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.

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.

Oxford products to distribute Oakley sunglasses

Oakley are world-renowned for their advanced eyewear, that not only looks great but also has excellent technical properties to protect your eyes. These fashionable accessories are worn by top bike racers such as MotoGP world champ Marc Marquez.



Motorcycle News: The MotoGP collection from Oakley will be available in the UK

Oxford products, the UK motorcycle clothing and accessory manufacturer and distributor, has just taken on a distributorship for the popular range of sunglasses in an attempt to increase sales in the UK motorcycle market. A range of carefully selected models, such as the MotoGP and Rossi ranges, will be promoted by the firm through selected retailers and events, including this weekends Motorcycle Trade Expo at the Birmingham NEC.



Motorcycle News: ThisVR46 design from ‘The Doctor’ will also be available

To find out more visit www.oxprod.com

Shoei X-Spirit 2 Motorcycle Helmet Review

The Shoei X-Spirit 2 motorcycle helmet has been around in various derivatives for almost a decade since the first X-Spirit model was first introduced in 2003, it underwent a series of upgrades and updated in 2010 to launch the new X-Spirit 2 model which is now considered to be one of the best sports or racing motorcycle helmets in the world.

Motorcycle News: The Shoei X-Spirit 2 offers excellent all-round performance

The Shoei X-Spirit 2 builds on the company’s 50 plus years of experience on the motorcycle racing scene and delivers a top quality helmet built using the very latest technology and extremely advanced aerodynamics. Not only does the X-Spirit have all of the best features though, it also very much looks the part, with out of this world styling combined with some of the coolest designs we’ve ever seen on a motorcycle helmet – the Shoya Tomizawa replica pictured above is one of our personal favourites!

The noise levels on the Shoei X-Spirit 2 are also very low, especially for a sports orientated product, this is partly down to the precision engineering in the product process but can also be attributed to the inclusion of the company’s dual layer visor seal, which firmly closes out any wind leakage regardless of how fast you’re riding.

Another big plus of the Shoei X-Spirit 2 is the fact that it comes in 4 different shell sizes across a huge range of helmet sizes, thereby opening it up to a much wider range of bikers, regardless of the shape and size of their head. The attention to detail on the X-Spirit 2 is obvious, even down to the chin strap cover, that is included to prevent the strap marking the riders neck, but can also be removed to be washed.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford the Shoei X-Spirit 2 then we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with your choice. To find our more check out www.shoei.com

HJC launch 2014 motorcycle helmet range

HJC has been making some of the best high quality bike helmets since the early 50s. In 1971 the factory focused all of its efforts on motorcycle helmets and set themselves the objective of providing high quality, comfortable, and good value for money helmets to bikers all around the world.

Motorcycle News: HJC unveil their 2014 model range

The firm got a step closer to achieving their goal in the 90s when HJC became the USAs best selling motorcycle lid – a position it has held ever since. Today HJC helmets are worn by bikers all around the glove and are unsurprisingly one of the world’s biggest motorcycle helmet brands, producing more safety lids than any of its competitors. The range now encompasses a massive variety of helmets, with lots of different designs and colour options.

The 2014 HJC range has been hugely anticipated and it certainly doesn’t disappoint, here’s a couple of images which highlight some of the new models and colours we can expect from this innovator of motorcycle helmets. Our personal favourites are the Jorge Lorenzo replica models.

To find your nearest dealer visit www.oxprod.com