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40+ Ways to Economise - A Biker's View

Some of these may be obvious, but they're worth a read if you're interested in saving a few quid;

  1. Shop for insurance - Do not accept your renewal quote or the first quote you get, it is often possible to reduce an existing quote, if you suggest you have a cheaper quote elsewhere. Insurance Companies have sales targets to meet and are often flexible on price.
  2. Bargain Hunt - shop around for clothing, copare prices on the internet, it is often cheaper to buy at an annual event, such as the Nec in November or the BMF rally in May, where many trade stands are available flogging their end of range gear.
  3. Sell your unwanted spares - Recently, an FZR 400 coroded exhaust sold for £60+ on eBay (, don't assume it is worthless.
  4. End of Range - It is often better to buy in winter when dealers sales are down and end of range equipment is up for grabs.
  5. Commute - When possible commute, average consumption on a bike is usually considerably more and you will usually save time in traffic.
  6. Internet Shopping - comparing prices has never been so easy and message boards can provide a wealth of information
  7. Buy/Sell Privately - You rarely get you money's worth if you trade with a dealer, providing you take someone knowledgable, you can get a steal. There are no margins, overheads or VAT with private deals.
  8. HPI - make sure you get a HPI check, without it, if the bikes turns out to be stolen, then you lose everything. Costs around £35.00.
  9. Dealer - If you have to buy from a dealer, buy in November/December, when they will be ready to make space for next year's new range and end of year sales targets are looming.
  10. Inspection - make sure your next purachse is inspected by a professional, any glitches or faults increase your barganing power.
  11. Standard bikes - standard bikes sell better and less likely to be thrashed, bear this in mind when buying and selling. If you did modify your bike, you can then sell the trick bits separately.
  12. Breakers - where possible, buy used spares from a breakers yard at a fraction of the original cost. Ideal for fairing and cosmetics but not for mechanical parts.
  13. Crash bungs - no matter what speed you fall off at, the fairing will always be damaged without these.
  14. Self service - do the simple servicing yourself and keep records and receipts, if you do use a mechanic, remove the fairing yourself, saving valuable labour charges/
  15. Key damage - Remove all keys and just use the ignition key when riding, saving approx. £50.00 for a recon. headstock.
  16. Racer friends - racer's obviously use racing parts and standard equipment is useless to them, sprockets, fairing, chain, tyres are possible disregarded items.
  17. Ride regularly - in winter your bike's battery will go flat, fork seals perish and leak, leaving a hefty bill in Spring before you can even ride on the road again.
  18. Cheap and chearful - army surplus shops are good for hard wearing gear that top bike clothing manufacturer's will charge the earth for. Thermal socks, lined waterproofs and underwear are such examples, among others.
  19. Training - slow and high speed crashes hurt the wallet. Improve your riding skilld by taking an advanced training course, you may even get a reduction in your bike insurance as well.
  20. Smooth riding - hard acceleration and late braking will increase fuel consumption and lessen the life of brakes, chain, tyres and sprockets.
  21. Regular cleaning - remove unwanted dirt and salt regularly, they cause rust and corrode the bike's value.
  22. Expensive oil - Using expensive oil can sometimes be unnecessary unless you regularly thrash the bike within an inch of its life or own a tuned two-stroke. Ensure it is a well known brand, the right viscosity and type for the bike.
  23. Breakdown cover - essential, no matter what you ride considering typical recovery fees are £150+ a time, if in Europe then the costs rocket if your bike is not repairable and needs transporting home.Petrol costs - maybe only a few pence per litre but use local cheaper garages, motorway services can be 2-3p more, it all adds up at the end of the year.
  24. Travel - the best bike may be 100 miles away so be prepared to travel, the wider the search the more potential for a bargain.
  25. Latest models - unless you have more money than sense, get a bike that is 2-3 years old, after the majority of the depreciation has already been lost.
  26. Speeding fines - if you value your licence and wallet take care in built up areas, even a few miles over the speed limit can mean a £60 fine and three points, any more and your insurance will be seriously affected (around 25% for convicted riders).
  27. Security - approved locks and alarms may result in lower premiums and less chance of getting your bike nicked which has serious implications to your wallet, firstly the insurance excess, let alone the hassle.
  28. Haggle - don't be afraid to haggle when buying from a dealer or prvately. Have a price in mind and start low and work from there.
  29. Damaged repairable - if you are careful and use professional services (when necessary, eg, frame alignment, fork straigtening) you can save a packet but do your homework first and make sure you will make a genuine saving and it doesn't turn out to be your worst nightmare. If the bike has been recorded as a write off, then it will be difficult to shift when selling it on.
  30. Ex-race school bike - much better than an ex-race bike as it will be kept in standard spec and usually they will have negotiated a low price from the manufacture and are able to sell on at a lower price.
  31. Cold starting - driving away while the engine is still cold causes premature wear to mechanical parts, which can be expensive when it's time for repair. Don't put the engine under undue pressure until the engine is warm
  32. Sticky rubber - unless you have your knee down at every corner, expensive rubber can be a waste, as the temperature in the tyre will not be enough to get the real benefit from them (especially if you ride in the UK). Ask your local garage for advice on tyres, a resonable, long lasting tyre doesn't have to be expensive.
  33. Second bike - commuting on a sports bike can be expensive and a cheap commuter may sound expensive but it doesn't have to be, cheap and chearful is all you need to see you through the worst months of the year. Some insurance policies will add low risk bikes to your policy at no cost, shop around.
  34. Depreciation free - it is possible to buy a bike that is virtually depreciation free, such as theSuzuki GXS-R750, Honda Fireblade or BMW R1150GS, do your homework.
  35. Used market - sometimes you will find a lower priced bike for a quick sale, eg. owner emigrating, banned through speeding etc, however, you have to be patient and regularly scour the classifieds to get the best deal.
  36. Test ride - you are more likely to get a proper test rider at a dealers, run it for a good 10-15 miles when the engine is warm and take through built up areas and a main road to test every aspect of the bike.
  37. Finance - if you've got the bottle to buy brand new, check around for finance deals, a local dealership recently had a 0% finance weekend and Ducati were recently offering new bikes at 0% finance. Be wary, a dealer will receive bigger rewards if they sell a bike 'on finance' so there should be room for negotiation. A local bank or building society may offer a better rate.
  38. Ex-demo - these bikes are likely to have just been 'run in'. Dealers are offered these bikes on the cheap as a demonstration bike for potential customers and pass the savings on when selling.
  39. Look after your chain - apparently, it is possible to get 50,000+ from your chain, just by regular maintenance and smooth riding. The Scottoiler, for example, will ensure your chain is permanently lubricated, ensure the tension is regularly check and adjusted if necessary.
  40. Rear hugger - protecting your rear shock is a worthy investment, by fitting a rear hugger, shocks can cost over £500.
  41. Winter preparation - preparing your bike with Scottoiler FS365 breaks down salt and WD40 is useful for protecting engine and exhaust parts, leaving a protective coating.