Motorcycle sales got a much-needed shot in the arm over the course of the pandemic. The reason why was pretty simple: People wanted to keep their distance, but they still also needed to get places. Those same people either discovered or remembered that motorbikes can be both practical AND fun at the same time—and, very importantly, many of them also cost quite a bit less to own than cars.
Now that it’s April, 2022, rising fuel prices seems to be yet another argument in favor of motorbikes. That particular pain-in-the-pocketbook isn’t entirely new, of course. Chances are excellent that if you’ve been around for a few cycles, you’ve seen the same thing at least once before. Still, the mere fact that we’ve previously dealt with it doesn’t make it any less painful. As fuel prices fluctuate, one great way to fuel-price-proof your everyday errands is by getting yourself a shiny, new (or new-to-you) motorbike.
I spent years doing a pretty hefty commute by motorbike (around 80 miles every day, at its longest), so here are a few reasons you might want to give it a try.
Take Your Fuel Price Anxiety Down a Notch
There are a wide range of motorbikes to choose from, and all of them have different fuel economies. Over time, of course, age and/or modifications may change the fuel economy of your bike, as well. However, in the vast majority of cases, riders will almost always get far better fuel economy than (non-electric) car and truck drivers.
My primary commuting vehicle of choice was a maxi-scooter, which I still like to get groceries on or run other errands if there isn’t ice on the ground. Why? I get 70-ish miles to the gallon, depending on how aggressively I’m twisting the throttle. Even if you’re on a bike that gets fuel economy in the 40mpg range, that’s still a significant savings—especially when so many people only have to transport themselves and a backpack/briefcase/messenger bag on a regular basis.
My fuel tank on that scoot only holds a couple of gallons of gas, so I used to joke that I knew fuel prices were going bonkers if my total was in the double digits when I filled up from near-empty. Still, throwing $10 to $12 at a full tank feels a whole lot better than $60 to $80.
Parking Is So Much Easier, You Guys
This won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re commuting in an area where street parking is a fact of life—such as, say, a busy urban center—then bikes will make your life so much easier. Riders can fit our bikes into so many spots that cars just can’t. (Yes, even if it’s something relatively small, like a Smart ForTwo.)
Now, if you’re anxious about bike theft, that’s of course a concern. I am lucky enough to not have had that problem during my heavy commuting years. If you’re concerned about theft, using your fork lock (if you have one), investing in a good disc lock, and other strategies can help you deter would-be thieves.
You Have a Ride to Look Forward to at the End of Every Day
Don’t get me wrong; public transit (if it’s available in your area) and cars have their places. I’ll probably always love motorbikes the most, though, and that’s because they’re just so much fun. Even if you’re having an awful day, a halfway decent ride to look forward to at the end of it can make a huge difference.
There’s a reason that a lot of riders talk about riding as mental healthcare. Riders don’t necessarily agree on a whole lot of things, but one thing we can all respect is the power of motorbikes to improve our moods.
Lane Filtering and/or Splitting Isn’t an Option for Cars
Now, it’s not always legally an option for motorbikes, either. However, in the places where it’s been enshrined in the law, riders have an even bigger advantage out on the road. It can take some getting used to if you’re not used to doing it—which is a problem I’ve definitely had any time I’ve visited California. However, once you do get used to it, it’s pretty excellent.
Electric Two-Wheelers Cost Less Than Electric Cars
If you want to exit the combustion era completely, for any reason, you’ve probably noted that electric cars aren’t exactly cheap. Even the most basic 2022 Nissan Leaf (the S, if you wondered) has a starting MSRP of $27,400. That’s not including governmental electric vehicle incentives, and we should also note that markets outside the U.S. may have other, less expensive electric car options available.
However, other markets may also have more electric motorbike options available, as well—which will probably still be less expensive than their car counterparts. Here in the U.S., new Zero motorcycles start around $12K, which—weather and personal circumstance permitting—is less than half the MSRP of the aforementioned Nissan Leaf. If you’re interested in exploring electric scooter options, things get even cheaper with the likes of NIU and others becoming ever more readily available.