To motorcycle or not to motorcycle

I am thinking seriously about picking up an older, used motorcycle in the interest of saving myself some money on these higher fuel prices. I am wondering if it is worth having a motorcycle for commuting in Duluth with our limited days of warmth. I am not averse to riding in cold weather if it is above freezing but would like to avoid snow, ice or any heavy rain. With that being said, are there any current riders out there have any knowledge on how many days a year you can actually ride your motorcycle in Duluth and if you feel like it is worth owning one in this climate?

19 Comments

Swan

about 9 years ago

Buy it. 

I ride when ever possible even when it is cold. In southern Minnesota I ride 7 months out of the year and I suspect you could ride 6 months in Duluth. One half year at 50 MPG + saves money and is a lot of fun.

Karasu

about 9 years ago

Buy it.

If you don't spend a fortune on the bike itself, just the pure enjoyment of when we CAN ride is enough to pay for it no matter how many days we get.

Merino

about 9 years ago

It's going to be awesome for the 5 days a year Duluth isn't snowy or rainy, huh Dan?

Dave Sorensen

about 9 years ago

I rode March 5 through November 19 last year. I started on March 11 this year. I attribute that to having an Aerostich suit (made in Duluth). I get 80 mpg on my  250 dual-sport. I try to wait until it's above freezing for fear of ice.

tom

about 9 years ago

It's easy to end up on a joy ride on the way home from work - cuts into gas savings, but so what?  I usually am not organized enough to get my bike tuned up until May - then good through Sept.

jen

about 9 years ago

My current bike gets 75mpg. It's duct-taped together. It always starts, even after the long winter. It's ugly, and I love it.

I am an ex-Floridian who only rode a motorcycle (no car) before I moved up north. I had a bigger bike down there (500cc) and have a enduro up here now (250cc), but it does make me sad that I cannot use it more often. 

Some day, I hope to save up enough for an Aerostich suit. In the meantime, most of the year, even summer, I end up wearing my ski parka, gloves, ski pants or jeans w/long underwear, etc to stay warm and dry on the morning commute. In the pm, the deer and roadkill keep me on my toes. And the wind-- riding by the lake during my commute between Two Harbors and Duluth can just be brutal.

I agree-- you can't go wrong with a cheap, reliable bike in any climate. Add on a good riding suit, full helmet and windshield and you'll have a good start to handle the weather. You'll either find the riding passion or not. For me, the feeling of freedom found on a bike nothing else. But, there's no denying that this is a tough place to own a bike, and it will gather dust for half the year.

Dave Sorensen

about 9 years ago

And wind-proof layers really help.

Steve W

about 9 years ago

Yep -

March - Nov last year here as well -

There is no better way to see the fall colors - 

Rout #1 from Tettaguach - Ely is one of the best roads in the Northland.

Remember - cages can't do wheelies in 3rd gear.

Baci

about 9 years ago

Buy 1 and ride it!

Cautionary tip: Loose gravel at intersections in the spring can be extremely dangerous. Also, drivers in other vehicles are less prone to see you as they've forgotten their manners over the long winter.

c-freak

about 9 years ago

I ride as much as I can. I started in March last year and rode till October. I have a fully dressed Harley, but still wear leathers when it's cold. I always take the long way home from work. It's a big bike so I have to watch out for sand, especially on city street corners.

B-man

about 9 years ago

I usually ride from sometime in April until Thanksgiving, or until the first salt/ sand mix of the years is layered on our roads.  Buy a motorcycle that is cheap but safe.  Spending $22,000 on a Harley is not going to save you money no matter how much difference there is between the mileage of that and your cage.  That way if you get done with the summer and think "that sucked"  you can re-sell it for what you paid for it and walk away ... but I bet 'cha don't.

Underdog71

about 9 years ago

I rode from March to November last year and got an early season start in February for a couple of days this year, rode a few days in March and now have officially parked the cage and declared it riding season. I figured out that riding last year saved me $400 over using the car (after deducting 'extra' costs like insurance and bike maintenance, and a few extended routes home...), and riding is WAY more personally satisfying than driving. Arrive to work energized and ready to start the day and allows me to 'shift gears' and unwind on the way home. I'm an ATGATT (all the gear-all the time) type rider and wear a Hi-Viz  Aerostich Roadcrafter, I couldn't be happier with the performance, protection and added visibility it gives me on every ride. BTW, Aerostich is having a 'Garage Sale' on May 21st - BIG savings on GREAT riding gear...for anyone interested in checking it out...Good riding, hope to see you on the road.

TopOfTheHillMan

about 9 years ago

Do It!  Can't recmmend it enough.  I bought a scooter last year in the 2nd week in May and used it until it was ran over (!)at the Farmers Market the 2nd week of September.  Only spent $60.00 in gas during that period.   So if your objective is to save on gas, there's some hard numbers for you.

Will

about 9 years ago

I'm with several here: do it! You won't regret it. It's a lot of fun and you'll save a few bucks.

In addition to the right clothing, I highly recommend spending a few dollars on heated grips. Keeping your hands warm makes a lot of difference.

ruby2sd4y

about 9 years ago

Old Skool

I have an '81 Kwaka 650 CSR low miles w/manual I'd like to unload - needs a tune-up? (backfires some) to run as it's sat a few years (3) and the battery charged (stored indoors - but was charged last year), so you can either sort that out in the(my) garage - bring your own tools/charger, or a trailer to haul it. $500 firm.

rollergirl

about 9 years ago

Okay dude, buy your damn bike. Just be careful. Not too interested in doing this parenting thing alone.

Rob

about 9 years ago

Take a safety course, wear the proper gear, and you'll love it.  There are tons of forums on line that have (more) good (than bad) advice.  One of my favorites: svrider.com.

ruby2sd4y

about 9 years ago

The safety course offered each year at LSC is awesome, a good value, and you can test for and complete your license and obtain an insurance discount, on the last day (courses run Fri, Sat, and Sun for one weekend), avoiding going to the DMV and their wonky test. Plus, this is optimal if you don't already own a motorcycle, as you test on the bike you use all weekend for the course. Bonus!

Also, the Kwaka mentioned above is now available for sale. (title in hand, dug out of the back of the garage). Message me at this ID @gmail.com, or feel free to pass on to some gas-saving-bike-riding enthusiast.

Cheers!

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