10 Reasons Motorcycles are Better Than cars

Cars are neat, I like them a lot and I've been fortunate to have had a few nice ones, but motorcycles have a long list of advantages over their 4 wheel cousins.

In my experience, if you like bikes, there's a good chance you appreciate cars, trucks, boats and airplanes, too, not all to the same degree but a particularly nice example of any motor driven vehicle can bring on a smile. Eventually, though, most of us have to choose among the categories if we're going to invest our resources on one or two vehicles (or more) and when the choice has to be made, motorcycles have a lot to offer.

Here's my personal list. It might vary from one person to another, your list might have items I haven't thought of, but I think these give you some food for thought.

1. You can fit 3 or 4 bikes into the space occupied by one car. Make maximum use of a small garage, buy motorcycles.

2. Motorcycles use less gas. 30 miles per gallon is on the low end and smaller engines can get triple digit mileage.

3. Motorcycles outperform cars. Sure, some exotic cars can keep up with a Hayabusa, but not many and the cost is usually 10 or 20 times the cost of the bike, or more.

4. You can rebuild a motorcycle if you're mechanically inclined, you don't have to do very much body work. Not being particularly skilled in body and paint, I appreciate this one.

5. Motorcycles cost less. Even classics and collector bikes can often be purchased for the price of a very plain used car.

6. Motorcycle riders are safer, they don't text on their phones while riding.

7. Motorcycle riding can be really cozy. If you want to be a little closer to your passenger, brake a little quicker for the next stop. ;-)

8. Motorcycle riding gets you out in the fresh air. Smell real pine trees, not the scent of a pine shaped deodorizer hanging from the mirror.

9. Motorcycle riding develops your coordination and balance. Brake and clutch levers for your hands, brake and shift gears with your feet, learn to balance at slow speeds, many drivers could never do it.

10. Best of all, there has never been a recall for unintended motorcycle acceleration.

That's a start, how many more reasons can you add?

Comments

  1. Gitan says

    On a bike, you can feel the weather much more better (in a bad or good way)
    With a bike, you’ll get strong dorsal muscles and deltoïds to carry your purchases back home (just joking – but quite not so…)
    And you’ll be more sensitive in all ways you can find, no “routine” on a bike (except sometimes for the start of the engine), but on the roadway, you are the best poweruser I can imagine ! Freedom in a sort of thing…

    Sorry for my poor language one more time… And cheers from France !

  2. TriumphGuy says

    Ok, I’ll take this one on. There is neither a question nor a doubt in my mind that if riding a motorcycle or experiencing a pillion ride in commuter traffic were part of the criterion for obtaining a driver’s license there would be fewer accidents on the road.
    In 2003, I rode by a row of left turn green arrow turners on my way through an intersection and counted no less than 18 of them with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the phone.

  3. Hawk says

    Well said Paul. Only people who ride can really appreciate what it’s all about though. Here are some thoughts received the other day entitled “12 things my motorcycle has taught me”:

    1. The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rear view mirror..

    2. Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul.

    3. I’d rather be riding my motorcycle and thinking about God, than sitting in church thinking about my bike.

    4. Life may begin at 40, but it doesn’t get real interesting until about 90 …… mph.

    5. Midnight bugs taste just as bad as Noon time bugs.

    6. Sometimes it takes a whole tank of gas before you can think straight.

    7. A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.

    8. Young riders pick a destination and go; old riders pick a direction and go.

    9. When you’re riding lead, don’t spit.

    10. Catching a yellow jacket in your shirt at 75 mph can double your vocabulary.

    11. If you can’t get it going with bungee cords and duct tape, it’s serious.

    12. Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.

    Keep up the great work ….

  4. fast eddie says

    Motorcycling makes it easy to see a rookie. Shorts and sneakers on a crotch rocket.
    Two kinds of riders , those that have been down and those that are going down.

  5. matt g says

    Changes your commute into an event. Riding a motorcycle is way more fun than a car- you participate.

    Better for your beltline. Try eating a Whopper while riding a motorbike!

    Lane spliting- getting yelled at by angry suburbanites crawling along in traffic in their magnificent SUVs- haha!

  6. todd says

    Lane splitting #1 for me. I don’t feel tired after a long commute on a motorcycle like I do in a car. I don’t like being tired when I get to work or when I get home. I’m more invigorated after a ride. It’s better for my back. I tend to slouch in a car and hurt my back. On a bike the forward lean and extra support from my arms allows me to ride for great distances. Riding a motorcycle is MUCH less expensive considering gas, any tolls, insurance, tires, etc and the cost of the bike in the first place. I feel less anonymous on a motorcycle and I’m being more involved in something (travel) that people tend to take for granted.

    -todd

  7. matt g says

    Let’s not forget-

    Cool gear- armored gloves, swooshy helmet, outrageous leather pants, big metal boots. You’d look like a real jerk dressing like that without a bike.

    Also some people like to dress like pirates and a bike gives them a reason to.

  8. says

    Thanks, Paul for the 10 Reasons. However I disagree with #10: “10. Best of all, there has never been a recall for unintended motorcycle acceleration.” Let us all please keep in mind that the BMW GT1200 (and probably an ever-increasing number of others) DO have a “fly-by-wire” (computer controlled) throttle. So what do y’all think of THAT? :>)

    NVUH

  9. mike says

    @nick that is true, but the acceleration and torque you feel on a bike along with the open air and wind really cant be matched. To get close to that kind of performance feeling with a car you need the money to back it up. As far as racing, it doesnt take a lot of resources to get into the motorcycle side of racing, especially when compared to auto racing.

  10. says

    I have 5 motorcycles registered for road use, plus a stack of bike projects. No car, and I doubt I’ll ever own one again. But motorcycles being better than cars? Often, yes, and just as often, no way. Weather protection, carrying capability, spares prices, safety and the gas mileage of modern compact cars are but five things where the cage wins. If you think you’ll pick up a girl more easily with a bike than with a four-wheeler, think again. My experience tells this is rarely the case (but then the one longterm girlfriend as well as the one I married both already rode motorcycles). A notable number of us have been concieved on the back seat of a car; I dare you to try making out on the back seat of a bike that is not a Honda Goldwing.

    But ok, there still are a few thing to add to the initial list:

    11. You’ll be a better car driver because by two-wheeling you learn to be much more aware of road conditions. Also you’ll be less likely ever to have to say ‘sorry mate, didn’t see you’ to the guy who just flew over your car.

    12. Image; a lot of people will probably think of you as a more interesting bloke (and they’ll likely be right). Think Marlon Brando.

    13. It’s easier to accellerate your way out of a dangerous situation (try saying this with a straight face).

    14. Resale value.

    15. Aesthetics, because modern cars tend to look alike, unless you count in Porsches and Vipers. (This, however, is not true for cruisers or for 600 cc jap sportsbikes.)

    16. Smile per mile.

  11. Larry says

    Well in regards to the last one…

    10. Best of all, there has never been a recall for unintended motorcycle acceleration

    Hate to say it, but it feels like it’s just a matter of time. With the new BMW, Ducati, & Aprilia throttle-by-wire with multiple mapping modes in their latest models, it seems to be just a matter of time.

  12. Larry says

    Comment was just based on my personal experience with a throttle-by-wire Subaru… I can ‘feel’ when the computer is making a decision for me, and it’s not always the right one…. it ranges from annoying to downright dangerous.

  13. johnny says

    I find commuting on a motorcycle (monster 900) in fast city traffic (Sydney) scary but invigorating. There’s not many occasions these days where you have to fight for your physical survival every second.Every car can potentially maim or kill you. It’s quite a primal feeling, and something you just don’t get sitting in a car with the radio on.

  14. says

    I love the feeling you get from riding a motorcycle, which, incidentally is the same as riding a jet ski or snowmobile.

    I am pretty much enamored with all forms of transportation but to me the ultimate is and will always be flying an airplane or helicopter.

  15. Oldyeller8 says

    I also read that it increases cognitive skills in older people. Being that I just past the five-Oh! That’s a good thing.
    Personal quote: “If I can’t carry it on a bike I don’t need it!”

  16. Kenny says

    Marvin, been there, done that, and will do it on a regular basis! :D

    #12 Never had or heard of road rage on a motorcycle, witnessed it many a time from the pass-anger seat of a cage.

  17. The other Larry says

    Up until the recent bunch of “starter motor reverse” bikes, philosophically bikes are better than cars because they only go forward.

  18. Chieze says

    Every other rider that you pass is a brother or sister that smiles and says hello (with the infamous downwards peace gesture), while cagers desperately try to ignore each other as much as possible. I haven’t ridden in a while after selling my bike, and this is the part that I miss the most about riding, honestly (after that open feeling mentioned in #8).

    More than anything else, you feel like you’re part of the road. It’s just you and your journey.

  19. Kai says

    Many good reasons – totally agree.

    But I have certainly seen motorcyclists texting while on the move, and the number of muppets wearing shorts or ‘jandals’ while riding is crazy-high :p

  20. says

    Sheesh…too many people are ripping on throttle-by-wire.

    Unintended acceleration is at least as likely to occur on a worn bike with cable throttle. I know it’s happened on a couple of the bikes I’ve ridden — either due to cracked cable housing, or poor cable routing/pinching.

    Don’t fear the future, people.

  21. Sportster Mike says

    Agree with all the above – but above all I go for a ride on my bike – I go shopping in the car and if I ride to work on the bike I go the long way round and get to work smiling.
    With regards to fly by wire etc – I knew a guy years ago who took his brothers rebuilt Commando out for a ride – it hadn’t quite been finished (he was in the process of changing the handlebar mount rubbers) they came off in his hands while he was riding!!
    Shock, horror and crash!! lots of pain (mainly from big brother) – no fly by wire there, no nothing..

  22. says

    Number One reason cars are better than motorcycles: motorcycles cause 35.0 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. Passenger cars? 1.7 per 100 million miles of travel.

    • joe says

      Don’t take life too seriously, nobody gets out of it alive. If I died having fun on my baby that’s living a full life. To me, Life is a journey, not a destination. Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.

    • Jon says

      Those are the numbers for motorcycles involved in the fatal crashes, not the motorcycles that caused the fatal crashes. In most cases these accidents are caused by cars and are fatal to the riders who is not to blame.

  23. Chris says

    #489- morning coffee replacement!! Nothing awakens my senses better than my 30 minute commute to work in the morning, after a long winter in my truck.

  24. PeteP says

    Michael:

    Did the MOTORCYCLEs really cause those deaths, or the nuts behind the bars/wheels?

  25. Troy Cardenas says

    Michael that’s like saying, “We were just sitting there and the gun jumped up and shot my friend”.

    How many of those motorcycle fatalities were from the cagers pulling out infront of the person on a bike?

    We lost two moto cops in a week because of a cagers inattention.

  26. Tim says

    In the city motorcycle riding is more social. When stopped at a light you are in the environment, you can talk to people and interact with them.

    When you are in a car or truck you are in your own world and you don’t have the opportunity to interact with anyone.

  27. Jay Allen says

    I don’t dress like a pirate, but my American-made cruiser strongly encourages passengers to join in on the fun; #8 is a great reason. Gotta love a passenger with ample ‘ backrests ‘ Can’t think of one time a female said ‘ when you gonna take me for a ride in your Ford Escape Limited ‘ Why didn’t I get a bike ten years sooneer !!!

  28. says

    in general friendship is stronger between bike riders, than car drivers
    you can park a bike almost anywhere
    you cant ride your average car on the back wheel.
    bikes come standard with adventure,
    peak hour not a problem
    adventure riding from the age of 15, try that in a car
    l love riding so much l started a tour business
    because Ducati dont make cars

  29. Nicolas says

    Not possible to make out on a bike ? You guys are lacking imagination … lol

    reason # 32 : cars don’t lean

  30. todd says

    Number One reason motorcycles are better than cars: In 2004, number of motorcycle fatalities = 4008. Passenger cars? 42,636. You are over 4 times more likely to get killed in a car than on a bike…

    -todd

  31. matt g says

    People make a big deal about motorcycle fatalities- and let’s be honest bikes are more dangerous in a crash- but how many fatalities are self inflicted? “Bar hopping” is a terrible idea- wearing a do rag is a terrible idea- beginners on a ZX-10, well that borders on negligence IMO.

    I feel safer on a motorbike than my bicycle riding to work though- no one can see or hear you and you can’t get out of the way!

  32. Adam says

    Whatever reason’s 1 through 10 may be, I think that what tops them all as I’ve just found out this afternoon, is that you can’t lock your keys in your motorcycle, like you can with your truck.

  33. says

    As for safety, it doesn’t matter whether (in a car/motorcycle accident) the rider or the car driver is responsible. You’re safer in a car. Period. The best you can do is ride with your brain in gear, wearing high quality protective clothing. Personally I overcompensate the safety bit in other areas of life; don’t smoke, hardly drink and stay right clear of married women.

  34. says

    PeteP & Troy Cardenas: Sure, that was bad wording. Whatever the cause (bad car drivers, bad motorcycle drivers, whatever) the point is driving a car is much, much safer. While you can minimize those risks by driving carefully and wearing safety equipment, accidents happen – including ones you’re not responsible for. I’d much rather be behind steel designed to crumple than behind nothing when some idiot drives into me at 80kph. Also, remember that even a minor crash can cause serious injury when you’re on a bike, but is much less likely to do so when you’re in a car.

    Todd. That’s a silly argument. Far fewer people drive motorcycles than drive cars. That’s why you must divide the fatalities by the number of miles traveled. Otherwise you might as well claim being a soldier in Iraq is safer than driving a motorcycle because 906 soldiers died in 2004, while 4008 died in motorcycle accidents in the same year.

    • joe says

      Bikes are dangerous and that’s what makes them fun. I love riding my bike because it forces me into the present. Whereas when I’m in my car, I’m stressed out, looking for parking, parking tickets, and my mind has too much time to think. My bike shuts off my mind and it let’s me feel one with everything. By the time I get to work I had a hell of an adventure. In my opinion, we are all gonna die anyway and the worst part is that it can be anytime so I might as well have fun and take chances. Cars a great but make city life boring and stressful.

  35. todd says

    So you caught the irony of using statistics to bolster a claim? It can still be argued further: It is likely that if any of the 42,636 people who died in a car were, instead, riding a motorcycle they’d still be alive today. According to statistics any person, whether motorcyclist, soldier, or not, is 10 times more likely to die in a car accident than on a motorcycle.

    -todd

  36. James says

    I know it doesn’t always apply, but reason # 123 I never had a bike that leaked oil but every car…. go figure.

  37. Spouler says

    Reason # 23. Marvin nailed it – HELMET SINGING!!
    Reason #24. Long long ago getting your first bike, and getting the first low wave salute from another passing rider in the oncoming lane, made you realize you’ve taken your first step into a bigger world.
    Reason #25. The baleful look from a fellow rider who’s stuck in his/her car while you’re beside them in traffic, much like the look your dog gives you if you’ve left him inside the house too long.
    Reason #26. Regardless of age or country, a beautiful bike is a beautiful bike.

  38. Spouler says

    Oh yeah.
    Reason #27. Given the choice it’s usually bikes over beers, and my liver’s all the better for it

  39. says

    Todd… That’s really bad statistical reasoning. (This book really helped me, by the way).

    Think of all the people who drive cars. Now think of all the people who drive bikes. (And assume the two groups travel just as often, just as far and on average on the same roads). Now ask: what proportion of car drivers die or get injured in accidents? And what proportion of bike riders die or get injured in accidents? The statistics I have provided clearly demonstrates a greater proportion of bike riders die or get injured than the proportion of car drivers. This shows cars are much safer than bikes…

    Of course, if someone wants to keep riding despite the risks, that’s no business of mine.

  40. says

    Michael, you go ahead and spend your day in bed where you’re (reasonably) safe. I’ll be riding, managing the risk as best as I can, and enjoying life to the fullest.

  41. todd says

    Thanks for that Brian. I think the point was lost that people ride bikes regardless of the dangers – or possibly because of them.

    -todd

  42. Rufian says

    11. I like Bikes because women looks great in the back seat, in your car, you may never shows something like that.
    12. You can’t turn with a food on the ground in a blind of an eye, a don’t need to be rich to travel a lot.

  43. Peter says

    I have 2 bikes and 1 old car.I love riding both my bikes and I also love driving my old car.I really believe that I,m a better rider because I also drive a car and I also really believe that I,m a better driver because I ride a motorcycle.I couldnt give a car driver 10 reasons why it is better to ride a motorcycle and I couldnt give a motorcycle rider 10 reasons why it is better to drive a car!
    In my oppinion it all comes down to being able to go where you want when you want to.In a car or on a bike,it really dosent matter.Its the freedom that matters.

  44. joseph mulyadi says

    Of course there are basic differents between a motorcycle and a car :
    1) Riding a motorcycle needs extra handling compared with driving a car
    2) A motorcycle is more individual use than driving a car
    3) Driving a motorcycle feels more “freedom” compared driving a car (like sitting in a “cage”

  45. mike says

    nick, not to mention, a bike is as about as aerodynamic as a tank…..
    did any one mention the tranquility and peacefullness of riding?? did not get to read all of the above. driving a bike, the correct way, you are more aware of what is around you, who is around you, and how they are driving. i told my son(17) that he needed to ride a bike as though him and the bike are invisible, because no one is looking out for him HE needs to look out for them

  46. James says

    #99. 100 bucks a year for insurance.
    #101. My wife tried to ride her scooter through the construction site on our street….in the rain. It went down, 25 bucks for some new minors…..40 bucks for a side panel……good as new! How much would it cost me for new minors and a panel for my Mazda Tribute?
    #102. What is a blind spot? My wife also backed into a trailor bed that high enough to hit but too low to see in an SUV. Hey Micheal and Tod, maybe your statistics are bunk, some people are just acciedent prone!!!! My wife also totaled her car a week before we got married, she pulled out in front of a HUGE WHITE VAN and was T-boned! On our honey moon I got her an extra room key so she would be really when she lost her key, I was a hero! I think they “say” 70% of statistics are wrong. Micheal drive your car and Tod your bike when your dead will get our answer, right? Then it can be considered your life long work. good stuff.

  47. Benn says

    Now i know this will cause some considerable backlash, but to be fair, I can think of 12 reasons why cars are better than bikes.

    1. warmer in winter, cooler in summer (heater & air conditioner, not to mention windows)
    2. superior wind protection
    3. you want that outside smell & the wind in your hair? you can have it on demand; just open the windows
    4. more cargo space
    5. you can always take a few mates along for the ride
    6. better fuel economy (trust me folks, cars built in the 90′s use less fuel)
    7. better visibility
    8. lower maintenance costs
    9. when goin for a drive, you don’t need to look like the michelin man
    10. unless you got a ferrari or a lambo, a car will never make that shrill, whining noise.
    11. no saddle soreness
    12. when you get out of a car, you don’t risk dropping it

    There’s many more, but because you obviously disagree with me, I will stop there because I respect that. I just wanted to make a stand for the humble car, which the bike has actually made more attractive & fun. But remember this, it’s not what you drive that makes the experience – It’s how you drive it ;-)

    • Jon says

      I’ll agree with all of those except #6, tell of any car from the 90′s that gets more than 40mpg but can still do 0-60 in less than 5 seconds, or 15 for that matter.

      • benn says

        Thanks for your reply, Jon. I only found that out around the same time you posted that comment! I was talking in general on long trips, such as getting around Australia’s Blue Mountains (my home). Because I was on my L’s, & because here in NSW you can only ride anything up to a 250cc (with a list of exceptions up to 650cc) until you got your fulls, I owned one of those piddly little 150cc things, & it drank like you wouldn’t believe! It’s top speed was 110kmh, & took 30 seconds to reach that – IF it reached that.

  48. Jake says

    So, You can heat up your car, on a bike, you can wear more clothes, you can cool down your car, on a bike you just unzip the vents on your jacket and open your visor, Personally, I’d have a car for the winter and a bike for the summer, purely because of icy roads in winter and then the feeling of freedom on a bike in nice weather, but no doubt would be paying more for the car than i would for bike even though i’d gather more mileage on the bike.

  49. Frank Vargas says

    I was battling myself over wether I should get a car or a bike, after reading this thread, it’s settled, I want a motorcycle.