40+ Ways to Economise - A Biker's View
Some of these may be obvious, but they're
worth a read if you're interested in saving
a few quid;
- Shop for insurance - Do not accept your
renewal quote or the first quote you get,
it is often possible to reduce an existing
quote, if you suggest you have a cheaper
quote elsewhere. Insurance Companies have
sales targets to meet and are often flexible
- Bargain Hunt - shop around for clothing,
copare prices on the internet, it is often
cheaper to buy at an annual event, such
as the Nec in November or the BMF rally
in May, where many trade stands are available
flogging their end of range gear.
- Sell your unwanted spares - Recently,
an FZR 400 coroded exhaust sold for £60+
on eBay (www.ebay.co.uk), don't assume it
- End of Range - It is often better to buy
in winter when dealers sales are down and
end of range equipment is up for grabs.
- Commute - When possible commute, average
consumption on a bike is usually considerably
more and you will usually save time in traffic.
- Internet Shopping - comparing prices has
never been so easy and message boards can
provide a wealth of information
- Buy/Sell Privately - You rarely get you
money's worth if you trade with a dealer,
providing you take someone knowledgable,
you can get a steal. There are no margins,
overheads or VAT with private deals.
- HPI - make sure you get a HPI check, without
it, if the bikes turns out to be stolen,
then you lose everything. Costs around £35.00.
- Dealer - If you have to buy from a dealer,
buy in November/December, when they will
be ready to make space for next year's new
range and end of year sales targets are
- Inspection - make sure your next purachse
is inspected by a professional, any glitches
or faults increase your barganing power.
- Standard bikes - standard bikes sell better
and less likely to be thrashed, bear this
in mind when buying and selling. If you
did modify your bike, you can then sell
the trick bits separately.
- Breakers - where possible, buy used spares
from a breakers yard at a fraction of the
original cost. Ideal for fairing and cosmetics
but not for mechanical parts.
- Crash bungs - no matter what speed you
fall off at, the fairing will always be
damaged without these.
- Self service - do the simple servicing
yourself and keep records and receipts,
if you do use a mechanic, remove the fairing
yourself, saving valuable labour charges/
- Key damage - Remove all keys and just
use the ignition key when riding, saving
approx. £50.00 for a recon. headstock.
- Racer friends - racer's obviously use
racing parts and standard equipment is useless
to them, sprockets, fairing, chain, tyres
are possible disregarded items.
- Ride regularly - in winter your bike's
battery will go flat, fork seals perish
and leak, leaving a hefty bill in Spring
before you can even ride on the road again.
- Cheap and chearful - army surplus shops
are good for hard wearing gear that top
bike clothing manufacturer's will charge
the earth for. Thermal socks, lined waterproofs
and underwear are such examples, among others.
- Training - slow and high speed crashes
hurt the wallet. Improve your riding skilld
by taking an advanced training course, you
may even get a reduction in your bike insurance
- Smooth riding - hard acceleration and
late braking will increase fuel consumption
and lessen the life of brakes, chain, tyres
- Regular cleaning - remove unwanted dirt
and salt regularly, they cause rust and
corrode the bike's value.
- Expensive oil - Using expensive oil can
sometimes be unnecessary unless you regularly
thrash the bike within an inch of its life
or own a tuned two-stroke. Ensure it is
a well known brand, the right viscosity
and type for the bike.
- Breakdown cover - essential, no matter
what you ride considering typical recovery
fees are £150+ a time, if in Europe
then the costs rocket if your bike is not
repairable and needs transporting home.Petrol
costs - maybe only a few pence per litre
but use local cheaper garages, motorway
services can be 2-3p more, it all adds up
at the end of the year.
- Travel - the best bike may be 100 miles
away so be prepared to travel, the wider
the search the more potential for a bargain.
- Latest models - unless you have more money
than sense, get a bike that is 2-3 years
old, after the majority of the depreciation
has already been lost.
- Speeding fines - if you value your licence
and wallet take care in built up areas,
even a few miles over the speed limit can
mean a £60 fine and three points,
any more and your insurance will be seriously
affected (around 25% for convicted riders).
- Security - approved locks and alarms may
result in lower premiums and less chance
of getting your bike nicked which has serious
implications to your wallet, firstly the
insurance excess, let alone the hassle.
- Haggle - don't be afraid to haggle when
buying from a dealer or prvately. Have a
price in mind and start low and work from
- Damaged repairable - if you are careful
and use professional services (when necessary,
eg, frame alignment, fork straigtening)
you can save a packet but do your homework
first and make sure you will make a genuine
saving and it doesn't turn out to be your
worst nightmare. If the bike has been recorded
as a write off, then it will be difficult
to shift when selling it on.
- Ex-race school bike - much better than
an ex-race bike as it will be kept in standard
spec and usually they will have negotiated
a low price from the manufacture and are
able to sell on at a lower price.
- Cold starting - driving away while the
engine is still cold causes premature wear
to mechanical parts, which can be expensive
when it's time for repair. Don't put the
engine under undue pressure until the engine
- Sticky rubber - unless you have your knee
down at every corner, expensive rubber can
be a waste, as the temperature in the tyre
will not be enough to get the real benefit
from them (especially if you ride in the
UK). Ask your local garage for advice on
tyres, a resonable, long lasting tyre doesn't
have to be expensive.
- Second bike - commuting on a sports bike
can be expensive and a cheap commuter may
sound expensive but it doesn't have to be,
cheap and chearful is all you need to see
you through the worst months of the year.
Some insurance policies will add low risk
bikes to your policy at no cost, shop around.
- Depreciation free - it is possible to
buy a bike that is virtually depreciation
free, such as theSuzuki GXS-R750, Honda
Fireblade or BMW R1150GS, do your homework.
- Used market - sometimes you will find
a lower priced bike for a quick sale, eg.
owner emigrating, banned through speeding
etc, however, you have to be patient and
regularly scour the classifieds to get the
- Test ride - you are more likely to get
a proper test rider at a dealers, run it
for a good 10-15 miles when the engine is
warm and take through built up areas and
a main road to test every aspect of the
- Finance - if you've got the bottle to
buy brand new, check around for finance
deals, a local dealership recently had a
0% finance weekend and Ducati were recently
offering new bikes at 0% finance. Be wary,
a dealer will receive bigger rewards if
they sell a bike 'on finance' so there should
be room for negotiation. A local bank or
building society may offer a better rate.
- Ex-demo - these bikes are likely to have
just been 'run in'. Dealers are offered
these bikes on the cheap as a demonstration
bike for potential customers and pass the
savings on when selling.
- Look after your chain - apparently, it
is possible to get 50,000+ from your chain,
just by regular maintenance and smooth riding.
The Scottoiler, for example, will ensure
your chain is permanently lubricated, ensure
the tension is regularly check and adjusted
- Rear hugger - protecting your rear shock
is a worthy investment, by fitting a rear
hugger, shocks can cost over £500.
- Winter preparation - preparing your bike
with Scottoiler FS365 breaks down salt and
WD40 is useful for protecting engine and
exhaust parts, leaving a protective coating.