Advice and Tips

Is Commuting on a Motorbike Really Cheaper?

Amelia S, 
Tuesday, 16 March 2021

On average in the UK we travel 4,160 miles per year commuting to work, some by train, bus, car or motorbike. People can often buy a motorbike to commute to and from work on as they think it’s a cheaper option than buying a car, but is a motorbike really cheaper to commute on than a car?

We’ve taken the UK’s favourite car, the ford focus and compared it to one of the best commuter bike the BMW F900XR to weigh up the costs.

Ford Focus – what does it cost?

Ford-Focus.

The Ford Focus has been the UK’s favourite car for quite a few years, as well as #1 with our customers in 2020. There are many reasons why the Focus is a favourite, but how cheap is it to run?

To buy a Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 5dr 2020 (20 reg) in February 2021 you are looking at around £14,490 – £15,000. This is based off it being a petrol engine, having only 1 previous owner and with 3,900 miles on the clock. So other than the initial cost, how much does it cost to keep the Ford Focus running year on year.

Using this fuel calculator we estimated that to fill the 52-litre tank of the Ford Focus would cost £68.20. Although prices will vary depending on many factors.  We then could use this information to understand the cost of commuting for the year in this vehicle:

Item Cost*
Fuel spent on commuting (4,160 miles a year on average) £516.67
Annual Road Tax £150 (gov.uk)
Insurance Variable
Annual Service Cost or every 12,500 miles £103.18 – £179.44 (AA Garage Guide)
MOT (after the first 3 years) MOT (after the first 3 years)
TOTAL £900.96

*All costs are variable, but as of February 25th 2021 these costs were accurate.

So, the cost of commuting in a car is £900.96 a year which doesn’t take into account insurance costs.

Unfortunately, the cost of fuel above is worked out at the average miles per gallon (mpg) that the Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost does, but no car will always perform perfectly and therefore your petrol cost will be more. However, it does give us a good point of reference to compare the 2 vehicle types for commuting.

It’s important to know that insurance will change depending on your personal circumstances.  We did, however, discover findings from Compare the Market who shared that in January 2021, average car insurance premiums cost £707 for a years cover. If you’d like to know more about why insurance costs can differ so much, then take a look at our useful insurance guide as well as how your job title can affect your car insurance.

If you are thinking ‘I travel more than 4,160 miles a year to work’, then you can figure out how much this vehicle would cost you by using the below sum to figure out your average cost of fuel:

X (miles travelled to work in a year) / 550 (miles you can get out of a full Ford Focus fuel tank) = Y (how many full fuel tanks you need in a year to get to work)

You then take the answer of the above and put it in the below sum:

Y X £68.20 (the cost of a full Ford Focus fuel tank) = the amount you spend on fuel to commute for a year

BMW F900XR – what does it cost?

Man riding a motorbike

We then took a popular motorbike, hailed by reviews as a great all-round bike that can tackle any terrain, that is economical and is also great for commuting. So, was it any cheaper than the Ford Focus?

To buy a BMW F900 XR 895cc the same age as the Ford Focus compared above (69 reg), in February 2021 you are looking at around £7,795 – £8,000. This is based off the motorbike having a petrol engine, 1 previous owner and 4,965 miles on the clock. It’s almost like for like on the Ford Focus to compare equally.

Using this fuel calculator we estimated that to fill the 15.5-litre tank of the BMW F900 XR 895cc would cost £19.22. It has a much smaller tank than the Ford Focus as motorbikes have a lot less space than cars for big fuel tanks. Although prices of fuel will vary depending on many factors, we could use this information to understand the cost of commuting for the year on this vehicle:

ItemCost*
Fuel spent on commuting (4,160 miles a year on average)£469.35
Annual Road Tax£93 (gov.uk)
InsuranceVariable
Annual Service Cost or every 12,500 miles£160– £180 (Start Rescue)
MOT (after the first 3 years)29.65 (gov.uk)
TOTAL£772

*All costs are variable, but as of February 25th 2021 these costs were accurate.

Please be aware that your motorbike will not always perform at 50 miles per gallon (mpg) as it depends on what sort of driving you are doing, and although that is the average mpg, it’s not the figure you will always achieve whilst riding the BMW F900 XR 895cc However it does give us a good point of reference to compare the 2 vehicle types for commuting.

It’s also important to know that insurance will change depending on your personal circumstances.  However, we did discover findings from Compare the Market who shared that in January 2021, average motorbike insurance premiums cost £386 for a year’s cover. If you’d like to know more about why insurance costs can differ so much, then take a look at our useful insurance guide as well as how your job title can affect your motorbike insurance.

If you are thinking ‘I travel more than 4,160 miles a year to work’, then you can figure out how much this vehicle would cost you by using the below sum to figure out your average cost of fuel:

X (miles travelled to work in a year) / 170 (miles you get out of a full BMW F900 XR fuel tank) = Y (how many full fuel tanks you need in a year to get to work)

You then take the answer of Y and put it in the below sum:

Y X £19.22 (the cost of a full BMW F900 XR fuel tank) = the amount you spend on fuel to commute a year

And the winner is...

The BMW F900 XR 895cc, or just generally on any motorbike. Although every car and motorbike is different, the running costs for a motorbike tend to be cheaper, with MOT costs and insurance premiums both being cheaper for a motorbike. It’s what we were all expecting but it’s nice to see the numbers to support it.

If this has helped you decide that you want to get motorbike finance, you can get a quote today, or you can learn more about motorbike finance first. You can then start looking at the variety of motorbike brands and see which one suits your needs the best.

Amelia S,
Bringing you information on how to look after your vehicle, save money and enjoy your life on the road.
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