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Riding to save money

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Super Sneaky Steve, May 15, 2018.

  1. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve B@nned Club :D

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    Does anyone do it? I'm trying to but here's my break down.

    Gas is about $3/gallon. My car gets 35mpg or $0.08/mile. My CTX gets 70mpg or $0.04/mile.

    Seems like the bike is in favor, but you have to account for more frequent tire changes.

    I changed out my first set early because OEM was crap in the rain, but lets assume I can go at least 10k miles on a low powered touring bike such as mine. So it would cost the car $800 in fuel and the bike $400 in fuel.

    The Angle GT's going by Revzilla prices in my sizes would be $297 per set.

    If I drop down to Shinko 016 tires I pay $215 per set.

    One more drop to the 011 tires and I pay $180 per set.

    Harbor freight tire changer and the rest are all paid for so no additional cost to swap them out.

    Oil is every 8K per the manual and I use cheap but good Rotella T for $20 plus a filter for a few bucks more.

    So, it looks like I can save a little but if you throw in sprockets/chains then the margin narrows even further.

    Does anyone else ride to save money?
    #1
  2. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Why?

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    I don't so I've never done the math.

    Add in all the expenses and see what you come up with.
    #2
  3. rat

    rat Dirty Hippie

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    I have done the math.

    And unless you're buying a scrapyard special, and willing to do all the work yourself, insuring for the bare minimum AND get rid of your car/truck... it doesn't add up. The car costs money standing still... mine's paid off, but it's still insured, if you have payments... you're paying to park it.

    Hell. I did the math on my bicycle once... and to pay itself off... I required 2500 km of commuting before I broke even, if I kept my car.

    Now, get rid of the car altogether? That math makes way more sense.
    #3
  4. BryceB

    BryceB It's OK, we know the Mayor!

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    it makes a convenient scam to get by a loved one to allow you to get a bike, but the math doesn't work out. Maybe if you only have a bike, and sell off a car to finance the bike purchase.

    With tires, service (even if you do it yourself), insurance, gear (helmet/jacket/boots/gloves/pants), cost of the bike, blah, blah, blah... you're better off getting a little shitbox car.
    any anyone that thinks you get around on a bike quicker than a car is wrong too. the time I fart around getting suited up and ready to ride and then un-suited up when I arrive at my destination, I'd have been miles down the road in my shitbox car already too.

    add a few passengers in the car and a bike makes no sense.
    #4
    CSI, nk14zp, Hittman and 5 others like this.
  5. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve B@nned Club :D

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    Can't get rid of the car because of winter and transporting small human offspring. I didn't think about factoring in insurance. I've always done liability only on the bike and maybe it's time to do the same with the car.

    I bought my car for 13k and bike for 6k. I plan on keeping both for 100k miles so I figure putting more miles on the less expensive vehicle made sense.

    My goal isn't for the bike to pay for itself, just to be cheaper than driving my car.

    The car has two sets of tires. Snows for the winter, which wear pretty fast. I should get 3 seasons out of those. Summers should last the life of the car with the winter tires soaking up miles.
    #5
  6. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve B@nned Club :D

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    I have been soaking up reviews of the Mitsubishi Mirage. Worlds worst car that happens to get the best mpg of any non-hybrid. Less than 80hp out of a 3 banger.
    #6
  7. rat

    rat Dirty Hippie

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    I always go comprehensive on the bike... more likely to be stolen than it is to be wrecked.

    But, factor in the cost of the bike, cost of gas, cost of registration and insurance, plus riding gear, and all consumables/service... I think you'll find it'd be cheaper to just drive... comparing gasoline for the car (which you own and will continue to own), to the cost of adding a bike into the mix. Just ride because you like to ride... it's the only "reason" that makes sense.
    #7
    nk14zp and Knuckle Buster like this.
  8. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I agree with the opinion above that it doesn't work, financially. Every time I ran the numbers, a small economical car (cheap, used, hybrid would be even better) is cheaper to commute in. If you live in CA (or most of the civilized world) where you can filter your way through traffic and/or park in convenient locations compared to where you'd park a car (so-so for this last point in CA), I can see why a motorcycle would make sense even if it's not cheaper, because time is money. But in most of the US, without the benefits of filtering/parking, the math simply doesn't work.

    Gustavo
    #8
    TeepS likes this.
  9. Schmokel

    Schmokel In desperate need of a nap.

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    I've purchased motorcycles for cheaper than what it costs to register my F250 for a single year. Nevermind the 12mpg and initial purchase price. :lol2
    #9
  10. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    It makes perfect sense, and it makes even more sense the more bikes one has.

    (At least, that's the story that my wife gets told.)
    #10
  11. rat

    rat Dirty Hippie

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    And so have I... but fact is, that $200 motorcycle still cost me $200, plus insurance, plus gas, plus parts, plus time spent working on it.... MORE than the cost of my car. $200 bike, plus $100 in insurance for the year, plus $200 in "just enough parts/consumables" to get on the road (at a very conservative estimate), is $500 (a laughably low estimate). At a current $1.22 per litre, that's 410 litres, or 9 fill ups on my car... about 2 months JUST in gas. Add in the $200 in insurance I'm paying to have the car parked... we're at 573 litres, or 3+ months in gas to pay for itself...

    now, let's add in the fact we all take the long route home on the bike, tend to "go for rides" when we'd never have chosen to "go for a drive", "go for a burger" at that joint two towns over, etc.
    #11
  12. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Very dependent on the bike, (and car you're comparing it to) but I think in general it's false economy thinking you're going to save money riding a motorcycle for a daily commute. Motorcycle tires are extremely expensive compared to car tires, and need replacing much more frequently. Tire cost alone might quash any savings from fuel. Most bikes need more frequent maintenance too (and replacement wear items like brake pads, chains and sprockets), and then you have to account for one time purchases of riding gear for different weather, bags/storage on the bike, possibly higher insurance premiums. Run your numbers for a while and let us know. I suspect you'll break even at best.

    Plus there is the whole pain in the ass factor of daily commuting if you, like I do, insist on wearing full gear for the ride. Takes forever to get ready to leave, and then you've got to store all the gear somewhere at work, blah blah blah.
    #12
    spokester likes this.
  13. Tripped1

    Tripped1 RonS says I am BSC, scorched earth or something

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    Back when I had a 90mile round trip commute

    A 17mpg F-150 every 340 miles
    A 45mpg Speed Triple 200

    ..and Gas at $4.25

    Well lets just say the difference between two fills a week when one was $125 and the other was $20 paid for a lot of tires. Plus it was southern NM, a set of PR2s every 10,000 miles or so, for about $300, a little Motul by the bucket, gear? Add a fleece under your jacket in winter, rain gear is not required, because if its raining its late July in New Mexico, HTFU you aren't going to freeze

    Motorcycles can be a HELL of a lot cheaper, particularly if you have a big mileage commute, or there are tolls/HOVs/parking fees involved

    Hell in Japan I almost always commute with a bike, because being able to split means the difference between a 15 minute and a 45 minute commute.
    #13
  14. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    All true. Like I said, highly dependent on the bike and car in question; and as you've correctly pointed out, the commute itself matters too. 90 miles a day on a speed triple sounds like a perma-sore ass :yikes
    #14
  15. Volfy

    Volfy Fava beans & a nice Chianti

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    It can... if you optimize all your variables toward saving $$$. Doing so, though, might sap the fun out of riding.
    Plus, you need to be realistic about just how often you get to ride in. Even if your locale let's you ride year round, weather might keep you from rolling on 2. You can go hardcore and ride all weather, but that introduces risk factors that not everybody is willing to accept.

    It helps if riding a bike let's you get on HOV lane, which may or may not add any monetary value, but shortening the commute and decreasing stress factor are certainly tangible benefits.

    Personally, I'd rather ride in because I enjoy riding in. If I happen to save some money/time in the process... count that as icing on the cake.
    #15
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  16. Tripped1

    Tripped1 RonS says I am BSC, scorched earth or something

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    All asses are not created equal :lol3
    #16
  17. Tripped1

    Tripped1 RonS says I am BSC, scorched earth or something

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    Its a very real thing

    What is the gas price in San Diego between sitting in traffic for two hours to get from north of downtown to the south.....or running it in 35 minutes on a bike.

    ....before you get into time.
    #17
    Zubb likes this.
  18. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    For most of us, if we are honest, motorcycling costs money, it doesn't save money.

    Which is OK, it's a hobby, after all, and almost all hobbies cost SOME money. Really, I think if you compare motorcycling to almost any other hobby, it's probably on the less expensive side unless you are the type to always buy new and trade every couple of years. But I'm a cheap SOB and even when I was a broke college student I could afford a $1500 bike and the bare minimum of gear to ride around with.

    If you have (a) a long commute, (b) a gas-hog car and (c) high fuel prices, then having a bike can save money. But, for example, the OP has a car that gets 35mpg - it's going to be tough to beat that with any bike (hell there are some sport bikes that, ridden hard, barely break 30mpg.)

    I think the old "it will save money" argument is what people use when trying to justify to their spouse/parents that they 'need' a bike. But by the time you factor in the cost of the bike, insurance, registration, equipment, etc, it's not really a money saving proposition.

    If saving money is actually your goal (as opposed to just being a pretext for getting a bike), buying a cheap beater economy car for $3k makes more sense than a bike. Less cost to buy, less cost to maintain, insure and register, and unlike the bike, you can drive it when it's below zero outside and fill the trunk with a week's worth of groceries.
    #18
  19. Yard Sale

    Yard Sale let's be bad guys

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    Guzzi small block, 50 mpg, shaft drive. My rear Michelin is at about 9,000 mi and will certainly make it past 10K. Expensive 10W60 oil (and filter) every 3K but I just found a cheap closeout source to stock up. DIY valve lash every 6K, plus a couple cheap plugs, air filter, transmission oil, and final drive oil. Cheap to insure.

    But I drove my 20 mpg truck today because of rain.
    #19
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  20. Volfy

    Volfy Fava beans & a nice Chianti

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    If my car commute is 2hrs each way, I would be looking to change job/city... post haste. Being able to run it in 35 minutes on a bike is just a Novocaine shot to numb a mouthful of cavities. I live in SoCal for 1-1/2yr back in the early '90s... long enough to know nothing is worth putting up with that kind of lifestyle.
    #20
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