Author Topic: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car  (Read 2386 times)

Dragonstrike

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Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« on: May 02, 2017, 10:00:42 AM »
So my wife and I are in need of a second vehicle for commuting to work. We live on Oahu where rain and bad drivers are always a factor. I was thinking of getting a motorcycle to save on long term costs, despite needing days for gear hauling for training. Wife doesn't like this idea and wants to get a second vehicle, where we will be paying $100 a month for parking spot alone plus insurance and gas. What should I do? Any opinions are appreciated.

Stupendous

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 11:04:31 AM »
It's not always about money. The car is much safer.

FLBiker

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 11:28:27 AM »
I thought about doing this, but ended up not.  The safety factor was a real concern for me, and in O'ahu (where I lived for 2.5 years) I'd be really hesitant.  Lots of windy, hilly roads, lots of distracted / unfamiliar drivers.  I bike commuted regularly (which was fine) but I also biked around the island a few times.  Whenever I was near the coast, I encountered drivers whose eyes weren't on the road.

Dragonstrike

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 11:37:41 AM »
It's true it's not always about the money, but it eats me on the inside knowing how much I'd save by going the bike route vs. getting another car and being a slave to the system. How do you get over that guilt?

rothwem

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 12:13:12 PM »
My 2009 Ninja 250R only got ~45 mpg.  You can do that with a Prius, and your tires will last longer than the 5000 miles that mine did and you won't have to change the oil every 3000 miles either, and you won't have to use fancy motorcycle oil that costs 2x what car oil costs.  You also won't need to buy a helmet and riding gear.

I'm no motorcycle hater, but you won't save much money doing it.  I'd actually be really surprised if you end up cash-flow positive from the endeavor. 

Fwiw, my 2006 CBR600RR got ~42mpg and my 2008 Yamaha R6 got between 38-40mpg.  It always pissed me off that a 0.6L engine got such (relatively) terrible mileage, but aggressive cams and an open loop fuel injection system will do that. 

MarioMario

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 12:47:50 PM »
Have you considered an ebike upgrade?

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RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 04:25:15 PM »
I always recommend people buy a motorcycle if they have an interest.  My last bike (250 nighthawk, would probably be perfect for Hawaii) got 87mpg and cost me $1200.  I sold it for the same amount.  That was the second of that bike I owned, love them.  I think you can absolutely be net-positive with a motorcycle IF you choose the right bike (this is a fairly short list) AND do all your own maintenance/repairs.  Plus you're in Hawaii, that has to be one of the most beautiful places to ride a bike.  So what if it rains.  Riding a motorcycle in a downpour with good rain gear and realizing you're still dry is a wonderful feeling all on it's own.

Yes motorcycling is more dangerous than driving a car, but life is dangerous, that's not a good reason to not do something, imo.  You look at the risks, and figure out ways to mitigate them, then decide if you're ok with what remains.  There are a 100 ways to reduce the risk of motorcycling.

Dragonstrike

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 01:14:24 AM »
Fair point on maintenance, also fair point on costs. Also to note it's about a 15-20 Mile distance to work, an ebike won't cut it at all.
We are looking into a Honda fit, but honestly if we don't go brand new car route, I wish there was a list for like anything good in the last 5 years. The old mm article for used cars is hard to find around here. I lucked out with my Honda Civic 2009, like a diamond in the rough.

If it were a motorcycle what brands would you recommend?

Khan

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2017, 01:28:37 AM »
Recommended:
SV650, Ninja 500, Ninja 250/300, Nighthawk 250, etc. What you're looking for is 250-500 cc bikes with a non-shit riding position(not super-crotch rocket aggressive, nothing with SS or super sport in the name, a "standard" bike) that are comfortable. I personally can vouch for the Ninja 500 as a "perfect" bike, it's got enough oomph to kill you if you really want to, but it's also sedate enough to drive it around. I learned on it, I drove it around Oahu for ~2 years, and the only reason I don't have it anymore is it had some phantom wiring harness electronic issues that I just couldn't find it in me to troubleshoot(probably shot from being on Oahu for an untold number of years).

Also, even though you're fine with the rain, it really changes motorcycle behavior. I dropped it twice in the rain, once because somebody was following too closely on a mountain road so I tried to pull to the side of the road and bike slipped out from under me <5 mph, and the other time because I panic braked and went into a low side slide because my distance vision was all screwed up due to black mirror blacktop and traffic signals, both times on Oahu. Can't recommend protective gear enough, never leave home without at least all of your skin covered, and take motorcycle safety courses.

Right now I have an adventure bike, a Triumph Tiger 800 with saddlebags, and I can also freely recommend <800 cc adventure bikes, especially with saddlebags. I've done my grocery shopping with mine, and went without a car for a year too. Can fit ~4 grocery bags inside the saddlebags.

See this website to figure out how aggressive a  particular bikes rider posture is:
http://cycle-ergo.com/
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 01:52:58 AM by Khanjar »

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2017, 10:26:21 AM »
Not sure about the SV650 as a recommendation in this case.  Great bike, it would definitely be on my list of possibles if I were looking for a new bike right now, but if total cost of ownership is a consideration, you REALLY have to keep the gas usage down to keep a motorcycle in the black, and I imagine those get about 50mpg?  Not good enough, imo.  Ninja 250 and Nighthawk 250 are good.  Also there's a fairly new Honda CBR 250, if you can find a good deal on a used one, those have a really good power to gas mileage ratio.  Coworker of mine just bought one as his first bike and I test rode it and then rode it home for him on the highway.  I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

Suzuki also makes a couple 250cc bikes.  I don't see them often, but I'd keep them on the radar.

As far as brands, stick to the big 3 (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki).  I wish I could put Yamaha in there but they're really not a player in the small displacement motorcycle market.  For working on your own bike, I lean towards Honda.  Having worked on the others, Honda design tends to be a little less annoying to work on, but YMMV.  If you go for something older (80s or 90s, I wouldn't go 70s do to reliability, unless you get two bikes so you have a backup), manufacturer parts availability seems to be more reliable from Honda.

There are also a gazillion scooter options that can be worth checking out if you can find a good deal on a used one.  They are more rain-friendly, as they have floor boards to protect you a bit, and under seat storage for grocery runs.

rothwem

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2017, 10:38:56 AM »
Not sure about the SV650 as a recommendation in this case.  Great bike, it would definitely be on my list of possibles if I were looking for a new bike right now, but if total cost of ownership is a consideration, you REALLY have to keep the gas usage down to keep a motorcycle in the black, and I imagine those get about 50mpg?  Not good enough, imo.  Ninja 250 and Nighthawk 250 are good.  Also there's a fairly new Honda CBR 250, if you can find a good deal on a used one, those have a really good power to gas mileage ratio.  Coworker of mine just bought one as his first bike and I test rode it and then rode it home for him on the highway.  I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

Suzuki also makes a couple 250cc bikes.  I don't see them often, but I'd keep them on the radar.

As far as brands, stick to the big 3 (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki).  I wish I could put Yamaha in there but they're really not a player in the small displacement motorcycle market.  For working on your own bike, I lean towards Honda.  Having worked on the others, Honda design tends to be a little less annoying to work on, but YMMV. 

The SV650 gets about the same mileage as the ninja 250.  I owned a 250, and I was severely disappointed with the mileage.  The mileage was was a huge factor in me getting the CBR600RR, I figured that if I was only going to get 45 mpg, I might as well do 0-60 in 3.x seconds and hit 80 mph in first gear. 

The fuel injected cbr250s and 300s might be better, but the one I had was a huge (yuge) disappointment.  Also, FWIW, yamaha makes the R3, which is a 300cc bike.  I know nothing about it though. 

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Getting a motorcycle vs. gas efficient car
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2017, 10:41:13 AM »
Had to be something wrong w/ your 250 Ninja.  Never had one myself, but they are all over the place and generally get 60-65mpg from what I hear.

Forgot about the R3.  Probably a fun bike but if the riding position is anything like the R6 or R1 I'd have a hard time recommending it.  Super fetal position.