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Motorcycles are Greener Than Hybrids: Add a Lot More Fun to Your Life

If you’re looking for a vehicle that gets high gas mileage but with lower maintenance costs to get you around town, maybe you’re looking in the wrong place. Why not consider a motorcycle? They use fewer resources to manufacture and are less expensive to operate than a hybrid car. They’ll take up a lot less space in your garage and add a lot more fun to your life.

Flickr photo by Elvert Barnes

It Takes Less of Everything to Make a Motorcycle

Put a motorcycle next to a hybrid car and everyone will agree that it takes less to make a motorcycle. But consider all of the resources that are impacted to see how big the difference really is. Modern cars use a lot of composite materials. These plastics take several processes to manufacture and use many chemicals. It’s the same with the rubber in the tires. Not only do motorcycles have only two tires, they are much smaller than car tires.

There is a lot of steel in a car and most steel-making processes are big polluters of the environment. And that new car smell that people love? That’s mostly from the chemicals used to make and glue the upholstery, carpets and headliner. Not only does a motorcycle require fewer materials to make, but they require fewer chemicals and pollutants needed to make a car.

Weight and Rolling Resistance Equals Efficiency

According to Motorcycle Cruiser, one big factor in efficiency is the way the motorcycle tires interact with the road. Look at a car’s tires and you’ll notice that the contact patch is four large rectangles. These rectangles of rubber are what create friction between the car and the road and holds the car onto the road. This friction, or rolling resistance, is what the engine must overcome to get and keep the car moving. A heavy car or truck with large tires will have a lot of tire material in contact with the road which creates a higher rolling resistance.

Motorcycle tires are made to have less rolling resistance. There is less rubber in contact with the road and motorcycles are much lighter, therefore rolling resistance is less with a motorcycle. It takes much less energy to get a motorcycle moving and keep them moving. This means better fuel efficiency and less wear on the tires.

Lower Maintenance Costs

A review of TotalMotorcycle.com, an online motorcycle maintenance website, shows that there are many things you can do yourself on a motorcycle that you wouldn’t touch on a car. Some modern cars even make it difficult to find and get to the parts to check them.

Tires, brakes, oil and oil filter, fuel and fuel filters, battery, lights, belts and chains are all items that you can check and/or replace yourself. There is an active aftermarket for motorcycle parts so you have a price range to pick from for most supplies. And you can do the work in your own garage without taking the bike to a shop. Even the motorcycle tires are something you could replace yourself. As with a car, the cost depends on the quality and “eye appeal” of the tires. Top of the line cruising tires on fancy alloy wheels can cost you a bundle, just like with your car.

Lower Operational Costs

One of the biggest reasons to buy your motorcycle is the fuel cost savings. The website CleanMPG.com shows some of the top rated motorcycles based on their miles per gallon. You can see a range of bikes from 60 mpg to 105 mpg listed. There are many factors that contribute to the fuel mileage on a motorcycle such as the weight, rolling resistance, size of engine and how you operate the throttle. These are many of the same factors that affect a car’s fuel efficiency.

Make Your Next Ride Practical and Fun

Besides all of the practical and environmental benefits, you’ll have a great time riding your bike. So when it’s time for you to look for your next vehicle, make sure you’re looking in the right place.

Keith Mueller, the author, is a freelance writer and blackjack dealer who lives in Las Vegas.

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