

1. ATGATT or go home.
2. Ride it like a heavy heavy truck when going > 40 km/h ( full actual 3 second gaps, plan all your shit looooong ahead, shoulder check twice)
3. Play little scenarios in your head where the cars do stupid shit. Assume they are literally out to kill you if you want to.

The DR-Z will sort of help you out cause it's heavy as fuck for a trail bike (120kg?), is pretty slow, has a good commanding driving position and is also very loud usually.

Moby32

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2014, 11:00:54 PM »
Hopefully, if you haven't purchased your bike yet, I can offer another idea.  I saw this post a while back but just got around to joining the forum.  Have you considered an electric car?  I went through this exact issue in January of this year, and this was my conclusion/thought process:

I moved to another state and commute to LA for work (anti-mustachian, I know).  I needed some transportation for the workweek, but wanted to make it as cheap as possible.  The motorcycle seemed like a great solution, so I bought a 2003 BMW F650cs for all the benefits you mentioned and I love the bike.  Free parking at work saved me $110/mo, fuel, insurance $100 vs $1000/yr, especially $$$ in LAX parking (motorcycles park for free at LAX).  However, I am a new rider as well and just don't feel safe on the 405 or side roads.  Like you, I only stay 4 miles from work during the week, but I kept finding reasons to keep getting in my car (which was supposed to be sold) like dry cleaners, grocery store, raining, late for work (at 5:30am the car is just as fast as the bike, without the prep).  Plus, driving to/from the west side and LAX every Monday morning and Friday afternoon was a bit dicey.

My solution was to sell the expensive car (bmw 3 series), ship the motorbike to my home state where I enjoy driving it, and lease a Fiat 500e for LA.  Electric cars get many of the benefits of motorcycles.  I park for free at work AND charge for free, no parking or fuel expense.  There are free charging stations all over the city.  Since I don't care much about the car, I actually rent it out to other travelers when I fly home using FlightCar so I still park for free at LAX and sometimes make money.  You get the HOV pass, and free access on the FastTrak lanes.  It is under warranty, so I have no maintenance cost.  Lastly, the state of CA gave me a $2,500 tax free rebate to lease the car.  All in, including down payment, monthly payment, rebate, fuel ($0), and insurance my total cost is $259.67/month BEFORE adding back in all the perks of parking.  Believe it or not, the car is actually pretty fun to drive too.

Sorry for the long post, hope this helps.

surfhb

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2014, 04:35:18 AM »
Dude!  It's LA!    Do you think doing this will be bring you several years closer to financial independence?   Well it won't.....

In fact you are increasing the likelihood you won't make it there anyway

Keep the car 15-20 years and stop this nonsensical train of thought :) 

GuitarStv

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2014, 07:08:29 AM »
My main concern would be safety.  On a motorcycle you are as protected as on a bicycle, but go a hell of a lot faster.  This might account for why you're more than twice as likely to be killled or seriously injured per km traveled . . . eight times as likely as a car driver.  I might be biased because my dad lost his leg in a motorcycle accident when I was a little kid, but would think long and hard about safety before committing to regular motorcycle travel of any distance.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2014, 07:01:28 PM »
Well I say get a motorcycle if you want and don't listen to safety-complainey-pants .. BUT.. I should point out that 4 miles in flat terrain is an easy and fun bike ride!

Spartana

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2014, 07:15:34 PM »
Safety Complainy=Pants here!! As SurfHB said - Dude it's LA! I have been riding in SoCal all my life and just sold my last bike and will never ride here again - at least not in the LA/OC metro area. The traffic, the crazy people, the angry people, the road-ragey people all make riding around here during commuting times very dangerous (and when is it NOT commuting time around here?). Stick with a bicycle for the short distances you have to go and pick up an older compact fuel efficient car to use whenever needed. Just my 2 cents from someone who has ridden MC's around these parts for a few decades. 

GizmoTX

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2014, 02:14:27 PM »
We recently attended the funeral of a guy whose small company painted our house and his wife. They were riding on a suburban Dallas street & someone pulled out of a driveway right in front of them. No chance for evasion. They were experienced & wearing all the gear but that doesn't help much when violently thrown.

There are safer ways to save money.

Spartana

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2014, 02:30:19 PM »
We recently attended the funeral of a guy whose small company painted our house and his wife. They were riding on a suburban Dallas street & someone pulled out of a driveway right in front of them. No chance for evasion. They were experienced & wearing all the gear but that doesn't help much when violently thrown.

There are safer ways to save money.
I posted this somewhere else but my brother died in a motorcycle accident. He was riding home at night on a dark fairly deserted highway (Hwy 101 near Eureka, Ca) and was hit by an owl. It caused him to fly off the MC and down a 100 foot cliff. If he had been driving even a tiny car that wouldn't have happened. I myself have had a few very close calls - once a rock thrown up by a car ahead of me hit me in the face (full face helmet thankfully) and knocked me backwards off my bike. Cracked my helmet and bruised my butt and back but otherwise no damage. But if I had been going just a bit faster...or there had been a big semi truck right behind me... well the outcome would have been different. Again, that wouldn't have happened if I was in a car - maybe my windshield would have cracked but the impact wouldn't have thrown me out of the vehicle like it did on my bike. Lots more horror stories but I do love riding and will do it again most likely once I'm out of the LA/OC metro area.

ETA: I use to ride in shorts, tank top and tennis shoes. Even on long cross country rides. Looking back now I realize what an idiot I was and just how lucky I was to never had to lay my bike down. Shudder just thinking about it.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 02:39:34 PM by Spartana »

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2014, 02:34:59 PM »
I loved my weekend crusies in the mountains, but hated riding my older Honda Shadow in heavy traffic, I was so paranoid someone was going to kill me that I was exhausted by the time I got where I was going.  Sold it before we had kids.  I still miss it on nice riding days, but looking back, the cost savings were probably not worth it.

Ftao93

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2014, 02:38:18 PM »
I ditched my car in favor of a few scooters and a motorcycle.

We have a variety of weather in CO so it's not a 100% solution, but it gets us by just fine most of the time, and car shares fill in the rest.

The initial buy in for a good  bike and gear can rival a good used car, but then again you only buy quality once.  Insurance also covers your gear in case of an accident or theft if you do it right.

Oil changes and simple stuff are easy enough, and I'm slowly building up tools to do some things here and there.

Safety is still scary at times, and it seems every year several people that are somewhat related to my social circle are injured in scooter or MC accidents either through their own asshattery or someone running a light, etc.  That being said, those people usually heal up and just get right back on.  Kind of addictive I guess!

Really that's an argument only you can make for yourself.  We personally love to ride even though people are ridiculous at times.  Take a course and see if it's something you like.  It will only make you a better driver if you choose not to take the plunge.

I bought one of hte honda CTX700's new (oops) but it gets 70mpg with me and gear on it.  I expect that it should last tons of miles.

big_owl

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2014, 03:35:15 PM »
Sure it can be cheaper if you get the right bike and use it to *replace* your normal car commuting, and don't find yourself going out on a bunch of Sunday joy rides that you wouldn't normally go on... something which is a distinct possibility once you realize how awesome it is.

My current ride - a DL650, is used primarily for commuting and I just turned 60k miles on it.  Almost all commuting.  So I've saved over a thousand dollars in gas alone.  The only maintenance in 60k miles has been a couple valve adjustments (done myself - basically free) and two sets of rear brake pads... also really cheap, two sets of chains and sprockets...couple Hondo...and finally... tires.  Tires are the killer.  You need to get a bike with cheap tires (180s on the rear don't count), even better if you can mount and balance yourself.

I find it a bit funny the safety attitude toward motorcycles on here compared to the amount of time spent rationalizing about how bicycling is safer than driving a car.  That said, some people just aren't cut out for motorcycling, and if you're intimidated by it then you should probably stay away - you'll never enjoy it and won't be riding safe.  A lot of the risk is mitigated by avoiding riding like a dick and taking common sense precautions with gear.

Spartana

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2014, 04:17:07 PM »


I find it a bit funny the safety attitude toward motorcycles on here compared to the amount of time spent rationalizing about how bicycling is safer than driving a car.   
That's mainly because the OP is a new rider. He/she may not quite understand what riding is about and the potential safety issues - both from other drivers in a heavily congested metro area as well as other obstacles that arise. Like my examples above - the rock thrown from a truck at 65 mph hitting your face - boom! you're off your bike. The bird hitting you - boom! you're off your bike. The rain slick oily street and a tiny spin out - boom! you're off your bike. Etc... It's not just about being a good and sensible rider (and I'll admit I haven't always been one), it's also about having experience in handling things that come up fast - something it takes time for a new rider to learn.  And there is a big different between riding a MC or even a car at high speed and amongst/intertwined with traffic and riding a bike to the side of traffic at low speed.  I'm not saying the OP shouldn't get a bike, I'm just making a new rider/or rider wanna-be/ aware that there are things besides traffic to deal with when on a MC.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 04:18:48 PM by Spartana »

TexasAnnie

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2014, 02:59:06 PM »
I agree with the below re: the lack of experience of a new rider being important.  I learned to ride 2 years ago (took the MSF course), got a 250 (used).  I didn't feel up to commuting (even off the highway but in light/moderate traffic) AT ALL the first year.   

And when I upgraded to an 800cc, I had to learn how to handle it, very different weight-wise and taller (so I'm not quite flat-footed).

My first bike is a Honda CB250, I like it because it has an upright seating position (comfortable) and I am flat-footed.  I'm only 5ft 5in so it would probably be too short for someone much taller than me.




I find it a bit funny the safety attitude toward motorcycles on here compared to the amount of time spent rationalizing about how bicycling is safer than driving a car.   
That's mainly because the OP is a new rider. He/she may not quite understand what riding is about and the potential safety issues - both from other drivers in a heavily congested metro area as well as other obstacles that arise. Like my examples above - the rock thrown from a truck at 65 mph hitting your face - boom! you're off your bike. The bird hitting you - boom! you're off your bike. The rain slick oily street and a tiny spin out - boom! you're off your bike. Etc... It's not just about being a good and sensible rider (and I'll admit I haven't always been one), it's also about having experience in handling things that come up fast - something it takes time for a new rider to learn.  And there is a big different between riding a MC or even a car at high speed and amongst/intertwined with traffic and riding a bike to the side of traffic at low speed.  I'm not saying the OP shouldn't get a bike, I'm just making a new rider/or rider wanna-be/ aware that there are things besides traffic to deal with when on a MC.

hdatontodo

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Re: Ditch My Car to Get a Motorcycle?
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2014, 04:06:49 PM »
A Kawasaki Versys is a capable bike with a varying price range depending on milesage. I drove one 1,000 miles at one sitting from MD to Gatlinburg, TN and back (after some seat work.)

A used low mileage Suzuki Burgman 400 can go for around $3000, and a used Suzuki Burgman 650 can go for around $4500 (non-executive model). They look like a large scooter and no shifting is needed. There is a lot of storage under the seat.