Author Topic: Should I get a motorcycle  (Read 6528 times)

Texas_Student

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Should I get a motorcycle
« on: April 20, 2015, 01:31:53 PM »
So I am debating the decision of getting a motorcycle, or moped.
I don't have a license yet, and I would need to find a decently priced used bike which I can learn to work on.

What I have come up with is $300 to get license (includes class, transportation to class, and food on those days if I eat out, he'll it would be in Austin home of delicious foods everywhere, of course I would be eating out.

Then there is finding the bike. I can get a decent moped for around 1k, or a really nice motorcycle for around 6k. Plus insurance.

I just don't know what the cut off would be for me actually saving money on my commute, 20 miles one way, and on errands around town. This would have to be compared to my 04 Accord which gets around 28 mpg on average.

I have the cash for all of this just sitting in my money market account waiting for a good purpose.

hdatontodo

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 01:43:25 PM »
You can get a used $3K Suzuki Burgman 400. It rides and looks like a scooter but is a real motorcycle. It can do city or highway.

GetItRight

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 02:00:00 PM »
Yes. It is fun and cheap. Insurance can be well under $100/yr. You can get a pretty nice bike for $1k-$2k, no reason to spend $6k  for a first bike unless you're really into it as a fun way to spend your free time... But you probably won't have $4k more fun on a $6k bike vs a $2k bike. After riding a season or two your preferences may change and you may want something different.

Fuel savings will be trivial, anything over 30 MPG is pretty much a wash. I guess if you replace enough car miles with bike miles it can add up though. Even flogging a bike you'll still average well over 30 MPG and you may be at 50+ MPG depending on the bike. Riding can be as much a lifestyle as it is transportation. If I was in TX I would be riding year round. I would not be riding a moped 20 miles each way every day though. I'd be looking at 350-750cc bikes depending on your preferences and commute.

NYExpat

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 02:04:55 PM »
Check out Honda Rebels, they make a great starter bike, unless you're particularly tall or well built. The 250 cc engine won't go crazy, but will hit all legal speed limits and then some. Bonus is you won't kill yourself racing your first year. I rode it for a year and then sold it. Unless you junk it you should be able to break even. You can easily find one on Craigslist for 1.5k. Plus if you take the test on your own, they are a piece of cake to do the circles and figure 8's for your test. Best of luck and stay safe

Ftao93

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2015, 02:21:35 PM »
2 wheelers of all kinds are a disease that won't save you much money :P.

You can do it frugally, but don't expect it to be truly cost saving unless you commit to it for a long time.  Tires are expensive.  Learning to do a lot of your own basic maintenance isn't bad, but tools add up, and bikes need maintenance much more frequently. 

Good gear is also a must.  A low-speed fall in no gear is easily very expensive to your health!

That being said, even with 4 bikes and a ton of gear, we've spent less on bikes than most people do on a new car, and we can ride them for a long time.  We get 60-105mpg depending on the vehicle. 

Insurance is cheap if you have a light wrist.  The smiles-to-miles ratio is often much greater than a car.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2015, 02:22:19 PM »
From a former frugal motorcyle owner, and just my opinion, but once you pay for the safety gear, insurance, registration, inspection(if it applies), property taxes, additional maintainance/repairs/tires, back out the days that are too cold, too wet, too hot (idling in traffic in full gear isn't pleasant), and the days you have too much stuff or need to carry passengers, plus the additional risk of injury, buying a bike to save money is not worth it if you already have a car that gets decent milage and is pretty cheap to operate. 

Where I won was that it was my first vehicle and I was able to get liability for $15/mo vs the $250/mo they wanted for a car until I got past the new driver rates.

Now if you just love riding a motorcyle (I do), that is another story, just don't pretend you are doing it to save money.

A 50cc scooter can make sense if you can dodge all the DMV requirements,  only need to make short, low speed trips and it allows you to not own a car, but then, a bicycle would probably work too.     
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 02:39:05 PM by So Close »

Retire-Canada

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 02:33:31 PM »
So I am debating the decision of getting a motorcycle, or moped.

Lifelong motorcyclist here.

I would simply ask you if you really want a motorcycle? If the answer is no than forget it and get a moped if that will work for your needs.

There is a lot to safely operating a motorcycle that is not reflected in a spreadsheet analysis as well as a great deal of enjoyment to be gained. If you have the desire to become a competent rider go for it. Even if it's not as frugal as a moped.

-- Vik

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2015, 07:13:10 PM »
You can get a VERY nice bike for $2500-3500

Retire-Canada

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2015, 07:16:18 AM »
You can get a VERY nice bike for $2500-3500

Yes you can.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2015, 07:40:19 AM »
Check out Honda Rebels, they make a great starter bike, unless you're particularly tall or well built. The 250 cc engine won't go crazy, but will hit all legal speed limits and then some. Bonus is you won't kill yourself racing your first year. I rode it for a year and then sold it. Unless you junk it you should be able to break even. You can easily find one on Craigslist for 1.5k. Plus if you take the test on your own, they are a piece of cake to do the circles and figure 8's for your test. Best of luck and stay safe

I used to ride a Rebel and I think it's a great bike. I'd recommend one over a scooter or moped. Way more useful and highway legal. I was able to maintain speeds of 70-75mph on the freeway. Top speed I ever hit was 81mph. My brother paced me on his R6.

City streets are awesome and the bike is super nimble. Even though I like the idea of a bigger bike I often day dream about getting another Rebel just because it was so cheap and easy to operate. Also was a lot of fun to ride, imo.

I bought mine brand new for like $3k from a Honda dealer in TN, I live in GA.

Bob W

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2015, 09:00:02 AM »
Yes, you can buy a decent used "real" motorcycle for very cheap.   (sub 3K)

You are young, so perhaps invincible,  but please know that motorcycles are very dangerous.   I've owned them,  I've wrecked them,  I've been damn near killed on them by other drivers.   Will never own one again and will never suggest anyone ride one.

I would stick with the Accord.   If you like living dangerously you can buy a regular pedal bike for $100 invest the 6K and grow your stach real quick. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2015, 09:09:30 AM »
Motorcycles have all the protection of a bicycle, but go ten times faster.  If you're planning on using this bike for regular transportation, it might be a good idea to factor in the medical costs of a bad crash.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2015, 09:12:20 AM »
I love our dual sport Yamaha WR250R but I doubt I would commute a long distance on them.   My butt starts to get numb after about 60 miles.

It IS awesome though to be able to ride 65mph on the freeway, then jump a ditch and head up the middle of a dry streambed filled with fist sized rocks, all on the same bike.

JLee

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2015, 09:34:54 AM »
Don't spend $6k on a first bike. You can go a LOT cheaper than that, so then when you drop it it won't hurt so much. :P

humbleMouse

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2015, 12:31:45 PM »
You can get a nice motorcycle for 1500-3k easy.  Stay away from mopeds, they don't have enough power to get out of the way when somebody is going 45mph down city streets.  I personally know 2 people who have had life-altering injuries from mopeds as well... but thats just me.

Syonyk

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2015, 09:20:40 PM »
Motorcycles have all the protection of a bicycle, but go ten times faster.  If you're planning on using this bike for regular transportation, it might be a good idea to factor in the medical costs of a bad crash.

Very few motorcycles will do 250mph, and 25mph on a bike is fairly common for an in shape cyclist.

I'd argue the counter point: Riding a bicycle is slightly terrifying and naked feeling when used to riding in the nearest thing most people will come to proper plate armor.  I do it anyway, but I've hurt myself a whole lot more crashing bicycles than crashing motorcycles.

Most motorcycle crashes are low speed, and gear works wonders at low speed to keep you more or less unharmed and able to get up and curse.

Now, if you ride like most Harley owners in a do-rag, tshirt, and shorts, yeah, crashes suck.  But a full face helmet, good riding jacket/gloves, proper riding pants, and good boots, means you walk away from the vast majority of motorcycle crashes with very little injury.  And it beats the crap out of crashing in shorts, a tshirt, and a bicycle helmet.

================

As for getting a motorcycle to save money: You won't.  Not unless you sell the car.  And probably not even then.

- Gear.  Good gear is expensive.  Good gear costs a lot less than skin grafts.  And is less painful.
- Maintenance.  Unless you're doing it all yourself, motorcycle maintenance can be somewhat expensive.
- Tires.  You go through them quickly.  10k miles for a $300 set of tires is doing pretty good.
- Excess riding.  Very few people get up on a sunny Saturday and put 300 miles on their car, just because it's a beautiful day.  I know a lot of riders who do that.
- Fuel.  Most motorcycles need premium.  Most motorcycles don't come close to rated mileage unless you're doing 44-55mph on back roads with no wind.

Now, that said, motorcycles are a whole lot cheaper than a therapist.  I love riding.  But I don't pretend it saves me money.  People used to ask how much I saved riding a sportbike as my commuter to work, and I'd just laugh - it was 2-3x more expensive than driving my car, all told.  Probably more if I counted "trips I wouldn't have made with my car but took a motorcycle on."  But still totally worth it. :)

GuitarStv

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2015, 06:23:21 AM »
Motorcycles have all the protection of a bicycle, but go ten times faster.  If you're planning on using this bike for regular transportation, it might be a good idea to factor in the medical costs of a bad crash.

Very few motorcycles will do 250mph, and 25mph on a bike is fairly common for an in shape cyclist.

I'd argue the counter point: Riding a bicycle is slightly terrifying and naked feeling when used to riding in the nearest thing most people will come to proper plate armor.  I do it anyway, but I've hurt myself a whole lot more crashing bicycles than crashing motorcycles.

Most motorcycle crashes are low speed, and gear works wonders at low speed to keep you more or less unharmed and able to get up and curse.

Now, if you ride like most Harley owners in a do-rag, tshirt, and shorts, yeah, crashes suck.  But a full face helmet, good riding jacket/gloves, proper riding pants, and good boots, means you walk away from the vast majority of motorcycle crashes with very little injury.  And it beats the crap out of crashing in shorts, a tshirt, and a bicycle helmet.

You must hang out with some fit people.  Not many cyclists I know average 25 mph.  Maybe they hit that on a windless day in a peloton on flat ground for short distances.

Faith that some leather clothing will help you in an accident is (in my opinion) a bit misplaced.  My dad crashed his motorcycle at low speed when I was a kid.  His leg was crushed by the vehicle that hit him and had to be amputated.  His helmet saved his life . . . the accident turned him ardently against motorcycle helmets for quite a while afterwards though.

The stats I've seen suggest that riding a motorcycle is about four times more dangerous per mile traveled.  I'd guess that most of that difference is due purely to the speed at which accidents occur.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2015, 06:33:59 AM »
I'll say this with the caveat that I'm in nursing and work with traumas... but there's a reason a lot of medical folks call motorcycles "donorcycles". I've also heard an ED doc say, "The point of a helmet on a motorcycle is to keep your brain in place long enough for you to become an organ donor". Yes this is grim, but critical care personnel don't mince words and have a dark sense of humor. 

Point is, motorcycles can result in pretty grim situations. It does seem that often it's due to recklessness and illegal behavior and speeds on the part of the rider though. If you use it as a commuter vehicle type situation, I imagine there's far less risk than our classic "18 to 24 year old guy who was swerving in and out of traffic going 15 over".

hdatontodo

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2015, 06:41:01 AM »
If you commute by motorcycle, wear a brightly colored jacket or vest and a white helmet.

The color of the motorcycle doesn't stand out like the color of your clothing, especially at night.

Plus, you can add white and red reflective tape to the motorcycle. They even have black panels that reflect as white at night.

act0fgod

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2015, 06:49:09 AM »
The reason I got a motorcycle was time savings.  In Los Angeles standstill traffic the ability to lane split on the highway made it well worth it to me.

In regards to the concerns about safety as the recent post from the individual in nursing and trauma said many of the crashes are due to poor decisions from the rider (driving to fast or recklessly).  I will admit you can't always control the other drivers on the road but I felt safer on my motorcycle than I did when I rode my bicycle.  I was hit by a car riding my bicycle while commuting in LA and can't even tell you the number of times a door was nearly opened into me.

Wupper

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Re: Should I get a motorcycle
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2015, 07:01:58 AM »
I bought a Honda CBR 300, new, last year. Put around 1k miles last fall and early spring this year.

An excellent starter bike.

I haven't crashed yet. I ride in full gear, always, no exceptions.

I thoroughly enjoy riding it. Mostly casual suburban rides, and a few rides on country roads. Even the occasional ride mixed in with heavy traffic. I ride for pleasure, not as a replacement for my Honda Accord.

I never viewed it as a money saving purchase. Quite the opposite, actually. The bike was around $5k? and good gear isn't cheap.