Author Topic: Motorcycle - Good investment?  (Read 20759 times)

BlackBirds

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Motorcycle - Good investment?
« on: March 14, 2012, 07:56:55 AM »
Hello fellow Junior Mustachians and Senior Mustachians that I try to emulate!  This is my first post and I'm looking for some insight on a recent (hopefully good) investment.  I'm an engineering college student that lives 12 miles from campus, and I alternate semesters between full time schooling, and full time work at a company I landed an engineering internship at, however this company is 45 miles away from home!!  So I recently purchased a Kawasaki Ninja 250cc motorcycle to save money on gas during my daily commute to work/school.  This motorcycle gets 61 MPG, as opposed to my previous commuting car, a 1999 Pontiac Firebird V6 that gets 26 MPG on average.  I could have gotten a scooter that gets more miles per gallon, but its highway to school and work, so that kills the scooter idea.  Also, I can't move closer to school or work because I'm currently living for FREE with my parents until I graduate.  The motorcycle cost me $3250 total after title, registration, plates ect. And I currently have student loans at 6.8% that I could have invested this money in, saving me $231 a year in interest.  But this is where the costs end. 

Insurance for the bike is $222 a year, however getting the bike gave me the balls to take my car off full coverage and replace it with liability insurance reducing it's premium by $372 a year, equating to a savings on insurance of $150.  I figure I'll be driving the car much less now (cold/rainy days only), so my actual risk of causing an accident is much less.  I didn't have to buy a helmet or safety jacket since my brother had his left over from his old motorcycle he sold before moving out, and he gave them to me.  What a nice guy!

While I'm working, each day I drive 90 miles round trip, and I figure I'll be able to ride the motorcycle to work 3 out of 5 days of the workweek (it might rain forcing me to drive the car), saving me on average $24 a week in gas.  While I'm in school each day I'll drive 24 miles round trip to school, once again riding the motorcycle 3 out of 5 days due to rain, saving me on average $6.40 a week in gas.  I'm in school for 4 months out of the year, and I work for the remaining 8 months, so the combined yearly gas savings are $943 per year.  Also, motorcycles are much cheaper to maintain than cars are (two small tires instead of 4 large ones, they use MUCH less oil, no transmission/differential fluid to change, smaller brakes, the list goes on) but these are very hard to quantify so its more of an afterthought.

Summary
Yearly Costs:
Registration/Plates - $27
Insurance - $222
Student Loan interest - $231

Yearly Savings (estimated):
Gas - $943
Insurance (car now on liability) - $372
Maintenance - Unquantifiable

Total Yearly Savings = 1315-480=$835

So what do you guys think??  Good investment or bad investment?  Are there any flaws with my math/assumptions?  And lets please leave this to a purely financial discussion and not get into the safety of motorcycle riding.  That discussion is for the Complainypants that's afraid to save some money!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 08:24:34 AM by BlackBirds »

arebelspy

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 08:15:35 AM »
Only (minor) quibble:
Also, motorcycles are much cheaper to maintain than cars are (two small tires instead of 4 large ones, they use MUCH less oil, no transmission/differential fluid to change, smaller brakes, the list goes on) but these are very hard to quantify so its more of an afterthought.

I spend way more on my bikes than car maintenance, because I die if my bike isn't in top shape.  If the car isn't.. meh.

A motorcycle can be a good, cheap method of transportation.  But two vehicles? Have you thought of ditching the car?

Anyways, you've already purchased, so it sounds like you've made up your mind.  Good luck, fellow rider.
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palvar

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 08:21:02 AM »
Only (minor) quibble:
I spend way more on my bikes than car maintenance, because I die if my bike isn't in top shape.

I'm surprised to hear that, though I'm not a bike owner.  Are you saying that you're putting off car maintenance, or just that the bike needs more maintenance in general?  Could you give us an annual ballpark estimate for bike maintenance?

BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 08:23:05 AM »
I'm kinda like MMM is with houses but with automobiles.  I'm able to do all the work in my garage, so maintenance costs for me cost only as much as the parts.  For instance I just changed the oil on the bike (1.7 quarts and a small filter) for $10 in parts.  An oil change on the car costs $28 (4.5 quarts and a more expensive filter).  A coolant flush will be less expensive since the bike holds much less coolant than the car.  If major engine work needs done, gaskets will be much cheaper for the bike ( head gaskets for most automobiles cost around $150, intake manifold gaskets can be around $75! )   Just a few of many examples that I'm sure will come up over time.  Yes I've owned the bike for only 4 weeks now and just wanted to share this example with anyone else who is thinking of saving some gas money with a motorcycle purchase, and to weigh in on my own investment to see if it is worth it.  As far as selling the car goes, no I can't because if it rains then its a no-go on the bike.

Sure you may take your bike to the shop more often and thus spend much more on maintenance than you do on the car, but for me I put off no regular maintenance on either machine.  I can without a doubt say that motorcycle parts are less expensive than their automobile counterparts.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 08:30:21 AM by BlackBirds »

arebelspy

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 08:25:58 AM »
Only (minor) quibble:
I spend way more on my bikes than car maintenance, because I die if my bike isn't in top shape.

I'm surprised to hear that, though I'm not a bike owner.  Are you saying that you're putting off car maintenance, or just that the bike needs more maintenance in general?  Could you give us an annual ballpark estimate for bike maintenance?

$750/yr for two bikes for various things (but that does include some work done to improve the bikes).


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arebelspy

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 08:27:39 AM »
For instance I just changed the oil on the bike (1.7 quarts and a small filter) for $10 in parts.  An oil change on the car costs $28 (4.5 quarts and a more expensive filter).  Just one of many examples that I'm sure will come up over time. 

Sure, you save $18 there every.. 6 months or so?  Penny wise, and all that.

Just don't be surprised if more random things on the bike "fail" and need fixing/replacing that never seems to happen on a car.

If you like to tinker, no problem.  :)

Just a minor warning.
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velocistar237

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 08:29:06 AM »
There's at least one Ninja 250 wiki out there that talks about total cost of ownership. You can look there to make sure you didn't miss anything.

You can do a lot of the maintenance yourself. If you do, try to find a friend with the tools so you don't have the added expense. Otherwise, follow MMM's advice about used tools or buying from Harbor Freight.

I owned a Ninja 250 for 6 months while working in another city temporarily, and because of the short period, it turned out to not be cost effective. Your case sounds different, because you'll use it longer and then be able to hold onto it until you get a decent offer for it.

Don't write off the possibility of finding a cheap place close to work. It could work out better for you. Since you already have the bike, though, it's unlikely that moving and selling the bike will save you much compared to riding to work, but it might.

This is a nit and a preference, but I prefer to list out the cost of each scenario rather than looking at "savings." You still get the reduced car insurance if you find a cheap, walkable place near work.

From a purely financial perspective, how do you price the increased commute time and stress and the increased risk of higher health costs, missed work, and low quality of life? :)

arebelspy

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 08:31:08 AM »
As far as selling the car goes, no I can't because if it rains then its a no-go on the bike.

Is that due to your decision not feeling comfortable riding in the rain, or worrying about getting wet and not looking presentable?
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BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 08:34:40 AM »
You can do a lot of the maintenance yourself. If you do, try to find a friend with the tools so you don't have the added expense. Otherwise, follow MMM's advice about used tools or buying from Harbor Freight.

I've already got all the tools I'll ever need.  My dad is a gear-head so the garage is damn near a Craftsman showcase!

Don't write off the possibility of finding a cheap place close to work. It could work out better for you. Since you already have the bike, though, it's unlikely that moving and selling the bike will save you much compared to riding to work, but it might.

Once again I live with my parents for free.  The cheapest place I could find would be an apartment for $450 a month, plus utilities, plus food/detergent/toiletries the list goes on.  Gas/miles on the vehicle don't even come close to this cost.  And the work is temporary until I graduate, it is an internship after all.

From a purely financial perspective, how do you price the increased commute time and stress and the increased risk of higher health costs, missed work, and low quality of life? :)

I honestly can't put a number to this, but its something to think about for sure!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 08:41:16 AM by BlackBirds »

BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 08:36:01 AM »
As far as selling the car goes, no I can't because if it rains then its a no-go on the bike.

Is that due to your decision not feeling comfortable riding in the rain, or worrying about getting wet and not looking presentable?

Not feeling comfortable riding in the rain.  I just got the bike 4 weeks ago so I'm still new and don't want to put myself in any over-dangerous situation.  My gear is waterproof and I already have to fix my helmet hair when I get to work :P

I'm amazed at how many people have already chimed in!!  Thanks for the posts guys keep the advice/comments coming!

arebelspy

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 08:57:57 AM »
Not feeling comfortable riding in the rain.  I just got the bike 4 weeks ago so I'm still new and don't want to put myself in any over-dangerous situation.  My gear is waterproof and I already have to fix my helmet hair when I get to work :P

I'm amazed at how many people have already chimed in!!  Thanks for the posts guys keep the advice/comments coming!

Okay, good.  I was just going to chime in with some ideas about waterproof gear, but if that's the reason, good for you.  Knowing your limits and comfort zone is so, so important on a bike.  Be safe out there!
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BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2012, 09:07:41 AM »
Thanks for the advice arebelspy, you too!

sol

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2012, 09:27:33 AM »
I feel compelled to mention that one day my motorcycle unexpectedly cost me about $30,000 in medical bills and eight months of my life.  Make sure you have excellent insurance.

Bakari

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2012, 09:41:43 AM »
I bought an EX250R in 2001, also for commuting.
After the first year I got a job 50 miles from home, so 100 miles a day total.

You can get anywhere from 50 to 100mpg on it, depending on how you ride.
See: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/101-5-mpg-my-2003-ninja-250-a-8686.html

Another great resource for all things Ninja related: http://forums.ninja250.org/

I have heard others say that the maintenance is more than a car's, but I haven't experienced it.
I have had some years where I also owned a car, some years it was my only motorized transport. 

Regarding motorcycle safety, I wrote a bit about that just recently (see excuse #2, its too dangerous): http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/02/chapter-iv-in-which-i-recommend-that.html

All in all, I would say yes, good "investment"
(if you can ever call buying something that doesn't generate passive income an investment)

Matt K

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2012, 09:42:35 AM »
I'm with Arebelspy in that motorcycles are poor cost saving vehicles (for the most part). I've owned a ZZR-250 (higher spec ninja 250) and could get 80+ mpg out of a tank when I tried. Up here insurance is $800/year and you can only ride ~ 7 months a year. So, very different costs from down south. But even in your case the cost savings look pretty minimal.

I've also found bike maintenance to cost more than equivalent miles on a car. Valves need to be done (especially on the Ninja 250 engine), and tires don't last anywhere near as long (Avon makes some really nice inexpensive tires for the old Ninja/ZZR 250s. Not sure about the 08+ ninjas).

All that said, I think a motorcycle brings much more to your life than the cost savings. It makes you a much more aware driver for one thing. But there is also the mental-health benfits riding provides. It's like they say, you never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychatrist's office.

Good on you, and I think you made a fantastic choice in bike. Seriously, the Ninja 250 is one of the best all-around road bikes out there (never mind 'best learner bike'). I'm guessing you've taken the MSF since you seem to be on the ball with everything else. If you haven't, I suggest it whole heartedly. Once you've got a year under your belt, go back for the Experienced Rider's course, it is also worth it.

From a purely financial perspective, how do you price the increased commute time and stress and the increased risk of higher health costs, missed work, and low quality of life? :)

Low quality of life living at home with the parents? I suppose that is entirely dependant on the family situation. And if you do it right, a long commute on a motorcycle is a wonderful time alone to clear your head. I've found that motorcycling to work puts me in a great mood to start the day (especially rainy days, where I feel like I've accomplished something just by getting to work - I'm odd, I know). I know the argument for chosing to live closer to your work, but personally, this sounds like a good call on BlackBird's part. Especially if he can find a low traffic route to ride to work. And again, we have to remember he only works 45 miles away 6 months of the year. Moving twice a year to be close to work vs school wouldn't be a good financial move either.

Ride safe

velocistar237

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2012, 10:03:50 AM »
From a purely financial perspective, how do you price the increased commute time and stress and the increased risk of higher health costs, missed work, and low quality of life? :)

Low quality of life living at home with the parents?

No, I meant this:

I feel compelled to mention that one day my motorcycle unexpectedly cost me about $30,000 in medical bills and eight months of my life.  Make sure you have excellent insurance.

My point was that there is a financial side to the safety of motorcycle riding.

Matt K

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2012, 10:15:39 AM »
I feel compelled to mention that one day my motorcycle unexpectedly cost me about $30,000 in medical bills and eight months of my life.  Make sure you have excellent insurance.

The inanimate object between your legs did not cost you that. Your own decisions most likely combined with the decisions of asshat another driver cost you that. I know I'm being pedantic to argue your wording when I know you aren't actually blaming the bike for the crash. But it is important for other people reading this - a motorcycle incurs higher risks and requires more of its driver than a car, but those risks can be mitigated to a very large extent. Wearing all the gear (pants, boots, gloves, jacket, full faced helmet), regardless of weather (I've got rain wear that I can wear in near freezing temps and I've got mesh gear that protects well and lets me ride into 100F territory), riding defensively and well below your limits (giving you more time to plan for and react to all the idiots on the road) make a huge difference.

A good read: home and largely recovered less than a month after striking a post at 30mph: http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2012/02/this-is-the-city-gear-that-saved-my-life/

There's no question, even good leather and a Snell2010 helmet are never going to provide the safety of a an energy absobing safety cell. And you are much harder to see (and judge the speed of) by other traffic. But before someone says "Joe crashed his bike at 80mph and look at what happened to him!" they have to ask themselves - would have being in a car prevented that accident? What would the injuries have been if the person had been in car? Sometimes we hear of motorcyclists who ride off the road and get seriously hurt - but if they'd driven that same corner in a sports car, and reacted the same way, they'd still have run off the road, and they'd still be a world of hurt (lesser though it may be).

I will whole heartedly agree, if you ride a bike, make sure you have good medical insurance. But then, I think you should have good medical insurane no matter what you do. And as I think I've made clear, I think if you ride a motorcycle you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to wear all the gear and get trained in proper defensive driving (MSF). Doing those things won't make you safe, but it will greatly reduce the risk and consequences. And yes, it all adds to the cost, but then, as I said, I think motorcycles are poor ways to save on vehicle costs (but good ways to save on psychiatry bills)

Besides, for risk of death per mile travelled, walking is still the most dangerous ;)

(and while I was typing this, Velocistar replied, but I think I've covered my opinion on that).

BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 10:18:16 AM »
I'm with Arebelspy in that motorcycles are poor cost saving vehicles (for the most part). I've owned a ZZR-250 (higher spec ninja 250) and could get 80+ mpg out of a tank when I tried. Up here insurance is $800/year and you can only ride ~ 7 months a year. So, very different costs from down south. But even in your case the cost savings look pretty minimal.

$800/year holy smokes!  I landed $222/year with some kick ass coverage :D

I've also found bike maintenance to cost more than equivalent miles on a car. Valves need to be done (especially on the Ninja 250 engine), and tires don't last anywhere near as long (Avon makes some really nice inexpensive tires for the old Ninja/ZZR 250s. Not sure about the 08+ ninjas).

I can do a valve adjustment in my sleep haha, and even though it needs to be done every 7500 miles its a very low cost job when done yourself.  I was unaware tire life was much less than automobiles, but I have a feeling a motorcycle tire (especially the skinny 250 tires) are cheaper than a car's.

All that said, I think a motorcycle brings much more to your life than the cost savings. It makes you a much more aware driver for one thing. But there is also the mental-health benfits riding provides. It's like they say, you never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychatrist's office.

Good on you, and I think you made a fantastic choice in bike. Seriously, the Ninja 250 is one of the best all-around road bikes out there (never mind 'best learner bike'). I'm guessing you've taken the MSF since you seem to be on the ball with everything else. If you haven't, I suggest it whole heartedly. Once you've got a year under your belt, go back for the Experienced Rider's course, it is also worth it.

Thanks!  So far I'm loving my Ninja 250r!  As far as the length of the commute goes, on the bike it is very enjoyable.  I take the back older highway that parallel's the new main highway the whole way to work.  45mph low traffic, its perfect.  In the car the commute is so boring and I have troubles sometimes with getting drowsy at the wheel. MSF course has been checked off the list, experienced rider course is on the radar when I've had some more time on the bike.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 10:27:31 AM by BlackBirds »

velocistar237

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2012, 11:02:42 AM »
(and while I was typing this, Velocistar replied, but I think I've covered my opinion on that).

Fair enough. It sounds like BlackBirds has considered the potential costs and is doing everything possible to mitigate them.

I really like the updated styling on the 250. I can barely tell the difference between it and a 650.

Enjoy!

BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2012, 01:08:35 PM »
*Update*

This last month I put just over 1400 miles on the bike commuting to and from work.  With the car averaging 25mpg and the bike averaging 70mpg (EPA estimated 61mpg, but my smart riding for maximizing my mileage has gained 9mpg over that!), and gas costing $4.15 per gallon, this equates to a savings of $149.40 in gasoline in just one month!  Looks like the bike may pay for itself after all.  We'll see how this "investment" pans out as the year goes on.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 08:28:29 AM by BlackBirds »

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2012, 04:16:41 PM »
Ditto on the savings w/a 2 wheeled vehicle, but I think the point about potential medical costs is worth mentioning again.  Blame the bike, blame the cager, blame road conditions -- bottom line is that the human body more at risk when in an accident on a motorcycle than it is in a car with air bags.  That can cost you a lot of money and/or your life. 

As a new rider, be especially careful out there.  Wear all the gear, all the time.

arebelspy

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 05:19:11 PM »
As a new rider, be especially careful out there.  Wear all the gear, all the time.

100% agree. ATGATT.  I shudder when I see people riding a motorcycle in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flips.
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AlexK

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2012, 05:35:29 PM »
The Ninja 250 is the biggest bargain out there in the motorcycle world.  It amazes me how much bike you can get for $3k,  It costs the same or less than a TW200 and you get another cylinder and carb, water cooling, fairings, etc.  The gas mileage is great too.  Since you asked about the financial aspect of motorcycles, I think you picked the best possible bike for a frugal rider.

I have owned a few of these and as mentioned above, do the valve adjustments.  If you notice erratic idle and a carb syncing doesn't fix it, it's the valves.  It's an easy job and I'm glad to see you work on it yourself.

I used to ride a Honda Helix 250 scooter for commuting but I recently switched to a Geo Metro for safety reasons, and I can drive it all year, go 500 miles without a break, carry 100's of lbs of cargo, etc.

Something to consider is a motorcycle does not last as long as a car.  A Ninja 250 with 25k miles on it is worn out, while a car with that mileage is still new.  An engine that spins 14k RPM isn't meant to last a long time.

I've heard a lot of guys give the excuse to their SO that the motorcycle is to save money, but everybody knows it's for fun.  My Geo metro gets 50 mpg and cost $2k, and will last much longer than a motorcycle.  Insurance is $73/yr.  I'm not saying you shouldn't ride a motorcycle but lets' not kid ourselves.


Matt K

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2012, 06:05:14 AM »
Something to consider is a motorcycle does not last as long as a car.  A Ninja 250 with 25k miles on it is worn out, while a car with that mileage is still new.  An engine that spins 14k RPM isn't meant to last a long time.

Is that personal experience or statistics? Because there are a lot of guys on the ninga250.org with WAY more miles than that. 50k miles seems more like the half life for a properly maintained Ninja 250. And I should point out that 600cc sport bikes rev way higher than 14k. 19k redlines aren't unheard of. And there are many many examples of them hitting the 100k mile mark.

I've got a buddy with a Ninja 500 just hitting the 20k mile (36k kms) mark and his bike still looks and rides brand new.

The Honda 750 V4 engine used in VFRs, Magnas and Sabres (and its big brother in the ST1100 and ST1300) are known to do 150k when treated right. Never mind the bmw & honda touring bikes that reach 200k miles on the original engines (granted, they don't spin anywhere near that fast).


The big issue when buying a used bike is that it is about the 36k kms (20k mile) mark when improper maintenance issues start to rear their heads. It is kind of like the 120k kms mark on modern cars. It is very possible for the car to still have a long life ahead of it, but A) it needs a number of parts (like belts, spark plugs, possibly water pumps and hoses) inspected and/or replaced; and B) if the vehicle was abused (or neglected) earlier in life, now is when you are really going to see thost things start to have an effect.

A lot of guys get to that mark, see the big bills coming, keep riding the bike past the point where the work should have been done, and then try to sell the bike. I see it a lot on the local classifieds.

Edit: All of my mileages are personal experience and annecdotal. I'd be curious if anyone has actual stats.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 10:51:06 AM by Matt K »

tannybrown

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2012, 09:25:04 AM »
I think his point still stands though, as we can all cite examples of cars that go 200k, 300k, etc.  Some go over a million.  Bottom line is that you'll need to replace motorcycles before cars, so you'll need to factor in purchases of additional bikes over a lifetime of vehicle ownership to see if it's really a money saver.

Replacement costs for a motorcycle might not be figuring into our CBAs if we're only looking forward 5 years, for example.

Matt K

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2012, 11:15:07 AM »
I think his point still stands though, as we can all cite examples of cars that go 200k, 300k, etc.  Some go over a million.  Bottom line is that you'll need to replace motorcycles before cars, so you'll need to factor in purchases of additional bikes over a lifetime of vehicle ownership to see if it's really a money saver.

My argument isn't with the concept, it's the scale. Saying a Ninja 250 gets one eigth the life of a properly cared for (and driven into the ground) car is very different from saying a Ninja 250 gets one half the life of a properly cared for car.

I'm actually of the opinion that motorcycles are less of (if any) a cost savings than many people think (see my first post on this thread). But when I see someone talking about bikes being "worn out" in 25k miles, I feel the need to chime in. Just as I'm sure you would if someone said "Honda Fits are small cars, they're worn out by 80,000 miles".

Blackbird: I'm really impressed with your savings in one month. Even if you don't save a tonne of money, think of all the petrol you aren't burning. How have you been enjoying the ride itself?

AlexK

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2012, 03:48:53 PM »
Matt I admit my evidence is all anecdotal. I buy and sell bikes on craigslist and ebay, most of the ones I get were rode hard and put away wet. I bought a Ninja 250 with a knocking bottom end with 20k miles on it and one with bad valves with 23k on it.  I've had a 600cc R6 smoking with 26k on it. These bikes weren't babied.

Once I had a Suzuki DR250S dual sport bike that I rode for 8 years and 22k miles and it still ran like it was new when I sold it, so there are extreme differences in lifetime for motorcycles for sure.  The ones I see are probably the shortest lived ones so my view is skewed in the direction.

I would like to see a study of longevity for motorcycle vs cars.  I do know that it varies greatly with the type of bike, and the smaller, high revving engines are the worst.  Liquid cooling helps.

If you say 50k is common for a Ninja 250, can we agree that 200k is common for an average car so the ratio is 4:1?

Matt K

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2012, 06:01:53 AM »
If you say 50k is common for a Ninja 250, can we agree that 200k is common for an average car so the ratio is 4:1?

For a small bike, or one prone to hard use, I see that as being a fair ratio. Step it up to 2:1 for less high-strung bikes / more touring oriented bikes.

BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2012, 08:16:31 AM »
Blackbird: I'm really impressed with your savings in one month. Even if you don't save a tonne of money, think of all the petrol you aren't burning. How have you been enjoying the ride itself?

Thanks!  I was kind of blown away too that I was able to save so much on gas.  I went from burning over $80 a week to $30 per week in gas.  Yes I've been enjoying the rides when its above 50 degrees, but many of these mornings have been down in the 30's!  My hands begin to freeze around the 45 minute mark haha (commute takes about an hour and ten minutes).  Everyone, I know this is an absolutely ridiculous commute, but read my first post and you'll understand why my commute is so long.  My situation in seeing if a motorcycle is worth it as a savings investment is pretty unique I suppose with the massive daily commute and relocating closer to work would actually lose me money.

As to the discussion of longevity of the bike, I feel that it is similar to cars.  A car with 100k miles on it that wasn't regularly maintained is tired, however a car with 200k miles on it that was regularly maintained still has plenty of life left!  I feel that 25k miles for a bike engine is just way too low of an estimate.  Yes these bikes *can* spin up to 14k, but who is doing this!?  Just because the engine can spin this fast doesn't mean it ever should unless emergency acceleration is needed.  My bike never goes over 7k RPM's because I understand that even this engine speed is ridiculously fast and greatly lowers the life of the engine.  In sixth gear 55mph the engine is at 6500RPM's and that's where I cruise at.  Regular oil changes, valve jobs, and carb cleans will get this engine to 50k easy.  I was fortunate enough to find a bike with only 3k miles on it for a good price, so I get to take care of this engine the way it should be practically from the get-go.

As for cruisers, I've seen plenty pushing 200k.  These engines are similar to car engines in that they don't rev up as high as sport bikes, so the engine gets to spend its life around an easy speed of 2500RPM's as opposed to my parallel twin that has to endure 6500RPM's for two hours each day.

Thanks for the replies guys!  I'm excited to see how this all pans out and I'll keep posting updates as the months go on for all who are interested.  This bike is going to have a LOT of miles racked up on it seeing as last month I put just over 1400 miles on it.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 08:22:52 AM by BlackBirds »

Bakari

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2012, 08:41:46 PM »
Re: EX250R engine lifespan

You can buy a new engine on ebay for around $500. 
I haven't done it myself, but I expect, being so small and simple, it would be reasonably easy to swap out ones self.  So even once the engine does give out, you don't have to replace the whole bike.

BlackBirds

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2012, 09:25:29 PM »
Re: EX250R engine lifespan

You can buy a new engine on ebay for around $500. 
I haven't done it myself, but I expect, being so small and simple, it would be reasonably easy to swap out ones self.  So even once the engine does give out, you don't have to replace the whole bike.

Oh wow I figured these little twin bangers were inexpensive but that is really cheap for a brand new engine!  I'd say 50k miles out of a $500 engine is pretty good!

judgemebymyusername

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2012, 03:56:46 PM »
Only (minor) quibble:
Also, motorcycles are much cheaper to maintain than cars are (two small tires instead of 4 large ones, they use MUCH less oil, no transmission/differential fluid to change, smaller brakes, the list goes on) but these are very hard to quantify so its more of an afterthought.

I spend way more on my bikes than car maintenance, because I die if my bike isn't in top shape.  If the car isn't.. meh.

A motorcycle can be a good, cheap method of transportation.  But two vehicles? Have you thought of ditching the car?

Anyways, you've already purchased, so it sounds like you've made up your mind.  Good luck, fellow rider.

HA! Someone from Las Vegas asking someone from the midwest if they can ditch the car! Snow, rain, and wind, my friend.

menorman

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Re: Motorcycle - Good investment?
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2012, 10:59:51 AM »
Re: EX250R engine lifespan

You can buy a new engine on ebay for around $500. 
I haven't done it myself, but I expect, being so small and simple, it would be reasonably easy to swap out ones self.  So even once the engine does give out, you don't have to replace the whole bike.

Oh wow I figured these little twin bangers were inexpensive but that is really cheap for a brand new engine!  I'd say 50k miles out of a $500 engine is pretty good!

Also, you can sell the bike itself if you don't feel confident in doing the swap (which sounds unlikely for you) and buy yourself a new one. I see a plethora of bikes in the $3k range on my local craigslist at all times, I'm sure you can find similar. Alternatively, you can buy a second bike in the dead of winter then sell it mid-summer and probably make a profit. Even after six months of riding, you'll probably be able to at least get what you paid for it, thereby reducing your cost of ownership to pretty much just gas and insurance.