Riding a motorcycle can make you feel like you’ve achieved total freedom. Riding on the open road, leaving all your worries behind. But is a motorcycle really worth the cost? Unless it’s going to be your sole means of transportation, you’ll still have regular car expenses to maintain. Factoring in the risks of riding, consider whether owning a motorcycle is worth it to you.

Types of Motorcycles

There are many different ways to classify motorcycles. Generally, there are six general types of motorcycles. What type of bike is best for you will depend on the type of riding you want to do. You might even find you want two different motorcycles for different types of terrain.

The main types of motorcycles are:

  • Street bikes
    • General road riding
    • Commuting and urban use
    • Very little crash protection
  • Cruisers and touring
    • More comfortable than street bikes
    • Suitable for longer rides
    • No off-road capability
  • Sports bikes
    • For speed and performance
    • For skilled riders
  • Adventure bike
    • Similar to street bikes, but with better crash protections
    • Good for commuting or longer rides
    • Can handle some off-roading
  • Dual sport bike
    • Made mostly for off-road
    • Can handle road riding
  • Dirt bike
    • Made for off-road riding
    • May not be street-legal

What type of motorcycle you choose will depend largely on your level of skill and where you plan to ride.

Considering the True Costs of Owning and Operating a Motorcycle

The price to buy a new motorcycle could vary widely depending on the type of bike you choose. A new ride could cost anywhere from $5,000 to more than $40,000 (or up to $200K+ for luxury bikes).

If you aren’t set on having a shiny new bike, you could save a lot of money buying a used motorcycle. Those could still cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.

Some people may choose a motorcycle to replace their car as a way to save money. You may save on gas–most motorcycles get about 50-60 miles per gallon, far better than most cars. But, beyond the price of the bike itself, you may find that the true cost of owning a motorcycle is more than you think.

You’ll need to factor in the purchase of safety gear.  A quality helmet could cost from $300-$600. You’ll need protective clothing, such as gloves, jacket, pants, and boots, which could cost around $600. Rain gear could run an additional $200. Maintenance and tire costs could cost you another roughly $240 a year. 

You’ll have to meet certain license requirements to ride a motorcycle in Oklahoma, for an additional fee. Another essential cost to consider is that you’ll need motorcycle insurance. The cost may be more or less than your car insurance, depending on a number of factors. Your driving record and what kind of motorcycle you choose could affect insurance cost.

Risks of Riding a Motorcycle

It’s important to factor in the risks of motorcycle riding when determining whether the cost is really worth it to you. You might not think of these as an upfront cost. But, like anything else, it’s smart to consider what the financial and physical cost could be if something goes wrong.

Motorcycle Crash Statistics

Nationwide, there were 5,014 people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2019, the most recent year for which crash data are available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Another 84,000 were injured. In 2019, motorcyclists were nearly 29 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger car occupants when measured per vehicle miles traveled. Helmet use among motorcycle riders who were carrying passengers decreased from 80% in 2019 to 65% in 2020.

There were 1,231 motorcycle crashes in Oklahoma in 2020. Of those, 73 were fatal.

Types of Injuries Caused in Motorcycle Crashes

If you get in a motorcycle accident, you are likely to be seriously injured. Motorcycles lack the protection of an automobile. No structure or side protection. No airbags.

You could suffer from:

Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents are fatal. If a loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident, consult a wrongful death lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Buying a motorcycle isn’t something to be done on a whim. There are ongoing financial costs as well as significant physical risks to consider. Be sure to weigh your options carefully when determining whether the cost is worth it to you.