In these tough economic times people are trying to find any way possible to save money. If you do it properly, riding a motorcycle can save you a ton of cash while at the same time being a really fun way to commute. We all know riding a motorbike is a lot cooler than clipping coupons!
One of the greatest benefits of riding a motorcycle these days is how much gas you can save by doing so. If you are like millions of Americans you probably commute 5 to 30 minutes to get to work on a daily basis. Most cars these days get between 15 and 35 mpg (miles per gallon) depending on the make and model of the particular vehicle. I used to drive around in a 1989 Chevy suburban which got a whopping 12mpg on average. With a 40 gallon gas tank I dreaded whenever I saw the fuel indicator blink on knowing I could be spending upwards of 100 dollars just to fill it up. That beast of a car was a prime motivating factor for me to get a motorcycle. The first bike I got was a zippy Suzuki GS500 that would regularly get around 55 mpg even with spirited riding. Since it only had a 4 gallon fuel tank my monthly budget for gasoline was literally reduced by hundreds of dollars!
If you happen to live in California or another state that allows lanes sharing then you will be saving more than money. Lane sharing is where two vehicles can share the same lane on a multi lane road. This means that if you own a small vehicle like a motorcycle, it is perfectly legal for you to scoot by other slow moving cars. With the amount of traffic congestion that infest the major cities you will often see motorcycles riding between the lanes when rush hour traffic has ground everything to a standstill. This helps the cars by getting another person out of the long line of vehicles not moving, and it helps the biker because they are no longer in a traffic jam. Lanes sharing saves me about 5-10 minutes on average each day, and in certain situations it has saved me hours when the freeway has been completely blocked up. Anyway to save time is a great way to save money since it allows you to actually DO something with those extra minutes instead of just sitting in traffic.
Cheaper to buy
If you don’t have a vehicle yet or if your current one is on its last legs then I would consider getting a motorcycle (or a scooter!) as a replacement. You can get a brand new motorcycle for a fraction of the price of a new car. If you are savvy about it you can use websites like www.craigslist.com to find deals on used motorcycles that are sold by private parties. I’ve purchased every motorcycle I’ve owned through craigslist and never been disappointed. If you decide to go that route however it is critical to get someone who knows something about bikes to go with you to inspect and test ride it before any cash changes hands. I would highly recommend getting something small like the Kawasaki Ninja 250. They are great bikes with bullet proof engines that regularly get 70-90mpg on the freeway. You can probably find one of the ‘older’ generation Ninja 250s (anything preceding 2008) for a lot cheaper as long as you don’t care about getting a bike with a slightly dated look. If you are more fashion conscience then the ’08 or ’09 Ninja 250’s look great and are still thousands of dollars cheaper than any 600cc bike on the market.
Motorcycles are a fantastic form of entertainment. It’s a rush to feel the wind slapping against you as you lean far into a corner on a curvy stretch of mountain road. Whenever I need a little vacation from the real world and I don’t want to spend a lot of cash I just hop on my bike and ride to my favorite spot. It’s a great way to relieve stress and it saves me from doing something more expensive that my budget would hate me for later. Riding a motorcycle is also a great way to meet people. There are group rides and motorcycle clubs all over and I have found most riders to be exceptionally friendly whether they ride a crotch rocket or a cruiser style bike.
There are a lot of ways to save money out there but I really think riding a motorcycle is one of the more enjoyable ways. The only thing to keep in mind is some of the ‘hidden’ costs of owning a bike. It is really important to get good protective gear to wear since you won’t have a metal cage surrounding you if you crash. This can cost as little as 300 dollars if you find the right brands and get less popular items. Gear is one thing that I am constantly upgrading. I started off with a cheap helmet, free gloves, and a second hand leather jacket. Now I have multiple pairs of gloves, pants, helmets, and boots that I have acquired over a long period of time. Don’t let this initial startup cost dissuade you from riding a motorcycle, also do NOT skip it all together. Although it isn’t the law in most states to wear any gear, it will save you tens of thousands of dollars if you ever end up getting in a motorcycle crash! Ride safe, ride smart, ride cheap!