Monday, March 24, 2008

The Most Expensive Hobby There Is

Motorcycle hobbyAfter reading the Joker's comments about his $90 leather jacket, and that you get what you pay for, motorcycling as a hobby has got to be one of the most expensive hobbies there is. But the biggest question is, what are we getting back from this expense?

First of all, you're paying $6,000 for that entry-level Honda Shadow, or $20,000 for that Harley-Davidson Electra Glide.

Second, double that figure for all the aftermarket accessories and parts...

Leather Jacket ($100-$300)
Boots ($100-$300)
Goggles & glasses ($20-$100)
Chaps ($100-$300)
Helmet ($50-$150)
Gloves ($20-$75)
Stage 1 Kit with labor ($1,000)
Chrome replacement parts ($1,000)
Chrome covers ($1,000)
New handlebar grips ($100)
Comfy seat ($300-$500)

Tires every 10,000 miles ($200-$400)
Scheduled maintenance every 5,000 miles ($250)
Gasoline each ride ($20)

Other Costs:
Registration each year ($200)
Insurance each year ($500-$1000)
Traffic citations/Traffic School ($100-$1,000)
Benefit Rides & Rallies each year ($100-$500)

And that's the just basic costs. Most folks end buying two leather jackets. If you're a chick, you might have three pairs of riding boots/shoes. I've purchased a lot more aftermarket accessories than what I've listed above.

And if you're really into motorcycle riding as I am, you own two motorcycles. It becomes exponential at that point.

When I bought my Yamaha Road Star, I was caught up in the hysteria of aftermarket accessories. I had a vision of I wanted that bike to look like, and I splurged on buying up stuff. It gave me a sense of pride when I saw someone looking at my bike. But these days, I'm done with that.

When I bought my Electra Glide, I made a vow not to buy any bling. If I bought anything, it would be for comfort or performance reasons, like the Stage 1 kit, and the mirror extensions.

So you have to ask yourself, where is my return on investment for all the money I've spent on this motorcycle hobby?

If you spent $15,000 on a motorcycle, and another $15,000 on all the parts, labor, gasoline, and clothing, what have you gotten back in return?

The answer that I keep coming up with are three things: friendships, thrill of riding, and exploring the country.

Some of the people I've ridden with have become really good friends with me, while others are just friendly acquaintances. Through these friendships, I've created many good memories. Since my wife and I don't have kids, spending time with our friends is how we break the monotony of day-to-day life. The thrill of riding, and seeing the countryside is the therapeutic aspect that I get of motorcycling.

So with that being said, why do I need that piece of chrome? Why does it really matter if that $90.00 leather jacket is not as good as the $250 dollar leather jacket?

What you get out of motorcycling may not be the same as what I get. For you, it may be friendships, and not about the thrill of riding, or seeing the country. Then you won't need to do a Stage 1 kit, or buy up a lot of bling. Maybe you're an "artist", and you need to express yourself by customizing your bike, and you love to hear what others think. In that case, you won't need to spend much money on leather gear.

Focus on what you get back from motorcycling as a hobby, maybe you'll spare yourself some expense.

1 comment:

  1. Working in the dealership, we used to call the price of purchasing the motorcycle "The down payment on all the accessories." I've never seen ANYONE ride a bike completely stock for a solid year. You have to do something to it. It's the nature of owning a bike. You want it to be YOURS.
    The best advice I can give people is to be careful where you put your money. For the looks, there are inexpensive places to get shiny stuff, but when it comes to safety, Splurge. Don't try to cut those corners, it may cost you.
    So when getting you protective gear, (Jacket, helmet, Eye protection) go for quality, even if it costs a bit more,
    Thanks for posting


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)