Deciding Whether to Buy a Motorcycle or a Car

Some people don’t care that much about how they get around. They don’t think about transportation other than a way to get from point A to point B. These individuals will probably buy a car for practical purposes, but they won’t want one that’s too flashy or has any custom features.

Some people love cars, though, and of this group, some appreciate motorcycles as well. Some call this group “gearheads,” a loose collective who attends classic car shows and biker rallies religiously.

You may fall into either one of these categories, someone who cares about cars and motorcycles or someone who doesn’t. In either case, a time may come when you need a vehicle, and you’ll have to choose which one to get.

Let’s look at some motorcycle and car pros and cons.

Why Get a Motorcycle?

You might shy away from a motorcycle purchase because you’re worried about how unsafe they are. It’s true that if you ride a motorcycle, it’s inherently risky. That’s because:

  • Other vehicles are bigger than you
  • There’s nothing between you and the blacktop but air and imagination

If a motorcycle and car collide at high speeds, it’s highly likely the motorcycle will get the worst end of it. Research is clear that motorcycle helmets save lives, but even if you wear one, you still have to accept the danger if this is your chosen transportation form.

On the other hand, there’s something romantic about motorcycles. Riders are American adventurers. They’re kind of like cowboys: they’re individualists and outlaws. If you think about yourself that way, this vehicle might appeal.

Seeing America from astride a Harley is not the same as seeing it from behind a station wagon’s steering wheel. People look at you a particular way when they find out you ride. If you cultivate that image, maybe getting a motorcycle is worth it to you.

Why Get a Car?

As for getting yourself a car, there are some strong reasons why this might be your better choice. Cars:

  • Have more passenger room than motorcycles
  • Protect you better
  • Can negotiate bad weather and terrain

Let’s face it: there’s room for yourself on a motorcycle, and perhaps one other person. That’s it. If you have family members that need rides to soccer practice and the grocery store all the time, a motorcycle is not the best pick.

Also, when it comes to safety, there’s no question that a car beats a motorcycle every time. You can survive many accidents in a car that you might not on a motorcycle. A helmet and pads can help you somewhat, but the danger is always there.

Also, if you’re out on a motorcycle in a driving rainstorm, it’s dangerous. Behind a car’s wheel, you have a much better chance of getting back home safely.

You can also negotiate rough terrain in many cars. Some are not off-road-ready, but you’ll still do a lot better in one than you would on a motorcycle.

Price Comparison

If you’re trying to compare motorcycles and cars by price, it’s pretty much a wash. You could pay anywhere from a couple of grand for a beat-up car to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Motorcycles also have a very wide price range.

Let’s say that you have about five thousand bucks to spend on a vehicle. You can certainly get a decent car for that or a motorcycle. In fact, you can probably get a new motorcycle for that, whereas you can only get a used car rather than a brand-new one.

You can’t say that cars cost way more than motorcycles or vice versa. That’s why it’s basically pointless to compare the two options based on price alone.

Your priorities are more the issue. You can easily spend that five thousand on either the motorcycle or car. It’s more about which one appeals to you.

Think About Your Situation

Your situation will probably be the reason for your final decision. If you’re single, you may want the motorcycle, and you decide you don’t need the extra passenger room that a car provides. If you’re married with three kids, getting a motorcycle is selfish and impractical.

If you have a family, you also might decide that you don’t want to go motorcycle riding anymore because of the inherent risks. You know that deadly motorcycle accidents happen fairly frequently, and you want to be there for your spouse or partner, not to mention your children as they grow up.

Perhaps you love motorcycle riding, but once you cohabitate with someone and kids enter the picture, you may have to change your ways. You must put their needs before your wants.

Can You Do Both?

However, just because you have a family, that does not necessarily mean that you can’t ever go motorcycle riding again. You could still have it both ways.

You’ll probably need to get the car first for practical reasons. If you have a big family, you might even need a minivan or something else with lots of passenger room. You need something to fill up with groceries, sports equipment, camping gear, etc.

If you have a job where you make decent money, eventually, maybe you can buy yourself a motorcycle too. If you used to enjoy riding, you still can. Once you can afford your motorcycle, perhaps you can take it out on the weekends with your friends.

Some people feel like there’s a particular lifestyle that goes with cars, and another with motorcycles. Maybe there’s something to that, but you don’t have to live one and not the other. You can definitely have a foot in both camps.

Just because you’re a little bit older and more responsible, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a motorcycle. You’ll probably have to get that car first, but once you have it, you can start saving for a motorcycle as well. Once you get it, you can enjoy riding a little bit from time to time for nostalgia.

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