Most people who buy a motorcycle already own another vehicle and ride more for fun than out of necessity. In my opinion, being able to ride a motorcycle when you want to and not because you have to is the best way to enjoy riding, but not everybody rides specifically for enjoyment. A lot of people are realizing motorcycles make incredibly practical transportation, especially in crowded cities.
I was in college at Georgia Tech when I had that same realization. At the time, I was riding a bicycle, which was awesome in a lot of ways, but it was also pretty terrible. Living nearly more than three miles off campus, riding got me in great shape, but even in the fall and spring, I would show up to most places sweaty and out of breath. Not being able to keep up with traffic also put me in a lot of dangerous situations as cars regularly blew past me, paid no attention to my safety, and often would pull out in front of me at the last second.
I didn’t have the money to buy a car, but I quickly realized a motorcycle would be safer. After spending $650 on a used Kawasaki KZ305, I was hooked, and it wasn’t until five years later that I finally ended up buying a car.
If you’re interested in buying a motorcycle to use as your primary form of transportation, too, the first thing you need to know is that motorcycles are astronomically cheaper than cars. You don’t even have to buy a sub-$1,000 motorcycle to see those savings either. You can get all kinds of excellent used bikes for less than $5,000. Insurance is also laughably cheaper, too. Your motorcycle insurance will probably cost the same per year as your car insurance does per month.
You’ll also probably get better gas mileage than you would in a Toyota Prius while looking cooler than you would in a Ford Mustang. The savings on parking are also incredible. Instead of paying for a yearly parking pass, I found all kinds of places to park for free. You can’t pull up on the sidewalk like 50cc scooters do, but motorcycle parking is almost always available close by.
When deciding which motorcycle to buy, your priorities are also going to have to be different than they would be if you were buying it for pleasure. Seat comfort, maneuverability, gas mileage, and size are all more important than powerful acceleration or awesome looks. Sure, the Yamaha R1 and the Triumph Rocket III Roadster are cooler, but you’ll probably enjoy a Honda Grom way more than either of those bikes in a city.