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Old 02-09-2013, 04:50 AM   #31
Vertical C
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I have been carless for 17 years, but it doesnt snow here, we do get a decent amount of rain.

Carrying stuff is a mix of planning, going without (which is why bikes are cheaper than cars), hire cars, delivery and carrying straps. It is amazing how much you can carry on a bike, people on this forum go for months then shirk at carrying a weeks groceries......

The other thing is getting a good wet weather set up, maybe two because you dont want to put wet stuff back on. Wet gear not drying kills gear faster than anything and will cost money so have at least two gloves and jackets. Even cheap stuff.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:09 PM   #32
stoke
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Oh Man Am I In A Good Position To Answer This...

The bullet points:

-From Minnesota
-Lived in California since 1999 (San Diego)
-Bought a used car and a used bike around the same time for the same amount of money
-Was semi-forced/wanted to go carless in July 2012, eight months ago and I did

IMO, if the bottom line is just saving money then fix the focus and be done with it. It's cheaper. Plus MN doesn't have the insane amount of traffic that CA does, doesn't allow lane splitting, you can't ride year round and gas is cheaper. So there you go. Car is cheaper in MN.

But you own a bike already so it's not actually about just saving money, is it? It's about an excuse to use the bike full time and see what's it like. Plus it's cool to be able to say you did it. You should. It's good for you mentally.

Most, but not all, of the time a cheap car will be be cheaper over time vs riding a bike-a cheap truck is not. I bought an '08 DL650 and a '99 Yukon around the same time. I wanted a big truck to surf out of as well as use for work occasionally and a bike for everything else.

But I had never owned a real bike before, just a Honda Reflex which was sketchy on the highways here. The Vstrom does it all, six lane 87-mph-on-your-ass-driver highways included. Finally I could convert to two wheels full time. I could of bought a much nicer SUV with the money, but instead I split the difference and got an older SUV and fairly newish used motorcycle and got the best of both worlds.

The Yukon gets about ten mpg. The 'Strom, about 50. Sometimes more. I sat down and did all the calculations with my daily commute, etc and at the end of the day, because of the spread between the Yukon and Strom in gas savings alone, with gear included, the bike will have paid for itself in under a year. I was spending about $400 in month on gas on the Yukon. On the DL, it's $50-$100, and I rarely hit $100.

That does not include time savings. I save a lot of time on the bike. Never look for parking, never stopped in traffic. It can save me on the low end, 15-20 minutes a day, and on the high end, an hour on my commute. Traffic can be wretched here.

I work for myself and don't take lunches, so every minute of every day working counts. The time savings not wasted sitting in traffic and instead invested working would honestly pay for the bike in about the same amount of time as the spread between the gas costs.

I think two factors affect the value of going two wheels full time the most: where you live and gear. A car has "gear built in" for lack of a better way to say it, so that's a cost you don't have to deal with. My initial investment in gear was over $2,000.

Yeah, I know, you can get cheap stuff. F that. If you actually ride every day, in every situation, work, social, rain, heat, night, hauling stuff, meeting clients, gear is the deciding factor. It really is. And it's not cheap.

This list looks like overkill, but if you actually use your bike for everything, including work (I work for myself and meet clients in the field) you have to have it. Take the boots for example-the marathon steels I wear in rain, cold, and dirt. The airs when I'm around town and doing some highway travel as well, but need to wear the boots off bike quite a bit. The Dainese shoes are for in-town only, usually to go to the gym.

-I have a Shoei Neotec flip front modular to I can get stuff done without taking it off
-Outlast tshirts to make the weird temperature swings out here even out
-Held Carese Goretex Jacket & Tourno Pants for when I'm on and off the bike multiple times all day/dirt
-Dainese kevlar jeans-eurotrashy but heavy duty and cellphone pocket is awesome. warm too
-Kushitani Zylon jeans-for meeting clients, look like real "dress" dark denim jeans, clients can't tell
-Vendramini Marathon Steel boots
-Vendramini Air boots
-Dainese mesh jacket-summer and gym/around town
-Dainese shoes-gym/around town
-Ram mount for cell phone GPS-hell no I can't remember every route!
-ROK straps-not an option, I've hauled so much stuff with these (I have both sizes)
-Tool tube-yeah. you keep tools in it.
-Barkbuster hand guards-keeps your hands warm in winter & you can remove the windguards in summer. also stops the mirrors you hit while lanesplitting from hitting your front lever
-Aerostich Roadcrafter-if you go to work, park, work all day, then go home, this is your ticket
-Helmet Lok-carrying your helmet everywhere gets old real quick
-Helmet Lok cable-for your jacket
-Motofiz tank bag-not an option, man purse like others have said
-A bunch of other little things I'm not remembering like a helmet liner for after the gym

And if where you live doesn't allow lane splitting or lane filtering, it gets real tough to justify owning a bike and a car. Like people here already said, sell the car and go for it, or fix the car up and save money. You can't justify both where you live. Source: I'm from there.

Plus you can't ride year round. Your only choice to really save money is to go all in on one or the other for set period of time. And at best, you're a break even.

In CA, you can own a bike and a car and still make it pay for itself because:

-You can ride year round (check out Minnesota's Aerostich catalog, there are guys that go year round in MN believe it or not)
-You can lane split or filter
-Gas prices are obscene here

I just got my truck back this week and drove it to work to see what it was like after being on a bike for so long. The first day, it felt like incomparable luxury. The second, still nice to catch up on phone calls but kind of annoying. The third, I was getting pissed at wasting so much time in traffic. The fourth, I had to put gas in it and was shocked. The fifth day, I just rode my bike. Was the most productive day of work I had all week.

Lastly, my bike came with hard cases when I bought it. SUCH a benefit, I can't even tell you. If you're using bikes as transportation and not recreational tool, you must have side cases or a topcase and straps, or some such combination.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:37 AM   #33
Aj Mick
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Mostly carless

I have been carless for 34 of the 40 years since I left school, and it is about 12 years since I last owned one. I have borrowed or rented a car about half a dozen times since then.

I have been without a motorcycle for just 3 of those 40 years.

I have owned just 8 small (sub 350cc), practical, second-hand machines, and none cost more than $1,000. Keeping them well maintained, they have seen me right for commuting, and touring; I have ridden my own motorcycles in at least a dozen different countries (both temperate and tropical) and rented in a few more.

For me, earning a relative pittance, motorcycles are a cheap, practical form of transport..... I have no interest in big bikes that are mostly pose, and cost more than a car to run.

Small motorcycles have allowed me to travel widely, and to live a life free of debt.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:38 PM   #34
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Well since a lot of replies are from people living in other climates and not where the op lives I'll throw my two cents in. Go for it, don't look back. If your car is paid for fix it, keep it take the insurance off it once the weather is nice enough to ride every day. Usually that's about March or April. Then in October put insurance back on the car in preparation for the winter. This is what I do with my 13 year old paid off truck. I pretty much do what you're asking about, so it can be done here. It may not be cheaper than your car but it will be more fun. For me I need the truck to take care of a lot of things for various family members, But that works out since the times it's needed are during it's insured part of the year. The rest of the time I am on the bike. On any given day I could be going to both downtowns multiple times, and I find that even though we can't legally split and filter here I still get places faster get more done and have a much easier time finding places to park, been doing it for a number of years now and I can't imagine giving up using the bike for my daily transport. Oh and that having more fun thing again. There's plenty more I could talk about, but I've got to clear my driveway of the damn white shit. Since I'm local I'll throw out the offer to meet up with you and talk about commuting here.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:39 PM   #35
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Minnesota. Long winters, short summers.

Fix the car as others have said and ride the bike as often as it is safe to do so.

Most people don't save as much as they think riding instead of driving.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:09 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden View Post
Dollar for dollar you use more money on a bike than in a car, unless you drive a dick compensating truck.

That said, I lived for two years on a bike. It was great! You need to make sure you can haul your groceries and normal stuff on your bike safely, or have a friend with a car that will help occasionally.

Other than that, good rain gear and enjoy!

Jim
I'm confused, how?

Even though I live in a place with relatively expensive bike insurance it's still half what it costs to insure a car or truck.

If my tires only last a year they're still only $200 ish I'm still up at least $400 a year just in insurance

My '73 Honda still gets 42+ MPG, I've never had a car do that well or even close. If any of my four wheeled vehicles got to 20mpg I was happy. Massive savings there.

Unless you're riding a Ducati how does a bike cost more? How does it even approach half?
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:28 AM   #37
JimVonBaden
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I'm confused, how?

Even though I live in a place with relatively expensive bike insurance it's still half what it costs to insure a car or truck.

If my tires only last a year they're still only $200 ish I'm still up at least $400 a year just in insurance

My '73 Honda still gets 42+ MPG, I've never had a car do that well or even close. If any of my four wheeled vehicles got to 20mpg I was happy. Massive savings there.

Unless you're riding a Ducati how does a bike cost more? How does it even approach half?
Figure 10K miles a year, car or bike.

Tires, $300 every 10K on a bike. Small car, every 40K, and cost $500.

Mileage on most motorcycles averages less than 50mpg. A small car gets at least 30-35mpg. Some savings.

Gear for a bike, needs replacing every few years, and you need multiseason gear, this adds up to at least $2-300 a year for the cheap stuff. No gear needed for a car.

Services on a motorcycle are usually shorter intervals and cost more. Often one of these if not both.

You still need a car now and then, hope you have friends.

Of course all this is crap if you ride an old bike, or a scooter, short distances and don't bother with gear, but the money is rarely less on a bike alone. Also crap if you have a monster truck that gets crap mileage and needs a bunch of repairs.

Jim
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:02 AM   #38
Ceri JC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreen View Post
Unless you're riding a Ducati how does a bike cost more? How does it even approach half?
+1

I did the maths (for the UK at least, where both gas and insurance tend to be more expensive) both times I didn't have a car. The conclusions I reached was that bikes, like for like* are generally cheaper, provided you only have a bike: Having a bike to save on car costs, whilst you still have a car, seldom results in less total cost (apart from at the extremities, like you have a 50cc scooter and your 'car' is a 6 litre truck).

* By this, I mean an equivalent bike to a car. The number one thing people cock up on when they present silly figures on this subject is that they don't compare like with like. You have to compare new with new, 2nd hand with 2nd hand and Fully Comp Insurance for your car with 10 years "No Claims" bonus (NCB) with the same, for your bike; not Third Party only, with 2 years NCB on your garaged bike. Perhaps the most overlooked way this rears its head: It's stupid comparing a 1.0L IL4 car to a GSX-R 1000, they're not 'equivalents' just because they have an engine that on paper looks similar. A Suzuki VanVan or Honda CB125 are 1.0L car equivalents. I'd say an ST1300 is the bike world's equivalent of a Jaguar or Audi touring car. Yes, an ST1300 is more expensive than a Fiat Punto, but it's considerably cheaper than the cars it should be compared to

Disagree? Really think bikes are more expensive, like for like? Look at every 2nd and 3rd world country on earth and see what sort of vehicle people are on. Do they have two wheels or four? Do you think those people all just prefer the wind in their hair?
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:03 AM   #39
JimVonBaden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceri JC View Post
+1

I did the maths (for the UK at least, where both gas and insurance tend to be more expensive) both times I didn't have a car. The conclusions I reached was that bikes, like for like* are generally cheaper, provided you only have a bike: Having a bike to save on car costs, whilst you still have a car, seldom results in less total cost (apart from at the extremities, like you have a 50cc scooter and your 'car' is a 6 litre truck).

* By this, I mean an equivalent bike to a car. The number one thing people cock up on when they present silly figures on this subject is that they don't compare like with like. You have to compare new with new, 2nd hand with 2nd hand and Fully Comp Insurance for your car with 10 years "No Claims" bonus (NCB) with the same, for your bike; not Third Party only, with 2 years NCB on your garaged bike. Perhaps the most overlooked way this rears its head: It's stupid comparing a 1.0L IL4 car to a GSX-R 1000, they're not 'equivalents' just because they have an engine that on paper looks similar. A Suzuki VanVan or Honda CB125 are 1.0L car equivalents. I'd say an ST1300 is the bike world's equivalent of a Jaguar or Audi touring car. Yes, an ST1300 is more expensive than a Fiat Punto, but it's considerably cheaper than the cars it should be compared to

Disagree? Really think bikes are more expensive, like for like? Look at every 2nd and 3rd world country on earth and see what sort of vehicle people are on. Do they have two wheels or four? Do you think those people all just prefer the wind in their hair?
90% of them are on scooters, and cars and gas assosciated with them are way out of the average person's budget.

A case can be made for cheaper, such as the guy who responded to me on his old Honda, but make it a Goldwing or BMW and the tables turn!

That said, I have been carless a few times, once for two years, and it was pretty cheap. Add car ownership, and the cheapness of the motorcycle goes out the window. You are paying for both. Plus you need to figure lifecycle costs, not just gas and tires.

Jim
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:38 AM   #40
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this is a post of mine in another thread and the reason I have an opinion that unless yer comparing a scooter or bike under 500cc or comparing to a larger truck/suv, cars are cheaper than bikes
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mostly tires

also remember to compare apples to apples, don't compare professional maintenance costs for a cage to DIY costs on a bike, AND compare what the recommended intervals are.

bike $425 for 2 tires (mounted & balanced) lasts 10k = 4.25/mile
car $350 for 4 tires (again mounted balanced) lasts 80k = 0.44/mile

bike spend almost 10 times as much on tires

also routine maintenance, cars go 100,000 miles between tuneups, bikes go only 7,500 (going by recommended interval in manual)

milage

bike @ 50mpg = 7/mile car @ 38mpg - 9.2/mile

cost of ownership similar

bike new $8k, value with 100k miles $500 - 7.5/mile
car new $15k, value with 100k miles $7,500 - 7.5/mile

chain & sprockets is something that cars don't have, but some cars do require changing a timing belt at 60k or 75k

I use my V-strom and in the past my SV650 for business use and have detailed accounting for tax purpose, My V-strom cost per mile is 45 compared to 36 for a Ford Ranger and 52 for a Chevy van, cheapest car I ever owned was a BMW 320i that only cost my 26/mile, My SV was 35/mile (over 135k miles)
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:19 AM   #41
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this is a post of mine in another thread and the reason I have an opinion that unless yer comparing a scooter or bike under 500cc or comparing to a larger truck/suv, cars are cheaper than bikes
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mostly tires

also remember to compare apples to apples, don't compare professional maintenance costs for a cage to DIY costs on a bike, AND compare what the recommended intervals are.

bike $425 for 2 tires (mounted & balanced) lasts 10k = 4.25/mile
car $350 for 4 tires (again mounted balanced) lasts 80k = 0.44/mile

bike spend almost 10 times as much on tires

also routine maintenance, cars go 100,000 miles between tuneups, bikes go only 7,500 (going by recommended interval in manual)

milage

bike @ 50mpg = 7/mile car @ 38mpg - 9.2/mile

cost of ownership similar

bike new $8k, value with 100k miles $500 - 7.5/mile
car new $15k, value with 100k miles $7,500 - 7.5/mile

chain & sprockets is something that cars don't have, but some cars do require changing a timing belt at 60k or 75k

I use my V-strom and in the past my SV650 for business use and have detailed accounting for tax purpose, My V-strom cost per mile is 45 compared to 36 for a Ford Ranger and 52 for a Chevy van, cheapest car I ever owned was a BMW 320i that only cost my 26/mile, My SV was 35/mile (over 135k miles)
Good detailed post!

Comparing a bike to an economy car, the car will come out on top. Bike to an SUV or full size truck, the bike wins.

OP, if your car is in otherwise good shape(and especially if it's a recall), if it were me, I'd get it fixed and drive it. Start saving some cash to get you and your bike back on the road.
You already know your cars idiosyncrasies. You don't on a potential "new to you" car you were thinking about buying at the end of the summer.


Good luck on whatever you choose!
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:19 AM   #42
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My SV was 35/mile (over 135k miles)
This seems about right. I just got a new to me motorcycle, and in the process I looked into how much money I had spent on the old one (which I still have until its sold, and I do put miles on it still). Turns out, it has cost about 25 cents per mile to own the past 4 years. That includes everything I can think of, insurance cost, maintenance, fuel, depreciation. It was a used Kawasaki ex500. 50 MPG, cheap tires, 7.5K mile oil change interval, I never raced it so the sprockets and chain have not needed replacement since I have owned it.

They key to having a bike cost less than a car, is to do away with the car completely, and have a cheap but well maintained bike.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:57 PM   #43
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do it anyway

I think everyone here pretty much came to the consensus that it will be cheaper for you to fix the car and go from there if cost is your only concern.

Unless you have a huge gas guzzling SUV (I do) or own just one or the other, you can't from a monetary basis justify owning both the Focus and the bike and think that the bike will carry itself.

Having said that, just go all in and do it anyway. Commuting by bike is cool! You will get to work feeling more relaxed, more productive and you'll actually look forward to your daily travels. Plus you will never look for parking during your errands, I always park in front of everything, or even on the sidewalk at times. BIG time savings.

Check out the Aerostich catalog sometime, there's a lot of interesting stuff in there that really motivates you to use your bike everyday, for everything. The mental cleansing is worth it.
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