The True Cost of Buying a Motorcycle? Hidden Fees Revealed!

Motorcycle Cost

So you’re interested to know how much it could cost you to buy a motorcycle?

Fair enough and fair warning…

Motorcycles cost way more than they let on…

How Much Should A Motorcycle Cost You?

The cost of a brand new motorcycle will average between 4,000$ to 20,000$. There are, of course cheaper and more expensive bikes available than the price mentioned.

-In general, entry-level motorcycles will range from 4000$ to 8000$.

-Yet most motorcycles will stand in between at 8,000$ and 15,000$

-Higher-end bikes, will stand around the 30,000$ mark and over that.

But I’ll tell you a piece of valuable advice if you plan to buy a bike.

It will cost you a lot more than you think.

Trust me.

Buying a motorcycle is expensive… but riding it… can get crazy expensive.

How is that?

There are tons of things that you will need to take out of your wallet for riding a motorbike.

They all add up quickly to the final price.

Warning, don’t fall down your seat in surprise but…

A rider should expect to pay around 2000$ of extra fees yearly to ride a motorcycle.

Sometimes more…

So that sweet-looking motorcycle priced at 10,000$ will probably cost you double that price (20,000$) in five years.

In short, motorcycles are huge money pits…

You first have to accept that to truly enjoy riding.

So if you are planning to become a motorcyclist, do get some extra money in the bank before you start your journey.

If you aren’t a motorcycle rider already, I don’t want to scare you away with scary financial statements.

That is not what I wish…

I am proud to be a motorcycle rider, and I want more motorcyclists on the road… it is such an exhilarating activity to love and enjoy.

I want to prepare you mentally for what you truly should expect to put in your motorcycle budget.

It will avoid bad surprises in the long run and financial ”fatigue”.

I want to make it clear what you are getting into.

How Much Does a Motorcycle Truly Cost?

A Motorcycle will cost thousands of dollars by itself. But the adding cost of expenses such as protective gear, insurance, and mechanical maintenance is what makes motorcycling such an expensive activity.

There are many extra expenses to ride a motorcycle that you may not have realized yet.

Expect to pay on average an additional 1000$ to 3000$ per year overall for riding a motorcycle.

These extra expenses can be broken down into the following categories:

  • The Motorcycle Itself
  • Mechanical Maintenance
  • Protective Gear
  • Insurance
  • Mandatory Motorcycle Course
  • Registrations
  • Storage
  • Fuel

Thankfully, some of these expenses will be a one-time deal, like getting your motorcycle license.

But some expenses will be recurring monthly or yearly.

Plus, even if you don’t want to think about it, you have to account for the unexpected such as a breakdown, major repairs, towing, etc.

The Price of The Motorcycle by Itself

The bike itself will probably be your highest cost to cover.

Yet, there might still be some hidden fee behind your biggest expense.

These extra costs might already be included in the announced price if you buy your motorcycle from a dealer.

Otherwise, expect to spend extra dollars on top of the labeled price tag.

Besides, the bike might not come with equipment that you feel you need or want, like saddlebags.

Keep these in mind and ask the seller if there are any additional expenses and how much you should expect.

  • Dealer fee.
  • Sale Tax.
  • Financing Interest fees.
  • Add-on equipment like saddlebags and windshields
  • Cost of shipping if you need it.

If you are instead buying a used motorcycle from a private seller, expect to spend on these.

  • Repair and due maintenances.
  • States and Sale taxes.
  • Transfer Fees.
  • Shipping and transport if you need it.

Mechanical Maintenance

You can count around $500-3000$ in motorcycle maintenance every year!

Haaa… the bane of my existence…. the black hole inside my wallet.

Yep, motorcycle maintenance is expensive, plain and simple…

And compared to a car, a motorcycle will need to be serviced more often.

For instance, did you know that motorcycle tires last around 5 times less than car tires?

2000 to 5000 miles, and you might be due for a trip to your motorcycle shop depending on what bike we are talking about.

Think about;

  • Oil Change
  • Tire replacements
  • Chain cleaning
  • mechanical adjustments
  • Air filter
  • Spark plugs
  • etc, etc.

All these are important for a motorcycle to function properly.

Otherwise, you are riding a thinking bomb of a breakdown waiting to strand you on the side of the road.

And how much does it cost for motorcycle maintenance?

That will depend on what model you own and how often you ride your bike, how far you go, and what the maintenance is about.

But long story short, motorcycle garage bills are numerous and are not fun.

Protective Gear

You Must and should at least get a decent entry-level motorcycle helmet for around 200$ to 500$

Yet expect 500$ to 1500$ in total for proper body protection to ride a motorcycle.

Depending on where you live, you might be required by law to wear a government-approved helmet.

Law or not, I STRONGLY suggest you wear a quality motorcycle helmet that is a full-face or modular helmet.

I stopped trusting open face helmets or half-helmet helmets when I was shown this image

Motorcycle helmet impact chances
It shows the probability of where your head will impact in a motorcycle crash.

In a motorcycle crash that includes an impact to the head; you have around 3 in 5 chances to hit the front of your head.

Yikes and ouch! …and you know…maybe dead…

A proper helmet is where you should not compromise…

But of course, that is not all…you might hurt the rest of your body as well.

Even if no law mandates you to wear them, I also recommend getting full-body protective gear while riding.

This includes the following, and I mention an average entry-level price tag attached to the item.

  • Motorcycle Jacket – 250$
  • Gloves – 50$
  • Pants – 200$
  • Boots – 200$

And please get clothes and protective equipment designed FOR motorcycle use.

Some people think they can get away thinking they are protected by wearing protective gear not designed with motorcycles in mind.

Aka work equipment.

I am looking at you people riding with steel cap boots and work gloves. Your gear won’t protect you like you think it will.

Padding, reinforcement, and double stitching to resist tearing on the impact on asphalt is something motorcycle gear is for.

Not work equipment…it is designed for repeated usage to minimize wear and tear in a factory, workshop, or construction site… it is not designed for hard impacts in road accidents.


the average yearly cost of motorcycle insurances is – 721$ in the U.S.A. for 2021.


That is the average price tag I found, according to Valve Penguin.

It is a site that helps you compare insurances pricing.

But that is a tough one to calculate because it depends on many variables.

  • Which country do you live in?
  • What states?
  • How many accidents and tickets have you had?
  • The model of the bike do you want to ride?
  • How old is the motorcycle?
  • Etc

Ho! By the way, don’t forget about medical insurance…Motorcycles are kind of dangerous.

Mandatory Motorcycle Course

Plan 200$ to 300$ to take the motorcycle course to get your rider license.

Yet again, a tricky subject to answer with how much it will cost you.

it will depend on your situation, where you live, and the regulations in your region.

For instance, living in Quebec, Canada, the mandatory motorcycle course I took cost me over 1000$.

With Valve Penguin as a reference again, this time, for a motorcycle course pricing for the American people…

This course is usually mandatory now, and even if it is not obligatory for you, I strongly recommend that you take it.

Riding a motorcycle is simple…but not easy…it is counter-intuitive at first.

Don’t get cocky, and let professionals teach you how to ride before you crash in the first ditch you encounter on your new ride.

When learning to ride a motorcycle, leave your ego at the door.


Expect 50$ to 200$ to register your sweet ride

Again it matters where you live for the exact answer to what it will cost you to register your motorcycle.

It might be next to nothing… or another bleeding cut in your wallet.

But visit This site.

Depending on where you live in the states, it will help you determine what amount of cash to spend to register a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Storage

Expect more or less 100$ to 300$ per year to store your motorcycle during the off-season.

You might need storage or not at the end of the season to store your motorcycle for the winter.

I definitively do need it because I live in a small apartment with no garage…In Canada…Yup, snow and motorcycle don’t go along well.

You might find it cheaper to pay per month for storage or even buy your own storage spot if you plan to ride for a long time.

You could get away with asking for a friend or family help that has access to a garage or storage.


It might be the only place you could save money with a motorcycle compared to driving a car.

And I do say you might…

On average Motorcycle have better fuel consumption than a car…but…Here’s the twist…

Most modern motorcycles require you put high-end Octane fuel in them.

You know the gas that is more expensive when at the fuel pump? That is the one.

Older bikes don’t need that, but most likely, that is what your motorcycle will need for its engine to work properly.

So you burn less fuel than a car when riding a motorcycle, but it needs more expensive fuel to operate.


Is a Motorcycle Cost Less than A Car?

Even if a motorcycle has on average a lower purchase price point than a car, a bike will cost more overall over time due to more expenses cost.

True…you can expect to pay less for a motorcycle on the initial sale.

Mind you, a cheap but brand new motorcycle sells for around 6000$.

Whiles a brand new car in the same cheap entry-level categories will be around 16,000$.

But It is important to keep this in mind; Additional costs associated with motorcycles are HUGES.

The only thing that comes to my mind where a motorcycle might cost less than a car is fuel cost…But barely.

So true story setup that happened to me here… Someone came up to me at a gas station while I was filling up my bike and mentioned that I’m lucky that my vehicle cost so little overall and how little I need to spend on gas compared to a car and other cars expenses…

Hold on…HA HA HA…give me a second to stop laughing at that…XD…

Ok, I’m good now…here is the answer…

Fu$% No…a motorcycle costs more than a car…just not at first.

Motorcycle Cost

And how long will that motorcycle actually last you? that right bike won’t last as long as a car their milages life expectancy is far lower.

Per miles traveled in North America, a motorcycle will cost more than a car…sad but true.

How much should you pay for a motorcycle?

For a new rider, an entry-level motorcycle priced between 4000 to 8000$ will be perfect and appropriate for the first few months or years of riding.

If you read this far in this post, you may already know that motorcycles come with a lot of additional costs.

Don’t focus only on the price the dealer or private seller lists the bike you want to buy.

There will be other costs you have to consider.

On top of the price you will pay for your first bike, you should add a couple more thousand dollars for your insurance, protective gear, and maintenance in your budget.

As an example, let say you plan to buy a 6,000$ motorcycle…

Be prepared to stretch your budget limit to 8,000, if not 10,000$, for your first ride.

Conclusion On What It Will Truly Cost You to Ride a Motorcycle

Are you keeping the score of the added expenses yet?

1000$ to 3000$ or more per year on top of your ride value will probably be what it will truly cost you.

If you can get away by paying less than 1500$ a year in recurring fees to ride, consider yourself lucky.

The cold truth is that riding and owning a motorcycle will cost you, my friend.

Expect it and be ready for it.

It is a sad reality, but motorcycles in North America are not considered a necessity to live but a luxury, unlike other parts of the world.

As such, we North American motorcyclists pay high prices to live our passions.

And you know what…I regret nothing…

Motorcycles got me out of the deep of my depression a few years ago that almost cost me taking my own life…

Starting to ride saved me…it appeased me and got my thoughts straight.

As far as I am concerned, I see riding my bike as a mind therapy…

An expensive therapy, mind you…but so is talking to a psychologist…

So take your pick.

For me, I’ll be on the road, and I hope to see you there whatever your reason is.

As I already said…

Motorcycles are huge money pits.

You first have to accept that to truly enjoy riding.

Because being a motorcyclist is such an amazing life-changing experience.

I can’t recommend it to everybody… it won’t fit some people…

But for those, it can… here is my advice…Go all in! Go get that bike!

Ride strong and ride Safe.