Your Son Wants a Motorcycle: Now What?
You’ve noticed your son saving money all summer long, and he’s about to drop that dreaded question in your lap: “Mom, can I buy a motorcycle?” You know he’s anticipating a fuming response, but you are one cool customer. You have prepared a well-researched list of counter arguments that just might persuade him that the dream is beyond reach and that petty part-time pay may make it pretty difficult to sustain the cost of a bike as he gears up for college.
The nice thing about a car is you just jump in and go. Your son, like most teens headed for school, spends his days in shorts and sneakers. Motorcycle attire is all about protection, not style or comfort. Ask him if he has saved for the gear that comes along with the bike.
- Jacket – $100
- Motorcycle gloves – $25
- Riding boots – $80
Then there is the helmet. Some states require riders to wear a helmet or face hefty fines. In other locations, you cut the amount you pay for insurance by wearing one. Either way, it’s hard to build a case against wearing a helmet. He can plan to fork out a couple hundred dollars for a sturdy helmet and more if he wants all the fun features like a radio or Bluetooth connection. How does riding around without his tunes sound?
There is more to bike ownership than dropping it off for an oil change every three to six months. Under-inflated tires on a car burn more fuel, but on a motorcycle, you lose critical traction. Road rash and repairs aren’t really in style these days. That part-time job may not cover the cost of the synthetic oil replacements, tools and motorcycle parts at BikeBandit.com that keep his bike in peak condition. Motorcycles are not only a money suck but a time commitment. You don’t worry about little things like oiling the chain every day and tightening steering nuts when you drive a car. He’ll need to check the bike routinely to stay safe. Is he ready to get up extra early each morning to run through an extensive bike checklist before heading to class?
The Social Implications
The dating life takes a major hit when your only transportation is a motorcycle. Unless he is planning to have his date drive all the time, a bike can only get in the way of an active social life. Toss in that little reminder that no father wants his daughter riding on the back of some dude’s Harley, and remind him of the stigma he’ll face any time he has to meet the family. How about getting around on campus? In today’s technologically dependent world, there are some expensive gadgets to worry about going from place to place. Smartphones, laptops, e-readers—he puts all the toys at risk when he rides. There is no back seat to slide the laptop under or glove box to hold that expensive phone. He can plan to go to the store more often which will up the cost of groceries and gas as a result. There is no buying in bulk when you ride a motorcycle. You cart home only what fits in the storage area or in a backpack.
The Safety Issue
It’s worth mentioning safety as a concern, but put it into perspective he can grasp. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that thousands of people die each year in motorcycle accidents. He can improve his odds by taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, but that will inevitably cost even more money.
How many other ways could he enjoy that saved money? Upgrade his computer system or buy a new mountain bike to save gas money while on campus? How about a vacation with his buddies during spring break? Once you add up all the extra monetary and temporal costs, then mix in the safety factor, is it really worth the thrill?
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