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RIDE Adventures Blog

Why Do Motorcycle Trips Cost So Much?

Posted by Eric Lange on June 2, 2014
Eric Lange
Since riding his KTM 950 Adventure down to South America in 2008 and launching RIDE Adventures in 2010, Eric now resides in Oregon for most of each year. Riding is still a regular part of his work though, in that guiding tours is a passion he'll always have, and researching new routes and regions allows RIDE Adventures to continue growing and providing reliable travel services to adventure minded riders and travelers from around the world.

Riders from around the world have costs to consider when planning their motorcycle trips, and whether they ride near home alone or reserve an adventure through us, they are often surprised at the eventual price tag on their adventures. With only 2 wheels to spin around, a generally lightweight existence, and aerodynamics better than cars and trucks, motorcycles might be one of the most fuel-efficient travel options available…yet somehow, the amount of money involved in fuel alone can be a major factor in the big picture. Why is that?

New Zealand Motorcycle TripThis topic comes on the heels of many customers this time of year reserving their guided and self-guided motorcycle trips from RIDE Adventures, but at the same time asking “how can it cost that much?” Before explaining the costs further, please let it be known that business is mainly about passion, meeting riders from around the world, and ensuring that they have great travel experiences. So the prices on www.rideadv.com are not  so much about making a bunch of shareholders mega-rich…it’s more about fun!

Some key factors to consider whether you’re reserving a trip through us, or if you’re just riding alone on your own bike near your home:

NEW ZEALAND MOTORCYCLE TRIPS might be among the most expensive, but see what's included

The Fuel Situation: Sure, motorcycles are typically better than cars or trucks in this regard, but actual motorcycle fuel economy isn’t always what the manufacturer’s sticker on the bike says. For starters, a rider could weigh more than the average weight rider used to calculate economy. Then, once we start adding side panniers and luggage, a tank bag and passenger on the back, a motorcycle’s fuel economy is worsened over what the manufacturer claimed. So fuel costs are still significant chunk of any motorcycle travel budget.

Patagonia Motorcycle TripTires, Chains, and Other Parts – This will of course be different from brand to brand (commence the ridicule and “hating” on each other’s bikes in the comments below now!) We might not have to change motorcycle chains after each trip, but it will need to be done eventually, so a certain percentage of a chain’s life needs to be factored into each trip. Same with the random parts we don’t expect, and little “mishaps” where brake and shift levers and such get broken, as there could be any number of items broken on a motorcycle trip. The funny thing about bikes is that with only 2 wheels, somehow motorcycles tip over more easily than cars do.

Insurance & Registration – Throw these numbers into the mix, cause they certainly are a factor. Especially if you’ve had other “incidents” that hiked up your own insurance premium, in many cases it will cost more to insure a motorcycle than a car. If you’re crossing borders on international motorcycle trips, additional insurance for each country often needs to be purchased while your policy for back home just sits unused. For us when we insure the motorcycles you’ll ride on any or our guided or self-guided trips, please trust us…the insurance is expensive.

Motorcycle Tire WearTire Usage– How long do the tires on your bike last? Probably about ¼ of the mileage you’ll get on most cars and trucks. Car and truck tires have the advantage of having 3 other tires around them for starters, not to mention that their entire width, which is often 4 times the width of a motorcycle tire, typically remains on the ground at all times. (The bottom of a passenger vehicle tire is basically flat, right?) Motorcycle tires constantly have to lean left and right to turn, so they are more “rounded” from side to side than car tires and only have a small patch of rubber actually contacting the ground at any given time. That small dollar-bill-sized patch is constantly subject to torque & friction while we’re riding, and with such a little patch handling the demands of your trip, it wears the tires out often in less than 10,000 miles.
PATAGONIA MOTORCYCLE TRIPS come with a high cost, but very high reward as well!

Overall Purchase Price: Let’s not forget the original price tag on these machines! Whether purchased outright or financed through a banking service, many bikes cost more than a university education. With regards to the price of bikes in other countries and why rental rates can be so high, please note that for example, BMW motorcycles cost about twice as much in South America as they do in the U.S.

I guess the point of all this was not only to help you budget ahead of time for your motorcycle trips that you do on your own, but also explain why the prices on www.rideadv.com are what they are. We love what we do though, so let us know when you’re ready to book your next great motorcycle adventure!

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