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Old 02-07-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
woolsocks OP
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Question car-less for the summa

Last weekend out on the highway in my 2000 Ford Focus SE I was hearing noise from the wheel bearings on the driver’s side front wheel area. I kept driving the car and the front driver’s side coil spring snapped in half a few days later. The broken coil spring punctured the tire, rims were bent and wheel bearings are damaged. Anyway, the whole ordeal has left me without a car for several days now and I will be out around $1,200 once everything is fixed. I don’t have money to buy a new car and I don’t want to take out a loan. The car has almost 130,000 miles on it and the blue book value is $2,000 to $3,000. My car is in relatively good condition (besides the current damage), so I’d expect to get closer to $3,000 if I decide to sell.

Anyway, this got me thinking…maybe I could sell my car when the weather turns nice again here in Minneapolis. I’d be going car-less for the summer and would use my motorcycle for commuting. I need some advice:

1-Can anyone advise me how to calculate savings (if there are any) of using a motorcycle vs. car? I wouldn’t be paying for the car insurance, gas or standard maintenance but is there anything else to factor in? I know the big things for motorcycles tend to be oil changes, tires, chains…
2-Any tips for going car-less? Pros/ cons you guys have experienced?
3-Anything else?

I’d re buy a car once the snow hits in October/ November this year, but I figure I have about 6 to 8 months were I could use my motorcycle.

woolsocks screwed with this post 02-07-2013 at 12:32 PM Reason: too small to read
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
thomas.tc.young
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i'm car-less. you have to get use to not being able to move stuff, getting wet when it rains and you need to commute, suffering on the bike in unbearably hot weather. maintenance is maintenance, no biggie for me. also if it gets stolen, then your completely SOL.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:05 PM   #3
JimVonBaden
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Dollar for dollar you use more money on a bike than in a car, unless you drive a dick compensating truck.

That said, I lived for two years on a bike. It was great! You need to make sure you can haul your groceries and normal stuff on your bike safely, or have a friend with a car that will help occasionally.

Other than that, good rain gear and enjoy!

Jim
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:33 PM   #4
David R
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I keep my truck at work all summer and only ride the bike. It is fun. Take the long way to work and the longer way home.

Paying for gas is fun. I tell them Yup 50 mpg..... Rain or shine

David
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
rob30
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Not bike related, but I had a 01 Focus and had a front spring break. It is a Ford recall on this car; Mine was fixed under warranty in 07 or 08. Something worth investigating. Something about a bad finish on the spring from the factory causing corrosion and failure...
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:22 PM   #6
monkeythumpa
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Here in the Bay Area between tolls and parking rates, motorcycles are much cheaper than a car even when factoring in tires and maintenance.

Every month I save ($6-$2.50) x 20 days/month = $70 on tolls, ($5-0) x 20 = $100 on parking and 70 miles / (41mpg-24mpg) x 20 days x $3.80/gallon = $313 on petrol

That is $5,796 savings per year. Two sets of tires and two major services per year total $1200. Add that I save 1.5 hours per day commuting and you have even more savings, assuming you apply your hourly rate. And my insurance rate is cheaper too. While it is a benefit, I ride because it is fun, and saves time. I have plenty of money, it is time I don't have enough of.

Now I can always use my wife's car, but again I live in the Bay Area, 5th worst place for traffic, home to all year riding and lane splitting so my bike is my primary transport unless the kids or dog is with me. I prefer the bike for supermarket runs. Whole Foods in the heart of hippie land can be a frustrating place to navigate for larger vehicles. I park right in front. I have a topcase and two hard side cases which can get my family 60 pounds of food, plenty for a week. If I take my dry bag I can get up to 100 lbs, more if it is mostly cheese. That would be my biggest suggestion, get at least one hard, lockable case. It is nice to at least leave your helmet behind with the bike, maybe your jacket and boots while you slip into your loafers to walk around at your destination. Hauling your computer or groceries is a lot easier with proper storage. I go to the gun range on it and strap my shotgun case to the pillion. I prefer to commute during the rain, that is when traffic gets really bad. I ride it to go hiking, even to work out, but it can stink up your gear if you don't have a shower at the practice field.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
JimVonBaden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeythumpa View Post
Here in the Bay Area between tolls and parking rates, motorcycles are much cheaper than a car even when factoring in tires and maintenance.

Every month I save ($6-$2.50) x 20 days/month = $70 on tolls, ($5-0) x 20 = $100 on parking and 70 miles / (41mpg-24mpg) x 20 days x $3.80/gallon = $313 on petrol

That is $5,796 savings per year. Two sets of tires and two major services per year total $1200. Add that I save 1.5 hours per day commuting and you have even more savings, assuming you apply your hourly rate. And my insurance rate is cheaper too. While it is a benefit, I ride because it is fun, and saves time. I have plenty of money, it is time I don't have enough of.

Now I can always use my wife's car, but again I live in the Bay Area, 5th worst place for traffic, home to all year riding and lane splitting so my bike is my primary transport unless the kids or dog is with me. I prefer the bike for supermarket runs. Whole Foods in the heart of hippie land can be a frustrating place to navigate for larger vehicles. I park right in front. I have a topcase and two hard side cases which can get my family 60 pounds of food, plenty for a week. If I take my dry bag I can get up to 100 lbs, more if it is mostly cheese. That would be my biggest suggestion, get at least one hard, lockable case. It is nice to at least leave your helmet behind with the bike, maybe your jacket and boots while you slip into your loafers to walk around at your destination. Hauling your computer or groceries is a lot easier with proper storage. I go to the gun range on it and strap my shotgun case to the pillion. I prefer to commute during the rain, that is when traffic gets really bad. I ride it to go hiking, even to work out, but it can stink up your gear if you don't have a shower at the practice field.
Great info!

Jim
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
David13
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I don't think I would want to go for 2 years motorcycle only in Minnesota. Maybe just for the summer.
Tho' when I was about 16 or so I was part of the winter on a motorcycle only, in Michigan.
At my current age I hate to think about being motorcycle only here, let alone in Virginia.
I would suspect the junkyards here have the whole front end for a Ford Focus; bring your own tools; the price, maybe $200 at most?
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:15 PM   #9
Schnickelfritz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeythumpa View Post
Here in the Bay Area between tolls and parking rates, motorcycles are much cheaper than a car even when factoring in tires and maintenance.

Every month I save ($6-$2.50) x 20 days/month = $70 on tolls, ($5-0) x 20 = $100 on parking and 70 miles / (41mpg-24mpg) x 20 days x $3.80/gallon = $313 on petrol

That is $5,796 savings per year. ...

Add that I save 1.5 hours per day commuting and you have even more savings, assuming you apply your hourly rate.
This is all good stuff, but how are you saving 1.5 hrs/day? (I've lived in Chicago and Seattle, so I've seen some serious self-inflicted single-occupancy commuter woes.) Do you mean that instead of "commuting," you instead go for a motorcycle ride on the way to work, or that riding a motorcycle actually saves you 1.5 hrs/day compared to caging it?
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:16 PM   #10
JimVonBaden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnickelfritz View Post
This is all good stuff, but how are you saving 1.5 hrs/day? (I've lived in Chicago and Seattle, so I've seen some serious self-inflicted single-occupancy commuter woes.) Do you mean that instead of "commuting," you instead go for a motorcycle ride on the way to work, or that riding a motorcycle actually saves you 1.5 hrs/day compared to caging it?
He lane splits.

Jim

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Old 02-07-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
damurph
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I have been carless for years. I use the scooter around town from April to December and the KLR during the winter.
Groceries come home in a milkcrate so you don't get the jumbo size box of cereal. On the snowstorm days i leave it home obviously and you have to pick your days to do some things based on weather.
I think it is more of a mental thing really. You deal with what you have to deal with but it is transportation.
It costs a lot less to register/insure/fuel it but more in gear but it saves me money.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:54 PM   #12
Schnickelfritz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden View Post
He lane splits.

Jim :cool:
And thus saves 1.5 hrs in 70 miles? That means traffic averages under 24 mph, and he lane-splits at his average speed of almost 50 mph, which is a pretty good average speed for a trip into/out of/around a major metro, esp. if there are surface streets involved.

I guess I'm surprised that lane-splitting can save this much time.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:10 PM   #13
monkeythumpa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnickelfritz View Post
And thus saves 1.5 hrs in 70 miles? That means traffic averages under 24 mph, and he lane-splits at his average speed of almost 50 mph, which is a pretty good average speed for a trip into/out of/around a major metro, esp. if there are surface streets involved.

I guess I'm surprised that lane-splitting can save this much time.
I probably split much faster than is recommended, but most of the time savings comes from the ability to use carpool lanes. I am doing 80mph while traffic is stop and go. It is a 35 minute commute each way on my bike, in the Forrester it is 1:15+/- When it is raining, the difference can be greater.
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:25 AM   #14
PeterW
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There's quite a saving on a bike.

My commute is 20 minutes with empty streets, 20-40 most days on the bike, 30-60 in a car.

I don't lane split, but with lots of traffic lights, roundabouts and a few T-intersections speed through the bends and acceleration gains me a lot.

Major win when things are really clogged as well, there are a few (illegal) short cuts I can take if it's totally wedged as.

A (new) DL 650 saved me $$$ over a car or public transport, but for serious savings, a battered but mechanically sound second hand bike and doing your own maintenance is the big winner.

Really tough to find enough space to do the sort of repairs your car needed and to do the work yourself, but a bike ?, almost trivally easy.

Pete
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:24 AM   #15
RFVC600R
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I ONLY use my Focus for transporting my pregnant girlfriend and trips to wal-mart and grocery store. I am on my bike 99%of the time. Everybody at work thought I was crazy commuting in the freezing ass rain at night and I have NO rain or winter gear just cotton gloves under my gerickes. Even my buddy at work who has ONLY has a motorcycle for transportation got a ride from someone else. I am a motorcycle rider, rain or shine day or night
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