With the cost of gas a lot higher than it used to be, many motorists are concerned about rising car ownership costs. Some are switching to electric vehicles, though the infrastructure isn’t fully there to support everyone just yet. As such, others are considering trading in four wheels for two and purchasing a motorcycle.
Why? Because it’s perceived that motorcycles are less expensive than cars. The cost of owning and maintaining a motorbike is often seen as cheaper than a four-wheeled vehicle. Mainly, the logic behind this is that motorcycles are smaller and lighter, so they should have better fuel economy. That means fewer trips to the gas station, saving money. There are also fewer parts of a motorbike to break, so surely this means lower repair costs every year?
To figure out if this is the truth, we’ve looked at the cost of motorcycle ownership to see how it stacks up against cars.
It’s only natural to begin with the upfront costs of buying a motorcycle or bike. In general, a motorcycle will be much cheaper than a car. If we compare a brand-new motorcycle with a brand-new car, you can find a two-wheel vehicle for under $9,000with a cheap four-wheel one coming in at over $16,000.
That’s a huge difference - and it’s similar in the used market too. If you found a used car and motorcycle at exactly the same price, the motorcycle would likely be much newer, in better condition, have fewer miles on the clock, and be more economical.
So, if we only compare upfront costs, motorcycles are clearly cheaper.
After buying a vehicle, you have to get insurance. This makes it road-legal and protects you in the event of crashes or theft. How does motorcycle insurancecompare to car insurance?
This is slightly harder to look at as insurance premiums vary based on many factors, such as:
- Your age
- Your driving experience
- Where you’re driving
- How many miles you drive
- The cost of your car
- The level of coverage you’re after
Still, most insurance experts state that the average cost of motorcycle insurance is cheaper than car insurance. If we dig a little deeper, we discover the main reasons for this are the upfront costs being cheaper, the cost to repair a motorcycle being cheaper, and that motorcycles are less likely to cause property damage during accidents.
Of course, it depends on the bike you’re insuring and where you’re riding - as well as your accident history. But if we take a general look at things, motorcycles are more affordable from an insurance perspective.
Both motorbikes and cars should be taken in for yearly servicing. As mentioned above, motorcycles typically cost less to repair. They contain fewer parts and less technology, meaning there are fewer things that can go wrong.
However, you could argue that motorcycles are more at risk of being written off than cars. They’re far smaller and lighter, so modest collisions can cause devastating damages that are very expensive to fix. If a car and motorcycle were to collide, the motorcycle would definitely be worse off. Then, you have to factor in the cost of medical bills. As noted by GJEL Accident Attorneys, medical bills can pile up after a motorcycle accident because the rider has less protection. So, you’re not only paying for repairs but also for medical expenses.
This makes it hard to establish which vehicle has lower repairs & servicing costs. If you avoided accidents, a motorcycle would be cheaper. The problem with this statement is that motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in accidents! Overall, we can’t pick a true winner here as it’s very circumstantial.
We’ve arrived at one of the biggest talking points in the motorcycle vs. car ownership debate. As noted in the introduction, people switch to two-wheels because they’re perceived as more fuel-efficient. Is this true?
Well, it largely depends on the motorcycles or cars in question. There are more electric and hybrid cars than motorcycles, so many four-wheeled vehicles are extremely efficient and help you save loads of money. You can also get motorcycles that guzzle gas for fun - such as a highly inefficient Harley Davidson.
With so many factors in play, the best approach is to look at the averages. According to reports from a company in the UK, the average petrol car gets 36 mpg compared to 57 mpg for a motorcycle. If we take the averages, we must conclude that motorcycles are more fuel-efficient. Therefore, you’ll spend less money per year on fuel compared to driving a car.
There is one other expense to be aware of, and it’s exclusive for motorcycles. Driving a car requires no additional gear or equipment. You simply hop inside the vehicle and set off. Motorcyclists don’t have this luxury as they’re exposed to the open air. Thus, they must purchase the necessary safety equipment and riding gear. This includes the following:
- A helmet
- A riding suit
- Appropriate footwear
According to motorcycle experts, this can set you back between $250 - $600. Ideally, this will last a long time, so it’s not an ongoing expense you have to pay every year. It still deserves to be noted as it’s an extra thing to pay for that car owners don’t deal with.
The only way to make an accurate comparison is by taking the averages of everything. So, if we look at the cost of buying an average car or motorcycle, which vehicle comes out on top?
It’s clear to us that motorcycles are cheaper to run than cars. They have lower upfront costs, cheaper insurance premiums, more affordable servicing, and fewer fuel costs. The only way a motorcycle is more expensive is when you crash it regularly or get into too many accidents.
Likewise, cars can be cheaper to run, but that’s usually when you opt for an EV or hybrid. If you’re debating between petrol cars or motorcycles with a view to saving money, the two-wheeled option wins.