Author Topic: Wanting to purchase a motorcyle and make it my only motorized version of transpo  (Read 5164 times)

UltraRunning

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
So this is my first post on here and my name is Eric. I have been reading mmm  since this past weekend but have already read through two and a half months of his blogs.  So my question is I am currently in texas for tech school ( I am  in the United States Air Force)  my first duty station will be in the south east and putting much research into selling my 2006 Nissan frontier ( two door 4 cylinder manual). My truck is completely paid off.   After doing some research due to my milealage and condition I can expect to sell my truck for $6,000 (  As in the Kelly blue book it said my truck was worth 5-8k along with estimates from CarMax).  I wanted to purchase a 1980s sport tour bike that runs along $2,000 on craigs list.  Then I  would have to spend about 1,000 on purchasing gear  and safety wear for my motorcycle.  That would leave me with an excess of $3,000 that I want to put into a Vanguard FINX fund which has a minimum deposit of $3,000.  This would be a huge jumpstart to my mustache and my goal of being able to retire in the 30-40 year range.  I currently only have a cell phone bill that is $20 a month (thanks to ting ) and a $50 internet bill I have no other costs.  This is due to  the fact of recieiving a food stipend on my military base that covers  my 3 meals a day 7 days a week along with a housing stipend . I make 1750  a month and am putting away 1200 away each month most of it going into my roth tsp plan and the the  left over going into my savings account till I reach the $3,000 mark to start my Vanguard Fund.  I know I went into a lot  of detail but was hoping if I did I could receive a worthwile response. 

Thank You for whoever responds I really appreciate it.  Being only 20 years old I want to start my life off right and any and all advice would be amazing.

The knitter

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
My husband is a motorcycle fanatic. While it can save you a lot of money on gas if it is your only vehicle, be careful not to get too caught up in the extras that will end up costing you.

Things I would spend a lot for:

- a good helmet, new. Buying used is questionable because you can't know for sure if it has been hit and damaged. Once a motorcycle helmet is hit hard enough it will be useless in future crashes. You don't want to mess with your brain.

-motorcycle driving course to learn the proper way to ride and be safe. It's different than driving a car, and becoming skilled at riding will save you from a potentially expensive crash. Even a fender bender in a motorcycle can be fatal, so it is important to be skilled at riding.

Things you can get for cheap:

- good quality gear is often sold in Craigslist. People want the latest and greatest, and sell their perfectly good year-old jackets online for cheap all the time. I've gotten really nice gear for dirt cheap just by being patient and watching offers on Craigslist.

- repairs. The markup at a mechanics shop for repairs on motorcycles in insane. Learn how to change your oil, fix problems, yourself and you'll save a lot of money.

In New England there are a lot of Internet forums (much like this) dedicated to motorcycle riding. My husband has found a lot of friends through the hobby, but has also been able to learn a lot through the communities - making his riding safer and more enjoyable. The people on the forum also ofen help each other fix their bikes. You should seek out something similar in your state.

Good luck! It's an enjoyable mode of transportation.



FuckRx

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 793
Hi Eric, if weather allows and traffic isn't too unsafe where you are I think it wouldn't be a bad idea. I rode a motorcycle for 2 years in grad school and love it. I got all my gear and bike used, saved a ton. Could you borrow a friend's bike for a week and see if it's something you could really do? sometimes the logistics aren't clear until you actually do it. but i think the gas you'll save and the savings on insurance etc should be great.

huadpe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
I want to make a point here about safety.

Safety first.  Operating a motorcycle is much more dangerous than operating a passenger vehicle.  The NHTSA puts out a stat of 37x more fatalities per motorcycle mile than passenger vehicle mile.*  And operating a passenger vehicle is usually the most dangerous activity people regularly engage in.  Another study showed about 60 fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcyclists per year.**

Figuring you'll use this for 3 years, we're talking about a 0.18% chance of death, versus a .005% chance in a car.  Insurance and other actuaries normally put the value of a human life around 6-7 million dollars.  Let's take the low end at $6,000,000.  6000000*(.0018-.00005)=$10,500.

You may see the risk as acceptable.  It may not, in fact, be the biggest risk you take on a regular basis.  You said USAF, which could mean a relatively safe position servicing aircraft.  Or you could be a PJ, which is decidedly not a safe job.  If the sole reason for switching is financial, then the risk to life has to factor into your cost/benefit analysis. 

I don't mean to play the card of "this is a risky activity and therefore don't do it."  But risk is a real cost.  It does matter that you're more likely to die riding a motorcycle than driving a car.  If you're asking from a purely risk neutral perspective, you shouldn't switch to the bike.  But your risk tolerance may vary.  And if it's just about the money and nothing else, don't do it.

But if you sincerely enjoy riding a motorcycle, that could be worth the extra $7500 ($10,500 less $3000 savings you postulated) in negative expected value for you.  Just be aware that's what you're paying in risk.

* http://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/injury_prevention/children/toolkits/motorcycles/nys_motorcycle_data.htm

** http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809-271.pdf (PDF, page 8)

Khan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
I don't have a car since I dropped my Mustang GT(2012) like a bad habit. I've been operating exclusively with an adventure bike(Triumph Tiger 800) with pannier bags, and a bicycle with cargo trailer.

Thus I can comment on this specific issue quite well: I wouldn't recommend doing it based purely on financial reasons. I'm limited to about 3 bags of groceries with my motorcycle. I can get almost no utility out of my costco membership unless I use a bicycle + trailer. I can't ferry people from place to place. It is a liberating experience in all the ways that you think it might be, and crippling in all the ways you aren't thinking of it. For me the reason I operate without a car is because I love cars, and I don't want to compromise on quality or power. I'm remaining car-less because I already am car-less, not for lack of reasons to have a car.

davisgang90

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1341
  • Location: Roanoke, VA
    • Photography by Rich Davis
I love riding a motorcycle, but in your position, I would keep the paid off relatively cheap to operate truck and buy a bicycle for getting around at your next duty station.

clutchy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
motorcycles have become substantially more reliable in the past 15 years or so.  I would skip the 80's completely.  The bikes can be finnicky and unreliable. 

You can pick up a decently priced SV650 that's fun and cheap to insure and quite reliable.


Also please be careful.  You .mil guys tend to hurt yourselves on those things.

also consider that the truck is still probably your cheapest option.

kendallf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
I am riding a motorcycle almost exclusively when I'm not on a bicycle; I really enjoy riding, even when the weather's occasionally bad, and it's very cheap to operate.  I'll second the other posters' comments on utility and carrying stuff.  I actually can get more stuff on my bicycle with panniers and/or a trailer than I can on the motorcycle.  I'm seriously considering building a single wheel motorcycle trailer so I can carry baggage and my bicycle around. 

I second the recommendation to avoid an older bike.  There are tons of newer motorcycles with very low mileage for sale, and if you pick a smaller displacement bike they can be very cheap and very reliable.  I picked up a 2007 Suzuki GS500 with only 500 miles on it for $2200.  It's air cooled, has been utterly reliable so far, and gets about 55-60 mpg.

CptPoo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Location: Indiana
  • I play music and stuff
What are your opinions on bikes from the early 70's? I have a 1971 Yamaha SR 250 that I picked up for $20 a few years ago that just needs a little work to get it running. I am planning on starting on that work this fall to (hopefully) have it running by next Spring.

Are bikes from that time period reliable and/or safe?

clutchy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
they're not reliable but generally I would consider them as safe as any other bike.

also for $20 and NOT as a primary mode of transportation what you found is gold.

CptPoo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Location: Indiana
  • I play music and stuff
also for $20 and NOT as a primary mode of transportation what you found is gold.

Yea, I felt a little bad when I bought it. A friend of mine was selling it, and neither one of us really knew what it was worth. When he told me about it, I immediately told him I would take it and gave him the $20. Within a few hours he had multiple people offer him $100 or more. I had a guy a little while later offer me $500 for it, even though it doesn't run. I turned him down because I think it is a pretty awesome bike, and I've never done engine maintenance like that, so I really want to learn.

UltraRunning

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
hey yall thank you for the feed back.  And to answer one reoccurring question  that was asked to me I grew up riding  single track on a dirt bike so it has always been a passion of mine.  So the financial benefit is more of an added perk then anything just wanted too see if it was realistic or not to have it as your primary.  I am married but my wife also has a car that is completely paid off and has a year and  a half left of college before she will be moving in with me and once she does we would always have her car for grocery runs.  My job will be on base so I will be able to walk or ride a bicycle to work everyday so I thought due to this factors that a motor cycle wouldn't be too unrealistic of an idea. Finally, what would you recommend then for a newer sport tour bike. Yes I am twenty but have no real interest in a full out sport bike as my wife enjoys riding  as well and a sport tour would accommodate her on the back much more comfortably.   

mikefixac

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
  • Location: Brea
    • Uncommonly Brilliant
I'm in your situation. I want to sell my car, but wife says no.

I do heating/ac/appliance repair and living in LA, I do most of my calls on my motorcycle. I just feel much safer on a motorcycle and of course saves a lot of time and gas getting to and from my jobs.

And riding in 20D weather has been no problem, though that's not the case in SoCal.

And if you want to be really mustachian, get a bicycle from CL to get around locally.

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3372
  • Age: 61
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Then I  would have to spend about 1,000 on purchasing gear  and safety wear for my motorcycle. 
As I recall, the military base is also going to drag you through a laundry list of mandatory safety/visibility gear as well as the cost of a motorcycle safety course.

The "good" news is that they're also chronically short of safety course instructors, so if you're an experienced rider then you could hypothetically qualify to teach the course for side-hustle income.  But at this point in your career it's probably better to devote your time & effort to learning your job, getting qualified, and working on your college degree.

AlmostIndependent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Anchorage, AK
Then I  would have to spend about 1,000 on purchasing gear  and safety wear for my motorcycle. 
As I recall, the military base is also going to drag you through a laundry list of mandatory safety/visibility gear as well as the cost of a motorcycle safety course.

The "good" news is that they're also chronically short of safety course instructors, so if you're an experienced rider then you could hypothetically qualify to teach the course for side-hustle income.  But at this point in your career it's probably better to devote your time & effort to learning your job, getting qualified, and working on your college degree.

They've actually lightened up on the safety requirements (different DoD installations had different requirements and it got to be too much) you will be required to wear helmet, long pants, long sleeves, over the ankle boots and gloves.  They do still require a safety course but you can usually find them for cheap/free on military bases (I know Travis AFB and CGAS San Fran has them out here.) Ask around on your base. Someone should be able to point you in the right direction.

Iceplant18

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: San Diego, CA
I switched from 4 wheels to 2 wheels about 4 years ago and am a major advocate of it.  I can tell you from my own experience that YOU WILL save money with riding a motorcycle as long as you do it right.  Motorcycles aren't always cheaper than bikes.  They can go through tires 5 times as fast, maintenance costs are higher, they have worse warranties, just to name a few downsides.  Then there's the risk.  If you go down on your bike then just about all the savings associated to riding the bike get wiped out and then some.  So when I say you gotta do it right, I mean you have to make every choice around the principle and purpose that you are trying to save money. 

So to reiterate the point that everybody has already made and i'm sure you'll hear for many years (as I regularly do), SAFETY FIRST.  Not just for obvious health reasons but because we're all trying to save $$$ here.  There's no magic trick on this one.  Ride within your comfort limits and practice defensive riding techniques. 

Next thing, you'll need to do your own maintenance work.  This is always a big money saver but even more so on bikes.  Motorcycles require a lot more attention than cars but on the plus side it's easy work compared to cars/trucks.  For some reason motorcycle mechanics charge the same or more per hour as auto mechanics even though working on a motorcycle is sooooo much easier than a car. 

Lastly pick up a bike that you know will save you $$$.  Sounds like you've already got one picked out and it sounds like a good money saver.  I personally picked up a 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250.  Cheap cost even when new, great gas mileage even for a bike, consumable parts last twice as long because the engine is so small, lighter than most bikes so it's extremely fun to ride, and insurance is cheap due to the smaller engine size as well. 

I'd say my transportation costs went down by about 60 - 70% on average as a result of having the bike.  The vast majority of the savings are around the lower depreciation costs.  I will say though that I had to keep my car for bad weather and grocery runs.  Motorcycles are no fun in the rain or when it's extremely cold outside.  The car only gets about 1000 miles a year put on it now though so it'll probably last me forever. 

Let us know how it turns out.  :-)