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Old 12-31-2012, 11:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cost of ownership in the long run. Bike vs Truck. Commute and Weekend trips.

Hey guys. I have read all over the net and different forums that a motorcycle will not be saving you any money in a commute. I have a CBR 600RR and a guy who rides the exact same bike as me did a power point of expenses and it turns out that the bike cost more to maintain than a Honda Civic. With the prices of tires, Valve adjustments, and frequent oil changes making it more expensive to own. I was also surprised that the CBR only got a little better gas mileage.

If the bike wont save me more in the commute, will it save me money compared to a truck? Lets say I put 480 miles a month, 5760 miles a year. That is my commute to work, errands, and road trips ( I like to travel A LOT). Would the cost of owning my CBR be cheaper than lets say a Ford F150 V6 Lifted?
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You already have a reference point - can't you plug in your own expenses?

6,000 miles a year isn't very much. Usually a car is cheaper. Points to consider:

- Make sure if you are only going to have one vehicle, that your insurance costs accurately reflect that. A lot of people use their "second vehicle" rate for their bike in these calculations.

- Use the appropriate level of gas - usually premium for a sport bike and regular for a car.

- Compare apples to oranges - don't show cost for changing oil yourself in one case and having a dealer/service dept do it in the other.

- Be reasonable about tire estimates (a big part of the difference). I expect a rear tire to last 3,500 miles and am thrilled if it lasts 5k, and I'm not particularly hard on tires. Bike tires flatspot due to their wear characteristics if you commute, and they are not very fun to corner on once they have.

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Old 01-01-2013, 12:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I average 10k a year in the car and 5k a year on the bike(s). My bike was saving me a lot back when I had my lifted jeep. Granted I had a 30 mile commute one way to school. And 10 mile commute to work the opposite way. My bike was getting 40ish mpg and my jeep was getting 10mpg....on a good day.

Plus I'm sure most of us ride because it's enjoyable and not to save money. That's just an added incentive.

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Old 01-01-2013, 02:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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600RR to save gas? Comparing a Civic to a 600RR?


I know how this thread will go, won't waste any more bytes on this.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The "bikes save money" argument is simply a trick to get your wife to let you buy a bike. At best it's a wash, esapecially with a sportbike.

If you actually want to save money, buy a scooter. With the current gas prices, 5000 miles on a scooter = $1000 in savings. So if you buy a scooter for $2000 and put 10K miles on it, you essentially have a free scooter. It's like printing money.

You can do the same thing with a Ninja 250, but it takes more miles to break even.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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After 150,000 miles, I enjoy maintaining a bike MUCH more than a POS car. I HATE cars! I'll take the worst a bike can give anyday. The only one who wrenches my bike is me. Dealer monkey mechanics don't touch it.

The answer to expensive tires are Shinko.

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you really want to save money, catch the bus!
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nero Diablo View Post
If you really want to save money, catch the bus!
Mass transit in the US is a joke.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm surprised that the CBR got better gas mileage. He either rides really slow or drives the hell out of his civic.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So your friend has this spreadsheet. All you need do is plug in your own data.

Asking opinions here doesn't make any sense. I don't know the costs for a lifted v6 f150, but I am sure you do. What am I missing?
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Your point of refence starts out as an economy car, then changes to a full size truck.

If you stay below 500 cc and can pay less than $200 per year insurance on a Bike, and do your own maintence work(tires,chains ect). Then you can come out cheaper than an economy car.

You need a bike that gets atleast 50 mpg, that limits the cc range. Also Drops the intial purchase cost.

Now a lifted v6 truck(is extravagant, tires brake wear ect) try a stanard shift base cab small truck, cheaper cost on tires(you can run car tires), easier on brakes ect. But my standard shift base truck, is way way cheaper to operate than my bike.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:18 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I did the math a few years ago on my $40,000 2002 F350 Crewcab diesel vs my $6800 2007 ZZr600 and the truck cost More per mile to drive than the motorcycle by only 6 or 7 cents per mile (if memory serves me correctly...I know it wasn't much), even when the truck only lifetime averaged 18mpg and the bike lifetime averaged 43 and diesel costing typically .40-.75 more per gallon than gas. Tires were the real difference in favor of the truck, 52,000 miles a set for $900 of tires vs over those same 52,000 miles on the motorcycle it was 12 sets of tires at just over $2950. Insurance was nearly a wash when comparing apples to apples coverage, since I ride 3 times as many miles on the bike each year vs what I drove the truck~but real world I carry liability on bike and full on truck, so the truck insurance costs seven times the bike ($124 yr bike~ $840 yr truck).
Since doing that comparison the miles per year on the truck dropped in half---so cost per mile on it would have gone up significantly, making the bike far more favorable in the cost per mile department.

But since I do all my own work on both vehicles and the truck thus far had only ever needed tires and oil changes (4 gallons of oil in the truck vs 4.25 quarts in the bike...but the truck got them 50% less often) and to clean the air filter on occassion vs the bike going through 8 valve adjustments (ie tune ups), 24 tire changes, 2 new sets of chain/sprockets, 3-fork oil changes, 5-brake fluid changes etc.....I did not calculate in any expenses for service other than the parts themselves.
Had I been paying for service and tire changes etc...the truck would have easily cost less per mile than the motorcycle

How many miles per year is probably the biggest factor in your cost per mile calculations.
Figuring some of the biggest of the expenses are fixed regardless if you drive it 3000 miles or 30,000 miles; cost of vehicle, insurance to a large extent, depreciation to a large extent.

I did do the math on exact expenses as I experienced on both vehicles too, and then the truck cost me far less per year than the motorcycle, in large part due to the huge difference in miles driven/ridden each year, but the cost per mile of the truck was near $1 per mile vs the bike being slightly more than 1/2 that (I don't remember the actual number anymore)

A couple of notes, I based the value of the vehicles (at the time of doing the comparison) to what a local truck dealer would give me for it outright ($20,000) and the value of the bike at what I felt was reasonable and comparative to the local market ($3200)...The truck was also 6 years older than the bike~ yet both vehicles had dropped to approx 1/2 their original cost.

But I never go on the bike thinking "this will cost me less to get from point A to point B"

Another note or three....the truck can and has hauled a 41' RV to Canada, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or anywhere and I am in relative comfort. The bike.....I wouldn't even ride it to any of those locations. The bike is great fun for 500 mile days as long as the roads are twisty curvy...but hiway droning is best left to 4 wheels. Plus the bike can only be ridden (in relative comfort and safety) here in MN for 8 months of the year (typically) whereas the truck can go anywhere anytime and your in relative comfort and safety, so a second vehicle with 4 wheels is a must. The motorcycle also doesn't do well bringing home $200 worth of groceries or lumber from Menards or that new couch/TV/computer desk etc...


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Old 01-01-2013, 11:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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A lot of people in Europe ride bikes to save money, the key is the bikes they chose for commuters... Supersports never make it to that list.

Start with something like a Ninja 650, Versys 650, SVF650, thumpers, like the KLR650, DR650, MT-03, XT660R/Z/X, or the ultimate gas sipper, the BMW G650GS. On any of those bikes you'll use cheaper brake pads (and less of them), cheaper tires and chains will last longer. The twins will have no problem achieving Prius like MPG, the thumpers will make a Prius look like a gas guzzler. Then there is the tires, commuter bike gets commuter tires, you don't need Power Pures to commute, even cheap ContiMotion, Shinkos, or more expensive tires, like Road Attacks or Pilot Roads will do just fine and last a LONG time. Finally, don't overdo on the maintenance! Changing fluids too often "because bike engines run harder" is a waste.

Then there are the items people don't consider on their car TCO, a car will eventually need shocks (4 of them), CV joints, engine mounts, and several other wear items a bike just doesn't have.

Last but not least, bikes are really easy to work on compared to cars.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Here are my actual numbers, for what they are worth:

2005 Honda Civic, bought used (so the original owner ate a lot of the initial depreciation), has 118K miles on it. Costs factored in include purchase price, repairs, maintenance (I do my own), insurance, tags, etc. Car averages 32.5 miles per gallon on regular, current trade value is $3100 and is factored in. So far the cost per mile is $0.38 per mile (includes factoring in that car needs tires now and that'll run me about $400).

2009 Suzuki 1250SA Bandit, bought new, has 12K miles on it: costs factored in include purchase price, repairs, maintenance (I do my own), insurance, tags, accessories, tires (1 set so far, originals lasted 9K miles), and necessary gear to wear (wouldn't have to buy a helmet or jacket to drive a car, after all, so I figure that into the cost of ownership). Bike averages around 43 miles per gallon. Cost per mile with figuring its current trade-in value is over 98 cents per mile.

Not even close.

Naturally as more miles pile up on the bike its cost per mile will drop, but it has a long way to go to reduce its per-mile cost enough to get near the Civic's. Tires kill the bike - in 118K miles the Civic has used 3 sets of tires ($1200), in the same 118K miles the bike will require over 13 sets of tires (assuming they all go 9000 miles) at a cost of $5244. Tire costs for the Civic in 118K miles are a penny a mile, tire costs for the bike would be almost 4.5 cents per mile.

The only way the bike gets close is if I figure it against my 16 mile per gallon 4WD truck with its expensive All Terrain tires. But while the bike crushes it in fuel mileage, even there the truck will match or beat it in cost per mile because the tires go almost 50K miles a set and, well, because its a Toyota - there hasn't been a single repair cost in 110K miles.

Ride and commute on a motorcycle because you enjoy it, not because it saves any money. In most cases it doesn't.


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Old 01-01-2013, 01:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BloodRedSandman View Post
I have a CBR 600RR and a guy who rides the exact same bike as me did a power point of expenses and it turns out that the bike cost more to maintain than a Honda Civic.

If the bike wont save me more in the commute, will it save me money compared to a truck?

In what universe is a truck cheaper to run than a Civic?
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