Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

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Ellie With An Axe
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Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:43 pm

It's getting harder to put gas in the tank, not to mention save money for emergencies or just afford basic stuff, with gas prices how they are. Just being able to buy a little extra at the grocery store for my preps is impossible with the budget I have, and that's after cutting out a much-needed prescription, cable TV, and internet. I haven't committed to the idea yet, but the idea of selling my car and buying a motorcycle or scooter is looking better every day. I'm hazarding a guess that some of you have bought bikes or scooters already, or are planning to. So what did you buy, or what are you thinking about buying?

Right now, I'm looking at Kawasaki Eliminator and Honda Rebel, and for scooters, a Honda Metropolitan, and Genuine Rattler.

Would you say that owning a bike or scooter has relieved the stress at the pump, or helped you be able to pay other bills, or helped you increase your preps for the economic crisis? What advice would you offer someone new to bikes or scooters? Are you thinking of buying?

What are the pros and cons for you? This is what I came up with just off the top of my head:

Cons:

1. Exposure to the elements at all times
2. A wreck can be devastating
3. More trips to the grocery store
4. Have to rely on others when you need to buy or move large items
5. Not a terribly viable option for passengers
6. Forget driving on ice and snow
7. Regular vehicles don't watch out for you

Pros:

1. Far less $ to fill a tank
2. A tank lasts far longer
3. More freedom with parking issues
4. Doubles as a recreational vehicle
5. Repair bills are smaller
6. Excellent as a one-user vehicle

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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by harleytrypp » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:52 pm

One of your Pro's (doubles as a recreational Vehicle) can be a con as well. If you have AAA, they do not cover Motorcycles or scooters, unless you pay RV premium.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by muscleman_coffeemesto » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:00 pm

I've been riding scoots now for over 6 years. If I had to pick between the two you selected; I'd go with the Rattler. It's actually a pretty cool ride, AND you can get yourself a 140cc kit to make it go even faster. After market pipes are also available.
Oh, and as far as motorcycles go: I'd go for the new '08 Ninja instead. With that said though, you can't go wrong with a Kawasaki.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by sferrari » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:21 pm

If your motivation is financial, skip the motorcycle and get a bicycle. They are cheaper all-around and you get the added health benefits of riding a bike.

You are right on regarding the cons involved with riding a bike. If you ride a motorcycle, its just a matter of time until you either crash the bike or get hit. I got hit on my motorcycle, but I got lucky. I was able to ride the bike home after the incident. Luck like that is rare though. I work in valet so if I had any injury that kept me off my feet, I would have lost my job. You have to factor risks like this into your decision. All that being said, I just bought a bike to restore. Its a '74 DT175. I'm also thinking about getting my ATC250R plated. In Nevada you can get just about anything plated if you know which loopholes to exploit, and you don't mind getting hassled by cops. I love riding so I'm willing to risk it. :wink:
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by phil_in_cs » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:53 pm

my problem with bikes or motor bikes is that I live in a college town. In late August, 12,000 18 year olds will move here, away from momma's home for the first time in their lives.... Add in the other 30,000+ students and you have a lot of people killed on motorcycles each year.

Doesn't matter how good a rider you are if the other person is talking on their cell phone and late to class.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by muscleman_coffeemesto » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:09 pm

That's a good point; where do you live Ellie?
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by AwPhuch » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:46 pm

Report to the Transportation thread...we have several threads covering motorcycles

You really don't save a lot of money on a motorcycle...you buy tires for your car that last 50k miles and cost $40-50 bucks...tires on motorcycles/scooters usually last 10k miles and cost 2 to 3x the price of a car tire

You are almost guaranteed to be injured if you let some pinhead cager try to occupy the same space you and your motorcycle exist...you don't have the luxury of being surrounded by a sheetmetal shell like a cager is...the bonus is you aren't hauling around 4k lbs of sheetmetal.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by doc66 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:14 pm

Riding a motorcycle in all weather conditions is a deication that you might want to think about. When you are blasting along at 90mph beside tractor trailers outside of Omaha, Nebraska in a sheeting rain which allows you to only see the fuzzy taillights of the truck in front of you, you have to question your own sanity.

I love my motorcycles. All of them. It's a lifestyle, unlike driving a car, which is just a thing we do.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by thelight » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:37 pm

FYI: During a recent hellish experience with the DMV I overheard a conversation between the manager and another teller. They were quite concerned at the recent spike in motorcycle licenses and permits. I believe they referred to the folks as "sitting ducks". Just be careful.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Dak Kovar » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:56 pm

Ellie:
Awphuch is right. In transportation there is a thread called "Greatest thread I ever followed" or something. Many of your answers are there. The guys have put a lot of good info into the ZS War Bike thread, though it may be a little much for your needs.

Quick answer. Keep car with a full tank and a couple of fuel cans, get bike/scooter and saftey gear, and get safety training and change how you do things. Such as taking a different route to the store to avoid traffic, go on off peak traffic times, wear reflective vests, etc.

Come on over to Transportation.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by TravisM.1 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:00 pm

Regardless of motorcycle or scooter, there are three letters you should become familiar with if you're new to riding-

MSF.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by arc_second » Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:10 pm

I consider the limited passenger space a Pro. My girlfriend fits on the back and that's enough. When other people ask to bum a ride with me I just ask if they have a helmet because I didn't bring my spare today.

If you're in California, lane splitting is legal. This means never having to wait in traffic jams. As I understand it this is an old law from when all motorcycles were air-cooled and sitting in traffic could cause overheating.

I think, even more than in a car, safety in a motorcycle depends on the driver. When riding you have to look farther ahead and pay more attention to whats going on in order to spot potential trouble. Then simply not be there should that trouble happen. The bike is fast enough and maneuverable enough to let me do that. I feel like a sitting duck when I drive my car, I can't accelerate fast enough, turn quick enough, or fit through a tiny space to get out of the way of oncoming trouble.

That said I'm keenly aware of what I know I can't do. I still don't use the freeways in large part because I don't have to. I prefer to drive the car when it rains heavy. I go slowly when lane splitting. I wear a bright orange reflective vest over a bright blue heavy leather jacket when riding so everyone sees me.

I say keep the car but let it sit and get a motorcycle/scooter for everyday use. That way you have more options. Going Two Wheels Only is a major commitment.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Molon Labe » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:31 pm

I personally love my Honda Helix. It's 20+ years old and still running true. It wasn't my first buy, but my other two bikes were both stolen. My Helix is a 250cc scooter that gets 80+ mpg and can cruise at 60 without red lining. Don't get me wrong now, it will never win any beauty contests (especially after some fucktard ripped open the dash thinking it was a glove box), but the amount of money it saves me at the pumps makes all the cons worth while. With gas prices at $4.00 a gallon, I'm still only paying about $15.00 a week on gas, $18.00 if I take my 80 mile trip on the weekends.

I'd stay away from the newer 2 stroke bikes though. If you're looking for a 50cc scooter, then you can't go wrong with the Honda Ruckus. I was going to upgrade to it's bigger 250cc brother before the break-in.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by razi » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:28 am

motorcycles are often referred to as 'donorcycles' by doctors, because accidents on them are, most of the time, deadly. I've seen some first hand- not pretty.

that said, they look like a hell of a lot of fun. I'll most likely get one for the daily commute asap.

as for the fuel efficiency front, there's a hydrogen-hybrid movement pushing forward. basically, it's a system that pumps oxygen and hydrogen into your air intake and boosts your mpg by ~10-15. This, as far as I can tell, can be fitted on almost any automobile. Hopefully we'll see more of it in the near future.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by arc_second » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:33 pm

Does it ever occur to anyone that the only motorcyclists most doctors ever see are the ones who've just been in deadly accidents? If you haven't just been in a deadly accident you probably don't need to see a doctor.

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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Jamie » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:44 pm

arc_second wrote:Does it ever occur to anyone that the only motorcyclists most doctors ever see are the ones who've just been in deadly accidents? If you haven't just been in a deadly accident you probably don't need to see a doctor.

-James
Are you suggesting that motorcycle drivers don't have accidents at a higher rate than their car-driving counterparts?

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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Doctor_Zombie » Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:51 pm

The inevitable safety question always arises when motorcycles are brought up around here. My response to that - Meh. Whatever.

Yes, people die on motorcycles. People die in cars, airplanes, houses, and hospitals. But a lot of people who ride motorcycles ride their whole life without any sort of accident or mishap. Why live your life in fear of what MIGHT happen (Ironic, I know, especially considering that this is a preparedness website :) )

The whole tautological argument of safety aside - - my Harley has paid for itself a hundred times over.

I have a 3.3 gallon tank and I get about 50 miles to a tank of gas. I live in Northern Ohio, so I can't drive it year round. But I have my Jeep for when it rains or snows. How does my Harley pay for itself?

- I have to use premium gas in it. Big whoop - so it costs me $12 to fill it as opposed to $8. I'm going ~150 miles (which for me equals about 1 and a 1/2 to 2 weeks of back and forth to work and cruising around town.)
- My jeep, meanwhile, sits for a big part of the spring, summer, and fall. I drive it when it rains or if I need to get groceries. For perspective - I put 3000+ miles on my Harley last year. That saved me that much mileage on my Jeep, which I plan to keep a long time.
- I filled my Jeep up in the beginning of May. I've still probably got half a tank of gas in it. Even getting hard on the motorcycle throttle, $12 a week versus $50 a week for my Jeep = win!
- Never underestimate the awesomeness of pulling up to a gas pump and getting glares from people spending a $75 - $100 bucks to fill their monstrous SUVs. :D

So - do it! Get a motorcycle or scooter, laugh in the face of scarey-cats who would naysay because you MIGHT get hurt, and revel in the fact that you don't care that gas prices are going to get worse before they get better...

Of course, my whole argument goes out the window if there's a huge Day After Tomorrow climate shift and we're plunged into a new Ice Age. But then I'll be on here arguing the merits of a snow mobile regardless of how unsafe they are! :D
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Ula Oh » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:35 pm

With the cost of gas going up and up and up and.....well you get the idea, I think it's well worth it to get a cheapo bicycle for any place you can bike to comfortably so long as you don't have to haul cargo. For me that's a surprising number of places. Bikes are simple to repair, the tires are cheap, and the fuel is the calories you burn. Yes there are down sides but there are down sides to all modes of transportation. I would not recommend a bike as your primary mode of transportation, unless you live in a big city any way, but I think that every one should have a cheap bike in the garage. If you don't end up using it you can unload it easy, maybe even at a profit.

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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:12 pm

I would love a bicycle but it's not feasible for where I'm at. So, off the list.

I haven't decided one way or the other about a scooter or a motorcycle. There are a lot of cons with having just 2 wheels versus 4. And I have known friends and family in motorcycle accidents and that's not something I particularly enjoy the idea of. But I drive a '68 Bug, and there's not a huge chance I would be walking away from a catastrophic crash in that. I have also been thinking about selling the Bug and just getting a regular boring recent model car, but haven't decided on that, either. I'm not interested in a dirt bike or a war bike or what have you, just transportation... and that's even if I decide on a bike. :) Hum, lots to think about, for sure.

Thanks everyone for the input!

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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by razi » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:37 pm

if/when I get one, it'll most likely be an old honda. something easy to fix, cheap, and reliable.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Festus Hagen » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:51 pm

I have a few comments.

I've been in 4 motorcycle accidents, ranging from probably 30 mph to 65 or so. Not a mark on me. This is a combination of riding with good quality gear from head to toe, and a little luck.

If you're thinking of getting a motorcycle or scooter, and riding without a full-face helmet because "that's the law in my state", please don't. I like you alive and posting on ZS! I can state with complete confidence that my first accident would have resulted in my eating through a straw for the rest of my life if it weren't for my full-face lid (or maybe dead). One of my accidents was in CT where you can ride without a helmet. Again I had a lid on and walked away. I only cover the parts of my body which I care about... which means good helmet, good jacket, good pants, good boots, and good gloves. All motorcycle-specific, none of it cheap, and all the time!

The idea that tire cost offsets fuel savings doesn't necessarily hold water (at today's gas prices). In my 20mpg Acura, I pay over $100 a week for gas to get back and forth to work. Four tires for said car would cost me at least $200. I can get tires for my motorcycle for a little over $200 that will last 10,000 miles. That's $1000 for tires for 50,000 miles for the bike, vs. $200 for tires for the car for the same miles, plus or minus. Meanwhile if I get 50 mpg out of my motorcycle, I save $60 a week. It only takes about 13 weeks of riding to save back the whole additional cost of tires for 50,000 miles, then the gas savings is.... savings! That's MY situation tho, yours will be different. Lots of cars get better gas mileage than my Acura, and run cheaper tires as well (that last longer!). Thing is, a scooter gets even better gas mileage, and I think the tires are even cheaper compared to a full-size moto. Insurance can be much cheaper for a bike, too. You have to compare your particular situation to know if it makes sense for you- and I'd be glad to help if you don't like math ;-) Buy-in is a lot cheaper for a scooter or motorcycle too, all things being equal (which they never are LOL).

If they didn't cost $20,000+, I'd tell everybody to buy a Prius- but that's just not in everybody's budget. Better yet a 3-cylinder Geo Metro with a stick shift, if you can find and afford one these days. Usually I tell people, if you don't absolutely NEED to ride a bike, don't do it. It's great, it's fun, it's a lot of things, but it's a real commitment, especially if you plan to do it right.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Molon Labe » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:16 pm

Festus Hagen wrote: Insurance can be much cheaper for a bike, too.
Ain't that the truth :D I only pay $187.00 a year for insurance. That's right Ellie, I said YEAR. $187.00 a YEAR. I love my old Honda.
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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Ringo » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:30 pm

I'm actually in this boat right now. I got a loan from my bank for two purposes. I need an off-roadable truck and something to ease fuel costs. I have to drive about...oh, 18 or so miles every morning to work - and thats one-way. Not much compared to some, but if I do get my truck it'll start to eat me up pretty quick. As I never work after dark (thus far), I plan on buying a budget bike (in the 600 to 750cc range) to ride day-time to and from work. Simple fact of the matter (as it has been stated) is that moto's/scooters are just more dangerous. Not necessarily because of rider, but because of environment. To me, though, something is going to get me one day, and I've always wanted a bike. So its likely I'm getting one anyway for the economical benefits. (sans insurance cost. Yeesh).

P.S. - recently down here a guy was doing 75 on an interstate ramp at 3:00 in the morning, hit the guard, was ejected, and flew/fell about 50 yards horizontally, 3 stories vertically, and landed in a civic center parking lot. Needless to say he was killed; very sad. So if you do ride, please continue to be safe. Don't need any of my ZS buddies getting greased.

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Re: Motorcycles, Scooters and Fuel Costs

Post by Biff » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:21 pm

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