Coffee Break

The True Cost of Owning a Motorcycle

If your tastes lean more towards two wheels than four, you may well be considering getting a motorbike. Whether that’s for weaving through the traffic on the daily commute or just for a bit of weekend excitement, owning a motorcycle comes with a number of potential benefits.

One of those, at least on the face of things, is cost. Typically, buying and running a motorbike should be cheaper than a car, however there is more to think about than buying your chosen bike and getting on the roads.

Here are six key costs you need to recognise before saddling up.

The Bike Itself

Starting with the obvious, the bike will of course represent your most significant financial outlay. Whilst you should be able to find a new bike from a reasonable £5,000-£10,000, you’ll be able to find a decent used model for much less; think £1,000 upwards.

One of the main reasons many look to buy a bike is because of the comparative affordability of high-performance models against their car equivalents. Take the Ducati Panigale V4S; Auto Trader’s bike of the year, for example. With a top speed of 191mph, it will leave virtually any road legal car in its dust.

The price? Just under £25,000 new. Expensive, yes, but nothing compared to what its four wheeled counterparts would cost. Essentially, whatever level of bike you go for, you’ll likely find yourself saving money against an equivalent car purchase.


Just as you did in your early childhood, you’ll have to learn to ride a bike all over again, just this time one with a little more power. Costs on learning will vary depending on your aptitude for riding and how long it takes you to get to grips with things.

Generally, an hour-long lesson will cost around the £25 mark; not too dissimilar to learning to drive a car. Motorcycle training businesses like LDC offer packages in the range of £480-£600 (including tests), which should offer a reasonable steer on potential cost.

Breaking key areas down: a provisional licence costs £34 if you apply online, the theory test is £23 and Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) is around £130.


Insurance is one of the pricier inevitabilities of getting a vehicle on the road, with data showing UK averages for motorcycle insurance sitting anywhere between £340-£850. A wide bracket, but one that represents the varying risks associated with different levels of performance motorcycle.

It is worth shopping around, however, as doing your research could save you a big chunk of money. 30% of Devitt’s policy holders pay less than £100 a year, with 69% paying under £300, meaning your insurance might not break the bank after all.

Safety Gear

One of your primary concerns before setting out on your first journey should be having the right safety gear in your possession. A good helmet and protective clothing including a jacket, gloves and pants are essential.

NimbleFins suggests the average helmet cost in the UK sits at £120-£500. Tack on the cost of your clothing, and you could, and perhaps should, be spending close to £1,000. A lot of money, but what price can you put on your safety?

Fuel Costs

Another of life’s less fun spends, the good news is motorbikes tend to be more fuel economic than cars. Rollick supposes the average bike can offer 50-60 miles per gallon, with riders running around 3,000-6,000 miles a year.

In such a scenario, mid-point fuel costs would sit at around £475.

Maintenance & Repairs

Finally, maintenance and repairs stand as an inconsistent cost, completely dependent on the age, power and quality of your bike, and indeed a bit of luck.

Roll a brand-new bike off the forecourt and you can expect to pay virtually nothing on the year. An old second hand model, meanwhile, might require more financial attention. Bike services start from around £80 upwards and are your most likely maintenance outlay. One of the bigger costs to consider would be a change of tyres, with a good new pair probably costing £100-£200.

Overall, there are plenty of potential costs to consider, but it all boils down to your individual situation. What kind of bike you want and whether you want new or second hand model will set the foundation of your spending, and subsequently give you a guide on how much you can expect additional costs to come to.

While you may be looking to save money, your safety when riding is not something to be cutting corners on. Make sure you’re fit to head out on the roads, and then think about your spending afterwards.