Even the most penny pinching of savers can find a way hear the roar of the engine if they keep in mind some frugal motorcycle tips.
Pay Yourself Now, Buy Later
For many people, a motorcycle will be an additional vehicle, not their primary source of transportation. Anyone with a family or who lives in cold climates/areas with seasonal changes will likely need another vehicle besides their motorcycle. Going into debt by taking out a motorcycle loan should be avoided whenever possible.
Even if you can figure a motorcycle loan into your personal budget with room to spare, keep yourself debt free by saving your money and buying the bike in cash later. Incorporate ways to save money into your lifestyle to help get that bike in your driveway quickly.
Open up a special account with a high-interest rate where you can place your motorcycle money. Set aside what would have been a monthly payment for a loan, usually between $100 and $200 in the account. You also want to add an extra $50 a month to cover routine maintenance, unexpected breakdowns and insurance costs.
By not buying it with a loan, you will save yourself hundreds of dollars in interest, not to mention the worry over being able to make the payments, should anything happen to your current financial situation.
Frugal Motorcycle Shopping
After saving money in order to buy a bike, you will want to be as informed as possible about the kind of bike you want. Certain brands and styles may cost more to insure or have a history of breakdowns. Cheap gas is getting hard to find, so fuel economy is also an issue with your two-wheel ride.
Used or New
One of the biggest issues to tackle is buying a new versus used bike. Depreciation happens as soon as you drive it off the lot; on the other hand, used bikes may have more mechanical issues than a new one. The tips in the Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide can offer helpful hints to help you make a decision.
Training, Gear, Accessories and More
Something a lot of motorcyclists do not count on is paying for any required safety training. This is always a good idea for a novice rider or for a veteran who needs a brush up! And don't forget safety gear. If your state has a helmet law, you will need to purchase one. Additionally, gloves can help keep your grip on the handles and chaps will help keep you warm and dry in the wind. Rain gear, a hauling trailer, and other accessories might also need to be figured into the total cost, depending on your preferences and needs.
The WhyBike Motorcycle Blog offers a helpful Excel spreadsheet in one entry that breaks down various costs associated with owning a motorcycle versus other vehicles. If you are trying to decide on whether to get a motorcycle as a second mode of transportation versus another vehicle, this is a great chart.
Brand and Customization
While most enthusiasts will applaud anyone who gets out on their bike, many have a preference for a particular brand. If budget is an issue, you need to think outside the box. A good, reliable bike in your price range is the most important thing to consider. If you simply cannot allow yourself to purchase something other than your dream brand, wait until one you can afford is for sale. You may be able to find your preferred brand at auctions, estate sales, or, in some cases, the classifieds. Some people needing to liquidate possessions often part with luxury items such as motorcycles.
Customizing motorcycles is becoming a popular hobby for many bikers. Trade shows and even television series capitalize on selling bikers custom paint jobs, brand-name rims, fancy tires, bigger engines, and new frames. Until you can afford to pay for the customized accessories with cash, you do not need to buy them.
Final Frugal Biker Tips
Even for the frugal, motorcycles can be affordable. Saving your money to pay cash and comparison shopping can help immensely. Laying out a little money for routine maintenance, like winterizing the bike and checking oil regularly, can save hundreds in repair bills down the road. Learning how to do minor repairs and checks yourself will save even more money.
Get the best bike for your money by checking out reviews and comparisons, and shopping for trustworthy used or refurbished parts. These websites might be helpful for the motorcyclist on the budget:
- Motorcycle Cruiser's Bang for the Buck: Cost-Effective Motorcycles reviews motorcycles in six different price ranges.
- WebBike World offers reviews on everything from helmets to suspension.
- Mr. Thrifty at Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly is an older column that offers money saving tips for motorcycling trips that can still be relevant today.
- Shootouts from Motorcyle.com allows you to see comparisons of various bikes by type: touring, standard, sport and more.
- 40+ Ways to Save Cash from Motorbike Search Engine is geared towards UK motorcycle riders, but has relevant tips for many U.S. riders, too.
A final thought to remember-sometimes being too frugal can be the most expensive mistake of all, especially when you are going 65 miles per hour on the interstate. Skimping on maintenance and buying cheap but subpar parts may put your life at risk.
Save smart, shop smart and ride smart for the best biking experience.