Advantages and Disadvantages of Motorcycling

Knowing the pros and cons of motorcycling will boost your wisdom and help you to make the best decision for your situation. It's not for everyone, and it's best to figure that out before you lay out your hard-earned money. I also realize that sometimes you just have to try something for a while in order to see if it's for you. In that case, we need to keep our expenses within reason in case we decide against that activity, and then cut our losses.

Need or Want?

Let's face it - very few people really need a motorcycle. For most of us, it is a want or desire. I will say, however, that after you have ridden bikes for a while it does seem to turn into a need. So whether you see it as a need or a want will depend on where you are in your journey. If you are in the early stages, it's probably just a want. Beware though, it won't take long to turn into a need!

Do I know every advantage and disadvantage of motorcycling? No, of course not. I'm sure there are a lot more of these than I can think of, but you'll get the idea. Just add in any others you can think of to personalize your own list.

Some Advantages

  1. It's FUN!
  2. You burn less gas than most cars. This of course depends on the bike or car you are talking about. The gap in fuel consumption continues to shrink, but most bikes do pretty good on gas.
  3. When you get to where you're going, you feel more refreshed and alert compared to riding inside a car or truck.
  4. Spending time on a bike, for me, tends to help me clear my head and be more relaxed / less stressed when I'm done riding. When I ride, I don't have a radio on or any other distractions. I think that's a good way to become a statistic.

    I like to concentrate fully on my riding. There are too many people out there that are doing everything (but driving their car) that I have to watch out for. But that is where the advantage comes from. By concentrating fully on my riding, my mind is automatically off of all the other stuff in my life. Things just seem to be more in perspective after a good ride. ( Maybe this is how the "need" for a bike develops over time.)
  5. Less space required for parking.
  6. For the most part, they use up less resources to manufacture and maintain.
  7. When you pass a dead skunk on the road, the smell goes away much quicker than when you are in a car.
  8. You can actually smell the good stuff while riding: like a wood fire, hay fields, fresh cut grass or burgers on the grill.
  9. Going to local "Bike Night" gatherings in your area.
  10. While the kids are still young, you can take one at a time on a ride with you and have some one on one time with them. Maybe go for a meal or other destination they like.
  11. Vacations are more fun on a bike. (Mainly after the kids are out on their own.)
  12. Insurance can be cheaper than a car, but not always. The younger and more inexperienced you are, the higher the rates. Take the safety course to get a possible rate reduction.
  13. It's FUN!

Some Disadvantages

  1. You will probably spend a lot more money on specialized clothing and accessories than you will save in gas money.
  2. When it rains you tend to get wet, but that's where the specialized clothing comes in.
  3. Bikes are not too good in the snow and ice of winter.
  4. You have limited cargo/people capacity. This could also be viewed as an advantage depending on who wants to ride with you.
  5. Bug splats. You haven't lived until you catch a June bug in the throat at 50 MPH!

Some Gray Areas

  1. Motorcycles are cheaper to buy and operate than a car.

    Some are and some aren't. It can vary greatly. Don't buy a bike for the purpose of saving money alone or you will probably be disappointed. Do it because it's fun and you enjoy it and you'll be much happier. However, there are bikes that get great mileage and are low cost. It can be done quite cheaply.
  2. Motorcycling is dangerous/risky.

    This is one that I don't agree with. There are too many people that have ridden for many years and have never had an accident. You just have to get the proper training and apply it. Always keep your mind on your riding. It's like anything else. If you make poor decisions it becomes risky.

  3. You can only ride in nice weather.

    For some people this is true, and that's OK for them. Personally, I don't mind riding in the rain or cold, as long as I'm prepared for it with the proper clothing. It's really not that bad, and it sure is nice to ride a few times in the winter if there's no snow on the roads. Plus it's fun to freak people out by doing it. They think you've lost it.

In a Nutshell

As with most things in life, it's what you make of it. Use your head, do your research and talk with experienced people that have done it right. Don't ask the guy who got a bike, crashed it 5 times and then sold it for scrap. He obviously did not learn how to do it right, and you do not want to take his advice.

Motorcycling is one of the best things around in my opinion. Check it out and decide for yourself. If you decide against it, that's OK. Just keep an eye out for those of us that do, please.

Mitch Ferguson, May 2009 

If you would like a more in-depth source of information on this topic, be sure to get your copy of my book.  It's a low cost way to help you make an informed decision and to arm yourself with valuable information.  You can find it here. 

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