The Hidden Costs of Motorcycling

“I bet that’s great on gas!”

No, it’s not and, no it’s not cheap in any other way either. Other than a low sticker price, motorcycling is expensive in a lot of ways people don’t prepare for.

Stuff

There’s just a lot of stuff you need. If you’re a safety junkie, you’re going to spend a ton on safety gear. Helmets, jackets, dedicated boots, pants, that nerdy-but-handy Aerostich suit, gloves.

Ooooh, I need an outlet to charge my phone!

That billet brake reservoir cover sure looks better than that plastic thing that came on it.

Surely a different seat will be more comfortable.

And on and on … there’s a reason there are hundreds of motorcycle accessories dealers, motorcyclists can’t leave shit alone. You’ll get the bug too.

Maintenance

No one goes in expecting to have no maintenance, but a lot of people aren’t prepared for the cost or work (which costs time) that these vehicles need. Some are easier than others, but the shop bill for yearly valve inspections on a high-strung motor isn’t cheap.

The drive line sucks a lot of cash too. Everyone knows chains wear out, but when a belt breaks (and they do, trust me) you’ve got to pull the swingarm off. Time or money on that one … your choice.

Brake pads seem to not last as long. Maybe that’s in the way I ride, but I can roast a set of pads in a year of regular street riding.

The big one is tires. All the tires. All the time. And they aren’t cheap. I had a shop put tires and brakes on my Nissan and that’s cheaper than just purchasing my preferred tires. The tires let you know too, they get squared off, or greasy feeling, or you cheaped out on tires and you HATE the ones you bought. Tires will put you into debt quick.

Events

Bike nights, trips with your buddies, bike shows, track days, MSF courses all add up. Sure it might be $10 or $20 bucks buying drinks at a bike night, but if you do that every week you’ll feel it. And you’ll start making up reason to take rides burning extra gas, rushing towards that next oil change. It’s fun, but be prepared.

It’s a real vehicle

This one really gets people. It seems like a fun toy, a diversion from daily life. It’s not, it’s a real, honest to goodness vehicle in the eyes of the state and county and they want their tax money. Property taxes, license plates, title fees, sales tax. Just like a car. I’m in the odd situation where my motorcycle is worth more and therefore costs more in taxes than either of my cars. I really felt it when I was writing “Jackson County Collector” on a check a few hours ago.

It’s for love

That’s the only reason I can really come up with to justify motorcycling. It’s impractical. It’s costly. It takes away time from other things in my life that may be more important. It’s hurt me. I’ve been in the back of an ambulance strapped to a back board thinking, “I hope I can ride soon.”

And that’s why it’s worth it.

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