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Will a big bike really save you money in the midst of rising gas prices?

The answer is dependent on a multitude of variables.

Will a big bike really save you money in the midst of rising gas prices?

Today’s rising gas prices are enough to make even the most extravagant spenders think twice about going out on leisurely trips. With gasoline well over double what it cost just a few years ago, and diesel now way more expensive than ever before, the temptation to ditch the car and go on two wheels on a daily basis can indeed be very strong.

This begs the question: will riding a motorcycle—a big bike, in particular—really save you more money than driving a car—especially in the midst of these rising gas prices? Well, to put it bluntly, the answer can go both ways. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? 

In theory, motorcycles are more fuel efficient than cars.

Old gasoline pump

Technically speaking, if you’re talking about gasoline money alone, then yes—even some of the fastest, most powerful big bikes can indeed be more fuel-efficient than even the smallest cars. This means more kilometers per liter, and more range out of your peso. That being said, we live in the real world, and we calculate our budgets based on real-world expenses that encompass much more than just gas money. 

If you’re coming from a subcompact crossover or hatchback and make the shift to a scooter like the Yamaha NMAX, then yes, absolutely, you’ll see huge savings in gas money. You will, however, need to take into account the cost of actually buying the bike, your gear, and maintenance. So that means you’ll be at a loss for at least a couple of months—depending on how much you earn. 

However, once you get up there in terms of displacement, average engine speed, and cylinder count, be cautious because the bigger the bike gets, the more fuel it consumes. Then you can factor in how much your ride as well as how far you ride. In our experience, our personal expressway-legal machines typically guzzle fuel more efficiently than a car on the highway, but given how we treat our big bikes as toys for weekend getaways, we tend to put fuel-saving at the back of our minds. With that, it will also depend on the number of cylinders that your motorcycle has. If you are riding a four-cylinder like the Honda CB650R, which revs high on top of being a four-banger, expect fuel economy figures in the low 20 km/L range if you treat the throttle nicely, and expect it to dip down lower if you like hearing the orchestral scream of a four-cylinder at full tilt. In the city, it gets worse at about 14 km/L or a bit higher depending on the traffic. 

Of course, if you're into middleweight twins like the Yamaha MT-07, then that number bumps up to about 22 km/L on the highway or more depending on your right hand, and only slightly lower in the city at around 18 kilometers per liter. Then we get into the big singles like the KTM 390 Duke which seems to average 24 to 30 km/L all day whether in the city or on the highway. In summary, it depends on the number of pistons, displacement, and your riding habits. Typically, we see that there are diminishing returns once you reach displacements of 600 and above, and the entry-level 400cc class of bikes appear to still be efficient enough to save you a couple of bucks. 

There are many other things to consider

Will a big bike really save you money in the midst of rising gas prices?

As is the case with most things in life, there are so many more things to consider than just gasoline money. Plus, let’s be honest, a good number of car drivers wanting to make the shift to two wheels would like to do so aboard a big bike. That being the case, a big bike takes your budget plans, crumples them up into a tiny ball, and flushes it down the toilet. Indeed, big bikes are bottomless money pits, and are quite honestly, first and foremost toys than actual means of transportation. 

When it comes to making the shift on two wheels, it’s always a give and take scenario, too. Sure, you may be saving a few pesos in gasoline each day, but remember, motorcycles have much shorter service intervals than cars, and their consumables tend to be way more expensive. If you’re looking to make the shift to a big bike with cost savings as your sole intention, then quite honestly, you may want to look elsewhere. Perhaps, get a scooter or e-bike instead? 

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