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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sharing my high-level break-down of the true cost of getting into Motorcycle hobby.:moneyeyes:
Yes, I know: some of the items listed below (except repairs, maintenance, and some protection gear) are optional. Yet, these upgrades make motorcycle riding so much more enjoyable, as well as a lot safer.

Bike:
I bought my first motorcycle in September 2018. It was a 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C50 Special Edition (different paint and decals, cast wheels instead of spokes, otherwise identical to other '08 C50) with 2,900 Miles. Bike spent a lot of times seating in somebody's garage, and I believe no regular maintenance was done to it for a very long time. Bike came with Vance & Hines exhaust (I still don't know if I like it or it is more of an annoyance), handlebar raisers and a rusted Lowjack.

Repairs:
I fixed some of the critical components at the shop (wheels, breaks, gas tank) and the rest of the maintenance and upgrades were done by me. In the process, I've bought some gear, extra lights, upgraded to LED for most lights (except the headlight - this got an upgraded halogen bulb), did a few popular mods, and bought some accessories to improve comfort.

Future buys:
I still need to buy a bike jack to ease periodic maintenance and storage.

Come sprint I might invest in a different jacket (mesh, higher quality) and again next winter (heated gloves, proper winter riding pants).

From this point on, I don't really need/want any additional modification made to the bike, unless I find Smalley's HB adapter somewhere.

A few summaries on the below numbers:
  • Cost of buying a used bike, that includes Motorcycle, Registration & Tax, Necessary Maintenance and Repairs comes out to $4,312.70
  • Protection gear is the next big spend, with close to $1,600.
  • Optional motorcycle equipment and mods, tools, and various chachkas come out to approximately $1,350 .

High-Level List - $

  • Accessories $212.20
  • Equipment $864.64
  • Maintenance $94.34
  • Motorcyle $2,806.00
  • Protection Gear $1,578.44
  • Registration $239.13
  • Repair $1,173.23
  • Tools $256.65
Grand Total $7,224.63

High-Level List - %

  • Accessories 2.94%
  • Equipment 11.97%
  • Maintenance 1.31%
  • Motorcyle 38.84%
  • Protection Gear 21.85%
  • Registration 3.31%
  • Repair 16.24%
  • Tools 3.55%
Grand Total 100.00%



Detailed List
Accessories $212.20
Bluetooth $95.85
Cover $85.00
Key $6.52
Lock $24.83
Equipment $864.64
Crash Bars $173.88
Electrical $119.91
Key $10.89
Lights $286.58
Reflectors $5.99
Seat $52.00
Windshield $215.39​
Maintenance $94.34
Electrical $5.42
Engine Coolant $22.89
Oil $66.03​
Motorcyle $2,806.00
Inspection $6.00
Motorcycle $2,800.00​
Protection Gear $1,578.44
Boots $184.95
Ear plugs $32.61
Gloves $165.60
Helmet $230.30
Jacket $212.39
Pants $143.99
Airbag Vest $608.60​
Registration $239.13
Registration and Tax $239.13​
Repair $1,173.23
Labor $621.66
Parts $525.83
Saddle Bags $10.99
Seat $14.75​
Tools $256.65
Electrical $42.15
Mechanical $44.98
Miscellaneous $23.66
Oil $2.44
Storage $143.42​
Grand Total $7,224.63


Conclusion:
If you are buying your first bike, a used Boulevard C50 is great option. It is not too powerful to kill you on the first ride, but it has enough power to take you on a highway and have some fun around the town. It has decent comfort (seats could be better) and fairly simple maintenance (if the electrical system is in decent shape). There is a lot of aftermarket accessories that are easy to install.
It is fuel injected - no carburetor related challenges. Most of the parts are available on the web, and some of them are even reasonably priced used (exception include OEM fuel cap for $130 :)boozin:). Volusia Riders Forum is a goldmine when it comes to troubleshooting and helping new riders with their Suzuki cruisers.

P.S.
I originally planned to spend as much $ on repairs and protection gear as I've spent on the motorcycle itself. That came to be very true. If you are satisfied with a stock bike, and can do some basic maintenance yourself, look to spend anywhere from 30-50% of the purchase price of the used bike on repairs. That ratio is approximate, and varies based on a brand, age, labor rates, etc.

P.P.S.
Skimping on protection gear is not a good idea. Your skin, bones and scull are much softer than anything that you might impact even at 10 MPH.
 

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can't worry about money invested in good quality riding gear... w/o it...all the money one spends on the mc becomes senseless if the rider is unable to ride anymore. I remember I had a similar list I kept on my first mc...2004... I'll have to see if I can find it...remember the final cost owning that bike exceeded the cost I paid for it new. Best money ever spent for the pleasure it gave me and the people I met thru riding....especially here on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
can't worry about money invested in good quality riding gear... w/o it...all the money one spends on the mc becomes senseless if the rider is unable to ride anymore. I remember I had a similar list I kept on my first mc...2004... I'll have to see if I can find it...remember the final cost owning that bike exceeded the cost I paid for it new. Best money ever spent for the pleasure it gave me and the people I met thru riding....especially here on this forum.
If you find your list, please share with us. I'm very curios to compare 2004 figures to today's.
 

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Wow! That's a heck of a breakdown. Personally, I choose to remain ignorant about how much this hobby has cost me over time. Thanks for sharing though, I'm sure it will be useful for someone thinking about getting started with a motorcycle. Especially those young people who think that they can save money by getting a motorcycle instead of a car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow! That's a heck of a breakdown. Personally, I choose to remain ignorant about how much this hobby has cost me over time. Thanks for sharing though, I'm sure it will be useful for someone thinking about getting started with a motorcycle. Especially those young people who think that they can save money by getting a motorcycle instead of a car.
It might be more economical to ride a motorcycle (cheaper vehicle, cheaper gas, cheaper tolls, cheaper insurance). If all maintenance is done yourself, it can definitely be a somewhat cheaper option for commute.
However, motorcycle doesn't replace a car, and car doesn't provide the same experience as riding a motorcycle.
 

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It might be more economical to ride a motorcycle (cheaper vehicle, cheaper gas, cheaper tolls, cheaper insurance). If all maintenance is done yourself, it can definitely be a somewhat cheaper option for commute.
However, motorcycle doesn't replace a car, and car doesn't provide the same experience as riding a motorcycle.
I'm not convinced on that. The vehicle may be cheaper, but there are plenty of cars that get motorcycle level fuel economy these days, so I think the fuel savings aren't nearly as much as people think they are. Cheaper tolls might apply, that just depends on where you live. We've got a number of toll roads around here, and some of them are free for motorcycles to use, but there are some that charge for motorcycles.

As for maintenance, I'm not convinced on that one either. First, in my experience the cost of taking the vehicle somewhere to have maintenance done if you can't do it yourself is significantly higher for motorcycles. There is far less competition in that market, so the labor rate is much higher. I get oil changes on my car for $35 at the dealership and could probably get that down to $25 if I searched around. I got stupid and took a motorcycle into a shop for an oil change one time and it cost me nearly $200 for that lesson.

Second, from a parts standpoint, although the bike has less oil in it, resulting in cheaper oil changes, I find the biggest maintenance cost to be keeping tires on a vehicle. I can get tires for my car at around $100 each, including mounting and balancing; I just roll into the dealership and roll back out an hour or so later with new tires. By contrast, motorcycle tires seem to run around $100 each for the cheaper tires, and that's just the tire. If I want to save money, I have to take the tire off and take it to the shop to have them swap the rubber, which will cost me around $25 per tire. I'm now at around $250 for motorcycle tires vs $400 for car tires. Seems like I saved a lot of money, right? Wait just a minute. Motorcycle tires seem to get maybe about 5-6k miles. If you drive really conservatively and get hard tires that will corner like crud, you might get 10k out of them. By contrast, I can get 30k miles out of a set of car tires while driving like Dale Jr and I know people who regularly get 60k miles out of a set of tires. Let's do the math on the tires and equal them out:

Motorcycle - 10,000 miles for $250
Car - 60,000 miles for $400
Motorcycle - 60,000 miles for $1,500

That's just tires. I haven't gotten into the cost or replacing clutches on the motorcycle vs the fact that my car's CVT has 160k on it and hasn't even needed any maintenance done to it.

Oh yeah, one more thing is insurance. Yes, motorcycles are cheaper, but usually, people aren't getting what they need. One reason they're far cheaper is that insurance companies list them as recreational vehicles and expect that they will only be operated on the weekends for a few months out of the year. If you're going to use your motorcycle for regular transportation, you should tell your insurance company that and expect that your rate will immediately double. If you don't, you'll most likely be fine, but if an adjuster figures out that you've been using it for primary transportation and not as a recreational vehicle, they could nullify your policy and refuse a claim when you need it most. Granted, even at double the cost, my motorcycle insurance would still be hundreds less than my car, but that is something to consider.

Sorry but from the numbers I've run, cars are far more economical than people think they are and motorcycles cost a lot more than people seem to believe. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I wouldn't encourage anyone to go for a motorcycle just to save money. They are cool though, and that is worth something.
 

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I find it's hard to put a price on enjoyment, relaxation, and stress relief. We won't even mention the fun of riding around with the wifey and just being out of the house on a beautiful day with no worries and going where I want to.
Can't really let the wife talk me into shopping with the limited room and she knows I hate shopping, with her, and I'll leave her there.
Let's not forget the joy of doing charity rides for friends, family or, especially, needy or sick kids. Charity rides are priceles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Point taken on motorcycles potentially not as cost efficient to commute as cars.
I wonder what is the situation in countries where gas costs are 4-6 times higher that in US, and cars cost double due to to import fees? Some countries tax engine displacement, others tax face value of a vehicle, third just don’t have enough space or road infrastructure for all the people who want and can afford a car.
Of course we are not trying to compare apples to oranges here (both round, both have nutritional value, yet very different in essence), but motorcycles are still a very much a minor part of people lives in US, same as bicycles (which I rode for 10 years in NYC before buying my first MC).

As the saying goes, “the bigger the boys, the bigger (and more expensive) the toys”. It is very hard to put a price tag on enjoinent of riding. Every time I take my MC for a ride (New York City), I stand in traffic, it is often hot/cold/wet or too dry, but my trip becomes and experience, rather than a dull daily activity. Not every time positive, but non the less something I would forget later than a boring subway/bus/cab/car ride to my destination.
 

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It kind of all depends on what used bike you buy. Mine's a 2008 C50. Had 13K miles when bought. For at least the past 4 years (the time the guy I bought it from owned it) ALL maintenance had been done as-scheduled, and he had records to prove it. It already had a windshield and saddle bags, and a brakelight flasher. Had brand-new Michelin Commander II tires. Came with a very nice heavy-duty bike cover, a helmet(too small for me), a nice pair of riding gloves (my size), and a good-quality accessory power port (with the wiring already in place, using a quick-connect so I can keep the receptacle in a bag and only snap it on to its base when I need it). $2750.


I added Memphis Shades lowers and a curved chrome luggage rack, $125.


I took the title to the DMV, paid the taxes and registration fee -- $150. Took it to my insurance agent, added it to my existing policy -- $123 for a year. Already had a helmet, but I treated myself to a "new" textile armored jacket - Johnny Rocket - that I found for $70 at a pawn shop.


My riding buddy said, "Man, you stole that bike!", at which point I pulled my pistol and said, "Right. Now hand over your wallet!":wayhappy:
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
It kind of all depends on what used bike you buy. Mine's a 2008 C50. Had 13K miles when bought. For at least the past 4 years (the time the guy I bought it from owned it) ALL maintenance had been done as-scheduled, and he had records to prove it. It already had a windshield and saddle bags, and a brakelight flasher. Had brand-new Michelin Commander II tires. Came with a very nice heavy-duty bike cover, a helmet(too small for me), a nice pair of riding gloves (my size), and a good-quality accessory power port (with the wiring already in place, using a quick-connect so I can keep the receptacle in a bag and only snap it on to its base when I need it). $2750.


I added Memphis Shades lowers and a curved chrome luggage rack, $125.


I took the title to the DMV, paid the taxes and registration fee -- $150. Took it to my insurance agent, added it to my existing policy -- $123 for a year. Already had a helmet, but I treated myself to a "new" textile armored jacket - Johnny Rocket - that I found for $70 at a pawn shop.


My riding buddy said, "Man, you stole that bike!", at which point I pulled my pistol and said, "Right. Now hand over your wallet!":wayhappy:
Definitely a steal of a deal! Could I have done better on initial purchase price, considering the work I had to do? Maybe a little. That said, bike seller was 5 minutes away from me, a biker with 30 years under the belt was able to go with me to pickup the bike. Now I ride it, I enjoy it, no regrets:)))) Yes it is very cold in NYC right now, but it will pass :)
 

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Definitely a seal of a deal! Could I have done better on initial purchase price, considering the work I had to do? Maybe a little. That said, bike seller was 5 minutes away from me, a biker with 30 years under the belt was able to go with me to pickup the bike. Now I ride it, I enjoy it, no regrets:)))) Yes it is very cold in NYC right now, but it will pass :)
I just cant figure out why you are adding up the cost..........JUST GET ON THE BIKE AND RIDE !!!!
 

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I concur, but I would add that the C50 is a great option, not only for a first bike, but for any rider who appreciates its good points and can live with its few short comings. For me, the 4 gallon tank and limited range for touring the West was an important factor in moving on. Many disliked the 5 speed and higher revs and wanted a six gear. I'd go up to 70 in fourth on my freeway ramp and then shift to 5th. It did not need 6th, but we all wanted it. I was never a believer that the DJ mod was necessary, but it added value for some. It was not a rocket ship, but is had enough to pass easily and when tried, pegged the speedo at 100+ indicated, but it did not feel safe at that speed.

While you enjoy number crunching, I expect your expenditures are mostly normal, but as individual as every Volusia/C50 rider you will meet, it represents a norm, but the bell curve is broad and many different budgets are happy to ride C50s.

Enjoy and many of my dearest friends I met on this forum and were Volusia/C50 riders who never forgot the joy they had on their Suzuki.

If you are buying your first bike, a used Boulevard C50 is great option. It is not too powerful to kill you on the first ride, but it has enough power to take you on a highway and have some fun around the town. It has decent comfort (seats could be better) and fairly simple maintenance. There is a lot of aftermarket accessories that are easy to install.
It is fuel injected - no carburetor related challenges. Most of the parts are available on the web,....
 

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I had never sat on a bike until 2008. When gas prices went up to $4.00 per gallon and I was driving 500 miles per week to work in my Ford 150 truck I had to do something. First bike was also a 2008 C50 (brand new). Changed my life forever. The good thing was I made money by buying it. I was saving around $300.00 per month in gas and was paying much less per month for the bike. Yes, I spent a lot for decorations, mods and gear (gear I still use 10 years later). Put 80k on her and bought an '09 C50 in 2014 with 200 miles on it. Ran that baby like the first over many states, mountains and beaches. Last year I upgraded to a 2015 C90 BOSS (brand new) and started over. You got to have a hobby and this is a great one. Involve your significant other so she can't fuss too much and for gosh sakes don't show her that breakdown of how much you've spent. Spend it if you can afford it, ride it either way and stay safe.
 

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Your post made me think about what I've spent on my bike, a 2007 C50T bought in 2009. I don't have all of the numbers in that detail, but here is a comparison of what I have spent:


Bike: $5000 (it had 1600 miles, practically new) List price new was $9500


Riding gear $1550 Total
Boots $100
Jacket 1 $90
Jacket 2 $140
Gloves 1 $40
Gloves 2 $60
Helmet 1 $200
Helmet 2 $500
Heated gear $300
Overpants $80
Chaps $40

Accessories Total: $1230
Crash bar: $80
Foot pegs: $120
Air horn: $40
Fuse box: $30
Light bar: $80 (do-it-yourself from plans on this forum)
Lowers: $50 (DIY from this forum)
Tank bib $50 (used from a forum member)
Trunk bag $250
GPS mount: $80
Rear rack: $80
Throttle lock: $75
Mustang Seat: $275 (bought used on this forum)
Backrest: $100 (Grasshopper)

I do all maintenance myself except for yearly inspection and tire changes. This includes valve adjustment which I do using instructions from this forum. I pait for the lifetime membership but the benefits have been way more than that.

My total cost of ownership not including maintenance, fuel, oil, etc. (I may have missed a few things)



$7780 ($8000 figuring I missed a few things...)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Your post made me think about what I've spent on my bike, a 2007 C50T bought in 2009. I don't have all of the numbers in that detail, but here is a comparison of what I have spent:


Bike: $5000 (it had 1600 miles, practically new) List price new was $9500

Riding gear $1550 Total
Boots $100
Jacket 1 $90
Jacket 2 $140
Gloves 1 $40
Gloves 2 $60
Helmet 1 $200
Helmet 2 $500
Heated gear $300
Overpants $80
Chaps $40

Accessories Total: $1230
Crash bar: $80
Foot pegs: $120
Air horn: $40
Fuse box: $30
Light bar: $80 (do-it-yourself from plans on this forum)
Lowers: $50 (DIY from this forum)
Tank bib $50 (used from a forum member)
Trunk bag $250
GPS mount: $80
Rear rack: $80
Throttle lock: $75
Mustang Seat: $275 (bought used on this forum)
Backrest: $100 (Grasshopper)

I do all maintenance myself except for yearly inspection and tire changes. This includes valve adjustment which I do using instructions from this forum. I pait for the lifetime membership but the benefits have been way more than that.

My total cost of ownership not including maintenance, fuel, oil, etc. (I may have missed a few things)



$7780 ($8000 figuring I missed a few things...)
Nice! We are getting some interesting information here! I do have a spreadsheet on Google drive, maybe I’ll get around to clean it up and post it here for reference.
 

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Two weeks ago I bought my former neighbors 2006 C50T for $1000 dollars. I didn't want to but could not resist the price. He had it at his shore house that he just sold. He didn't want to take it to north Jersey. It had 5118 miles on it when I got it. I know I have to get new tires but will wait till spring (unheated garage). I changed the oil and filter and have been riding up the island a few times. It has Corbra bars, nice pegs and stock bags and windshield. Right now I'm at a total $1212. ( Sales tax, Transfer, Plates, Insurance, oil and filter) The garage is a little jammed up with 4 bikes.
 
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