There is something beautiful to be said about owning a motorcycle. The simplicity of them, the freedom, its unmatched. With that said, it can be overwhelming and costly. Many people that have asked me about bike ownership are surprised to learn the cost associated with ownership. I will warn you, it’s not as simple as just buying a motorcycle.
So let’s start off with licensing. This really is the first step towards motorcycle ownership as without a license you cannot legally ride one. Depending on where you are in the world, you’ll usually have to take a safety course and write a test. In the US this can be achieved through a basic rider course through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. If you are in Canada you’ll have to attend an approved motorcycle safety course or pass road tests on your own. I strongly urge you to always take the course, as you will learn valuable information and get to ride a motorcycle with an instructor on hand. Average cost is about $300-500 depending on where you are located. Some courses offer helmet rentals, and all include a motorcycle dedicated for your use. I strongly recommend you purchase your own DOT or Snell approved helmet ($150-$300).
Ok so you’ve got your license and you now want to get a bike, great! Depending what kind of bike you want and what you want it for will determine how much you’ll need to spend. Are you planning on tracking it? Commuting with it? Cruising? Touring the country? Depending on the primary use, will greatly alter the type of bike. I will say it’s not a bad idea to start with a 250cc motorcycle that you can putter around with. You’ll outgrow it fast, but it will get you learning the basics and used to riding on the road much easier than buying a 600cc super sport bike. Again, depending on the bike and your needs, you can spend anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000 for one. You should also factor about $500-$1,000 a year for maintenance (tires, chains, drive belts, oil changes, etc).
Once you get your bike, you’re going to want to insure. I will warn you now, if you are under 25 years old or have spots on your driving record you will be spending a significant amount on insurance. If you are over 25 years old and have a decent driving record, you can probably insure a start bike for $500 or less a year.
Finally, you will want to check out some additional riding gear. I’ve had a couple drops on a motorcycle and let me tell you that you will definitely want to consider a riding jacket, gloves and boots. Depending on what style you go for and what you want will greatly alter how much it’ll cost you. Factor $700-1500 for all 3.
Now that you know bike ownership is not cheap, I will still recommend you go for it. It’s the most pleasant and freeing experience on the road!
I highly recommend you don’t cheap out on starter gear.. you’re most likely to drop the bike early in your riding days so it’s better to be well protected from the start.
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