Owning a motorcycle represents freedom to many people. Hitting the open road and feeling the wind on your face and the road beneath you is exhilarating. But owning a motorcycle isn’t always romantic. There are pros and cons of motorcycle ownership, and it’s good to know the basics before you invest.

Pros of owning a motorcycle

Social and fun

A pro of owning a motorcycle is that you will find dedicated enthusiasts for every type of motorcycle imaginable, and you can join clubs of like-minded people. Many riders participate in large group motorcycle rides and other social events. Imagine how you felt riding a bike as a kid. Now picture that with a powerful motor and the inherent coolness of a motorcycle.

Lower impact on the environment

Another pro of owning a motorcycle is that many motorcycles have fewer emissions and lower fuel costs than cars. You could reduce your gas costs by driving a motorcycle.

Easier to park

Another pro of owning a motorcycle is being able to park nearly anywhere. You never have to worry if your vehicle is too large to fit into a cramped parking space, and parallel parking is dramatically easier for a motorcycle. There are often dedicated motorcycle parking spots, too, so it’s an excellent option for a busy, crowded area.

Cons of owning a motorcycle

Dangerous to drive

Even if you have complete protective gear and take all the necessary precautions, motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. Riders are difficult to see, and there are no airbags to protect them from impact. Accidents can be much more severe for motorcycle riders than for those in a car.

Harder to obtain a motorcycle license

There are more obstacles to obtaining a motorcycle license than a driver’s license. A motorcycle license requires a different type of test, and you have to have a motorcycle to take the test with — and buying a motorcycle without a license can be challenging.

Prone to theft

Motorcycles are cool and that makes them targets of theft. According to Statista, in 2020 there were 53,000 reported motorcycle thefts in the U.S. Motorcycles are easy targets. One important motorcycle theft prevention tip is never leaving your motorcycle parked in plain sight when you aren’t home. Learn how motorcycle insurance covers theft.

Exposure to weather and limited storage

Another downside to bikes is that they’re not all-weather vehicles. You can ride your motorcycle in the rain, but you probably wouldn’t want to. Not only do motorcycles not have the same grip on the road as cars, but it’s uncomfortable being exposed to the elements.

Another con of owning a motorcycle is that motorcycles are not the best option for carrying groceries home or transporting another person from place to place. A motorcycle isn’t always a great fit if you have a family (or plan to one day).

What is the cost of motorcycle ownership?

Owning a motorcycle isn’t cheap, and there’s a lot to consider when buying a new or used motorcycle. In addition to purchasing protective motorcycle riding gear and choosing a motorcycle helmet, you also need to consider the cost of the bike, fuel, and routine maintenance. J.D. Power estimates that you might pay between $800-$1500 per year to maintain your motorcycle. This estimate encompasses services like oil changes, brake repair, chain maintenance, and new tires. The more you ride, the higher these costs will be.

Other costs of motorcycle ownership include motorcycle insurance, which is required in almost every state. Learn more about motorcycle insurance requirements by state and how motorcycle insurance works.