How Much does Riding a Motorcycle ACTUALLY Cost?

How Much does Riding a Motorcycle ACTUALLY Cost?

Motorcycles are fun, that is one reason why we ride them. But they are often considered a more cost-effective mode of transport. Is that true though?

This article is about breaking down the real costs of owning a motorcycle to see if they really are a cheaper form of transport.

Lessons & Training

The first thing any rider needs before being allowed to ride a motorcycle is the proper training. This could be the biggest expense of your biking career, besides buying a new bike.

Basic Handling Skills

Before being able to apply for your learner licence and ride, you need to complete the Basic Handling Skills Test (BHST). You need to be 16 or older to take the test. The test is designed to ensure you know the basic operation of a bike and can ride. It is taken on a LAMS-approved motorcycle as you take your first step to becoming a rider.

Many schools and instructors offer a BHS course and test, which takes between 2-3 days and will cost between $160-300 depending on how much tuition you need, your skill levels, location and whether you need a motorcycle to be provided.

During the BHST you will learn about the bike and its controls, starting/stopping the engine, how to park safely, throttle control, riding in a straight line and around corners, clutch control and important safety checks, like checking your bling spots.

Licence Costs

License costs are compulsory, they cannot be escaped, regardless of what extra training you do. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay (roughly) in fees.


Application fee

Test fee


Learner licence




Restricted licence




Full licence




Total costs: $338.20.

Riding Gear

Once you’ve completed your training, you are going to need riding gear. The three essential pieces of equipment will be your helmet, gloves, and boots. Then you can invest in jacket and trousers. Now, you can find cheap options for all of these items of clothing, however it isn’t recommended. High-quality gear for which you pay a little bit extra will last you longer, therefore better value for money. Here is a rough guide to how much you should be paying:

  • Helmet: $120-225
  • Gloves: $50
  • Jacket: $200
  • Pants: $100-150
  • Boots: $100

Obviously, you may find offers and special deals which make these items cheaper, but always make sure you are buying quality goods.

Buying a Motorcycle

Buying a motorcycle will cost as much as you are willing to spend, and there are huge margins. You could get a bike free from your uncle who inspired you to ride in the first place or pay $100,000+ on a fully race ready Ducati (we do not recommend doing this as your first bike).

You can either buy second-hand or brand new, pay in cash or in installments. This will be your biggest expenditure, but how much you spend is your choice.

Maintenance and Ownership

As with any vehicle, there are the costs of ownership and maintenance work, which will vary depending on the type of vehicle you have and the manufacturer’s requirements. A motorcycle annual service can cost anywhere between $100 to $300 depending on your bike, garage, etc.

Doing your own maintenance at home can save you costs but can also affect the resale value. Buyers like to see the owner’s manual with service stamps from garages and professionals. Something you can do at home that wouldn’t affect the resale value negatively is a custom paint job using high-quality motorcycle paint.

And of course, there is insurance. Insurance can cost any amount depending on a whole list of factors, from what bike you have to how you store it at night and where. There are so many factors it is difficult to put a price on it, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $700 a year for insurance alone.

Are there ANY Savings Then?

With everything we have shown above, it does make motorcycling look like an expensive mode of transport. But that isn’t the whole picture. There are elements and ways in which you can save money buy riding a motorcycle, and it is important not to overlook them. So, let’s have a look at them.

For example, ownership and maintenance costs are also something car owners have to deal with. They pay insurance, they need their cars fixed and services, etc. Furthermore, these costs tend to be more expensive for car owners, as a general rule anyway, there can always be exceptions.
And there are a couple more common elements between cars and bikes that we haven’t touched upon yet: fuel and parking.

The MPG or miles per gallon on motorcycles tend to be higher than cars. Yes, now with hybrid cars and electric cars things are changing, but again, those types of cars have other costs that we won’t go into here. Just as an example, most bikes will average 40mpg and above, where cars will average significantly less than that. So, in the long run, you will be saving money in fuel cost.

As for parking. Well, you will never have to pay to park a motorcycle. Train stations, airports, shopping malls, all usual have extortionate rates for cars to park. However, they will have designated motorcycle parking spots for which you don’t have to pay. Those are a lot of savings throughout the year if you commute to work on the train and leave your bike, instead of your car, parked at the train station.


But what does all this show? It shows us that while the initial costs of learning to ride, buying all the gear and buying a bike can be rather expensive, in the long run they do offer far more savings as a mode of transport. High-quality gear will last for years, or a lifetime in some cases, insurance will get cheaper the more you ride, and you will pay less for fuel and parking. It is a good alternative, in the long run, for those looking to save the pennies.