Even with all of the innovations made in automobile form, function, and design, two wheels are still the preferred number to hit the road for the most adventurous of travelers. Motorcycle owners have never been so plentiful, and the market is plump full of great bikes from legendary manufacturers.
In addition to the rest of the mystique that surrounds motorcycle life, many people simply don’t know how to find out how much a motorcycle costs, or even where to begin their research when they’re shopping for a new bike. If you’re looking for information, we’ve got your back, even if figuring out the “average cost” of a motorcycle is a remarkably difficult task.
When thinking of motorcycles, many people simply think that less vehicle means less cost, less maintenance, and less shopping hassle. While this can sometimes be true, the actual truth of the matter is that the motorcycle market has become uncannily similar to the auto market, and the same best practices in shopping can be applied to either.
If you know how to find a good deal on a used car, then you probably know how to find a good deal on a motorcycle, even if the prices might show a little bit of disparity. Heck, both vehicles even share the same massive depreciation rates when you drive a brand new vehicle off of a dealership lot.
While we’re on the subject, though, there are other “costs” associated with riding and owning a motorcycle than the amount of money changing hands. I’m talking fuel-efficiency, environmental impact, safety, and happiness. Many of these are varying levels of abstract, depending on how specific of information we’re looking for, but they’re still worth addressing when we talk about the things that go into purchasing and owning a motorcycle.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the current state of the motorcycle market and let you know how much you can expect to spend when you buy a new or used bike. Do know that there’s no one, surefire measurement of a motorcycle’s “average cost” any more than there’s one for the average cost of a car. The market is simply too diverse for an estimation like that to make sense. Moreover, any number that we throw at you has a good chance of not even being helpful.
Since helpful is what we’re about, we’ll look at a few different classes of bike at differing price points. Included in that will be more reasons that you should consider learning how to ride, all of them associated with “cost.” After, you’ll hopefully be better-equipped as a smart consumer, while also being a bit more excited at the prospect of shopping for a new motorcycle.
Motorcycle Facts and Cost
Before we dig deep into the price tags attached to different kinds of bikes, let’s look at some of the things that won’t change between all of the different classes, sizes, and styles of motorcycle that you could end up on. Some of these don’t have a specific price tag attached, but if you’re a cost-conscious consumer, you’re going to appreciate every one of them, nonetheless. After all, who doesn’t like the prospect of measuring the money they save whenever they wrap their legs around a bike, instead of plopping into the driver’s seat of a car?
Unless you’re driving a truly monstrous bike (and usually a very old one) you’re going to see massively improved gas mileage in every type of driving situation that you find yourself in. I’m talking somewhere between 50 and 100 miles to the gallon, depending on quite a few varying factors. That’s a pretty massive improvement from what you’re used to seeing from your car, no?
Those varying factors can be pretty subjective, however. In addition to different classes, sizes, and weights of bike providing a different mileage, your own weight is going to factor into it quite a lot as well. Since the weight ratio between rider and vehicle is much less than you’d find with any sort of car, the amount of weight that you bring to the ride is going to affect the way that it rides, both in terms of mileage and handling. Less or more doesn’t necessarily always universally mean “better,” so much that it’s guaranteed to affect your driving experience.
Regardless of that, a motorcycle can easily save you a huge amount of money on fuel costs.
From oil changes to routine maintenance, bikes are easier. You don’t need to have them up on a hydraulic jack in order to gain access to what you need. Whether you do your own repairs and oil changes or take your ride to a trustworthy shop, expect to save some serious cash when it comes time to tending your bike.
Motorcycles do require the same frequency of maintenance as your car, however. Some people circulate the myth that motorcycles are comparatively unbreakable when the truth is actually something of the opposite. You’ll want to get your bike checked up on regularly because the consequences of vehicle failure while you’re on a bike can be a bit more impactful on your health. Still, money saved is money saved, and riding a good motorcycle will typically save you a fair amount on all things maintenance-related.
Here’s where things become slightly more ambiguous, and a bit more related to your own, individual experience. If you choose to drive a motorcycle, it’s probably not because you have to. Even though motorcycles might be slightly more affordable, they’re not leaps and bounds less expensive than a car. If you’re going biker, you’re more than likely doing it because you choose to.
This means that your motorcycle experience is going to be closely tied to your own happiness, which is certainly a type of “cost.” And people who drive motorcycles are, on average, happier than those coasting around on four wheels.
If we want to be less subjective, though, we can look at the travel times you’re facing as a motorcyclist. This is another area where you stand to save, but it’s going to depend slightly on where you live. Is lane-splitting allowed? Goodbye painful commutes! Even if it happens to not be allowed, you’re still going to be less burdened by reminders of your slow speed. Riding a motorcycle brings you closer to the road, which means you can spend less time worrying about your travel time to work, and more on the logistics of your drive.
New Motorcycle Costs
As stated above, however, buying a brand new motorcycle can come along with a wealth of extra costs, from manufacturer accessories to taxes. The aggregate average price of a new motorcycle as it was compiled by AxleGeeks is $14,487. That’s still significantly below the average cost of a brand new car in 2016, but it’s not a price tag to be scoffed at.
There are some ways to save money when you’re shopping for a brand new bike. First, pay attention to where you’re shopping and get ready to haggle. Many of the manufacturers’ accessories, additional fees, and downright unnecessary features can be done without, and some strategic buying practice can help you to find a bike without an excess of regrettable cost. People who work at dealerships are absolutely out to sell as much as they can, but at the end of the day, most of them just want to make the sale.Keep this in mind as you buy!
Used Motorcycle Costs
Buying a used bike will give you the greatest freedom with your wallet. On the other hand, it’s going to require some prior research and scrutinizing available options, even more than when you’re shopping for a new bike.
Since motorcycles depreciate so much after their initial purchase, you can find some fantastic deals on truly excellent bikes. Here are a few important things to know, before you start shopping for a used bike:
- Low mileage: The higher the mileage, the more chance that previous owners have put serious wear into the bike before you own it. If you want a great, long-term motorcycle, don’t buy anything with more than ten to twenty thousand miles.
- Bike type: Not all motorcycles are created equally. Before you buy, know what you want to ride. Cruiser? Sport bike? A touring cycle? The options are plentiful, but they’re all going to have different rides, handling, speeds, and features. Do your research!
- Price: The internet is a beautiful thing. Before you make an offer on a bike, check to see if the price more or less matches up against other used bikes of the same make and model, in different regions. A deal that’s too good to be true usually is.
When you choose to shop used, you can cut thousands of dollars off the price of a bike. A new motorcycle that would have cost upwards of $10,000 can be had for $7000 or less, from only having a few thousand miles on the engine. Similarly, there are good “off-seasons” for people to do their used cycle shopping.
Bikes up for sale during the colder, winter months are usually a sign of people trying to sell quickly. They may not have much motorcycling experience, or may be trying to offload a bike that was bought on impulse. Either way, both of these facts can give you a fantastic situation, where a bike is for sale at a competitive rate with very little accumulated mileage.
Like cars, motorcycle prices range all over the place. All of the usual factors control the price tag–age, mileage, wear, make, model, and even region. Therefore, it can be very hard to lock down an average price that’s remotely helpful. Still, the advice above will hopefully point you in the right direction when it comes time to show for a new motorcycle so that you can determine how much your new bike should cost. Think there’s more that prospective riders need to know? Let’s hear it in the comments, below!