Is Owning a Motorcycle Cheaper Than A Car? [Chart Compare]

Black Motorcycle

Is Owning a motorcycle cheaper than owning a car in terms of operating costs? Yes but you need to look beyond the monthly cost to include all of the maintenance and other expenses associated with owning a vehicle.

To assess whether a motorcycle is less expensive than a car, you must consider both the cost of the vehicle and the cost of insurance. This may seem like a straightforward comparison, but you might be surprised at how different the two vehicles can be when you get into the details.

Let’s look at the average cost of a car and a motorcycle in the below graph:

The Cost of Initial Purchase

When you look at the cost of a brand new motorcycle, you can see that the price is lower than a brand new car. A bike can range from around $8,000 to $25,000, while a car can range from around $22,000 to $50,000.

As you can see, the cost of the car is about three times higher than the cost of the motorcycle. When you include the cost of the gear, gas, and maintenance, the bike costs around $11,000, while the automobile costs $27,000.

However, when purchasing a bike, the initial cost is higher since you must consider purchasing a set of motorcycle gear (something you do not do when purchasing a car). You’re looking at buying a jacket, boots, leathers, gloves, rain gear, and a helmet. By themselves, helmets are expensive, and you have to purchase them using cash versus taking a loan for your car. Plus, you need to double up on these gears. 

Maintenance Cost

When it comes to servicing your motorcycle, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some things are relatively inexpensive, and others are pretty expensive. The good news is that if you can get a service before you need it, long-term savings are assured.

Motorcycle repairs and maintenance are not included in purchasing one. However, they are still less expensive compared to a car, despite occurring at more frequent intervals. Tires should be replaced every 4000 to 11,000 miles on average, and this alone can cost hundreds of dollars.

Regular maintenance becomes obligatory every 4000 to 20,000 miles depending on your bike. The standard cost is around $1,000 annually and could change drastically if the motorcycle is poorly maintained. Maintenance costs will be higher if you own an expensive bike (like a Ducati). An occasional valve replacement, for example, will set you back $600 to $1500 on top of the standard cost. 

Here are other expenses:

Oil Change: Mechanics recommend that motorcycle oil needs to be changed every 3,700 miles. Ordinary/Conventional oil needs to be replaced every 3000 miles, while synthetic oil is good for 5000 miles before needing replacement. The cost of an oil change could be anywhere between $40 to $50. 

Brake Jobs: You don’t need to change your brake pads yearly as they are suitable for 40,000 miles. The pads cost $30 to $50 a set. However, suppose you will be replacing the rotors, including labor, the expense becomes higher (usually around $80 to $100 an hour). In that case, it could quickly turn into a few hundred dollars. 

Chain Maintenance: A motorcycle chain needs replacement every 5000 to 20,000 miles. On average, chain replacement costs between $100 to $300 (plus labor). You will pay more if the drivetrain needs replacement. Leaving your chain outside in the cold or wet weather will result in faster deterioration due to rust and oxidation, so it’s best to cover the motorcycle with a waterproof tarp. 

The cost of a motorcycle gear

Owning a motorcycle isn’t as simple as buying one and riding it. There are particular laws governing motorcycle ownership and riding, depending on where you are from. These laws are there to make sure you are safe. Even if no rules control riding and ownership, motorcycle owners should invest in a complete set of riding gear for their own protection because motorcycle riding is inherently dangerous.

  • The cost of a good helmet is anywhere between $150 to $900. 
  • The smart rider who cares about his skin will also wear a high abrasion motor jacket, gloves, and boots.
  • Most people wear jeans. If you go down at any speed over 15 mph, jeans come off like a wet paper towel.
  • A new pair of protective pants are highly recommended. You should budget between $800 and $1,200 for new gear. Of course, eventually, you’ll need to replace items as they wear out.

Insurance can be cheap or costly (depending on where you are from)

The rates for a motorcycle vary greatly depending on where you live. For example,  in the Northeast, a Honda Shadow Spirit 750 would cost $95 a year to insure.

The more you drive, the more you’ll pay. That’s why it’s essential to shop around for insurance. It’s easy to compare prices online and at insurance companies and brokers.

If you’re thinking about getting a motorcycle, it’s important to understand the costs of owning one. While many people believe that they can afford a bike, a great way to find out if you can really afford a motorcycle is to check out the insurance costs.

A full-coverage cost is higher than minimum coverage, according to the website the table below shows you the rate for the following scope:

  • limits of $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • the policies cover the bike’s actual cash value minus the deductible.
Insurance ProviderStandard Bike Annual PremiumSports Bike Annual PremiumTouring Bike Annual Premium

(Dairyland did not provide accessory coverage of more than $2,500). 


Insurance can be costly, whether you own a car or a motorcycle. However, you need to think about the worst; that’s why insurance becomes obligatory if you own a vehicle.

The cost of buying a car

Buying a car is simpler than buying a motorcycle. You can either take out a loan or use cash to buy a car. You can save money by paying in cash. If you take out a loan, you will have to deal with additional charges that add to the cost of an already expensive investment. There is a sales tax, registration, title fees, dealership fees, and car insurance costs. After that, fuel, maintenance, and repair costs will be dealt with. At the end of the day, the car is more expensive than a motorcycle.

After talking about costs, let’s talk about the advantages of owning a car and a motorcycle. 

The advantage of having a car 

The high cost of owning and maintaining a car comes with its own benefits. 

(1) Convenience

If you have a car, you can go wherever you want. You don’t have to be concerned about your bike being stolen. It is possible to drive in the rain, snow, and during the night.

(2) Safety:

If you get into an accident, you are likely to be safe. The risk of dying in a car accident is lower than in a motorcycle accident.

(3) Cargo

Carrying many things with you during your trip won’t be a problem if you have a car. There’s ample space for them inside.

(4) People’s transportation

You can drive a car to work, take your kids to school, take your parents to the airport, take your family to the beach, and take your friends to the movies. You can even take your girlfriend or boyfriend on a date. Or take your dog to the vet. This is possible because of the number of seats at your disposal.

(5) Protection from the elements

The best way to protect yourself from the elements is to own a car. A car is better than a motorcycle if you live in a cold, hot, rainy, or snowy area. 

(6) Shield in case of an accident

If you get into an accident, you will be safe in a car. The risk of dying in a car accident is lower than dying in a motorcycle accident. If you get into an accident, you will be safer in a car than on a motorcycle.

Reasons why a motorcycle is preferable to a car

The great thing about motorcycles is that they are not just for riding. They are also great tools for getting around the world and exploring new places. It can be a great experience to explore the country by motorcycle.

If you are looking for a way to get some exercise and have fun simultaneously, then a motorcycle is the way to go. However, if you are looking for a vehicle that can get you places fast, is reliable, and can save you money. A motorcycle may be the better choice.

When choosing between a scooter or a street motorcycle, most people will choose the scooter because of the convenience. Still, if you live in a big city, a bike is your best option. 

(1) Health Benefits

Motorcycles can be a fun way to travel and discover new places. However, riding a motorcycle is also great for one’s physical health. Studies show that motorcyclists have a lower rate of heart disease and less chance of dying in a car accident than those who do not ride motorcycles. Riding a motorcycle also keeps you fit by increasing your cardiovascular endurance.

Riding is an excellent exercise for the body and mind. It’s also a great way to stay fit and get away from the stress of life. I have personally found that riding is a great way to clear my head, relax, and get some much-needed exercise.

(2) Mental Benefits

As people become more aware of the importance of mental health, they find that they can benefit from taking time for themselves, whether exercising, meditation, or getting outdoors. For some, biking is an easy way to take their minds off things, while for others, it’s a means of escaping. Absolutely, the mental benefits of riding a motorcycle are immense.

(3) Motorcycles are affordable

If you are looking to purchase a vehicle, the best way to determine what type of vehicle you should buy is by looking at your budget and needs. You can buy a motorcycle for as low as $3000, but you will also find motorcycles that start at $15 000 and higher. The best way to purchase a vehicle is to look at the different models and pick one that meets your needs.

(4) Retains a high resale value

The average car retains its resale value for about six years, while the average motorcycle has its value for nearly 15 years. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, but it’s an excellent place to start. If you’re in the market for a new bike, make sure it’s a brand and style you like and can afford. When buying a used bicycle, you want to find one that has been maintained well.

(5) Fuel-efficient

A motorcycle is a fantastic mode of transportation. Compared to a car, it’s fun, economical, and efficient, making it dependable for long-distance travel.

(6) Environment-friendly

The environmental impact of owning a motorcycle is not as significant as you may think. In fact, if you are comparing the environmental impact of motorcycles to that of cars, motorcycles are actually less polluting. According to the American Motorcyclist Association, motorcycles use about 10% of cars’ gasoline. Cars use about 20% of the gas that trucks do. The average bike uses about one-tenth of the average car’s fuel.

(7) Motorcycles fix easy

You don’t have to be a master mechanic to keep your motorcycle in good working order. Even though some people spend thousands of dollars on custom motorcycles, most can afford to keep them running well for under $200 a year. If you do decide to purchase a custom motorcycle, you should have it inspected by a reputable mechanic who will be able to tell you if any significant issues need to be addressed.

If you have a car and need a new part, you will probably have to pay more because the part is more expensive than the average part. But if you go to a shop that specializes in the car you are working on, they will be able to get you the part you need at a lower price.

(8) Highly customizable

You can personalize your motorcycle by selecting from various parts, such as handlebars and footpegs. Even parts can customize your motorcycles, such as heated grips, seat covers, and footpegs. You can also choose your color scheme. The customization process will be enjoyable if you enjoy having fun with your bike.

(9) There are communities of motorcycle lovers

The motorcycle community is one of the largest groups of people that share common interests. I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 20 years, and I love connecting with others who share my passion for two-wheeled adventure.

For the last 40 years, the Japanese have dominated the automotive industry. Their cars have become known for their quality, reliability, and style. However, the American biker still feels the rush of riding a motorcycle.

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling, and one thing I’ve learned is that the people I meet along the way are just as interesting as the places I visit. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of this community of people who have the same interests as me and want to make a difference in the world.


While owning and driving a car is the safest and the most convenient, riding a motorcycle is the most liberating. The cost of owning a bike is significantly lower compared to owning and maintaining a car. 

And then there’s the freedom to go where you want when you want. Go ahead and ride a motorcycle if you’re going to.

We hope that this article helped provide you with some information about the many reasons why you should own a motorcycle.

Owning a motorcycle is an excellent way to experience the world around you. You can also share the road with other people who share your passion for riding a bike. I’ve made many friends along the way, and I’m sure you will.