Author Topic: Cost of bike vs car transportation - Concours  (Read 6309 times)

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Offline Jaxrider

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Cost of bike vs car transportation - Concours
« on: June 08, 2008, 10:06:00 pm »
My '97 Concours was a great bike to ride and would have been an efficient and economical daily ride except for all the farkles I spent $$$ on for it.     I was at Myrtle Beach Bike Week talking to a rep from Red Line, the local Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki etc. dealer from the area. He commented that people will be looking to bikes for greater economy with the high price of gas...    My wife's friend's husband went out and bought a $20k Harley to save gas (his wife must believe anything!)    At any rate, I think bikes can be a good economical mode of transportation if you can do some of the work yourself. For example, my local dealer charges $675 to tune up a road bike(including valves/carbs) or $375 w/o valves and carbs. Of course this is not economical.     Can you guys and gals give me some examples of bikes that are economical to own and ride? My thought is that bikes with low maintenance would lead this list but need more input to better understand the big picture.     many thanks,  David  
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
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Offline Nosmo

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Cost of bike vs car transportation - Concours
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2008, 12:10:00 am »
My Wee-Strom gets 55 - 60 MPG and the difference in gas cost between that and either of the trucks makes the payments if I ride it all the time to work, but then when do I ride the Connie?  Unfortunately, things like farkles and tires and extra clothing, riding ear, farkles, chains and sprockets every 20,000 miles, farkles, one more vehicles to insure, farkles, etc., makes it really not much cheaper than just driving the damned truck.  Overall I doubt you save much if anything on a yearly  basis.  But you can't put a price on fun, so.....Oh, wait a minute, as I recall the price was around $7,300  :)  
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Offline Greg Habel

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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2008, 08:21:00 am »
Ninja 250.  65 mpg, very low initial purchase at about $3,300. Still has valves to adjust every 6,000 but only 8 instead of 16 like the Conc.  Cheaper - how about a scooter new for about $2,000 with top speed of 35 mph, 50 cc, around 200 mpg. Very little maintenance as I understand.  Selling like hot-cakes as the local dealer tells me.  Great for around town.  Greg  COG # 7010/7010a (Tracey)  CDA 0120  Connie Droppers Anonymous Awards Dude (CDAAD)  99 Connie "Herrin Christabelle".  05 Ninja 250  
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Offline Jaxrider

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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008, 09:17:00 am »
I have a friend with the Ninja 250 and he gets 73mpg by shifting at 5k rpm. Not sure how he does that. I rode one at a demo day and it sure has potential. I'm a little big for it myself but it sure does fit a lot of folks.      
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
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Offline Jaxrider

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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008, 09:25:00 am »
How about a 500cc motorcycle? I have not seen many on the market and the 400/450/454/500 twin market used to be hot years ago.  
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
US Review http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ro...200/index.html
EU Review http://www.motorbikestoday.com/revie...es/ZZR1200.html

Offline Yuma

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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2008, 10:10:00 am »
Quote
davidsturgis 09-Jun-08 @ 6:25 AM     How about a 500cc motorcycle? I have not seen many on the market and the 400/450/454/500 twin market used to be hot years ago.
   I'll agree. The market has gone BIGover the last two decades.  We need those neat little bikes. I has a Yamaha XS-500 and it was a blast to ride and easy to work on.    Yuma,  Summer in Yuma is not hell, but hell is a local call :-)  2006 Connie http://community.webshots.com/user/Lateck?vhost=community
Summer in Yuma is not hell, but hell is a local call :-)  2006 Connie, RIP 03/17/09 http://community.webshots.com/user/Lateck?vhost=community

Offline Rich

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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2008, 01:25:00 pm »
The most economical car/motorcycle/airplane/boat is the one you own.  Buying a specific car/motorcycle "to save gas" SOUNDS good, but if you sit down and do the math it's bogus.  I am always amused by folks who "save on hotel and restaurant bills" buy buying a motorhome.  My wife and I can take a two week road trip every year until we are 106 years old, buy a Corvette to travel in, stay in top notch hotels and dine out three times a day and still be way ahead of the cost (and ridiculous depreciation) of a motorhome.    OK, I'll climb down off my soapbox now.    You touched on one of the biggest economies for a motorcyel owener:  Do Your Own Maintenance.  If you don't know how, learn.  Buy a Haynes or other shop manual, get the right tools, attend the tech seminars, read the FAQ sheets on the web.  This is my opinion and I could be wrong, but anyone who buys a bike to save money but farms the maintenance out to a dealer is fooling himself.  (I am talking maintenance here, not repair).  Yes, there are types of motorcycles and types of owners that dictate a dealer, or at least a professional mechanic, does the routine maintenance chores, such as vintage exotica owned by an entusiast.  But NOT on a bike used for commuting to save money.    The ONLY thing I ever farm out on the Concours is mounting and balancing tires.  The Concours is a simple bike to work on with its screw-and-locknut valve adjusters and dynamite-proof shaft drive.  It's gas mileage is a steady 42 MPG.  There are bikes that get better gas mileage, but don't afford the weather protection and luggage a commuter needs.  Tire wear dictates you buy tires more often than you would with a car, but it is not any worse than most other bikes.    In my book, the best all-around bargain, both for ownership and to purchase, is the mighty Kawasaki KLR, both generations.  It's cheap to buy, cheap to maintain (one cylinder, one set of valves, one carb), can carry a sh*tload of stuff, offer decent weather protection, can be parked anywhere, you sit up high overlooking traffic, is fun to ride even on weekend racer road stuff, gets 50+ mpg, tires are cheap, etc.      It's chain drive so there will be daily lube and weekly adjustment check, but if you use WD40 instead of the chain lube crap dealers sell and keep the futzer clean, there is no reason you can't get 30,000 miles out of today's O-Ring chains.  Granted, if you take the KLR off road, the chain wear will increase, but for a road-only use, it just keeps ticking.  And, chain replacement is a snap on the KLR.  The Original Rich Reed  COG #7  1986 Kawasaki Ninja 1000R  1977 Yamaha XS650 Standard  2004 Little Blue Chevy  "Over the hill it's five bucks.  Here in Idaho it's a hundred and eighty."  
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Offline Slybones

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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2008, 05:12:00 pm »
I agree with Rich and a few others. If you only look at fuel costs versus payments, an alternate vechile to save money looks promising. But then add in maintenance, insurance, etc and it starts adding up and cutting into your savings.     The mileage factor seem important to me too. A Ninja 250 at 60-70mpg versus a big SUV or pickup is much easier to justify. Return on Investment will be much shorter than lets say a ninja 250 versus a Connie? I am going to just keep riding the Connie.     So as Rich says cheap to buy and maintain is the key.  
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Offline Jaxrider

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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2008, 05:51:00 pm »
Good points about the Connie. I recently sold mine and bought a ZZR1200 based on the recommendation of Steve in Sunny Florida. I bought a 2002 with 6k miles on it for $4600 and it's a hoot. I'm also getting 40-42mpg, slightly better than my Connie. It's hard to get to the valves but once I've made the trip a few times I am sure it will be easy. This bike has shims so I spent $80 and bought a massive shim kit. I did the 7500 mile service and 1 valve was loose... that's it. Carbs were right on. This bike has a few quick fixes like the Connie, such as setting the idle screws and shimming the needles. Now it runs fantastic and is just plain fun, plus a good sport touring bike once I get a better seat.     I helped a friend buy her first bike this weekend. After looking for a nice Honda Shadow for her we found a 1999 Suzuki Marauder in really clean shape. It has 18k miles, a Mustang seat and has been maintained by a dealer. Got it for $2750 from a friend of my wife's. Heck of a deal for a sweet bike. It also has Cobra pipes with the baffles in them. It has the screw adjustment for the valves.     There are many good used bikes out there..... I think I'm going to look for a 500 twin for a spare bike and keep it in the garage. My goal is a price under $2k for a really nice one.  
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
US Review http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ro...200/index.html
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Offline paul_bove_CA

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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2008, 07:06:00 pm »
How bout a Buel Blast. Was talking to an aquantince yesterday and he was driving one. 60 + MPG, hydralic valves I think it was a belt drive. This guy bought it pretty cheap. About 2k miles and I think he said $1800. Sounds pretty good. I know they use them for MSF classes.  

Offline Roger 123

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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2008, 09:13:00 am »
My '06 Tacoma (17K) gets 19mpg, my '07 Wee Strom (19K) gets 50.  I'd have the bike anyway so it's not an added cost.  I ride the bike everyday to work 12 months rain, shine, cold or hot.    So in my case the bike is saving me a ton of money (in gas) over the truck.    Now if I was smart back in '06 I would have seen the price of gas as going through the roof and would have bought a small car to sit in the driveway vs the truck.  Oh well.    I'd love to sell the truck and get something smaller but it's just not worth it for the amount I drive it.  I'm hoping in a few years the truck will still be worth something at $6/gallon.  It's a small truck and people will always "need" trucks right?  So hopefully it'll hold some of it's value.  Wish I would have gotten the 4 cyl though.  Us Americans and our love affair with HP, argggg.    I got "smart" with the bike though and went with the 650 vs 1000 and I'm VERY happy.  Roger  COG 5903  Virginia Beach, VA
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Offline mdr_old

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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2008, 01:09:00 pm »
For JUST GAS, a friend in AZ had an F650?GS? that I swore the tank vent was to let the accumulated excess gas escape when he went downhill.  Scary fuel economy.    Purchase price?  Well, it is a BMW.  If you gotta ask... :)  
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Offline dreambike

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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2008, 10:54:00 pm »
I owned a vulcan 750 and it was the easiest bike to maintain that I have ever owned.  No valve adjustments needed, and all routine maintenance can be done without removing the tank.  It has shaft drive and gets close to 50 mph with plenty of power.  The tire sizes are common with a wide range of styles and prices.  If I could have one of my bikes back, that would be the one.  You can get good deals on used vulcan 750's.  2006 concours  2003 zrx1200r    Ky aad
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Offline Jaxrider

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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2008, 11:03:00 pm »
Roger, what does the (19k) mean?     Dreambike, at least you have an awesome zzr1200r.. I have an '02 and just shimmed the carbs and it's running so smoothly. It is a bear to work on though, taking off the tank, plastic, air box, etc.  
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
US Review http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ro...200/index.html
EU Review http://www.motorbikestoday.com/revie...es/ZZR1200.html

Offline Jaxrider

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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2008, 11:04:00 pm »
I will also look into the older vulcan 750's - can you tell me what years were shaft drive? thx.  
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
US Review http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ro...200/index.html
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Offline smithr1

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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008, 10:04:00 am »
I just figured it up and it cost me about $6 a week in just gas cost to take the car over the bike to work.  That is about $24 a month.  My trip to and from work would have me sitting still in more traffic and put me in more danger then anywhere else I ride.  It is very hot now and its just no fun to sit on the bike.  That is why I am willing to pay $24 a month to not use the bike to commute at this point.  If it gets real bad I am close enough to ride a bicycle.  I might do that before I spend more time gearing up and sitting still in traffic then commuting on the bike.   ----------------------------------  I will answer any question.  It is up to you to figure out if I should have.    <p align="left">My Photos<br
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Offline Roger 123

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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2008, 10:19:00 am »
The 19K is miles on the bike.  Roger  COG 5903  Virginia Beach, VA
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Offline Roger 123

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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2008, 10:21:00 am »
Bob, that's the same situation my wife is in.  She's only 2 miles from work and works from home two days a week.    I tried to get her intersted in a bike but she's too smart for the commuting argument:(((((  I need a plan B.  Roger  COG 5903  Virginia Beach, VA
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Offline Slybones

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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2008, 04:06:00 pm »
smithr, is that including Insurance and maintenance or just gas prices.  
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Offline dreambike

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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2008, 10:00:00 pm »
All years of vulcan 750 are shaft drive.  The older models have chrome side covers and the newer ones are painted.  There just aren't any real changes in any of the models to mention.  I had a continental tire on the back of mine that got over 11,000 miles.  My last tire was a michelin commander.  It also got great mileage and it road softer than the conti.    2006 concours  2003 zrx1200r    Ky aad
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Offline Greg Habel

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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2008, 08:25:00 am »
I had a 86 Vulcan 750.  First year was actually 85 with a 700 cc engine (remember those govt restrictions over 700 cc back then for foreign bikes?).  Agree it was easy to maintain.  The only pain on the bike was the stator (weak point) which required an engine drop to replace.  Some folks installed volt meters and extra fuses to prevent damage to the stator if other electrical issues.  The rest was easily accesible.  For a twin I liked the 8,500 rpm redline.  Having a shaft drive was great for maintenance as well.  I put a shield and bags on it for light traveling.      Greg  COG # 7010/7010a (Tracey)  CDA 0120  Connie Droppers Anonymous Awards Dude (CDAAD)  99 Connie "Herrin Christabelle".  05 Ninja 250    
« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 08:26:00 am by habelsgtb »
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Offline Daniel_Combs_NJ

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« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2008, 06:21:00 pm »
I parked my truck about a month ago, and now use my dual-sport as a daily commuter:    http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dr650seis9.jpg    I have removed the knobbies in the pic, and put the oem dual sport tires back on. With the small shield, rack, and the small JCW trunk, it's perfect. Dual sports can be found very reasonable, and cost almost nothing to maintain. The only downside is, now that I ride the dual-sport so much, the Concours feels like a pig when I first get on it. I'm only getting around 50mpg, but that's because my commute is less than 10 miles. Still beats 15mpg that I get with my Dodge Dakota.  

Offline Roger 123

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« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2008, 07:58:00 am »
I've really been jonsin' over a DRZ400 lately!!!  Problem is my Wee Strom gets 50 and I really have no place to ride it off road close by.  But honey, I really WANT one isn't working all that well right now!!!!    Maybe she'll tire of the constant whinning, it usually works.  Wish me luck!  Roger  COG 5903  Virginia Beach, VA
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Offline Rev Ryder

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« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2008, 09:35:00 am »
I found a long time ago that fuel mileage is NOT the most important consideration with riding a bike.  Tire mileage seems to be the great equalizer as far as actual cost per mile.  Super high gas prices have made me look at this again and while the scale comes closer to the bike, tires are still the definitive expense.    Now my Connie is no longer stock and no longer gets Connie's typical 40mpg, but even at 42mpg here's the way I see major annual costs working out.    Cost for driving Toyota Corolla 10k per year.  It gets 33mpg highway (my commute)and the tires last 40k and cost $320 set (4 tires).  Gasoline (regular) will be about 303 gallons @ $4.00 per equals $1200 while tires will cost $80 and insurance (liability only) will run $450.  The total comes to about $1730 to drive the car 10k.    Connie, when stock, got 40mpg hwy in commuting mode.  A set of Avons installed myself cost about $230 a set and last me 5k miles.  Insurance was a windfall at $80 per year and my second Connie was insured for $8 per year.  Now I have three insured for a total of $80 per year.  Liability only.  So the cost for Connie for the same miles comes to 238 gallons $4 per gallon equals $952 for gas.  Avon Tires come to about $382 per year @ 6k per set. So my total comes to $1452.    While it appears that the bike is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than the car to drive, add in the cost of a new helmet, jacket, boots, pants, raingear, and cupholder to make the bike actually get closer to equating the car and you run into a negative frugality.  Figure in the cost of maintenance (surely your time is worth something) and things tip WAY in favor of the car.  Valve adjustments and carb cleanings alone will wipe you out.  The bike really doesn't compete economically.      But is dollars the real reason you ride?  I ride for fun and I know that fun CAN be more costly.  My Turbo bike gets about the same highway mileage as the Corolla and I can destroy a set of Avons in 4k easy.  The insurane company is not aware of the mods so that is a wash.  I'll still ride when I can unless the air conditioner temptation becomes too great. :)        
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 09:35:00 am by Rev Rider »
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Offline Jaxrider

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« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2008, 09:59:00 am »
Rev, good analysis but I have some comments.    I would amortize the cost of boots, helmet, jacket over 3 years to spread the cost. I also think most folks get better mileage than 5k out of tires. I usually got 12k front and 10k rear with no problems and this was combined city/hwy riding.     My current ZZR1200 gets 38mpg in town and 42mpg on the highway on regular. I bought it used and the front tire was damaged so I can't comment on front tire wear but the original Battlax is stil on the rear at 9300 miles. Maybe sport-touring tires will get better life?    The maintenance side is surely true but I'm pushing the valves/carbs out to 10k miles on the ZZR as I did with my Concours (1997).     Riding is sure a lot more fun except when it's over 100 degrees or raining.  
2002 Kawasaki ZZR1200 for riding with the wife
2004 SV650S for riding solo and on the track
2007 DRZ400SM for riding solo and on the track (lots of fun in 38hp)
Responsible for wrenching on all those plus my daughters' 2007 ZZR 600
US Review http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ro...200/index.html
EU Review http://www.motorbikestoday.com/revie...es/ZZR1200.html