In the last week I think I've seen four or five news stories on the price of gas that are touting the mega-mileage that scooters and small motorcycles get. How people are buying them to save money on gas, because hey! They get anywhere from 70-100 mpg.

And they do. My Rebel routinely got 75 miles to the gallon. Hell, the bikes we're on now average a little over 50. It's nice to only spend $12 when you fill up.


Nowhere in those news stories does it mention how you're not really going to save actual money if you buy a scooter or small bike. What you're actually going to do is spend more money.

  • Small (50cc) scooter price around $2000; small 250cc motorcycle around $3500; 250cc scooter $7000.
  • Then you have to insure it.
  • You need to learn how to ride it; basic rider's classes in CA start at around $220; free in some states, but not many. And it's just a good idea all the way around to take it; you'll reduce your accident risk by about 80% by taking it.
  • The first service, at about 600 miles, will run anywhere from $130-200.
  • Second service at 4,000 miles can be as much as $500.
  • Tires don't last as long; figure 10,000 miles if you're lucky, and they're more expensive to buy than car tires.
  • Need a simple oil change? On a 250cc bike with no oil filter figure on $70.
  • There's all the gear you'll need. A helmet (full faced if you're smart), jacket, gloves...don't kid yourself by thinking you're only on a little scooter. It'll hurt as much wrecking that little scooter at 30 mph as it will a big bike. You'll lose a lot of skin at 30 mph. Figure minimum $500 invested in gear.

But still! 70 miles to the gallon!

Yes...but on top of spending all that on a scooter or bike, chances are you're not going to get rid of your car, so you'll still be insuring and maintaining that as well as the bike. And unless you're a die-hard, you're going to keep the car because you're going to want it on super rainy days, or bitterly cold days...

You lose money in the end.

If the price of gas is the excuse you've always wanted to get on two wheels, go for it. But don't think of it as saving money, because that's not what's going to happen.

Just so's you know...I've been in several forums lately where lots of people have been extremely disappointed to find out they're not going to save gobs of cash by riding their new little toys. They just didn't think that far ahead.

I know I probably wouldn't have...

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