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Old 02-08-2013, 04:08 AM   #16
kamikazekyle
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Cost savings will vary a lot depending on what motorcycle you get, miles per year, and what your car's cost of ownership happens to be. Assuming you get a small bike (say 250ccs) and stick to more touring oriented tires, and maybe adjust valves yourself you can save quite a bit.

For an example, my CBR250. 65-70MPG city, 70-80 highway, 70 interstate, runs on regular. $20 or less for an oil change every 8k miles, and valve adjustment (~$150-200 at a dealer) every 16-19k miles (I forget). Insurance $120-$140/yr full coverage. I figure I can get about 7-8k miles out of the stock rear, so a touring rear would probably get as much as 15k miles or more. Replacement parts are cheap -- you can get a full set of custom plastics for $350; OEM fuel tank pre-painted for about $180-$220.

So at $4/gal with an average MPG of 70 and 20,000 miles per year, net operating cost of $1793 ($1143 gas, $250 one pair of tires plus one rear, $60 oil, $140 insurance, $200 valve adjust)

My car at $4/gal with an average MPG of 27 MPG, same mileage, net operating cost of $3832 ($2962 gas, $70 oil, $800 insurance, no tires or valve adjust). If you increased the average MPG to 37 MPG, it's still a total of $3032.

Now I *am* ignoring purchase price here. Granted, you can probably find a Ninja 250 or CBR250 for $2500ish (+/- depending on year, but the CBR's introduction hit the Ninja 250's used market hard). I saw some barely used 2011 CBR250's going for $2700ish last year. A chain driven bike will need a new chain every so often, though unless ridden hard or offroad a lot it's interval is about equal to that of a car's timing belt and a lot cheaper to replace. If you get a bike that gets less gas mileage and costs more to insure, or has shorter service intervals, the difference can start to melt away. Especially if you have a fuel efficent, cheap to insure, low maintenance car. But, $4,000 will get you a better used bike vice a used car.

Some tips on transporting stuff: get hard cases if it's in your budget, especially removable ones. If not, you can find really good soft side bags for $100. Don't be afraid to use some straps and a duffel bag, either. You'll probably have to buy less groceries at a time/go more frequently. On the flip side, this lets you keep fresher produce around. If you ever need to haul big stuff, you can rent a truck or van cheap from UHaul or a car rental agency.

Other things to save cash and work good: get a good set of textile gear that you can layer under, and a cheap set of rain gear. Mesh jackets with true windproof liners and an insulated liner can actually be used year round. A set of cheap coleman rain coveralls works surprisingly well. If something isnt' waterproof there's always Plasti-Dip :P A semi-fairing or sport fairing will help a lot without interfering too much with summer.

Anyway, short of it: stick to smaller displacements to save the most money if that's your goal. You can haul plenty of things but might have to make more trips. For things you can haul, there's always cheap rentals. Invest in some good gear (doesn't have to break the bank, though) and don't forget rain gear. Fairings/windscreens help a lot on colder days and/or with interstate miles.

Oh, and I wouldn't suggest buying a motorcycle and using it just for the summer only to sell it again if you want to save money. You might be able to buy a used one and sell it used for what you paid for it, but if you take any loss it'll eat into the savings.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:36 AM   #17
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I go carless for spring/summer/fall in Chicago, although I do have access to my roommate's car on the very rare occasions that I needed it (Mostly for driving to the parts store when the bike broke).

Of most importance is to have a good ability to carry plenty on the bike, and having good rain gear. My bike is a V-Strom 650 with big Happy Trails panniers, so I never have problems not being able to carry stuff. Grocery shopping was a breeze, I could fit almost a full cart's worth of stuff into the panniers and the milk crate bungeed to the luggage rack. Got some funny looks from cashiers, though. :)

Total cost of ownership is about the same as a car; what you'll save on gas, you'll make up for in consumables (chain/sprockets, tires, farkles, etc). You'll also find yourself buying more and higher-quality riding gear if you truly are using it every single day. I have full head-to-toe gear for everything from 100f+ to below freezing, and mix and match every morning depending on the forcast. (Three different jackets, plus a one-peice textile suit, numerous gloves and boots, and a couple different helmets. I've also got a couple sets of racing leathers, but I only wear those on the street when I'm feeling extra power-rangery.)

However, if you get rid of the car, and therefor don't have all of it's associated costs, you'll be SHOCKED at how much more money you have over the summer. Right now, you're paying for two methods of transportation, and if you ditch one of them, you'll be very surprised with how much extra cash you've got in your pocket at the end of every month.

I know Minneapolis winters are harsher than Chicago, but I found that I could reliably ride pretty deep into November with no problems, and for a good chunk of December. January and February are sketchy as shit, but come March you're usually pretty clear aside from a screwball snowfall or two.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:37 AM   #18
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One more tidbit is that rental cars are cheap as shit for when you need them. Most places are like $25/overnight, and many car-sharing programs are between $5-$10/hr for ultra-short rentals. Not sure if you have any of those in your area, though.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:17 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the insight guys. I currently have:

- 2006 Ninja 650R- just over 15,000 miles, just had the 15,000 mile service done, currently in storage.
- I get around 50 mpg.
- I need a new set of tires and a new chain before I can start riding safely again.
- I can use my girlfriend's car or the city bus in a pinch
- If I can't fit it on the bike, I probably don't need it anyway...

So Here's the math-


- new tire set- approx. $300 to $400
- new chain- approx. $60 to $100
- Minneapolis average gas price= $3.564/ gallon (http://www.twincitiesgasprices.com)
- Oil + Filter every 3,000 miles= approx. $30

- Using Google Maps I probably ride around 70 miles per day (home, work, girlfriend's house, gym, errands, etc)
- 70 miles x 184 days (May 1 to Nov 1 per http://www.timeanddate.com) is 12,880 miles next summer (I'll round that up to 13,000 miles though)

So...

- 50 mpg at $3.564 is $0.07 per mile @13,000 miles = $910 for gas
- Approx. 5 oil changes for 13,000 miles @ $30 each= $150 for oil changes
- new tires= $400
- new chain= $100
- insurance= $89 per month @ 6 months = $534

Approx. Total = $2,094 (cost to run between May 1 and Nov, not including additional issues)

If my motorcycle is going to be my sole unit for transport, I'll probably need:
- a better helmet
- a good waterproof over suit (Aerostitch)
- a better backpack- Kriega R25, Kriega R35
- cellphone/ gps mount on the handlebars
- Rear rack and/ or top case
- Other miscellanious gear I don't have but should probably have
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:18 AM   #20
TXRKC
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I'll differ from the majority here. Your car is a 2000 so I assume it's paid off. I say fix it and keep it. You said you'll buy another car in 6-8 months anyway. Yes, you'll need to keep it insured and also the yearly tags. But if you sell it and buy another car in 6-8 months, you'll be paying taxes on the new car purchase, so that probably about evens out. Plus by keeping it, you'll still have use of a car if you need it to move items too big for the motorcycle or if you need to go somewhere and the weather is really bad. I've had a motorcycle as my only transportation for a while when I was in the military and living Kansas. I gotta say I dont miss riding in the blistering cold rain or snow.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:23 AM   #21
homme de fer
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In the Toronto area, and with a commute of about 70kms daily, I really don't have the option of riding 12 months of the year, However, I keep meticulous records of expenses and this is what I came up with if I had the option of year 'round riding:

Car expenses = Insurance + gas = $2,946/year

Motorcycle Expense (BMW Sertao) = $1,662/year

This doesn't include maintenance as I believe it would be a wash. Basically, I'd save about $1,300/year by commuting by bike all year.

It got me thinking though, what is the difference in expense between driving a car year around and what I am doing currently (ride 8 months, drive 4):

Car expenses = $1,406 + Bike expense = $1,396

Total = $2800.28

That means that I'm saving about $150 a year having both the car and bike. It isn't much, but at least I have a car and a bike. BTW, the BMW gets rediculous mileage so my savings would be more than someone riding something bigger.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woolsocks View Post
If my motorcycle is going to be my sole unit for transport, I'll probably need:
- a better helmet
- a good waterproof over suit (Aerostitch)
- a better backpack- Kriega R25, Kriega R35
- cellphone/ gps mount on the handlebars
- Rear rack and/ or top case
- Other miscellanious gear I don't have but should probably have
If money is an issue, I would skip some of that. Those Kriega backpacks are nice as hell, but I vastly prefer just putting stuff in the panniers (Besides, a $30 pack from wal-mart will do fine). And don't go crazy with the handlebar mounted stuff, just keep everything in your tank bag. A good tank bag I would say is more important than a backpack; if you're riding every day, you'll find your tank back quickly turns into your man-purse and will hold all the useful little things you need. If your sense of direction is really so terrible that you have to use a GPS every day, just get a tank bag with a clear map pouch, and stick the GPS in there.

Aerostich suits are nice in that they can tailor them to you, however I'm not a huge fan of them for the price. I prefer the Olympia Phantom suit; it's half the price and MUCH more versatile. It has a zip-out liner and better venting than the 'stich, so it has a wider temperature range that it's useable in, as well as more/better pockets. I've ridden in temps down to the 20s, and up into the 70s and been comfortable in my Phantom suit as long as I'm wearing sensible clothes under the suit. Up to 80f is doable as long as you're moving, but in city traffic it'll be unpleasent.

As for the helmet . . . now, this is a personal opinion, but I would think about getting a modular/flip-face helmet. They do comprimise some safety; they're not going to offer quite as much protection as a solid full-face. However, for me personally, the IMMESNE conveinence of the flip-face is worth the minor reduction in safety for daily commuting. I still have a solid full-face that I wear at the track or when out riding aggressively.

I'm not sure what the luggage options are for a Ninja 650. A luggage rack is going to be mandatory, but maybe not the top case; I find a milk crate and some bungee cords does fine :) If you can afford it, hard top-loading panniers are AMAZING. I have a set of Happy Trails on my Wee, and love them. A full set with the rack will run you $700-$800, though.

tl;dr - DITCH THE CAGE AND COMMUTE ON THE BIKE. IT'S THE BESTEST THING EVER.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:18 AM   #23
monkeythumpa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Wheeled 'Tard View Post
Aerostich suits are nice in that they can tailor them to you, however I'm not a huge fan of them for the price. I prefer the Olympia Phantom suit; it's half the price and MUCH more versatile. It has a zip-out liner and better venting than the 'stich, so it has a wider temperature range that it's useable in, as well as more/better pockets. I've ridden in temps down to the 20s, and up into the 70s and been comfortable in my Phantom suit as long as I'm wearing sensible clothes under the suit. Up to 80f is doable as long as you're moving, but in city traffic it'll be unpleasent.

tl;dr - DITCH THE CAGE AND COMMUTE ON THE BIKE. IT'S THE BESTEST THING EVER.
I am a big 'stich fan, think they are worth every penny and I am have been glad I have been in it a handful of times like when I had to ride from Ensenada to Oakland in 15 hours of rain (The first two in a tropical storm) but for 99% of rainstorms, Frogg Togg suits work great for $100.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:49 AM   #24
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I was carless in DC for about 10 months. I found a pair of ski overalls and gloves solved the wet weather for about $50. I had a gortex jacket. I liked it for everything except having to haul stuff. Fortunately I could walk to a grocery store and my office, so I was'nt really commuting.

I vote you try it and see.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:59 PM   #25
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I am seriously thinking about going carless pretty soon. I have a perfectly fine 2010 Hyundai Accent, but I just don't need it. I can borrow a friend's car if I really need to move something big. I feel like I could take advantage of the currently inflated used car values and sell it for nearly what I paid brand new. The weather here is good enough to commute all year without going crazy with the gear. I do have one rule, though: two or more vehicles at all times. Therefore, I would have to pickup a second motorcycle. Oh, bother.
I am thinking a used Ninja 250 or 500 for around $2000 would be great for commuting. Selling the car would save me around $400/month between payment and insurance when compared to a second hand motorcycle.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:10 PM   #26
woolsocks OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob30 View Post
Not bike related, but I had a 01 Focus and had a front spring break. It is a Ford recall on this car; Mine was fixed under warranty in 07 or 08. Something worth investigating. Something about a bad finish on the spring from the factory causing corrosion and failure...
Yeah, I was reading something about that. It looks like it was only a 10 year extended warranty so it wouldn't apply to my vehicle. I already had the labor done. It looks like the labor had to be done by a Ford dealership mechanic, I'm not sure if they'll reimburse me if I send it receipts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Wheeled 'Tard View Post
One more tidbit is that rental cars are cheap as shit for when you need them. Most places are like $25/overnight, and many car-sharing programs are between $5-$10/hr for ultra-short rentals. Not sure if you have any of those in your area, though.
That's true. There are a few "Hour Car" (great pun) and "Zip Cars" around here in Minneapolis. I hadn't thought about the rental option, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Wheeled 'Tard View Post
If money is an issue, I would skip some of that. Those Kriega backpacks are nice as hell, but I vastly prefer just putting stuff in the panniers (Besides, a $30 pack from wal-mart will do fine). And don't go crazy with the handlebar mounted stuff, just keep everything in your tank bag. A good tank bag I would say is more important than a backpack; if you're riding every day, you'll find your tank back quickly turns into your man-purse and will hold all the useful little things you need. If your sense of direction is really so terrible that you have to use a GPS every day, just get a tank bag with a clear map pouch, and stick the GPS in there.

Aerostich suits are nice in that they can tailor them to you, however I'm not a huge fan of them for the price. I prefer the Olympia Phantom suit; it's half the price and MUCH more versatile. It has a zip-out liner and better venting than the 'stich, so it has a wider temperature range that it's useable in, as well as more/better pockets. I've ridden in temps down to the 20s, and up into the 70s and been comfortable in my Phantom suit as long as I'm wearing sensible clothes under the suit. Up to 80f is doable as long as you're moving, but in city traffic it'll be unpleasent.

As for the helmet . . . now, this is a personal opinion, but I would think about getting a modular/flip-face helmet. They do comprimise some safety; they're not going to offer quite as much protection as a solid full-face. However, for me personally, the IMMESNE conveinence of the flip-face is worth the minor reduction in safety for daily commuting. I still have a solid full-face that I wear at the track or when out riding aggressively.

I'm not sure what the luggage options are for a Ninja 650. A luggage rack is going to be mandatory, but maybe not the top case; I find a milk crate and some bungee cords does fine :) If you can afford it, hard top-loading panniers are AMAZING. I have a set of Happy Trails on my Wee, and love them. A full set with the rack will run you $700-$800, though.

tl;dr - DITCH THE CAGE AND COMMUTE ON THE BIKE. IT'S THE BESTEST THING EVER.
Thanks for the tips. I love my Kriega gear! I have a US 30 dry bag, US 10 dry bag and a tank adapter for the US 10. I'd been using a Gregory 28 liter pack and an Osprey 30 liter pack last year along with the Kriega bags, but those back packs get uncomfortable with any significant amount of weight in them and the flapping straps are annoying as hell. Kriega R25 looks awesome for everyday house to work to gym commuting.

The GPS isn't essential, but it's getting to be really a pain to have to look at google maps and memorize my route if I'm going somewhere new and have to constantly be remembering and checking my route as I go--not really a big deal on a weekend ride to ge lost and explore though
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:19 PM   #27
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I'm thinking, If I go carless, I might have to stop eating eggs. I think the vibrations from the Harley's engine, alone, would break them. Or maybe I can just get some chickens.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:29 PM   #28
WVhillbilly
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Something you may want to check into was that Focus had a recall for bad coil springs.
Bad powdercoat or something, would cause the spring to break.

I had one of those POS cars, and about 2 weeks after I got the notice the front spring broke.
Ford wouldn't fix it until then.

They put new springs on it, car was never right again tho.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:35 PM   #29
Thanantos
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Quote:
If my motorcycle is going to be my sole unit for transport, I'll probably need:
- a better helmet
- a good waterproof over suit (Aerostitch)
- a better backpack- Kriega R25, Kriega R35
- cellphone/ gps mount on the handlebars
- Rear rack and/ or top case
- Other miscellanious gear I don't have but should probably have
It's possible I missed something in the thread somewhere, but (otherwise) this post is filled with a lot of wants instead of needs.

My reply is based on me being suddenly carless last summer. It wasn't absolutely necessary, but I figured, "What the hell? Let's have fun."

- Any backpack, messenger bag, pannier is waterproof with a Ziploc Big Bag available for $5 at target.
- A locking piece of luggage is nice, but you can lock your jacket and pants to your bike with a cheap cable lock or just bring it with you.
-----You may look like a dork for dragging a bunch of crap into class with you, but...wants vs needs.
- If your helmet is DOT approved and within 5 years old it is good to go. A replacement can be had anywhere for $100.
- Beyond that you have a great bike (I have a 2007 in the garage). Just ride it.
- Replace the chain and sprockets every 15,0000 miles or so
- Replace the rear tire every 10 to 15,000 miles or so and front even less.
- Change the oil and filter every 5,000 miles or so
- You CAN get a GPS device for your handlebars, but you can also memorize your route before you leave, stop momentarily from time to time, use your smartphone tucked away in your pocket or buy a Ram mount for your smart phone for $30 like I did.

There are a lot of wants here that you have presented as needs. You have to balance the difference.

Thanantos screwed with this post 02-08-2013 at 08:44 PM
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:43 AM   #30
B50Paul
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First bike at 18 , first car 4months ago , at 66 . Ride every day , except the one week ayear we have snow ,
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