The High Cost Of Riding

The other day I overheard a guy talking to his wife about a new dirt bike he “needed” to buy. It seems his trusty old XR400 just wasn’t living up to his expectations and he wanted to buy a brand new model. His wife, a non-rider explained to him that she couldn’t understand why he needed another bike, let alone a new one. Her argument was that they have to save for retirement and they still have student loans they have to pay off.

Is it me? Or is the cost of riding going through the roof faster than you can strip a lock nut with a crescent wrench? When I started riding a new bike would set you back around $2,500.00 and you could ride it just about anywhere you wanted to. Granted the bike steered like an ocean liner and because you could never get the jetting right, you had to carry three spare plugs just to ride one lap around the parking lot. Suspension was bad in those days too most bikes would toss you off if you hit anything larger than a parking space stop block! But to be honest, the riding was different too. It was more about cornering than jumping. gap jumps didn’t exist and you didn’t really have to worry too much about getting badly hurt.

Listening to the conversation got me thinking. What would it cost for the average Joe and his family to go riding? The MSRP for an 07 YZ450F is $6999.99, bone stock. I’m thinking bone stock is not so bad, these bikes are almost better stock than a works bike was ten years ago. Then I thought, hey wait a minute… this is supposed to be a family sport. What about mom and the kids? Don’t they also need bikes?

Take this scenario. Joe is married with two kids, both are boys. One is 10 the other is 12 and it’s time for new bikes. The 10 year old wants a YZ85 and the 12 year old wants a CRF150. At $3,149 and $4199 respectively, Joe is looking at spending $7,349 before sales tax, licensing and set up fees. If we add the bike Joe wants we are looking at something like $14,437. Now add new gear for them since kids grow like weeds. Plus track fees, $15-20 each rider, looks like another $3,000 for the year. At the end of the day Joe could be paying a second mortgage with this kind of money.

Do we, as fat Americans, just have this kind of expendable income lying around? Research shows America to be the largest market for off-road motorcycles. Are the big four considering that it’s possible they could be pricing themselves out of business? What would happen if Joe decided to buy used instead of buying new bikes this year? In all of this rant I haven’t even touched on the maintenance for these bikes! The average top end service is 1 1/2 to 2 times the cost of a similar service for a two stroke. And what is with Honda no longer selling the 250CR this year? Did they ask us, their biggest market if we thought this was a good idea? Word on the street is it is because of the emissions.

Are you kidding me? Emissions! The small amount of emissions produced by all 2 -strokes world wide pales to compare to the emissions from Al Gores airplane rides across the country. Switching to 4 stroke technology makes sense when riding in low traction situations but this is about it. I think someone is feeding us a load of bunk and we’re buying it! With those hard earned dollars, we are rushing out in droves.

Ed