Ford Escort Wagon
|2008 Yamaha WR250X||2004
Suzuki 650 V-Strom
|Average Fuel Economy (miles/gallon)||24.4||52.6||50.3|
|Total Fuel Costs||$9,437||$531||$2,450|
|Taxes and License Fees||$517||$253||$310|
|Current Resale Value (estimate)||$900||$3,400||$3,500|
|Total Lifetime Costs||$17,553||$2,744||$7,166|
This is not the data result I expected. For years, because of the cost of drive-line repairs (chains and sprockets) and tires, I've assumed that owning a motorcycle is inherently more expensive than driving a cheap car. The comments I made on a past blog/rant more than implied that and Mr. Mckenzie called me on it. It's only luck that prevented me from putting money on this claim.This is a discussion and assumption I've shared with the publisher of Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine, Victor Wanchena, and a disagreement that has continued with the owner/founder of Aerostich, Andy Goldfine, for years. I have, clearly, taken for-granted an erroneous assumption: motorcycles are not an economical transportation option.
The fact that the WR250X is, so far, the most expensive vehicle I currently own means nothing. The bike needed a lot of TLC in the form of returning it to stock after the original owner chopped it to bits in an effort to make his dick appear to be bigger (or whatever motivation it is that causes children and fools to ruin perfectly good engineering in an attempt at proving they're smart). All of the Minor Repair costs on that bike have been the expense of buying stock parts and one chain/sprocket replacement at about 1,200 miles (obviously, the previous owner didn't believe in lubrication). My first set of tires were actual SuperMoto tires and they were expensive and didn't live long. The current tires are dual purpose Korean cheapos and are wearing like iron. I also installed a 3.1 gallon tank, a new seat, a suspension-lowering link, and a rear rack which jacked up the Farkles costs considerably. As usual, I don't expect to get anything back from the Farkle "investment," but it is a one-time expense that will obviously be overwhelmed if the bike holds up and I'm able to put some serious miles on the 250 in the next few years.The more I've worked on the WR250X, the better the fuel economy has become, so it ought to show some serious "improvement" in cost/mile driven by next winter. Since I'm finished Farkle-ing the WR, now the fuel economy will start chipping away at the Cost/Mile figure.
The V-Strom ownership costs are artificially lower than they should be, due to my writing "business." The bike has a lot more Farkle-investment than $627, but I picked up most of those bits as evaluation "samples" so I don't have any money in my aftermarket luggage, chain-oiler, seat, and a bunch of other "improvements." I'm just working this out by what I have invested, not what the stuff might be worth. Most of the V-Strom's Minor Repairs costs have been in chain replacement. The bike has seen at least 12,000 miles of off-pavement travel and that chews up O-ring chains fast, even with an auto-oiler. In fact, if the Escort had seen the same kind of terrain, it might have not survived.
Since the Current Resale Value (estimate) is subtracted from the Total Lifetime Costs and Cost/Mile figures, if I get less than those estimates the numbers will, in the end, reflect that. I might be optimistic on the Escort and WR250X's resale, but from last summer's experience I don't anticipate getting less than $3,500 for the V-Strom whenever I sell it. Those numbers are just estimates, but I don't expect to be particularly surprised or depressed by the final values.
For most of my life, I suspected that car ownership is stupid. The cost of renting a brand new Kia in Portland and driving it to San Francisco this past January and the above data proves that point. I paid about $0.34/mile to lightly use that car for eight days. I would have paid 2/3 of that if I'd have returned the car to Portland. The "convenience" of car ownership is overwhelmed by the cost of the damn things and, since I hate driving them in the best of times, I will happily divest myself of at least one of my cars the day I retire.