Car vs Motorcycle: a battle to save you money

hqdefaultWith salaries frozen and energy prices spiralling out of control, we investigate how much money could be saved by switching from a Car to a Motorcycle.

Automobile versus motorcycle, it’s the argument that has been raging on tarmac since the four and two-wheeled rivals first met in the 19th century. Be it performance, looks, practicality or economy the fiery altercation has taken many forms and featured in many places before now, but perhaps none have been quite so poignant as the topic we attempt to thrash out in this article.

Recent news that the UK’s economy has grown for the third successive quarter is welcomed with open arms, but whilst we are undoubtedly on the road to recovery, with employment rates also improving, the truth is that many of us are still feeling the pinch of very hard times.

The recently announced price rises from the UK’s ‘big six’ energy suppliers mean that households will face bills over 8% higher than last year. For the average household, this could mean annual bills hitting the £1,500 mark for the first time in history. This highly topical issue compelled us to take action, so we set off to see if consumers really could save money by changing from four-wheels to two.

The first problem we came across in our quest to save money and encourage motorcycling, was finding a starting point! A bit of research into running costs of cars and bikes seemed a logical place to begin, but what cars and what bikes? Should we target a particular user such as commuters? or perhaps first time bikers? Well to give this post the widest possible appeal we’ve hand picked a few different examples, all of which are based on 3-year ownership costs to build a balanced picture.

The following isn’t meant as a definitive guide for how to save money and which bike you should choose to do so, nor is it reflective of all the different types of drivers and riders, it is merely a few examples and generalisations we’ve made to get some healthy debate going.

The Commuter

To start with we picked a reliable and frugal commuter bike, something that will return good economy and won’t leave you stranded at the roadside. The Suzuki Inazuma 250 does just that and if it doesn’t put a grin on your face at the same time, then we’re not quite sure what will!

Next up we needed to find an equivalent from the 4-wheel world, we’re the first to admit that we’re not car experts, which is why we decided to keep things simple and pick a vehicle from the same company. The Suzuki Alto is ingrained with same brand philosophy to deliver value-packed products, it sits at the no frills end of the firm’s range and it’s Japanese heritage ensures a reliable and efficient performance.

So, how do the Inazuma and the Alto stack up on paper:

The facts are undoubtedly in the bike’s favour but some might argue that it comes at a compromise, and to a certain extent they’d have a point. With only 2 seats instead of 4 or 5 and no protection from the elements, it’s not going to be practical to sell the family car and invest in a bike. That said, the bike could be a serious alternative to a second car, and with savings of around £750 per year (50% of the average households energy bills), it’s worth some serious thought.

The Learner

For this comparison we decided to use some real bargain second hand vehicles, for the bike we picked the original trusty learner bike, the Honda CG125. On the car front, perhaps an equally stereotypical learner-mobile or first car, the Ford Fiesta. Here’s how they compared:

So even though the buying costs are pretty similar, there is still a huge amount of cash to be saved in the annual running costs of the bike. We’ll concede that you’ll be hard pushed to get an adrenaline rush onboard a CG125, but the same can be said about driving the Fiesta.

If you’re looking for a no-frills winter hack or summer commuter and you’re not doing lots of motorway miles, then an economical 125cc commuter bike will bag you around £1300 in savings each year. What’s more you can also ride a bike of this capacity without getting your full motorcycle license. Instead you can do a 1-day compulsory basic training (CBT) course for around £100 and get straight out on the road with L plates.

The Petrol Head

The last car vs bike comparison we made has a slightly unexpected twist. You might think that an article written in an attempt to save money might only focus on the most frugal of machines, but we don’t think that those looking for performance should be excluded.

Our last comparison is between the tarmac-melting BMW S1000RR superbike and the BMW 135i M Sport super-hot hatchback. Realistically there are much cheaper ways to buy big performance, but the BMWs, like the Suzukis we mentioned earlier, are ingrained with the same core values to deliver a pure, unadulterated riding/driving experience. So here’s how they sit:

As you’d expect the super-car beating S1000RR simply outclasses the hatchback in all areas of performance and in the economy stakes it is leaps and bounds in front too. With the comparatively huge price tag of the car, you can also expect equally high depreciation. This has big implications when it comes  to the annual running costs, meaning you can have the awesome performance of the S1000RR and save over £3100 a year compared to the 135i M Sport!

So to conclude, the figures really do speak for themselves on the performance and economy front, with two wheels coming out on top. That said, modern cars have almost certainly closed the gap on their more economical two-wheeled equivalents and they are clear winners in the practicality stakes, with longer tank ranges, more torque, the ability to carry more passengers and keep them dry!

We’ve proved that there is certainly some money to be saved if your lifestyle will support a switch from four-wheels to two and even though we are somewhat biased, you’ll also realise that nothing can beat the rush and the sense of freedom and independence you get from riding a motorcycle.

If you have any views or comments on this subject or if you’ve made the change from four-wheels to two-wheels we’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below!

* Insurance quotes based on a 25yr old male with clean license, no accidents, 8yrs NCB.

Christmas present and gift ideas for bikers and motorcyclists


A great selection of xmas gift ideas for the biker in your life!

If you’re stuck for xmas present ideas then look no further! We’ve put together a collection of some great items to give you a helping hand. There’s an excellent range of biking gifts to suit that special someone, no matter what your budget, from tool kits and t-shirts to sat-navs. You won’t go far wrong with a gift voucher too!

Alpinestars GP Plus Motorcycle Gloves Review

The Alpinestars GP Plus motorcycle gloves were born on the racetrack in the hands of some of the world’s best riders such as Nicky Hayden and Carlos Checa, as such they offer class leading protective properties and one of the best fitting designs in the market.

Motorcycle news: The Alpinestars GP Plus are good enough for Hayden and Checa
With a full grain leather construction, the Alpinestars GP Plus are pretty tough gloves and stand up well to abrasion. Once the leather bed’s in they provide a great fit for any shape of hand, which in turns provide good comfort, whether it’s a long ride or a quick blast.
On the protection front the Alpinestars GP Plus also feature ad injection molded PU knuckle guard which is designed to the brunt of any impact if the worst should happen. The same material is also utilized on the cuff to provide additional strengthening to the wrist area. For additional peace of mind the interior lining is also constructed using high-strength Kevlar material, even right down to the stitching.
To show the kind of thought and attention to detail that went into the design and production for the Alpinestars GP Plus gloves, the fingers feature a unique pre-curved design, to ensure a more natural fit right from the word go. The GP Plus gloves also showcase Alpinestars’ patented third and fourth finger bridge which is put in place to reduce the likelihood of broken fingers in the event of a spill.
There is no doubt that the Alpinestars GP Plus are a premium quality product, what you may be surprised by the extremely competitive price they can be purchased for. So whether you are a track day nut or a sports bike road rider, with the wide range of sizes and colour options available, these gloves should definitely make it onto your shortlist.

New range of outdoor motorcycle covers from R&G

Bike protection firm R&G announce new features and two additional fitments for their popular Outdoor Cover including new Cruiser and Scooter covers and updated Adventure and Superbike variants.

Motorcycle news: R&G launch new adventure outdoor motorcycle cover

Great news for riders who have to park their bikes outside all year as the award-winning R&G outdoor motorcycle cover is now available for Scooter/Urban and Cruiser machines while the existing Superbike and Adventure variants have been enhanced with no increased cost.

Despite the previous Outdoor Cover receiving top marks in an independent test for its waterproofing, ease of use, low weight, heat resistance and boasting other extra features; R&G is not a company to rest on its laurels. The improved cover from the world leader in motorcycle damage protection products builds on the success of its predecessor by adding more features, such as enlarged venting, a PVC numberplate window and – depending on the model of cover chosen – a foldaway pouch to expand for top cases or rear seat posts/sissy bars.

Motorcycle news: The new R&G urban outdoor motorcycle cover for scooters

Although R&G recommends a machine is allowed to cool down before fitting the cover due to the massive build-up of heat in catalytic converters, the Outdoor Covers are sufficiently durable to deal with regular bike heat and the addition of increased ventilation helps to drastically reduce condensation – essential in extreme conditions to avoid problems such as frozen ignition barrels.

The addition of a PVC rear window allows for the bike to be easily identified in places like busy bike bays where there can be rows of other bikes also shielded from the elements with a cover. For those not keen to show off their licence plate, an internal flap can be used to cover this window.

The Cruiser and Scooter variants of these rugged bike blankets come with the addition of foldaway pouches, allowing the covers to be easily expanded when used on bikes fitted with a grab rail or with a top box in position.

These four fabric shields boast a durable, waterproof outer layer and flaps at the front and rear wheel positions to run a security lock through without affecting the area of cover. Helping to secure the product in place are adjustable belly straps and a specific elastic hem that doesn’t cling and contract around the bike when removing the cover.

The new covers are priced between £39.99-£59.99, check out for your local dealer

2014 MotoGP Entry List – including 5 Brits!

To help combat those January blues and look ahead to the warmth of the motorcycle racing season, we’ve picked apart the rider entry list for the 2014 MotoGP championship. The names alone reveal the high caliber of racing we can expect to witness, and best of all there are an amazing 5 Brits on the grid!

2014 MotoGP entry list confirmed – it look’s set to be a great season!

Here’s the full list of entries so far:

Factory spec machines

93 marc márquez – spain – repsol Honda team – Honda * – Won last year’s Championship in his rookie season, will be looking to retain the title.

26 dani pedrosa – spain – repsol Honda team – Honda * – Still waiting for his first MotoGP championship, will 2014 be Dani’s year?

99 jorge lorenzo – spain – Yamaha factory racing – Yamaha * – Desperately close runner up last season, Lorenzo has got to be the most determined guy on the grid!

46 valentino rossi – italy – Yamaha factory racing – Yamaha * – The veteran, can Vale prove he’s still got what it takes and claim his 10th World Title?

4 andrea dovizioso – italy – Ducati team – Ducati * – Plagued with bad lack last season, will the addition of his Tech 3 team mate Cal spur him on?

35 cal crutchlow – great britain – Ducati team – Ducati * – After heavy criticism for taking the Ducati ride, can Crutchlow silence all the negative press?

44 pol espargaro – spain – monster Yamaha tech 3 – Yamaha * – Joins his brother in MotoGP and joining the well-regarded Tech 3 team will undoubtedly see Pol challenging near the front.

38 bradley smith – great britain – monster Yamaha tech 3 – Yamaha * – With his rookie season dispatched, Bradley will be looking to prove himself this year.

6 stefan bradl – germany – lcr Honda motogp – Honda * – A consistently strong finisher, but can he get some wins under his belt in 2014?

19 álvaro bautista – spain – go&fun Honda gresini – Honda * – Another solid season for Bautista in 2013 but can he step up and pose a serious threat for the title?

29 andrea iannone – italy – pramac racing – Ducati * – A factory spec bike shows faith in Iannone, can he repeat some of his 250cc glory days?
Privateer spec machines

5 colin edwards – usa – ngm mobile forward racing – ftr Yamaha – another veteran, can Colin break into the top 10 and kick if with the factory boys?    

41 aleix espargaro – spain – ngm mobile forward racing – ftr Yamaha – top-placing CRT rider in 2013, will the experience of team mate Edwards push him forward?

8 héctor barberá – spain – avintia blusens – ftr  – Barbera shows huge potential but can he turn it into results this season?

63 mike di meglio – france – avintia blusens – ftr – Di Meglio has also show heaps of promise, we can’t wait to see him tearing it up in MotoGP.   

9 danilo petrucci – italy – iodaracing project – art – More young blood into the championship, can he match Marquez’s rookie season?

12 leon camier – great britain – iodaracing project – art – a top-class Superbike rider looking to make it in the Grand Prix circuit, we’ll be cheering him on!  
17 karel abraham – czech republic – cardion ab motoracing – Honda – Abraham shows promise and brings some serious funding, but can he secure some top 10 finishes in 2014?   
45 scott redding – great britain – go&fun Honda gresini – Honda – We’ve been waiting to cheer Scott on in MotoGP for quite some time now, this will undoubtedly be one to watch.

68 yonny hernandez – colombia – pramac racing – Ducati – Hernandez has got some skill but will need to deliver some results to maintain his ride going forward.
69 nicky hayden – usa – power electronics aspar – Honda – Finally off the Ducati and back to the good old Honda, we can’t wait to see the former world champ fighting in 2013.   

7 hiroshi aoyama – japan – power electronics aspar – Honda – despite his solid history, Aoyama is yet to really impress in MotoGP.    
70 michael laverty – great britain – paul bird motorsport – pbm – The follow up to a season plagued with bad luck, let’s hope Michael can deliver what we know he’s capable of in 2014.       

23 broc parkes – australia – paul bird motorsport – pbm – another well respected superbike rider back from injury and looking to make in in the big league.

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