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Is It Cheaper to Drive a Car or a Motorcycle?

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Some people are car fanatics. Their cars are their pride and joy and often reflect their personalities. Similarly, motorcyclists feel a special bond with their bikes and might search high and low for custom VT750 parts, with no consideration as to the costs, for example.

But if cost is a concern of yours, you might need to determine whether it is cheaper to drive a car or a motorcycle before making your next vehicle purchase.

Initial purchase costs

When you’re comparing a bike and a car as far as the upfront costs, undoubtedly a car is almost always going to be more expensive than a motorcycle. You can get a used motorcycle in some cases for a few thousand dollars, while a new car will probably cost you $12,000 and up.

If you’re just looking at the upfront purchase costs, it might be easy to say that owning a car is more expensive, but there’s more to it than that.

Other upfront motorcycle costs

When you buy a motorcycle, you will need to buy gear, which you obviously don’t need to do with a car.

You will need a jacket, boots, leathers, gloves, and a helmet. Helmets alone can cost hundreds of dollars, and you will be buying these with cash, versus getting a loan like you would for a car.

You may also need rain gear, and you might have to double up on everything you buy if you’re going to have a passenger at any point.

You also need to take a safety class, and in some states, this isn’t optional. This costs money as well, plus it takes time. You may also need to pay for special licensing to drive a motorcycle, depending on where you live.

What about maintenance?

For the most part, motorcycle maintenance is cheaper than car maintenance. However, you’ll likely need to service your motorcycle more often than you would a car, so are you willing to invest that time? You might plan on spending a few hundred dollars a year on general motorcycle maintenance.

You will have to replace your wheels from every 4,000 to 11,000 miles, and that can also be hundreds of dollars, depending on the type you choose and your bike type.

If you can’t ride your motorcycle for some reason, for example, due to weather, you have to think about how that will affect your costs. If you’re going to drive a motorcycle as your primary vehicle, will you have to pay to rent a car if it’s not an option for some reason?

What if you were out of town on your motorcycle and bad weather hit? Would you have to pay for a hotel room?

You will obviously pay less for gas with a motorcycle, and if you have a long commute or drive a lot, that can mean you save quite a bit.


Motorcycle insurance can be more expensive or cheaper than car insurance, which is an ambiguous answer, but the reality is that it depends on where you live.

Other factors that play a role in the cost of insurance include whether or not you have a newer financed bike, because you would need collision and comprehensive insurance. In some states, while it’s fairly rare, insurance may be cheaper on a new car than on a motorcycle.

If you have customized features or accessories, you’ll also probably want to insure those as well.

There are certain things that you can do if you opt for a motorcycle to keep your risk level and therefore, your insurance as low as possible. For example, taking a motorcycle safety course or having certain safety features on your bike will lower your insurance costs.

The pros and cons of a motorcycle

If you’re comparing the costs of a car versus a motorcycle, there are some general pros and cons of a bike. Some of the pros include the sense of community, and the thrill people get from riding. At the same time, you might want to stick with your car if you don’t like inconvenience, dealing with frequent maintenance or upkeep because a car will almost always be easier in those areas.

This is a collaborative article.