Did you know that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month?
Neither did I until a couple of weeks ago. Essentially, auto drivers need to be aware there are motorcyclists on the road. They’re more difficult to see, and far more vulnerable to injury in case of an accident.
Motorcyclists, for their part, are reminded to follow the rules of the road, including keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.
I have a few motorcycle enthusiasts in my life, and they were kind enough to let me pick their brains on the subject. How do you save money? Which products are worth the spend?
A funny pattern emerged. The one place everyone agreed you should splurge is safety gear. Everything else is negotiable.
How Motorcycle Enthusiasts Can Save Money
Areas of saving included non-tangibles. With such a “cool” hobby, it’s easy to get caught up in the ego of it all—but that’s not necessarily the best financial move. I was also told it’s also very uncool to spend more money than you have to on financial products. I concurred.
You don’t need brand name.
I repeatedly heard that that brand name doesn’t always equate to high quality. Sometimes the sticker price reflects popularity—which is fine if the product lives up to your expectations. But sometimes you’re just paying for a name.
If you’re buying brand name, make sure the current product lives up to its established reputation. Research product quality rather than name recognition.
Scooters are cool. Just ask Macklemore.
I was advised that for budget shoppers, scooters are great. They can easily be had for under $1,000, get phenomenal mileage (think 100 MPG phenomenal,) and maintenance is cheap because you’re driving a comparatively small vehicle.
Shop around for the best rate on financing.
You should be as enthusiastic about your interest rate as you are about your hog. Lower interest rates can save you a ton of money over the course of your loan.
I typically like to look at credit unions when I’m looking at financing. Overall they offer lower rates, and because they’re so community oriented, you get treated like a person rather than a number.
Many credit unions are regional, but my favorite national recommendation is PenFed Credit Union. Applying online for membership is easy, and their rates on motorcycle financing just happen to be fantastic.
Shop around for the best rate on insurance.
Just like car insurance, be sure to shop around for multiple quotes so you know you’re getting the best rate. You should also make sure to ask about any discounts the company may offer—some of them are so far out there that they’ll surprise you!
Where to Splurge: Motorcycle Safety
Because you are so vulnerable on a bike, you never, ever want to skimp on safety products. Be sure to buy quality and look for industry-approved products.
Here’s what to look for in a helmet.
Your brain is so important that the Federal government has set regulations to protect it. When you buy a Department of Transportation (D.O.T.)-approved helmet, you know you’re getting something that meets at least the minimum safety standard. Don’t hit the road with an inferior product. Your life depends on it.
Protect your phalanges.
When you’re on a motorcycle, you want to remember to protect your feet with good boots, but you also want to remember to protect your hands with quality gloves. Some of them even have metal plating over the knuckles and wrist in case of a crash. Because life would be a heck of a lot harder without full use of your fingers.
When you’re shopping for a jacket, get the real thing: a thick, leather jacket. This is the clothing item that’s going to be protecting your torso, and along with it, your internal organs.
You need to see the sign(s).
One area that may be easy to forget is eye protection, but a good pair of safety glasses or goggles is critical. Not only do they protect your eyes, but if you have an inferior pair that slip or in any other way limit visibility while you’re out on the road, you’re more likely to get into an accident.
Spend on Safety, Save on Financial Products and Ego
It will always be worth it to spend money on quality safety gear when you’re a motorcycle enthusiast. It can be a lifesaving purchase—literally.
You don’t have to spend more on financing or insurance, though. And if you shop smart and are willing to step away from brand names, you can save a ton of money while still enjoying the sport.
*This post is in collaboration with PenFed Credit Union.*