Daily Traffic Alerts

Is Owning a Motorcycle Cheaper for a New Driver?


If you’re a newer driver or a young person looking to get a license and vehicle, you might be considering whether it’ll cost less to just get a motorcycle instead of a car. In most states, this also means you’ll go through a slightly different driver’s license test, meaning you’ll need to study specific things about motorcycles.

However, the cost of a motorcycle isn’t exactly as simple as just “it’s less expensive than a car”. There are some hidden costs you might not be considering. Let’s look a bit closer.

Up-Front Costs

Looking just at the cost of buying the vehicles, yes, a newer motorcycle will cost you much less than a newer car. This is the reason many younger drivers tend to consider a motorcycle. However, there are other up-front costs you might not be considering. In order to safely operate a bike, it’s recommended (and often mandated) that you wear safety equipment like a helmet, leathers, gloves, and chaps. These items need to be purchased up-front, with cash, and won’t be rolled into a car payment or loan.

There’s also the potential cost of classes if you need to take safety lessons in your area in order to receive a license to operate a motorbike. In such a case, you need to factor in this cost as well.

Ongoing Costs

Like with up-front costs, the ongoing costs of owning a bike are a mixed bag, too. While your insurance is likely to be lower and your gasoline cost is all but certain to be lower, there are some recurring costs that you might not be considering. Motorbikes need new wheels every few thousand miles and require more consistent maintenance to be safe to operate than cars do. If your car breaks down, you pull it off the side of the road and wait for a tow. If your bike breaks down, you could crash and be seriously hurt.

Similarly, you might spend more on ridesharing if you own a bike and need to transport anything bigger than what will fit in saddlebags. Factor this occasional cost in when considering whether a motorcycle has a better cost-to-benefit breakdown for you.

Bottom Line

While motorcycles are often less expensive, overall, than a car, they’re not “cheap” by any means and require constant maintenance and attention to be safe to operate. If you’re up for that, then a motorbike could be a good option for you. Just get ready for a miserable ride to work in the winter or in the rain.

DJ Swanson

D.J. Swanson never planned to be a writer. His first job was working in his family’s autobody shop, but after studying English and journalism in college, he decided not to join the family business.

Instead, D.J. realized that he could make a difference by helping people learn how to maintain their cars and drive safely in challenging conditions. He is proud to share his lifelong knowledge of cars and driving here at Daily Traffic Alerts.

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