It’s no secret that commuting on a small motorbike is cheaper than travelling to work each day by car, but many new riders are often shocked to discover that there are more costs involved than they initially budgeted for. It’s wise to weigh up the costs of riding and maintaining a motorbike before investing in one, so here’s our guide to the various costs to take into account.
Initial motorbike cost
Of course, it’s difficult for us to tell you exactly how much your first motorbike will cost you because this depends on a variety of factors including make, model, and whether it’s new or pre-owned. If you purchase a second hand model that has been restored or altered, this may initially sound like a cheaper option, but it sometimes can cost more due to the demand for originality. Unusual bikes are much sought after by biking enthusiasts, so costs for these vehicles can often be higher.
Usually, a provisional license will cost £34 online or £43 by post.
Once you pass your test, it’s free to upgrade to a full licence but when you come to renew it following its expiration, this will cost £14 online or £17 by post.
Compulsory Basic Training
Compulsory basic training (CBT) is a course you usually have to take before you ride a moped or motorcycle on the road. Costs can vary depending on your chosen school but tend to be between £100 to £150.
Test fees are as follows. Costs can vary depending on whether you take the test during traditional office hours or evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
|Test type||Weekdays||Evenings, weekends and bank holidays|
|Module 1 motorcycle test (off-road)||£15.50||£15.50|
|Module 2 motorcycle test (on-road)||£75||£88.50|
It goes without saying that motorbike insurance is an unavoidable part of owning a motorcycle. The good news is that there are countless plans on the market and many ways to save money by finding the right policy for you. If you build up a no claims bonus, this can also help you save money on your premiums in future.
Comparing numerous policies before picking the right one can be a smart move.
It’s important to factor motorcycle clothing such as your helmet and leathers into your budget. It may be tempting to opt for the cheapest available, particularly if you want to get into biking frugally, but buying cheap can often mean buying twice.
Instead, buy the best you can afford and you’re likely to benefit from better quality products that last longer than if you were to opt for the cheapest option.
Helmets tend to start at around £80 but the more expensive options can cost anywhere between £500 to over £1,000. Boots are usually upwards of £50; gloves are £30 and above; and waterproof oversuits are usually more than £50.
If you intend to ride your motorcycle in the winter and for long periods of time, it’s wise to invest in some high quality leathers that are designed for cold weather. Thermals to wear underneath are also advisable.
Road tax is another unavoidable factor to take into consideration. Although compulsory, the cost can vary just like insurance. It often depends on the capacity of your bike.
There are four tax bands and the costs are as follows*:
- Up to 150cc – £20 a year
- 151 – 400cc – £43 a year
- 401-600cc – £66 a year
- 600cc and above – £91 a year
*as of July 2019
The amount you’ll spend on fuel is of course another factor that’s difficult to predict without knowing how much you intend to use your motorbike. The capacity of your bike and your riding technique will also impact fuel usage. Nevertheless, once you begin riding your motorcycle, it’s wise to keep track of your fuel usage and spending so that you can plan ahead and budget for it.
Your motorcycle will need to have MOT tests in order to be deemed roadworthy. The test itself currently costs £29.65 but you may have to pay additional costs if repairs and amendments need to be made before it’s safe to be on the road.
Annual servicing isn’t a legal requirement. The cost can vary depending on the bike but it’s wise to expect costs of £150 or above.
Keeping your motorbike secure should be a big consideration and many insurance policies have specific requirements that need to be met. Check your policy to be sure, but you may be obligated to have locks, alarms, immobilisers and more security measures. Failure to take the required precautions could see your insurance policy become invalid.