Thursday, May 5, 2011

The ugly truth

I read there are more motorcycles on the road today than ever before. Tha's great news right? Wrong. It's wrong for the simple reason that many of these riders have bought a motorcycle for the wrong reason and have an unreal view of what ownership will mean.
Why do I say this? I have several reasons and will now present them.
First, a newer rider reasons a motorcycle is cheaper to run. With gas approaching $4 a gallon, and well let's face it, that happened at $2 and $3 a gallon, they reason it's cheaper to ride a motorcycle. They will get tremendous gas savings. And they will be disappointed. Most will walk into a dealership with dreams of the cool cruiser, the hot sportbike or something else huge. These bikes get on average 36 to 45 mpg.  If they're lucky they'll get closer to 50mpg. If they are lucky. Fact is to get the massive savings these disillusioned people want they will have to get a smaller single cylinder motorcycle. Which let's face it is not comfortable on the interstate or really for any length of time in the saddle.
Second, they ignore the fact the average motorcycle gas tank is 4 to 5 gallons. Say they get 50mpg. On a 4 gallon tank they will be empty by 200 miles. If they are careful they can squeak out a few more miles, maybe enough to get to a gas station. Many of the smaller bikes have sub 4 gallon tanks, which translate to fewer miles on a tank.
The third item they forget is insurance. A bike will likely cost more to insure and if it's financed that means full coverage. The young pup who buys a sportbike is in for a rude surprise as their insurance have hit $3000 a year. Oh and don't forget this is a second or possibly third vehicle and they still need to pay for their car.
Maintenance is the fourth factor. Motorcycles use motorcycle oil. Which right now starts at $4.25 a quart and can climb, quickly, to $10 or more depending on the oil. Yeah, car car oil can be used but better not that first year. If there is a problem with the motor a factory rep can use that as a reason to not cover the bike since the prescribed fluids were not used.
This is a fun one that these riders forget, tires. I have heard countless tales of exasperation over a tire not lasting 2000 miles on a sport bike. I have had to explain that sticky translates to short life. The worst offenders though are the cruiser riders who think their bike should get 30,000 miles out of a set of tires. They freak when the truth is revealed. Here's the fact. A cruiser tire, will last at most 10,000 miles of a moderate weight machine. Heavy cruisers will not get this. They forget the motorcycle has two tires and a much smaller contact patch to deal with the road.
I could go on wth all the items these new riders have not factored in but I digress. I think I've written enough for now.
The fact is if a person wants to buy a motorcycle then it should be for the right reason. It should be for the simple enjoyment of riding a motorcycle. It's a pisspoor commuter. You can't haul a lot on it. It sucks when it rains. Forget about winter driving. If you want a motorcycle make sure you get it for the right reason.

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