Originally Posted by PhilB
I am in both parts -- I ride daily and have done for many years, but I also love to ride and travel, and do it all on the bike that stirs my soul -- a Ducati Monster. While commuting isn't a lot of fun, I found it VERY practical. I was in a pretty ideal situation for it -- in SoCal, the weather's always good and the traffic's always bad. I could go without a car at all (and have since 1988) so the bike really did save money. Also, In CA (and in most other countries) you can split lanes, and the time saved doing that can be a huge benefit. I was a consultant there for 11 years, and the time saved in traffic translated directly to more billable hours at clients, so even if the bike didn't save money on running costs, it made me an extra $40K in income over that time.
The Ducati isn't the cheapest choice for running, but it's been pretty reasonable. Counting everything -- purchase, depreciation, upkeep, maintenance, gas, tires, insurance, everything, I was at about 15 cents a mile up to about 180K miles. In the last few years, I have put a fair bit of money into it, because I love the bike, so I'm probably closer to 20 cents a mile now, but that's still not terribly expensive. There are cars you can run for less than that, but not many, and not any you'd want to spend much time in. Any decent car will run you more than that to operate.
The Ducati Monster is one of THOSE bikes that also stir my soul too actually, so I know what you mean by that. My first Duc ('93 900SS) was the bike that actually started all that I've described as far as the soul stirring thing for me. It was the first bike I ever rode that I could say gave me that special feeling. Very few bikes since has done so either actually. I have a thing for Ducs, Guzzis, and more recently tube frame Buells and my HD Sportster. The sounds and feeling of a v-twin just does something for me that no inline 4 has ever done for me. Not a real fan of vertical twins either. And while singles are fine for a dualsport and off road bike, they just don't really do it for me on the street too much either.
Lane splitting isn't allowed here in GA, and even if it was, for the most part it wouldn't help since the average speed on my usual routes is somewhere between 70 and 80 anyway. And generally speaking, even when it's slower it's still moving along pretty good for the most part. Just a dense multi-lane mass of rapidly moving, inattentive people and big trucks. Not a place I care to spend time on a bike. If it was more of a situation of filtering through grid lock traffic then maybe I could see it be beneficial, but for me anyway, the additional risk just wouldn't be worth it in my situation. Besides, it's a moot point anyway since I have a company vehicle and more times than not that is my office, and my "commute" isn't a traditional one where I go to the same office everyday anyway. I probably spend less than 20-30 days a year in my actual office.
On the expense end of things, I don't want to give the idea that I feel the way I do because I have money coming out my ass either, cause I don't. I have bills just like everyone else, and I save money where I can so I can afford the things I want, like bikes that stir my soul. For example, I do all my own service work. Even changing and balancing my own tires. Knock wood, but I haven't paid a dealer to do anything to a bike for me in probably 10 years or so. And when I do mods to my bikes I'm a very frugal shopper, often buying used items off of ebay or forum classifieds or building the parts I want myself. I'm a big advocate of "penny-tech". I am a cheap ass.. Seriously. But there's just some things that I can't see skimping on. And one of those is in bypassing a bike that really lights my fire, and riding something else that bores me, personally, just to save a little gas money.
But you have 180K MILES on a Monster??? Wow! Never heard of a Duc with mileage that high. What year is it? What has been your experience of failures or high wear things outside the normal items?
A Monster is on my very short list of bikes I want next. Please tell me that they don't get better than 50 mpg...