How to… reduce the costs of your motorcycling
Those who ride motorcycles will tell you it’s one of the most life-changing and best things you can do but there’s no getting away from the fact that although it can be a good way to get around cheaply, it can also cost a lot of money if you allow it to.
We’ve worked out a variety of ways you can reduce or keep those costs under control to make sure you can use your motorcycle for the things that have a positive impact on your life such as commuting or just those fun weekend rides.
Saving money on petrol
Like many things in life, shopping around for a better deal will save some money and that’s definitely true of petrol, as the variation in price for a litre of petrol can be as much as 30p when you look at the prices charged at motorway service stations.
Motorway service petrol prices are astronomically high when compared to those in towns and while they are sometimes unavoidable when on long journeys or in emergencies, you could be saving about £5 a tank full by looking for cheaper options.
Use a website like www.petrolprices.com as this will alert you to the cheapest fuel within a set area determined by you and it could mean saving a lot of a year.
Most motorcycles return decent fuel economy but the way you ride them can have a big impact on even the most frugal of motorbikes.
Smoothing out your riding style is one of the key ways of reducing fuel consumption and it has the added advantage of making you a better rider as well. A double win.
Look further ahead, try not to accelerate to hard, or brake too hard and lose too much momentum and it can all have a positive impact on fuel economy figures.
Ditch any luggage you don’t need as it will reduce weight, wind resistance and help raise fuel economy figures too. If you have panniers fitted to your bike with nothing in them, take them off and leave them in the garage.
Make sure tyres are inflated to the recommended pressures as this can not only have a safety implication but will sap fuel economy too.
Saving cash on maintenance
Helping reduce your motorcycling costs is just one part of keeping your motorbike in good mechanical order; the most important being your safety as a badly maintained bike can fail, causing you to crash and hurt yourself.
The best start is to buy one of the many options of maintenance books that can actually be specifically about your own model in order to make life easier.
Basic visual checks before you ride are a great way to start. A scan over tyre condition to check they are safe to ride on and don’t have anything like screws stuck in them can help avoid much bigger issues and caught early, they can potentially be plugged and repaired safely.
The most common MoT failure is for failed bulbs so checking these work can avoid the hassle of getting a retest.
Basic checks to oil level, brake pad wear and chain tension on a regular basis can all help prevent bigger problems if ignored.
Nothing stops you carrying out basic maintenance at home but in order to preserve the warranty on a new bike you will need to use original specification parts. The same is true of any independent garage you ask to carry out work on your bike in relation to the parts being used.
Other tips to save some cash
Taking as many steps to keep your motorcycle or scooter away from the hands of thieves is one of the key ways you can reduce your costs, as a claim for theft will likely increase your insurance premium in following years.
Not everyone has a garage but there are options including wooden sheds – and more secure metal ones too – that help keep the bike away from being seen and more secure. Trying to find a local garage or lock-up for rent can sometimes work too.
Carrying a chain and a disc lock are recommended in order to avoid leaving your bike unprotected in the street. The police recommend the mantra ‘Lock, Chain, Cover’ when it comes to parking your bike up in public. It’s good advice.
Cheaper riding gear
Buying nearly new riding kit from the likes of eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace can save huge amounts of money. It’s incredible the bargains that can be found on kit that’s barely been worn.
Keep an eye on the discount supermarkets as they regularly have offers where cycling or running underlayers (and occasionally proper motorcycle kit) which is much cheaper than specific kit. Underlayers meant for cyclists or runners is just the same as those for riding motorcycles. We can’t recommend skimping on crash helmets though. It’s important to know the history of your most important piece of riding gear, so always by new and the best you can afford.
Riding in winter
Make sure you look after your motorcycle or scooter if you ride in winter as the mixture of salt, damp and the heat from the engine can wreak havoc with the finish of the bike and devalue it hugely. Use some of the anti-corrosion products available (such as ACF50 or XCP Rust Protector to name just a couple) which work to protect from salt corrosion. There are companies that will do the application for you.
Commuting by bike
Using a bike or scooter to get to work isn’t suitable for everyone as some people need vans or cars to take work equipment with them but it’s definitely worth looking into, as an inexpensive scooter or motorcycle can save a large amount of money when compared to train or bus tickets; and especially when you consider bikes can often park for free.