– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

MD Readers Respond to “The Recession and Two Wheels”

Our brief article about The Recession and Two Wheels prompted some interesting responses. Here they are in their unedited form.

  • I lived in Paris the last two years and gas is $7 per gallon. Great culture for motorcycling and scooters.

  • Amen to the economy moto motive. Have been riding a Reflex for the past three years. Sold my CBR1100XX when both of our kids were in private college. Although there are times when I miss being able to go from 0-60 in around 3 seconds, the savings more than makes up for the thrill that’s gone.
    Too bad Honda is not bringing the Reflex into the US this year. 250 cc is plenty of displacement for freeway driving. I get 63 – 64 mpg consistently.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more. However, to really save money, try replacing one or all of your cars with a bike. I sold my last car in March of 1998. Since then I’ve put 41,000 miles on a Honda Shadow ACE Tourer and 39,000 miles on a BMW R1150RSA. My insurance is $149 per annum and the BMW gets between 50 and 60 mpg. Yes I take public transportation when it rains or snows, and yes, by this time of the year I’m getting tired of wearing an electric vest. But the money I’ve saved over the past decade is in the tens of thousands.

  • Good thoughts on full-time utilization…..I was running a large Honda/BMW dealer in the 70’s and thought spiking gas prices would drive ’em in the door… luck……I live in Santa Barbara and better year ’round riding weather is not to be found………. the first warm day of spring brings them out and any sign on fog or cold weather ends the fun. I’ve got a house on the north shore of Kauai and hundreds of folks commute to Princeville to work from the southern part of the island……does anyone commute on this, the most beautiful ride in the world? No, and gas is .20 more per gallon than in Santa Barbara. New riders refuse to believe it costs $500 to get ready to ride all-weather: tank bag, helmet, gloves, boots, etc….. Until gasoline hits $6.00/gallon, your suggestions about full time riding will go unheeded. Our society is becoming too safety fixated to push the citizen over to the two-wheeled life.

  • I’m a regular reader of Motorcycledaily and I’m based in Dublin, Ireland where the petrol price has been above one euro a litre for more than two years… currently it has dropped down to about 1.10euro/litre at the discounted supermarket outlets, but is about
    1.15 euro/litre more generally. At 3.78 litres per US Gallon, and a euro/dollar exchange rate currently at 1.45 $/euro… I make it more than $6 per gallon(US) !!! and it has been for some time too… Note that while the price of oil has dramatically increased in dollar terms, it has been considerably less steep in euro terms.

    Note too, that Ireland is one of the cheaper places in europe for petrol, being significantly more expensive in the UK (including Northern Ireland) and France (last summer when I was on holidays there it was about 1.35 euro/litre…

    cheers, and keep up the good work!

  • I think providing fuel economy figures for the bikes you test is an excellent idea. As with most all vehicles, mileage depends on how they are driven. Will you be giving an overall figure during your test period or try to provide numbers that the typical rider would get riding in traffic? Any track time would most likely bring the numbers down.

  • You’re swimming against a fast stream for a lot of reasons.
    1. Most motorcycles sold in the US get embarrassingly lousy gas mileage.
    2. The cost of operation of the typical motorcycle is higher than many small cars when maintenance and the replacement cost of consumable items are included.
    3. For a person or family trying to reduce their cost of living, a motorcycle does not replace another vehicle and in fact it adds costs. Acquisition, insurance and maintenance to name a few. My 50 MPG K75 is doing me absolutely no good at the moment as I’m looking at 6″ of fresh snow.
    4. Your comparison to European usage of MC & scooters is flawed as fuel costs play only a part of the reason for two wheel use. Congestion, comparatively short commuting distances and lower age thresholds for operation are significant factors.

  • i ride to work [at a mc shop] 65 miles one way. i just bought a ninja 250. i always wanted one and at the age of 55 yrs. old, i feel i need a lighter bike. the machine will go a hundred [the ton]. wow, it looks great and i have gotten 82 mpg twice, never less than 70 mpg. last fill up 73.26. my other big bike averages 49 + mpg. the baby ninja is fabululous. i plan on touring two lane back roads and seeing real america. all bikes are fun, fast, and good on gas!

  • Like the new direction of providing mpg figures for bikes and scooters – it definitely makes sense.

  • Love your posts and articles. I start my day by checking out what you guys have to say. I must correct you, however, on the use of the word “recession.” I know a lot of people are using that word these days, but the fact remains we are not currently in a recession. I’m sure you know that a recession is defined as 2 negative growth quarters in succession. As of yet, we have not even had one. What we’re experiencing is an economic downturn, due mainly to the housing issue, but also in part due simply to cyclical economic patterns. The market has been in a record setting upturn for the past 3 years, and the DOW is still well over 12,000, which was record setting only a year or so ago. It couldn’t have lasted forever. Those people dealing with the pain of the housing crunch add up to a small segment of the consumer market. The banks that are suffering from the fallout of this issue are doing so because of foolish loan practices back when the housing market was so hot. This happens whenever the housing market takes off, there are always those who didn’t see the end in sight, and get caught up in the fever of trying to make a quick buck in an economic upturn. It’s tragic, but not the recession causing event it appears to be.

    That being said, I look forward to your inclusion of scooters and smaller bikes in future tests. I’d love to read what you think about the restyled Kawasaki Ninja 250. I’m glad you’ll be publishing real world mileage figures also. Recession or not, gas is still expensive, and two wheels are still a good idea. My bike gets 55 mpg, which is better than any small car I’ve ever owned.

    I really enjoy Motorcycle Daily. Thanks for all the great work.

  • Gas prices! Europe! Try visiting Canada!!!!!!!!

  • When doing your gas mileage tests you might want to include mpg at various speeds so a rider can know how speed affects fuel economy. I know my fuel sipping ninja 250 turn to gulping at freeway speeds.

  • Often people have referred to my motorcycle (s) as toys and I correct them.

    It’s not my toy it’s my main mode of transportation. I do have an Audi A3 2.0T for things like dinner with the wife on a rainy night but it has a third of the miles my bike does.

    Most people could get rid of the large SUV or truck and pay the delivery fee at Home Depot
    and still make out better financially and serve our planet better.
    That would require a serious adjustment to their ego however. It’s not about what’s right with people it’s about following the pack.

    Applied Knowledge or actually living based on what we’ve learned is a concept most don’t understand.

  • Greetings, absolutley love what you’re doing. I hit your site usually everyday, just to keep up on things, but I must beg to differ on the title of your latest column. This is more for you than for me, I really admire your reviews, so I want to help you in not being ignorant on financial terminology.

    A recession is 2 continuous quarters of decling dollar value, stock market declines, and inflation rising, and a few other metrics I won’t get into. We have not had 2 quarters, thankfully, but more importantly, we haven’t had all 3 of the big ones happen even in 1 quarter!

    Housing values, like stocks, sometimes have what we call at the Street, “corrections”. A kinder, gentler way of saying, you payed too much and nobody will buy it at the price, so the it is devalued if you are too unload it and get liquidity out of your investment.

    Much of the country is not suffering from crashing R.E. values because those markets never rose in value like the few big markets where everybody was heady on how much money they were going to make on their homes. There are a lot of people who didn’t sell and are doing fine, and there are people who bought slightly below their means, and are doing fine now also in these overvalued markets.

    I could go on and on about how America’s “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality is one of the major factors in this slow down (credit card debt), which now prevents these people from spending cash now, instead there using todays cash for yesterdays plasma TV, etc. And when people stop making purchases, an economic slowdown occurs, but really it’s actually just a correction on spending. It all evens out eventually, people pay off there debt, save some money, spend money, put more on credit, and the cycle repeats itself.

    I wish I were out riding, but Chicago weather isn’t conducive to riding today. Europe, where scooters are huge, is a benefactor of the Gulf Stream, which keeps the winter weather much more stable than here in the States. Henceforth, scooters are a viable option, but a scooter anywhere above the Mason-Dixon line is purely a season vehicle, which to me, is just a luxury. I love Motorcycling, but when you suggest people who are probably in debt and overpaid on the single most expensive thing they will ever purchase to buy a $3000 toy, is a little misguiding. Perhaps they should buy a Smart, better yet, an American economical car, that will fulfill all their commuting needs much better than a two-wheeled vehicle.

    Thank you, and again, I love your news and reviews, keep up the great work!

  • For the vast majority of Americans even a $3000 dollar motorcycle will not save them any money till gas gets far higher. Throw in clothing and insurance and a few extras your talking $4000.

    50 mpg X 10,000 miles/yr X $3gal = $ 600

    20mpg X 10,000 miles/yr X $3gal = $1500


    $900 savings per year

    over 4 years to break even

    Now the fact is few people could ride 10K miles doing practical tasks they do in a car. . You have to be dedicated to ride that much and for the most part such riding isn’t for practical reasons like commuting, or shopping. I could go on.

    Small bikes and scooters make tons of money sense in cities. Such bikes in American cities suggest suicide to me. I used to ride in Chicago off the expressways occasionally during weekdays. Fun isn’t part of the equation. Paranoia is. I was in Shanghai a couple of years ago.
    Scooters galore. Traffic was heavy but slow and everyone yields to everyone else. Scooters were right at home. In a large city with limited parking and all the costs of autos scooters could make plenty of sense — for however many months a year the city isn’t in winter.
    Eventually cities might make it more practical to ride two wheels. I’m not holding my breath.

    A good salesman will tout the gas savings of a cycle or scooter. The numbers don’t add up but the appeal is seductive. I sadly tell people forget the savings. I tell that especially to total 2 wheel novices. I am an extremely dedicated motorcyclist and do use it for basic transport ,sometimes. But always it is first a form of recreation which has a large element of danger. I’d hate to send someone off on 2 wheels to save a couple of hundred bucks a year and see them hurt. I gladly help others enter the sport, as a sport.

  • I ride a motorcycle as transportation, not a toy. I ran mpg comparisons between my BMW R1100 RT and Subaru WRX, and the Sube gets 18-20 mpg while the BMW gets 38-42. Basically it’s a 2:1 difference. Sounds great and you see $ signs, until you calculate # of riding days. I ride in temp down to 20 F. I used to ride in the rain but can’t now due to business attire and lack of covered parking permitting me to get out of my suit before I’m in the office. I live in St. Louis, and taking all these issues into consideration my annual gas savings has been just over $750, and that’s with a 45 mile round trip commute to work. If I bought a $3500 used bike (older airhead with fairing and accessory plug for gloves) it would still take me 4+ years for a break even, and that’s considering reduced maintenance., The equation is not so rosy as you think. Now, if I’m in UK and working w/o attire restrictions then things get much more
    attractive. Not so much deep cold, a lot of wet though, big deal…
    In Tuscon or Houston things would also be much more attractive.
    Detroit or Minneapolis, not a good picture.

  • Just to give you a update on that recent note you wrote regarding gas prices in Europe. Currently over $11 per gal in UK, about $9.50 in France. Even about 5 years ago when I was in the UK myself, it was about $ 6.00 per gal US. This is doing the calculation into US dollars. Glad to hear your talking up the gas savings of two-wheels! Keep it up, we need it! Still wonder how expensive does gas have to get in the USA before people get out of there Hummers and into motorcycles!

  • Sounds really good. I have been thinking much the same thing. My Goldwing gets 35 mpg. My klr 250 about 50, but it’s hard to start sometimes. Looking for good reliable bike about 500 cc that gets good gas milage. My ’66 Triumph gets” I don’t know” gas mileage cause it really is not rideable as a day to day bike.

  • I log on to your website six days each week, for many years. Your site is in the top five of my Favourites.

    I am 53 and live in Trinidad West Indies. I’ve been a motorcyclist for 36 years. I’ve been the owner of about 13 bikes….I keep them for some time.

    Here in Trinidad, a third world country, the general public do not like motorcycles. Public opinion is that you will die shortly after purchasing a motorcycle. We have massive traffic jams here, but people prefer to stew in their cars for hours. As expected driving manners are some of the worst you can find in the Western Hemisphere. It’s dog eat dog out there. It is the first things foreigners observe upon arriving here, and leaving the airport.

    My current bikes are a BMW R1150RT which I brought from Germany in 2004 ( I have an aunt living there, and it cost TT$130,000), and a Honda Nighthawk 250. The Nighthawk a 1997 model was bought in Dec 2005 with 395 miles on the odometer for TT$8000 !! That was a bargain. I ride every day, a motorcycle is a part of my life. I cannot be a commuter without a motorcycle in Trinidad. Both my children grew up being taken from kindergarten to university on the pillion. Those who know us would see us pass by and gripe in their cars.

    Most bikes here are used, imported from the US. There is only one bona fide agent here for Yamaha small bikes, so people ship used bikes from the US. (Recently a Bajaj dealership opened). So we have R1s, GSXs, Ninjas, Harleys, CBRs and others, really a motley crew of bikes. But most owners are occasional riders though.

    But going to the gas consumption. One $US is $TT6.35. A gallon premium is TT$11.50. The Nighthawk is the ride about town, and ridden it gets…….very hard ! It is very zippy for 234cc with a single carburettor. The only faults are squeaky crying brakes, and a weak drum at front. I go to work, supermarket, do all errands, take my daughter to school, and use…..get this TT$37 every 18 days !! Less than US$6 every 18 days !!

    Yes, please do the MPG bit on your tests. Next year I want to come to the States and buy a used Suzuki Burgman 650.

    Keep up one of the greatest sites on the Web. Thank you very much.

  • awesome, i would love to see mpg figures for sport bikes and naked bikes, which isn’t always advertised.

  • Ford focus, 27 city actual real world mpg. Gas $4.00 gallon. Drive car 4000 miles a year around town and to / from work= fuel cost of $592 annually.

    Scooter 60 real world mpg. gas $4.00 gallon. Ride Scooter 3000 miles a year around town and to / from work = fuel cost of $200 + 1000 miles in Focus @ $148 for an annual fuel cost of $348.

    Savings of $ 244 annually for fuel. Cost of Scooter $4000. 16 years on the scooter to payback, not counting the additional insurance bill.

    75% scooter riding is generous, usually the snow and ice limits riding time closer to 60%.

    Doesn’t look like the scooter is going to save me anything, but yes it DOES provide an excuse to buy another 2 wheeled vehicle.

    I think I will just keep riding the 1991 ST1100, its just broke in at a bit over 200,000 miles. To bad it only gets 35 mpg to and from work 🙁

  • As a regular reader of your site, I just want to commend you on the decision to start providing gas mileage figures and evaluating practical bikes. Having used a motorcycle to commute to graduate school for a variety of reasons, including the ability to drive in the HOV lane, park next to the building, and the improved gas mileage, I’ve always seen my motorcycle as both a source of fun and also an economical tool. I am also a long time car aficionado and one area that I’ve always felt motorcycle magazines lag behind their automobile counterparts is in their reporting of mileage figures. I don’t know why the mainstream bike media thinks we wouldn’t want to know this information. So, I applaud your decision to enhance Motorcycle Daily with these changes.

  • The Kawasaki Ninja 250 get great mileage at highway speeds and cost around 3500.00 out the door. I geared mine up a lot, still pulls me (6’1 @195 lbs) along easy at a true 75-80 mph and get great miles to the tank. I ride it hard but average town and highway, about 55mpg.

  • It is an excellent idea to include real world fuel consumption figures in your tests, instead of the manufactures often unrealistic claimed figures.

    You may like to remind your readers that in the UK, petrol is currently around $7.65 per US gallon. Most of our vehicles tend to have lower fuel consumption than the traditional big engined cars in the States, but it’s still a major pain in the wallet to fill your tank. Larger engined bikes are not in general the most fuel efficient means of transport. My Honda ST1100 usually does around 46 miles per (UK) gallon but my Volvo S60 2.4litre diesel averages 50 miles per gallon. even when driven fairly hard.

    At present, I would be very happy to pay $4.00 per US or UK gallon!

    Best wishes and many thanks for the daily dose of motorcycle news and reviews,

  • I check your site every week or so during breaks. Thanks for the reads.

    Our fuel prices are rather higher than those in the US about US$5.30 equivalent.
    (If my arithmetic is at all accurate?)
    My main ride is a VFR 800 but recently I purchased a used 50cc scooter for the urban commute. This can go to work and back all week for the equivalent of about US$2.50.

    It’s also sort of fun riding around with the throttle pinned and not having to worry about the Highway Patrol because the thing only does about 30mph flat out. There is also a nostalgia thing with the smell of a two-stroke.

    As much fun as it is though, I’m trying to work out how to replace it with a Bonneville while keeping the VFR for more serious riding. Which latter plan has nothing much to do with economy.

    Thanks again for all the reading material 🙂

  • Dirck, the current recession is encouraging people to consider small motorcycles for daily transportation, yes. But nowhere else is the recession hitting harder than with Harley-Davidson bikes due to their steep sticker price. Unheard-of discounts and promotions for Harley-Davidson motorcycles have now become common in dealerships where customers used to wait months for a H-D motorcycle to become available for purchase.

    At San Diego Harley-Davidson’s downtown dealership sales have been particularly slow for several months. The ownership has even laid off several key management employees in recent weeks to compensate for slow (or no) business. When asked about the recession’s effect on business the sales staff confirms the problem. They cite the numerous customers who use home equity loans to take home the $20,000+ driveway jewelry. Those loans have all but disappeared due to the mortgage credit crisis which ignited the overall recession. “The good times are over” can be heard any time in most H-D dealerships. Harley-Davidson company stock mirrors the problem, dropping from the $70 range last year to around $37 now. A huge decline.

    This is the sad story facing every motorcycle dealership across the country. Sales are down to low numbers previously associated with the 1980’s sag in two-wheel business. Nobody is predicting when it will end. A serious crisis in the industry we all know and love.

    That’s a story worth some looking into….

  • Sounds like a good idea. Anything to encourage practical,useful,high-mileage transportation. I think the best scooters are the two Suzuki’s-the 400 and 650; and that’s why you don’t see used ones for sale(at least in SF-Sac area). I think “car people” would be more open to scooters if some one spread the word that they were automatics. Back in the sixties Honda advertised in a lot of non motorcycling magazines and I think that helped to increase the rider base.

  • The price for one litre of petrol here in the UK is at present over $2!

    I think you guys have a different gallon to the UK, but I think it’s still of the order of $7 per gallon. How much do you pay in the USA?

    In any case, it adds even more weight to your recent comments about recession and two wheels.

    I saw a Hummer on the road here the other day (first time I’ve seen one on the road here in Northern Ireland) and my wallet screamed! It’s a wonder any of us ride anything bigger than 125cc these days!

    Keep up the good work.

  • I just wanted to let you know I am glad to hear that you are going to include mpg figures for motorcycles. I think that more magazines and manufacturers should pay attention to this. It is unfortunate that the most practical “motorcycle” you can buy for around town and short freeway jaunts is probably a scooter. Why can’t they build a traditional motorcycle with good fuel economy and significant dry lockable storage for a low price? Thanks for the opportunity to sound off.

  • You don’t have to go as far as Europe to pay $4. A gallon. Today in Toronto gas is $1.01/ litre or $4.60 per imperial gallon.

  • Thanks for adding MPG. I have looked for data on various cycles and its hit or miss.
    By the way, Peak Oil makes Recession look like a sneeze.

  • Have you considered doing an article on fuel economy and motorcycles? I’ve been riding a Suzuki DR200 to work in the summer for a couple of years now. I have installed a large rack on it and use it for to run errands as well. I also have a really ugly universal windshield that I put on in the early spring and late fall to help with the cold in Northern Ohio. Obviously looking cool is not my priority. I’ve been getting better then 80 MPG on average with the bike and aside from changing the oil; I have put no money in maintenance. I don’t even wash the thing. I have a 2007 Moto Guzzi Norge that I use for motorcycling as a hobby.

    In the down side, I’m 6 ft and 225 lbs., the bike is ok up to about 60 MPH. Also, parking next to all the Harleys at work doesn’t do much for my ego.

  • As much as I agree with you that more two-wheeled general transportation is a wonderful goal, MPG is not the only factor.

    You must also consider the tires. My Honda VFR may get 45mpg, but I also have to replace the tires every 6-8,000 miles. A bike such as a Suzuki GS 500 will serve one better in both departments, and happily get you back and forth to the office.

    It is typical to own a car in addition to the motorcycle. Have I made the world a better place by owning two vehicles for my one person?
    Worse, I own three :). Of course, now that I own them, I better use them to best purposes.

    Thanks, and good work with the site.

  • “Fuel mileage of today’s motorcycles is ABYSMAL!”
    Check your annals and observe older motorcycles, within a displacement category, typically achieved GREATER fuel mileage than today’s fuel injected wonders.
    Reasoning, WEIGHT versus the available energy from a specific displacement motorcycle engine.
    ‘Portly’ auto and trucks are not alone these days.

    Penguin Script –
    Yesterday I again observed a HOG riding his HOG!

  • Motorcycles have long been fuel efficient given their often high
    state of tune. My 2001 ZRX1200R varies between a low of 35 mpg
    (when thrashed) to about 48 mpg (freeway top gear cruising). Even my Ducati S4RS gets around 40 average – not bad for a 998cc V-Twin (!).

    Back in the late 70’s/ early 80’s I had two successive Hondas (CX500
    and CB750F Supersport) that both got better than 50 mpg. The
    intervening years have seen an emphasis on performance over mileage, but we are still not doing so bad.

  • If you are going to issue real world MPG numbers, remind us about tire cost and other maintenance costs. I just put 4 tires on my car for $72.00 a piece. They are guaranteed for 40,000 miles. I may get 7,000 out of my Guzzi’s rear tire. Last I checked they were $200.

    Honda Civic valve adjustment? Can you even adjust car valves anymore?

    Thanks for a great website.

  • Getting good gas mileage isn’t enough to sway anyone who has really looked at the costs of motorcycles. Not when tires can cost over $150 each, plus mounting, and last as little as 3000 miles (my cars tend to use tires that are less than $50 each, and last 40,000 miles). Not when oil changes are frequent and expensive. Not when valve adjustments (valve adjustments??? I guess there are still a few cars that need them) are also frequent, though not as frequent as they once were – and expensive. Not when chain and sprockets need replacing. I’m sure I’m leaving some points out – life of the engine – my three cars are all over 150,000 untouched; my bike is just over 40,000 and I worry about it.

    I do commute on my bike, and get 50-60mpg. But how many would be willing to ride in the cold Seattle area rain and slush of winter, having to get into the (pricey) all weather outfit with electric vest and gloves?

    I suppose those that live in warmer climes may be more interested in changing to a motorcycle to save a few gallons. If I was just looking for an economical ride, a large wheeled scooter would be the way to go. But is the charging system strong enough for the vest and gloves? Now, if it were a hybrid or had a diesel… or both?

  • As a follow-up to Friday’s article, a quick note about our Ducati 848 test bike. This is obviously a high performance machine with an engine tuned for high horsepower and high rpm levels. Not your typical “commuter” bike.

    We have seen mileage range from 42 to 51 mpg. A Honda Civic would be hard pressed to match that. Not bad. Stay tuned for our full report on Ducati’s latest middleweight.

    Very true for the mileage and economy for the owner, but the motorcycles do put out much higher pollution in grams per mile traveled due to laxer regulations. This is acceptable due to lower numbers and the high cost of modern on-board diagnostics compared to the price point of a motorcycle.

  • Let’s not discuss tire replacement costs, we’ll keep that our own little secret!!

  • About your new commitment to list mpg in your tests, PLEASE include the octane level required by the manufacturer. This can be the tie breaker between simular models. Example might be one bike getting 36 mpg on 87 octane while another might get 38 mpg, but needs to run premium fuel. Which one is cheaper to run? Also if you travel much on your bike, the higher octane may not be available everywhere…what then?

  • Great little article on the benefits of the economy of riding on two wheels. When I was a young lad visiting Italy a number of years ago, each household had either a Vespa, small displacement motorcycle, or moped. It’s where I had the greatest summer of my life, riding my uncle’s mopeds all over the place. It would be interesting if you did a feature article on countries like Italy, France, India, or China, and showed the type of bikes they all ride. No doubt, they won’t be fierce street machines, but it would give a fun perspective…in a time when motorcycles are making much more sense.

    And by the way, the City of Toronto (Canada) recently passed a by-law where motorcycles can park for free anywhere in the down town district. This initiative was spearheaded by a lady who rides a scooter!

    Cheers, and have a great day,

  • My 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid gets, on average, 46mpg. And I get at least as many chicks with my Civic as I’d get with the Ducati 848.

    Which is to say, zero.

  • I was happy to hear you mention that MD will be doing more evals and test rides of more practical motorcycles, and I’m happy for two reasons: 1. Anyone can easily find a report of any of the Big Four 600cc and 1000 sportbikes at just about any time of the year (yawn), as well as the latest monster bike that’s usually too big to get out of it’s own way (translated – cruiser), and 2. a practical bike is what I’m looking to purchase next. I want something that might not do anything particularly well, but does nothing badly. I’m talking a V-Strom, Versys, or FZ. I’m not a knee-dragger nor am I a long distance tourer, but I do want to have fun while occupying that middle niche.

  • I applaud your comments to encourage more ridership among commuters. There can be a number of reasons to support motorcycling among commuters.
    However, mileage should not be the ultimate goal or motivator.
    Unfortunately, there are a number of other economic factors involved in commuting costs. Unless we are talking about the smaller displacement bikes, the cost of tires for a bike vs a small car can be very significant. Now perhaps comparing sportbike costs vs an SUV commuter might work out well.
    However, the cost of tires, maintenance, insurance (particularly for young
    riders) and proper riding gear ward off the elements and possible abrasions.
    The math gets a little tricky.

    However, as I first mentioned, riding to work is good for the soul. I might try to do more of it this year, though I have a few professional attire issues that could interfere.

  • Your brief article on gas economy and two-wheeled options hit home as I have spent the last year and a half doing most of my commute days (40mi each way on I-280 in the Bay Area) on a BMW F650CS. This great little bike got 65MPG at normal highway speeds and was all kinds of fun when I had time to take the long way home. Alas, I got bored when I found myself too often hitting the rev limiter and scraping the feelers on my weekend rides, and “upgraded” to a stripped down R6 streetfighter. Well, I now get 40MPG out of only 600cc, and the bike actually handles worse anywhere below 45mph. It IS rip-roaring fun, but I am finding myself already looking back for a bike as versatile and economic as that CS (with just a bit more pickup, clearance and suspension quality… maybe there’s a multistrada in my future?).

    In short, economy and versatility is just one more feature common to the European moto market that I would like to see us import.

  • factor in tire cost

  • But a Honda Civic could carry four people and luggage. Although motorcycles get better mileage than cars, their fuel efficiency is really abominable. Considering the energy required to propel it, acceleration and overcoming drag, a Ducati 848 as energy efficient as a Honda Civic should be getting 90mpg. I have a friend who bought a Power Commander for his Blackbird just to see if he could improve the fuel mileage. He just turned the mid-range to full lean and immediately got 60mpg with no driveability problems. It’s really scandalous that bikes get such poor mileage.
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