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Discussion Starter #1
I have to commute to various work sites around Houston for my part time job a few days a week. The good news is that I get paid $0.55 a mile from my house plus a flat rate per job. I would like to think that by taking my motorcycle I am giving myself a little raise over the few bucks I make at the work site. I don't have to take anything heavy, just a small bag. Plus the ride helps me change mental gears from my normal job to a totally different position. I'm doing the job because I enjoy it, not for the money or fame.

I know I lose money if I drive my GMC Yukon. My math on it stops at fuel (32 cents a mile) and vehicle depreciation (about 45 cents a mile). The good news is that the job cancels in bad weather, so I can normally ride the LT.

My math on actual costs of ownership to commute daily on the LT given the following parameters: A 3 year old used LT, purchased for $15,000 with 20,000 miles on it. I expect to put about 15,000 miles a year on it, and sell it for $4,000 at 100,000 miles (5 years later).

Results are in cents per mile:

Ownership costs:
Vehicle depreciation: 13.75 cents per mile
Insurance (estimated at $200 a year): 1.25 c/p/m
State registration and inspection ($100/year): 0.625 c/p/m​
Total Ownership Costs: 15.625 cents per mile​

Operating costs:
Fuel at 45 mpg and $3.85 a gallon: 8.5 c/p/m
Tires every 7,000 miles at $450 (two front, one rear): 6.4 c/p/m
Engine oil every 4,000 miles at $50 (filter and synthetic): 1.25 c/p/m
Interval maintenance every 12,000 miles at $300: 2.5 c/p/m
Anticipated major failures (clutch and final drive, $4,000): 5 c/p/m​
Total Operating Costs: 23.65 cents per mile​

That brings the total operating cost of our given example to about 39.27 cents per mile. I'm actually well above that right now, because my LT is much older, has already depreicated all it is realistically going to, I do most of my work myself, and I've already replaced the clutch and final drive. I would guess that I'm closer to 27 cents a mile, which ain't too shabby.

I'm surprised that vehicle depreciation in our proposed scenario is the most expensive thing. I'm also surprised that I spend almost as much for tires as I do for fuel, and that major repairs is a close third. Major repairs could easily be a strong first or second if the bike was a lemon. Anything I forgot? Opinions?
 

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If you're looking singularly at cost, buy a scooter or a teeny tiny little car. Doing "the math" on a bike makes no sense to me. I ride when I want, regardless of the costs. I don't mean to come off as wealthy, just that when I want to ride a bike, I do. No justification, no need, just want.
 

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If you're riding an LT, then it's for the comfort and pleasure of being on this wonderful bike.

My maintenance costs are higher than any other bike I've owned, except for a crappy HD, but the performance and reliability is superb when properly serviced.

Did you account for the cost of premium fuel in your bike? When I filled up last Sunday it was $4.059 per gallon! Just ride the bike to work and forget about nitpicking the cost per mile on your commute.

The BMW K1200LT is a beautiful machine. Ride it because you love it!
 

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It sounds like you have done your math and you will certainly be ahead over driving the Yukon, plus you will have more fun!

If you are allowed to ride the bike I would, you will never justify the cost of a motorcycle solely on the basis of mileage reimbursement, but I am guessing that you have the bike for other reasons and this is just a little side benefit of owning it.

I would think that you could stretch out the tires a little longer than you planned with light loads if you are AR about your pressure. 90% of my LT riding is now commuting :( and I am nearing 7K on my stones and the front is just starting to get to where I am considering a replacement, but I figure it's still a few thousand miles off based on what I am seeing. The rear still has enough tread left to not even think about it yet. 880's last even longer.

One thing to consider is the conditions you will ride into, I don't know if work sites refers to construction, but I always try to park off-site when I visit a construction site (if possible), track-outs are a little tricky on this big pig, plus there is a potential for clearance issues. I try to avoid them but sometimes I cannot and just white-knuckle it across and hope for the best.

I say go for it, and enjoy the job just that much more :bike:
 

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Back on New Year's Eve night 2010 I posted a thread called One Year of LT Miles & Cost. I rode about 37.000 miles and spent about $ 4,500 dollars. I don't ever consider depreciation because of how long I keep vehicle's. For example my wife bought her 1986 Pontiac new in 1986 & that is still the car that she is driving today at 225,000 miles.

My 2004 LT I got in June of 2008 for $ 10,500 I plan on having until I can't ride anymore. That could be 15 or more years from now. A vehicle is something I need for transportation & the cost of the vehicle itself is not something I consider on my yearly money spent for transportation.
 

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saddleman said:
Back on New Year's Eve night 2010 I posted a thread called One Year of LT Miles & Cost. I rode about 37.000 miles and spent about $ 4,500 dollars. I don't ever consider depreciation because of how long I keep vehicle's. For example my wife bought her 1986 Pontiac new in 1986 & that is still the car that she is driving today at 225,000 miles.

My 2004 LT I got in June of 2008 for $ 10,500 I plan on having until I can't ride anymore. That could be 15 or more years from now. A vehicle is something I need for transportation & the cost of the vehicle itself is not something I consider on my yearly money spent for transportation.
I'm with you Dave. Run 'em till they don't then fix them and run them some more. I have a Saturn wagon with 377,000 on the original trans and shocks. I replaced the engine at 200,000. I have another Saturn with 260,000. I ran a diesel suburban 460,000. Fix 'em and run 'em.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I agree with several posters, I didn't buy the bike to save money or scrimp on the mileage. It is just an added bonus. We all love to do "highway math" when we ride long distances, this was just something I have been kicking around on my way to and from the games. It helps clear my mind of all the nasty things people say about referees.

You are right, I could get more out of the tires, but I ride it like a sport bike and change them probably a little early.
 

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Ride what you want and enjoy it, because your calculations didn't include gear. :)
 

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You sound more like an accountant (like me), not a referee! Anyway, total cost of ownership compared with mileage reimbursement to me is irrelevant, if you enjoy how you get there... :)
 

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Total ownership costs: 15.6ct/mile
Total operating costs: 23.7ct/mile
Driving an LT: priceless
:wave
 

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If the cost of insurance isn't related to mileage of commuting to work, then it's fixed, not variable. The same holds true for registration,

It might be that if you need to replace the clutch because of a failure, you'd encounter that it if you don't use it to go to work. So, that cost won't vary if used for work.

Look closely at depreciation. If the additional mileage does not put your LT into the next mileage deduction, then it is fixed, not variable cost.

You have the same issue with maintenance, if the extra mileage does not result in hitting one more scheduled mileage maintenance, then that cost was, is fixed.

The same holds true for oil changes. I do mine on an annual basis. Extra mileage so far hasn't effected that.

My around town mileage is usually 40mpg and interstate mileage 50mpg.

Consider 8K for the rear tire and 10K for the front. Here again, if the extra mileage does not trigger an extra set of tires by the time you retire your LT, then that cost was “fixed”. Another way to look at it is will the extra mileage exceed 8K consuming the rear tire and then 10K consuming the front, should you assign tire cost to work mileage?

Assigning costs isn't as based upon strict formulas as is widely believe. And, assigning costs does not follow the same guide lines and rules for internal use as the mandated rules for taxing purposes.

You are trying to figure out something for internal use, bot for tax purpose, an external use

For tax purposes you generally want to assign as many costs as possible to shield what you have to declare as income, so that you retain more of your “cash”.

After wiz-through cost accounting course in college, I became more appreciative of how it is an art, why internal accounting was very different from tax accounting, why revenue becomes income, why a cost becomes an expense, why internal balance sheets don't look like tax balance sheets, and the importance of “Cash Flow”.

For me the opportunity to ride instead of driving a car is the opportunity to enjoy my life vs just passing through life.

Sine my step-father died at 71, in good health, my father in his 40s, one of my grandfathers fairly soon after early retirement, and I will be 65 this year, I look at if I'm wasting my time between now and death, am I just passing through remaining time, am I enjoying time?

Fortunately, I seem to enjoy writing every once in a while.

Best from Tucson
Bob
 

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What is all of this noise about the cost of riding a bike to work? I ride mine almost every day, and occasionally get the Toyota out of the garage to make sure the engine still runs.

I average about 36 mpg in town, buying premium gas at $3.75 to $4.00 per gallon. I spend about $800 on maintenance every 3 or 4 months.

I love riding my BMW. If you are concerned about cost of ownership, then sell the bike and get one of those silly carnival ride cars that suck up electrical power or get 60 mpg, have two seats, no place to put the grocery bags, maybe have a top speed of 50 mph, leave your kids with the neighbors, and miss the freedom of the road!

BMW bike owners know it's not a cheap proposition when they buy their machines in the first place.

Here's a thought... Buy a used inexpensive bike for weekday commuting and then enjoy riding the Beemer on the weekends. What a concept!
 

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I read the original post.
No comment. Got lost with the math. I'm 40 something years out of school just need to enjoy my LT.
ride safe :bmw:
 

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I know 3 things about my LT - how much it cost me to buy, how much it's worth to me, and how much I value it and the experiece of owning it. I only focus on the vaue I get from it, measued in sheer pleasure mostly. I hope the OP isn't an accountant 'cause here in Oz we have a saying, 'accountants know the cost of everything and the value of nothing'. But then, maybe that's just us ;) Ride it, enjoy it, don't worry about it.
 

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Without doing the math, intuitively you might do better finding a cheap car with cost per mile. I found a 1995 dodge neon with 60,000 miles on it for $1,500. Tires will go about 60,000 miles and cost about 200 for the set of 4 tiny doughnuts. Maintenance drops to oil changes/fluid changes and unexpected problems. I like that I can get well over 50 mpg on the BMW, but it burns through tires about 7-10K miles so I imagine running a cheap car might be cheaper.

However, if you put a value on the fun factor of being able to ride to work every day, it'd be hard to not start and end your day with a smile.
 

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Me thinks he was looking for help, to see if there was anything he missed, or to consider changing.

Just like planning a trip and then asking the same things.

Best from Tucson
Bob
 

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The is that saying "If you have to ask how much, You can't afford it!"
I think it really applies to a BMW, If you are going to look at the cost of running one, you are going to buy a Honda or Yamaha. The maint. costs are higher, they eat up tires and you have to take care of them to get most out of them, and if you truly love them, you are going to spend way more in gas on weekends then you will running back and fourth to work.
Of course, 90% of the them are just taken care of out of Love and there is not thought of cost when truly in love.
 

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gerhard said:
I think people that think they are saving money by riding a motorcycle are lying to themselves, or maybe their wives.

Gerhard
That's the truth!

No one rides a motorcycle because they have to. You are safer in a car.

We ride because we enjoy the freedom and the great feeling of moving through the air with just some metal below us. Money might determine the bike, but it's rarely a ride to save money.

I really don't want to know what it cost.
 

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Wilderness, nice analysis.

As a commuter, the LT isn't the best choice of bike due to fuel economy and maintenance costs. This is why I use a Harley Sportster as a commuter. Operating costs are much less, especially tires. I never owned a bike that consumes tires like the LT.
 
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