How much can you save by commuting by motorcycle?

Motorcycles might be seen as toys, but they can soon pay for themselves

Posted: 1 August 2013
by Visordown
Commuting by motorcycle is easy, fun, cheap and saves you hours each week
Say goodbye to being stuck in this
Thousands of professionals choose two wheels over public transport for the daily commute
He gets to work stress free, every day

WHETHER it’s a real desire to save money or simply a useful way of justifying the decision to ride the financial aspect of using a bike – and how cheap it can be when compared to other forms of transport – is often overlooked.

Whether compared to cars or to public transport, if you’ve got a daily commute to undertake there’s a good chance you’ll be able to do it for less on a bike. In comparison to cars, bikes use less fuel, are cheaper to insure, cheaper to tax, exempt from congestion charges and often free to park. Against public transport they offer boundless convenience in terms of times and where they’ll take you as well as potentially massive savings.

Case studies by the Get On campaign ( ) perfectly illustrate how the average commuter could save.

Their figures show that a train commuter travelling from Guildford to London Victoria would spend £366 per month on a rail card, while a motorcyclist making the same trip would spend around £138.89 on fuel, £20.58 on insurance and £5.50 on road tax per month, totalling £164.97. That’s a saving of over £200 per month – more than enough to cover the repayments on a fairly decent new bike and enough to cover the entire cost of a decent used machine in well under a year. And that’s without taking the time savings into account – the bike journey would save a total of seven hours travel every month, with a daily commute of 53 minutes compared to 1hr 14m by public transport.

The savings over using a car are just as significant. If you commute 1000 miles per month  - the equivalent of living around 20 miles from your workplace – even a car averaging 30mpg is going to be setting you back £200 per month in fuel. A bike doing 50mpg would save you around £80 per month in fuel alone. If you don’t need speed, you could even double that mpg using a 125 or a scooter, bringing your monthly fuel cost down to just £60 – a saving of £140 per month.

Ditch the car entirely and savings are greater still, as you’ll be reducing your spend on insurance and road tax, too. The cost calculator on the Get On website lets you put in your own figures, whether you’re commuting by car or by public transport, and shows how much you can expect to save by swapping it for a bike. The annual savings are often in the thousands.

For a teenager, savings in the thousands can be made on insurance alone if they opt for a bike instead of a car. Any 17-year-old (or parent of a 17-year-old) knows that simply getting cover on a ropey old Corsa is likely to set you back a couple of grand a year at that age. Get an A1 licence, or even ride a 125 on ‘L’ plates, and the insurance might well be just a couple of hundred per year for the bike. Throw in VED of just £16 per year and the potential for more than 100mpg from a 125cc bike and the savings are simply enormous.

Back in the era of post-war austerity, virtually every youngster’s best chance of getting on the road was on a motorcycle. In the current austerity, the same applies.

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Discuss this story

Ibet he doesnt get to work frost bite free in winter,ah the glory of biking in winter i had 17 years of it before getting a car to go with the bike,yes frostbite,snow,ice, gritted roads,pouring freezing rain,fabulous.The bike industry will never get more than a few to commute all year,

Posted: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Clearly the author does not own a Tuono V4 :-)

Posted: 01/08/2013 at 21:07

Commuting by bike in the summer? Right on. You just need some WPs and decent tyres for the wet days. Dry days can be more fun than a sunday ride out!

Commuting in winter? I do it for my own sanity in traffic clogged nottingham but its tougher to endure, takes a fair bit of bike maintenance and cleaning, lots of expensive warm gear, a spare bike so your best one doesn't dissolve, and still you end up in the car when it snows.

Posted: 02/08/2013 at 10:27

Some things are more expensive, especially if you go for a bike >= 600cc...

Servicing... every 6000 miles
Tyres... 4 to 8000 for a rear 8 to 10000 for a front & £200 for a pair.
Road Tax... free on some small cars (this winds me up)
Fuel... again, some small cars will do better than big or fast bikes
Kit... helmets & decent winter/summer riding kit needs to be budgeted for almost each year.

For me the time is the biggest factor... I save 20mins a day in my short commute... that's an hour & 40 every week... over 3 days over the course of a year... over 2 months in the time I've been riding... & that doesn't include the hour or more it saves me every time there's a proper jam. I have a longer, better quality of life & enjoy it even in the winter.

Posted: 02/08/2013 at 13:13

Considering I just spent £25K on 2 Ducatis. I don't think I will be saving any money!

Posted: 02/08/2013 at 14:04

I also commute to work every day and agree on a nice day there is nothing better. Unfortunately part of my commute is on the M6 south which is a nightmare if I didn't use the bike I think most days I would never get to work on time.
One day I filtered pretty well most of the M6 as the traffic was at pretty well a standstill. I do not know how I would deal with it in a car and although I use my only bike the 1050 Sprint averages about 50 mpg and does a constant 200 miles to a tank full of fuel. Lot better than most cars and if you bear in mind how much fuel you would burn in the car in all those traffic jams

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 21:28

I also get to work happier and get home de-stressed and have forgotten all about the drudgery of work ! No such thing as the wrong type of weather, just the wrong clothes :)

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 09:27

Interesting - I do about 18K miles/year. I've done the costings and by the time I factor in fuel, tyres, insurance, servicing and depreciation there is no appreciable saving over the cost of the train. What I do save is some travel time and the fact that I can arrive at work with a smile on my face most days because the ride has a few good bits. Snow and ice will send me towards a train, but otherwise I'll use a bike.

Posted: 06/08/2013 at 14:44

Gets complicated if you compare a 55mpg disel car with a 50 mpg bike though...

And with servicing costs / tyres / chains etc, biking can be pricey too.

I used to commute by bike simply because it took under half the time to travel and could always park beside the bike sheds round the back of the office. And it was more fun. Free parking is a boon too, depending where you work.

Posted: 07/08/2013 at 17:11

It's not just the money. Sure, there are savings to be had, particularly on a small bike but the main difference is the stress factor.

Decent kit and heated grips are easily worth the advantage of not being stuck in endless queues, day after day, after day.

Posted: 09/08/2013 at 15:46

I save about $7 per day on parking, and a bit of mo ey on fuel... But it doesn't add up to the cost of owning and insuring a motorcycle.

I commute by motorcycle purely for the fun and the stress relief.

Posted: 09/08/2013 at 20:01

It all depends on the length of your commute. I only work 4.5 miles from home, so it's easier to jump in the car, especially in winter. The car is more economical too and only needs servicing every 20k miles. Tyres last 20-30k and I'm lucky enough to have a company car, so £90/month in tax for a new 320d covers all running and insurance costs.

The bike is strictly for fun nowadays.

Posted: 12/08/2013 at 07:05

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