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Learner motorcycle running costs

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by nerdman, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. hi everyone! sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but i did try a couple of searches....

    my situation: i have my car driver's licence, can drive a manual, can ride a bicycle. willing to learn how to ride a motorbike.

    i have no car right now, but someone said that a motorbike would be a more economical way to travel....so I'm just wondering what the running costs are actually like. so, excluding the cost of the licence and the actual bike (i was thinking of perhaps a 250cc or something legal for a learner to ride), what are some of the other costs?

    i know shite all about bikes....so i was wondering about these kind of things:
    - fuel economy (litres per 100km or whatever)
    - how often you need to replace air filter, change the oil and put in a new oil filter, fuel filter....
    - how much these parts cost
    - cost of tyres, how long they last
    - is insurance more or less than a car's?
    - brakes, suspension, any other running costs?

    ultimately, i just would like to know whether it works out cheaper than a car. i would be riding about 40km 5 days a week, just going to and from work.

    is it possible to do a lot of these repairs yourself (ie easier than a car), or do you have to take it to a mechanic every time? i can sort of change the oil in a car....but am not really that mechanically gifted i guess

    thank you very much for reading and i look forward to hearing your replies!!!!!
  2. Hehe. Anyway..

    Fuel economy for a 250cc - 4L/100kms
    Maintenance costs - OK I haven't worked this out before so.. lets add up the stuff.. Assuming you do 10000kms a year (48weeks x 5days x 40kms)

    -Tyres: A front will last about 2 years at this rate. So per year it will be about 75 for a front per year. Then lets say the rear will last 15000kms, @ 150, so we'll add 100 for a rear per year. Thats 175 in tyres/year

    -Air Filter: Clean it every 5000kms - will last 20000kms easily, and costs like $10 for a new one, so I'm ignoring this cost

    -Oil + oil filter: Oil every 5000kms, filter every 10000. $30 for each change, and about $5 for a new filter, so $65 per year.

    -Other liquids (coolants, etc.): General topups, lets say $30 a year

    -General servicing: The above you can do yourself. As you stipulated, bikes are typically easier to work on yourself, so you can save some money here. Just the same, lets put a $250 service down anyway.

    -Insurance: $250 for third party, per year

    -Registration: $100+$20 pink slip

    That adds up to $888 per year.


    Compared to a car..
    -Insurance: $450 (I guess?) + $18 pink slip
    -Registration: $350
    -Tyres: Say they last 30000kms, adding up to $450 for a cheap set. So 150 a year
    -Servicing: Once in the year with these kms, and around 600 for service and parts

    That adds up to $1568

    Fuel comparison. Lets say your car gets 10L/100kms.

    The cost for the bike with your mileage will be about 400L a year, at $1.30 that will be $520.

    The car? 1000L, @ $1.30 its $1300 a year.

    -Bike: $1408
    -Car: $2868

    The reason the bike is half the price is because this is the idea set of circumstances, ie. not alot of kms a year, a low capacity average commuter, eg. vtr, zzr, gpx, across, etc.

    I just had a look at http://www.openroad.com.au/motoring_inthemarket_costofownership.asp

    Claiming a running cost of $3767 for their most economical (Hyundai accent), or a standard commodore $6500, based on 10000kms a year.

    Interesting comparison... obviously there are many things not taken into account eg. riding in rain, heat, cold, lack of space for passengers/supplies, etc. But for a commuter, you really can't beat it.

    But all of this is thrown out the door when you get a big sportsbike :grin:
  3. Good on you phizog for trying to work out the costs.
    I think you have way over simplified things though and you assumed the rider will be naked. Might be ok in a cage (i've actually done it but thats another story) but not a good idea on a bike.
    It's a good start though.
  4. I’ve been riding around 7 months doing around 400KM’s per week to and from work on a Hyosung GT 250 (naked), most of which is freeway riding at 80-100KMph. If I go for a ride on the weekend I can put 700K’s on the bike in one week :)

    I’m filling the bike up 3 times a fortnight when just riding to and from work. I generally fill up and ride between 250-300K’s before filling up again. This morning I filled up at around 250K’s which was $10. So for 800K’s I’m spending around $30 a fortnight.

    Obviously doing this may K’s means I have the bike serviced often, at every 4000K’s. I don’t remember having a service done that was less then $250, but certainly haven’t had a service over $350. Came close when having the front pads replaced.

    Personally I haven’t done the math to find out if riding a bike is cheaper then public transport, because I don’t care. I’d rather chew my own foot off then ride Melbourne’s trains again :)
  5. Yeah a little too simplified phizog - for a start you're overlooking bike costs like chains and sprockets, fork oil, as well as retuning, changing brake pads (and rotors) and other maintenance items that need to be done far more often on a bike than with an average small car (even tyres on a car can last a LOT longer than 30,000kms). And anyone paying 600 bucks for a 10,000km service on an average car is getting seriously ripped off. Plus as pointed out you've got the ongoing costs of buying/replacing riding gear, especially helmets.
    Basically though a learner bike or scooter can be cheaper to run than a high-performance/V8 car - but likewise a sporty 250 can cost more to run than a small car. Plus given the age of the OP comprehensive insurance is going to be much, much more expensive for some bikes than with a "low risk" car that would cost the same to buy.
    Still you also have to consider what the fun of riding, being able to lanesplit, and (if in Victoria at least) being able to park for free anywhere is worth in equivalent money terms - when you do that a bike starts to make a lot more sense :grin:
  6. personally when i was on the 250 i found the bike to be slightly cheaper to run then my 2ltr pulsar.....(that not including gear to get started.) That was a straight week for week running cost. I did all my own work on both the car and the bike.....Also when working out cost consider commute time (work out you rhourly rate and add that to the expense column) time=money

    To me the saving came with the commuting time, atm i travel from dandy to kew in 40mins, the car takes me anywhere from a 1 1/2+ to do the same distance. But yes as they say on bigger bikes they are way more expensive to run....but shit they are alot more fun too :wink:
  7. Hehe yes, I wasn't sure about some of the car related costs (my car gets no love), and I realised last night I forgot about chain and sprockets, so you could add $100 a year for that, on a 250 that is. And I didn't factor in the price of gear either.

    Even still, I think the point is still there: average 250 is much cheaper for low kms commuting than an average car. (Especially if the Open Road website info is correct).
  8. Mate, it's like this: you can have economy or performance but not both! As discussed in other threads, the cost of running a decent sport bike is not that different from running an average family car.

    However if you don't care about image or performance, you can certainly make your motorcycling experience quite cheap. Here's how it roughly works out for my CB250:

    - fuel economy (litres per 100km or whatever)
    I average 3.4 - 3.6 l/100km, running the bike in the inner city traffic. Regular unleaded.

    - how often you need to replace air filter, change the oil and put in a new oil filter, fuel filter....
    CB250 is simple and air-colled, so no filters to worry about. Oli is supposed to be changed every 6,000kms but in recognition of hard life the engine is leading (stop-start all the time, lots of short trips) I change the oil every 3,000kms. It costs... oh, I can't remember. About 20 bucks maybe?

    - cost of tyres, how long they last
    Some bikes (and some riders) can shred their tyres in a couple of days, but I've got over 13,000kms on mine and I'm confident they'll last at least another 2,000. So again, no biggie.

    - is insurance more or less than a car's?
    varies greatly with bike and rider's age. Youngsters with powerful sport bike can expect to pay a couple of thousand a year for comprehensive insurance. Mine is something like $200 a year! Add another 200 (a bit less if memory serves) for the rego.

    - brakes, suspension, any other running costs?
    the only work this bike ever needed was done as part of scheduled services, every 6000kms; they work out to about 200 bucks each, give or take a bit. New chain and sprockets at 18,000kms. Again, this depends greatly on bike's power and your riding style.
  9. nah mate, what he meant to say was "scooter".
  10. Leaving aside the capital costs and depreciation my aging BMW is cheaper to run than the car (V6 Camry Azura). Occasional services, fuel, tyres and fuel cost around $1000 / year + registration and insurance. Parking is free.

    The Camry - the tyres last a lot longer but cost twice as much, the fuel consumption is not bad but a lot worse than the bike. Services are less frequent but more expensive.

    Neither have had any mechanical problems - apart from a recall to fix a potential headlight switch problem with the Camry (the Camry I've had 18 months and 40,000k - the BMW is coming up to 4 years in my hands and about the same - it's actually past the 100,000k mark). The BMW did cost me for a rocker cover ($90) when it slipped out on the the icy bridge on the icicle ride a couple of years ago and I'm after a new sidestand.

    But you really can't count accident damage - insurance is a lot more for the Camry.

    A high performance bike will cost lots more to run but still an awful lot less than an equivalent performing car. If you just want to commute and don't want to look for extra performance then you really can do it on the cheap with a 250.

    If I took depreciation and capital into account the bike would win hands down.

    The advantage of mine is that it is appreciating since I bought it - the LS is fairly rare. It is a really comfortable touring bike and rides and handles well. In 2 years time when it's eligible I'll look for a new bike and out this one onto club registration.
  11. pffff over simplifying.....

    I'l give you the real simple answer - bikes are not cheaper than cars.

    If you want a bike purely for the cheapest possible transport, you would have to get a 50cc scooter.

    On top of all the maintenance and insurance costs for a bike, the other killer is that for most (not all but most) people, you will still keep a car as well.
  12. I disagree. My Honda Spada was waaaaaaaay cheap to buy / own / run (inc comp insurance at $250/yr). I compare this to a '97 Mitsu Magna, yeah I know that it aint an apple to apples comparison. But the fuel savings per week (bike Vs car) were enough to cover the repayments on bike and gear. Even a Honda Spada (GPX / ZZR / VTR / etc) is going to outrun a cheap POS comparable car and even the Magna up to 100 clicks.

    The Across however was more expensive, using more fuel and being just a little bit more expensive to maintain (4 cyl fully faired ). But it was a much better bike than the Spada for what I used it for.

    Now I have the CBR600, I doubt that is cheaper than a POS car. But it is still cheaper than running a mid sized car whilst being fcuk loads faster.
  13. my wife got a 100cc scooter when she started working from home. saves over $50 a week in petrol compared with the car and its pretty much paid for itself in a bit over a year.
  14. I don't think scooters are that cheap either, they seem to fail with monotonous regularity, and are always breaking down from the posts we see here..........

    As for motorbikes, if you can do your own work, and buy a bike that is well supported with aftermarket service/replacement parts, is known to be a reliable model and is plentiful in the wreckers, it shouldn't cost more than $40/week to commute average kilometres.

    Regards, Andrew.
  15. buying a bike cus one thinks it's "economical" is laughable!

    motorcycling is a lifestyle, for lack of a better word. if you're willing to first accept the risks associated then please proceed to the next level.
  16. Yeah I can do just over 200km before I hit reserve (only about an 8L trailbike tank, then it only costs under $10 to fill it back up)

    Your bike will save you lots of money over the car, but remember, you must ALWAYS be paying attention. Riding a motorbike on the road IS dangerous. You CAN and probably WILL get hurt at some time on your bike. ALWAYS pay attention, and only ride when you're wide awake and alert. And perhaps most of all HAVE FUN!! :grin:
  17. I don't care about the cost. If you ever travel on the Monash car park, a bike pays for itself by not having to sit in the traffic. :grin:
  18. I will add to the camp that no, a motorbike is not cheaper then a car. Not by far. But they are a lot more fun. I have a similar performing car (worked 81 celica) to my cbr250r, and yes it does cost more, but i would say the bike is on par with my friend who owns a corolla.

    Initial gear: $1000.
    Insurance: $150 third party property. Not as much as a car, which causes more damage when you crash.
    Fuel = 1/2 of what you use in a 1.6l buzz box.
    Servicing: 2 * as much as a car. (a poorly maintained car is nowhere near as hazardous as a poorly maintained bike)
    Tyres = 1/2 as many * 3 times as often * same price per tyre, ish.
    Chains and sprockets: not exactly cheap.

    Don't ride a motorbike to save money, ride a motorbike to have some fun.
  19. My bike cost $1,000 to get. 5L/100 fuel and $80 3rd party insurance.

    Then few $100 on gear (usually via eBay) to get started.

    $350 for the learners course (to get your L's).

    Fun is priceless - I really do enjoy my weekend drives (have only used the bike to get to work and back once) and getting much more confident each time (have now been riding for getting on for three months)

    Give it a go - it's not expensive to start and you can recoup most of it if you give it up....but I will be parting with my old MX-5 to geta better bike and do more commuting inn the Summer.