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To be unsure whether to stick with a bike or get a car?

(17 Posts)
Shinyredbike Fri 25-Mar-16 21:24:04

I'm a student and currently ride a motorbike but only a small one. My currency cbt is due to expire soon so I'm faced with a choice -
- Do a full DAS bike license and get a bigger bike
- Do driving lessons and get a car.

I do want to get a bigger bike and a car at some point in the future but right now I can't afford it and can only afford one or the other. Obviously driving a car will take much longer, will be more expensive and a car will be much more expensive to run. It will be more convenient though, and the ability to take passengers etc.
Riding a bigger bike would enable me to do longer distances than go faster as I am quite limited with the bike I have now, not that I'm determined to speed but as it is I can't overtake and can barely hit the speed limit and I regularly travel on major A roads. It would a lot cheaper to run a bike but then I have to deal with adverse weather conditions.

Aibu to be unsure which would be better?

Seeyounearertime Fri 25-Mar-16 21:27:49


I love bikes, being a biker is something in your blood, but cars are easier to drive, easier to nip places, easier to carry people and stuff, easier in bad weather.

The time I miss bikes is days like today when I could jump on my VN2000, throttle rolled half way, cruising over the Humber and northwards. Bliss.

Lweji Fri 25-Mar-16 21:28:20

Considering safety and weather, and flexibility for rides, luggage and shopping, I'd always go for a car.
I'd only have a bike as a second option and if traffic justified using one instead of a car.

RockUnit Fri 25-Mar-16 21:54:11


Pedallleur Fri 25-Mar-16 21:54:56

If you are happy with a bike why not one of those 3 wheel ones Peugeot Metropolis or the Piaggio MP3? Can be driven on an ordinary licence or cbt. Motorcyling friend of mine really rates them for town use

Shinyredbike Fri 25-Mar-16 21:59:56

I ride on a lot of single track country lanes pedal, are they any good for that? Not sure if I could afford one, I've heard they are quite pricy sad

MagratGarlikAgain Sat 26-Mar-16 00:26:00

The 3 wheeled jobbies cannot be ridden on a CBT (which just validates a provisional bike licence), but can be ridden on a full car licence (without a CBT).

I have a car, but due to my work and the number of miles I cover each week, getting through the traffic easily is essential to me, so I use the bike. I ride in almost all weathers, including through winter, and much prefer it to the car, even at 10pm in 2oC temps. If you are planning to ride long term, I'd certainly recommend you do a DAS course, rather than riding on only a CBT, even if only for your own safety. I have a 650cc and a 750cc bike, but don't ride like a hooligan. A bigger bike is not only faster, it's safer too. Cars tend to give a bigger distance, you can accelerate away from tailgaters more easily and you are more likely to be seen, or at least heard.

If you do stick with a bike, get heated gear. It's a godsend in winter!

Shinyredbike Sat 26-Mar-16 19:31:03

All of those things you've outlined Magrat are my reasonings for getting a bigger bike!
Safer - more visable on the road, drivers give you more space
Faster - get to destination quicker, can overtake and can perform evasive manuvoures faster
Bigger fuel tank - can do longer journeys more conveniently
Cheaper - to run than a car

I also ride in winter and the cold/rain doesn't especially bother me, I just wear lots of layers and decent gear.
That last point is a particular issue for me since I will be a student for at least the next couple of years and doubt I could afford to run a car especially given the number of miles I going getting to uni & work :/ Doing a DAS course is also a lot faster than learning to drive, my cbt is due to run out soon and I could easily take a DAS course by then but would be nowhere near having my driving license by then even if I started driving lessons now!

Yambabe Sat 26-Mar-16 19:45:38

The thing that's going to cripple you at your age is the insurance.

Getting through the tests is likely to cost about the same although it may take a little longer to get a full car licence.

Buying a cheap little runaround car vs a commuter sized bike (CB600, ER600n etc) is ley to be fairly similar too.

Bike will use less fuel but be heavier on parts such as tyres, brakes, chain etc.

The biggie is going to be insurance. It depends where you live but if you are as young as you sound I would be surprised if you can get insurance on any car as a new driver for under £2k. Bike insurance is much much cheaper.

Get some insurance quotes for various vehicles and do a bit of comparison.

My gut feeling (car driver and bike rider here, passed car test first as was a late starter at both) would be to go for the bike test and stick with a bike until you have finished uni. Once you are working, go for the car. You may find at that stage that some insurance companies will transfer your bike no-claims or at least consider your years on the bike when quoting for car insurance, and it will give you a bit of a head start!

Shinyredbike Sat 26-Mar-16 19:59:30

I have done a few comparisons of insurance and its something like £95pm for car vs £36 a month for bike. Plus tax, fuel, parts etc of course but bike would be cheaper on all of those except parts. Bf is a mechanic so fortunately can get parts cheap and labour is free for me grin

I think my gut feeling is the same as yours, at the moment its only myself I have to worry about getting around so it seems like the better option. Thanks for the advice! Just out of curiousity, what bikes do people on here have, if any? Which would be a good bike to go for as a beginner rider of larger bikes? I find a lot of the 'proper' bikes so huge and heavy, my current bike is very light and easy to ride and I do worry I won't be able to handle or touch the floor on a larger bike :/

MagratGarlikAgain Sat 26-Mar-16 20:18:25

I have a Kawasaki er6f as my commuter. Before that I had a Honda CB500, which is a great economical option. My other is a Moto Guzzi V7 (which is beautiful, retro and very shiny).

If you are under 24, you'll need to do an A2 licence which restricts you to 47 bhp. After 2 years you'd need to redo the tests for a full, unrestricted licence.

Yambabe Sat 26-Mar-16 21:03:46

My main bike is a Kawasaki ZR550 Zephyr, which I have had lowered (seat cut down and shorter rear shocks on it) because I am a shortarse - only 5'1" and an inside leg of about 25". I've had it for nearly 9 years now so it must be doing something right!

When I did my bike test it was under the old rules so I did it on a 125 (nobody local to me had a DAS bike I could reach the floor on - sigh) and had a licence restricted to 33bhp for 2 years. I think this helped me as I went from my 125 to a 250 for 2 years and then up to the 550. No reason why you have to go out and get a "big" bike straight away, with the changes in licence categories there are quite a few 250s and 400s around now that might be a useful stepping stone for you and help you to gain confidence.

MagratGarlikAgain Sat 26-Mar-16 21:18:45

Haha, Yambabe, me too. Only 5'2" here. The ER6 is lowered quite considerably (shorter shocks, sculpted seat), I also wear special high boots when riding [®%20Boot&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping_GB&gclid=Cj0KEQjw5ti3BRD89aDFnb3SxPcBEiQAssnp0lsI9Jd2TAjaKMmvvSv_O8N-LgPL1t1mJT2KKMHK52IaAl9J8P8HAQ these]], which add another 1 inch to my height, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to learn with them though.

MagratGarlikAgain Sat 26-Mar-16 21:19:25

Gah, links! Sorry.

Kenworthington Sat 26-Mar-16 21:21:41

Just redo your cbt? When I did mine there was a guy taking his third cbt as he was happy with his 125 and didn't need a more powerful bike. It's very expensive to do your full test( dh spent about a grand doing his last a couple years ago)

Shinyredbike Sat 26-Mar-16 22:49:18

I could do Ken but I'd rather spend the money on something I don't have to retake again in 2 yrs, I do want a bigger bike anyway as its very annoying being barely able to keep up with traffic on A roads and not being able to overtake anything faster than a tractor even then I can only do that going down hill

I want to join in on ride outs and stuff in my local area but I don't feel able to on a 125 as I don't think I could keep up and they would proabably take the piss out of me sad

I'm over 24 so I can go straight for the full DAS but I wouldn't necessarily go for a massive bike anyway, I think a 400 would do me nicely!

I've heard cruisers are better for shorties like me, although I'm a rather statuesque 5ft4 grin

MagratGarlikAgain Mon 28-Mar-16 00:05:49

Would deffo recommend a CB500 as a first bike, post DAS. Not silly power, but plenty to start with.

I'd be very cautious about group ride-outs. I've been on some truly awful ones which were frankly dangerous. After you've done your DAS look at doing BikeSafe (organised by the local police and an excellent course for only around £40 for 1.5 days of training) and join your local IAM group. Unlike most car drivers, who believes post test training is for bedrocks nervous/incompetent road users, bikers have a completely different view. Your skills are what keep you alive, so they need to be as good as they can be. IAM post-test training is excellent and their group ride-outs are not full of idiots who never use their bikes wanting to get their "knee down".

First though, obviously find a good school for DAS :-)

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