Are Motorcycles Good For College Students: The Pros And Cons.

The greatest thing about going to college is the newly found freedom that comes with it, for many college students that also means the freedom to start riding a motorcycle. Let’s go over the reasons why you should and shouldn’t get a motorcycle.

So, are motorcycles good for a college student? A motorcycle is a good choice for a college student. They get better mileage than cars, a motorcycle will get around 35-40 mpg compared to 29mph for a car. They also reduce your daily commute time, are easy to park and cheaper to maintain. Not to mention the initial purchase price is much lower than a car.

So you can see why a motorcycle is a good choice for a student, but there is more to it. Let’s go over all the pros and cons in more detail.

Are motorcycles good for college students?

This is a very subjective question, in order to give you a proper answer we need go over all the pros and cons. That way you will have all the facts so you can decide for yourself.

Let’s start off the with pros.

Pro: Lower initial purchase cost.

The average amount most people will spend for a cheap reliable used car is around $4000-6000. You can spend less, but you are really taking a chance on how reliable and safe the car is going to be, it’s easy to end up with a lemon.

For that kind of money you are looking at an older car, probably around 10+ years old, with a fair amount of miles on the odometer. A pretty popular car around that price range is a Toyota Camry, you can pick one up with around 125k miles on the odometer for around $5500, a pretty good price.

That’s until you start to look at what you can get in terms of a motorcycle for much less. At the time of writing this, on cycletrader.com you can get a 2007 Yamaha FZ6 with 9k on the odometer for $3200, or if you are into a cruiser style motorcycle a 2007 Road Star Silverado with 16k on the odometer for only $3500, or a 2014 Vulcan with 16k miles for $3200.

Those are just a few I saw, there were even some Harley’s available in that price range. All great motorcycles for the price and all much cheaper than a car.

Pro: Better fuel efficiency.

You are going to save a good amount of money on gas. A motorcycle will get around 25-40 miles per gallon, with many riders even getting around 50 mpg.

Whereas a car will usually only get around 24.9 miles per gallon. That might not seem like much of a difference, but this can sometimes be the difference between eating pot noodles for a week or eating normally.

Pro: Easy to park.

Motorcycles are great for parking. I love how easy it is to find parking when I’m out and about on a motorbike.

I never have to worry about finding a spot, and when I do, it’s usually free. Yup, in many places motorcycles actually park for free. On top of that, some places have special places only for motorcycles and they usually tend to be close to the main entrance of most places. No more lugging your heavy books or groceries across a parking lot in the rain or summer heat.

Pro: Cheap to maintain.

Motorcycles are cheaper to maintain than a car. The most common things you will need to change are tires, brake pads and oil. The same as a car, the difference being how much cheaper each of them are on a motorcycle.

Tires on a motorcycle will run you around $70-150 per tire, depending on the size and brand. So it would be around $140-300 to buy two new tires. A car tire will cost you around $80-150 per tire, so changing all four tires would cost you around $320-600. That’s twice as much.

Then you have the brakes, a set of motorcycle brakes will cost you around $30-50. Whereas a set of car brakes will run you around $100-120, again much more expensive. On top of that you have labor as well, on a motorcycle with the most basic of tools you can do the work yourself.

When it comes to maintaining a motorcycle, if you change your oil regularly, keep your chain clean and lubed and take care of your tires, it will get to and from class hassle free.

Pro: Easy to work on.

Motorcycles are easy to work on, especially compared to a car. Everything you need to get at is right there in front of you, at most you might need to remove a seat or a fairing.

With most service jobs, apart from ripping out an engine and doing a full rebuild, being easy to do. Changing the oil and oil filter is quick and easy, brake pads again not that hard. Adjusting or working on the clutch, just follow the service manual and watch a video or two and you’ll do fine.

When I started out, I knew nothing about engines or how to work on them. But after a few years, I’m confident enough in my skills now to be able to do most things on my motorcycle. Something you can easily do as well, which will save you a ton of money.

Pro: Shorter commute time.

When I started riding a motorcycle, I was amazed how much quicker my commute time was. A trip that would normally take me around an hour was now only 35 minutes, not only that, but I started to enjoy the trip to and from work.

Pro: Cheaper insurance.

Believe it or not, it is cheaper to insure a motorcycle. On average it’s around $700 per year to insure your motorcycle, this can be more or less depending on the state you are in and other factors. Where the average cost to insure a car is double that at $1400, that’s a huge difference. That saves you around $60 a month on insurance. This article has a pretty good breakdown of cost for each state.

So we’ve gone over all the reasons why you should get one, but in life there is always a downside.

Let’s talk a little about the cons.

Con: Can’t ride all year, can’t ride in all weather.

Unlike a car, you are not going to be able to ride all year round. Snow, sleet, hail, rain or just a crazy heatwave will be problems for you on a motorcycle.

While most of the time, proper gear can make it bearable, sometimes it won’t be worth it or safe. When that happens you are going to need to figure another way to get to class.

Con: Need a special license.

In many places you are going to need a special license to ride a motorcycle. Sometimes this can be as easy as a short written test, or as difficult as a graduated system that will take a written test, mandatory practice hours and multiple road tests in order to progress towards a full license.

This is not a bad thing or even a problem, but if your commute to school involves any stretches of highway your learner permit might not allow you to legally ride a motorcycle on those roads. Just something to consider.

Con: Easier to steal.

A major downside to motorcycle ownership is how easy they are to steal, it’s all too easy for someone to pop the steering lock and roll your motorcycle down the road. You can make it more difficult with a heavy duty chain and lock, but there is always a chance your motorcycle might not be there when you come out in the morning or from class.

Con: Will need to buy gear.

Gear is not cheap and you are going to need to buy some. A full set of gear is going to run you around $1200-2000, that’s a lot of money. You are going to need a helmet, jacket, pants, gloves and boots.

You can save a bit of money by shopping during sales, but one thing you should never do is buy cheap quality gear to save a buck or two. You’re better off waiting an extra month and getting a proper piece of gear. Many times cheap gear will fail you when you need it the most, during a crash.

Con: No trunk space.

This can be a huge pain in the butt. Motorcycles suck for transporting stuff, there is next to no trunk space. Even if your motorcycle has side bags or cases, you are going to be hard pressed trying to transport anything.

This can be a big problem if you need to use your motorcycle to go shopping for groceries. No more big single trips once every two weeks. It now becomes smaller trips every day or two.

Con: Can’t easily transport friends.

If you are the type of person who is always out with friends, a motorcycle can make this a bit more difficult. If you get a motorcycle you won’t be able to load your buddies up and head to the beach. Not going to happen.

If this is something you love to do, then maybe a motorcycle is not for you. Or you could just convince your buddies to get motorcycles as well, problem solved.

Con: More dangerous than cars.

The fact of it is, motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. You are more likely to get injured in an accident. There is no sugar coating it, especially with younger riders, who tend to take greater risks, who want to show off and do things that can result in a crash.

Con: Might have to sit in class wearing your gear.

If you ride your motorcycle to class, unless you bring a change of clothes. You are going to have to sit in your gear all day in class. That also means lugging your helmet around as well.

Sure you can leave your helmet strapped to your motorcycle, but who knows what some jerks will do to it, do you want to come to your motorcycle only to find some idiot decided to use your helmet as a trash can? It happens, I’ve seen it.

Or even worse some meth head could just steal your helmet. What are you going to do then? You can’t ride without a helmet, you’re stuck there.

All that said I personally think that the pros outweight the cons, but each of you will have to make your own decision.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time happy riding!

Jordan Baker

Hi, I’m Jordan. I’ve been riding motorcycles for a few years now(9+ years). Along the way I’ve learned a bunch, made mistakes and picked up a thing or two. I’ve also spent countless hours practicing and working on improving my skills, something I try to do a few times a week. That’s why I made this website. So I can share my love for riding and everything I’ve learned over the years. Hopefully you’ll stick around and check out a few articles.

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