Motorbikes vs Cars – Comparing Running Costs

If you are comparing costs between a motorcycle and a car, it’s easy enough to compare price tags and see which is cheaper (probably the bike, but not always). What about the running costs that start to add up once the purchase is done?

If you’re serious about working out the math, you have to compare these after-purchase expenses too. After you start checking out prices for buying a bike at a good shop like Procycle (click here), then you need to figure out the ongoing costs.

Like with any vehicle, there are 3 main areas where costs start to add up after you buy. Here are the comparisons with cars for fuel, maintenance and insurance.

Fuel Costs
Most people look to the cost of gas as the big place to save with a motorcycle. While this is true on average, it not a guarantee. Cars are becoming more and more fuel efficient, and in some cases can rival the same for bikes.

On average, cars in the USA get around 25 mpg and the average motorcycle gets approximately 50mpg. So with that information, you can pretty safely say that it will cost you less in fuel (on a per mile comparison) with a car. The catch is that the ranges are pretty wide for both vehicles, and the most fuel-efficient cars will actually cost you less in gas than the motorcycles with poor efficiency. Do a little research when choosing your motorcycle model if you are looking to save on gas money.

Maintenance
Oil changes will cost around the same for a bike and for a car, except that you will probably do them a little more often with a motorcycle. General parts may require more frequent maintenance because they are more exposed to the elements.

One notable example of maintenance costs is the replacement of tires. Unlike cars, you will have to replace your motorcycle tires frequently, even as often as annually. At a cost of $100 to $200 per tire, that’s a cost to remember.

A unique aspect about riding a motorcycle is that you need proper safety gear. Helmets, gloves and leather gear (jacket, pants, etc) can be several hundred dollars. Helmets will need to be replaced every 5 years or so, but the other items can last a lot longer.

Insurance
The insurance costs for a motorcycle will depend on the kind of coverage you want, and what is the legal requirements for your state. A bare bones liability-only policy for a motorcycle is usually cheaper than a similar policy for a car, because the smaller bike does little damage to other vehicles in an accident.

On the other hand, getting a more comprehensive collision policy can actually cost you more than a car’s policy because motorcycles tend to be more seriously damaged in collisions and will require more repair work afterwards. Theft is also a bigger problem for bikes than with cars, and that can also mean higher premiums.

If you’re looking to save money, a motorcycle may not have much savings over a car. Most people choose a bike for the thrill of the ride, rather than as a financial boon.

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