Let’s just get to the point - buy a bike. Whether it is a motorcycle or a bicycle doesn’t matter, just buy a bike!
Now I know some of you are already running through a list of reasons of why this is a bad idea and chief among that list will be things like safety and the extra cost of ownership. This is good. You’re being sensible and those are very valid concerns. There will be some costs upfront and the reality for most people owning two wheeled transport is that eventually they will have an incident - you’ll slip, slide, crash, fall and possibly give yourself a severe injury or worse…
Now if you are still reading I assume you are willing to accept these risks just like those dear old ladies on old school Vespas have. The proper gear (helmet, gloves and an armoured jacket in case of a motorcycle) is a must just like wearing a seatbelt is for a car. You keeping to your senses, not riding recklessly, accepting that you are tinier and squishier than a car and keeping your eyes wide open will reduce your chances of injury significantly. Leaving your ego in your driveway helps even more. But enough with the preaching, I’m starting to sound like my dad.
Obviously the bicycle is the better option if it is feasible. It is both the cheaper and healthier option (bonus: get a bicycle, save on gym costs!). And the best part is that you can have one right now! No really, head over to a bicycle shop, pick one, swipe your credit card (responsibly!) and ride it home.
Unfortunately this is where my discussion on bicycles stop as I haven’t owned one since high school and really don’t know much more about them. The numbers are obvious though: zero fuel, no more gym, no car services etc.
When I get a bicycle one day I’ll most likely tell you a lot more about it…enough for you to hate me for it!
The motorcycle (henceforth referred to as a bike!) has it’s own advantages: you can travel greater distances and greater speed and you’ll look and feel absolutely awesome doing it! You’ll be part of a community of fellow bikers before you know it and get a nod every time you pass another biker unless it is an old suurgat oomie on his brand new 1200 GS or Tiger (awesome bikes though!). This, however, is where I need to put a disclaimer: I do not own anything bigger than a 125cc.
I’ll give you a second to stop laughing and then we’ll continue…
The bigger bikes are a hell of a lot more versatile and if you want to replace your car with a bike completely they’re surely the way to go. Taking a ride to Harties over the weekend, going on highways and being invited on a breakfast run are just some of the possibilities that will be open to you! Their fuel figures are good too but a small diesel engined car will give them a run for their ..erm.. money.
Smaller bikes like your 125 and 250s give you fantastic fuel efficiency. They also allow you to skip past rows and rows of cars stuck at a four way stop meaning you spend less time in traffic and you’ll have a smile on your face by the time you arrive home.
I recently got a new Honda CB125F with very good fuel figures claimed and will post an update after a couple of fill ups. Before that I owned a MSX125 (or a Grom as it is more affectionately known). It is a silly little bike, great fun and perfect to get you and you alone from point A to B at a decent speed. I’ve done 40km per day commutes on it but it’s better for shorter trips in my opinion, hence the new CB.
The part you’ve been waiting for or skipped to if you are really impatient!
That’s 50km per liter of fuel. If you are lucky and live 5km from work it equates to 4.4 liters a month or R60 of fuel per month (at the time of writing). 20km from work means 17.6 liters or R240 of fuel per month! Compare that to what you are getting with your car. You could easily save R1000 pm which is quite a bit!
You can take it a step further - a step I’m working towards - and only have one car for the family. My other half and I are in the very privileged position to each own a car, but why? On the odd day you actually need a car you can ask your bunny love to give you a lift or Uber. I know I know, easier said than done but an idea worth pursuing.
As with any opinion, idea or piece of advice - one size does not fit all. Your situation may require you to use a car, health reasons could stand in your way or the fear of entering heaven in a raging fireball are all reasons to not pursue the life of scenic backroads and motorcycles. But for many it is something that they just never really considered.
There are also a lot more numbers to consider (financing or the lack thereof, motorcycles still need to be serviced and maintained etc) and if you do get a bike do yourself a favour and join the Think Bike forum/community. There is a lot of advice, tips and general banter to be found on there! (Yes, they’re the guys from the yellow stickers you see on cars).
Below I’ve added links to both motorcycles with their stats captured on fuelly: