If you’re reading this article, then I applaud you! This means your going to try to convince your wife to let you get a motorcycle rather than buy one and ask for forgiveness. When I googled this same question in hopes to find tips that will help me better communicate with my wife, I found a lot of articles stating to just get one and tell your wife later. Not cool.
So, I did some research, and *gasp* actually talked to my wife about it. Here are some pointers on how to help convince your wife that buying that motorcycle really is a good idea. These points come from personal experience, and they worked! I’m now the proud owner of a 1969 Triumph TR25W (and hopefully another bike here shortly).
First of all, don’t dismiss your wife’s worries as nonsense. She probably has legitimate concerns about cost, safety, or other things, and I’ll try to address those issues in this article. These were my wife’s concerns.
If you want her to be willing to talk about it then you need to be willing to discuss her concerns with an open mind. So here are some of the main concerns that came up in my conversations with my wife, hopefully my experience can shed some light on your personal path forward.
Motorcycles Get Great Gas Mileage
Motorcycles get much better gas mileage than most commuter cars, in fact they get about double the miles per gallon. Most street bikes get between 30 and 60 miles per gallon, and that goes for a lot of the older bikes as well. I owned an old heavy Yamaha XS850 that got around 45 miles per gallon.
If you are planning on using this as a commuter vehicle then here’s a cost savings example for you. Most people can ride for around 36 weeks out of the year, then the weather puts a damper on things. If you drive about 20 miles one way to work every day and ride a motorcycle that gets 45 mpg instead of your car that gets about 25, then you’ll save around $40 per month!
Motorcycle Insurance is Inexpensive
Most people assume that motorcycle insurance is expensive. Many first time owners don’t realize how much cheaper motorcycle insurance costs per month as compared to car insurance. For motorcycle insurance I pay $17 per month for my 1969 Triumph and I pay $62 per month for my 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee auto insurance, and each one is worth about $6,000.
If your wife is concerned with cost of insurance, make sure to bring up this point. Maybe you could even contact several insurance agencies and get free estimates on the type of bike you wish to buy. This all, of course, depends on the type of motorcycle driver you are. If you’ve already caused one or more accidents previously, you might be out of luck on this one.
If you’ve received an insurance quote that is high, see my article here that may help shed some light as to why it’s high and ways you can bring it down.
Low Maintenance Cost
Everything on a motorcycle is accessible, simple and easy to work on, which means much lower maintenance costs. Major repairs on a bike are a fraction of the cost of a major repair on a car. Most repairs can be done on a Saturday in the comfort of your garage or carport.
With the help of the internet, especially YouTube, you should be able to overcome most maintenance and fixes yourself. If you’re not a DIYer with motorcycle maintenance, now would be a great time to start because it’ll bring your costs down even more.
Your Happiness Level
The biggest reason I started restoring motorcycles is because I’m happy when I’m turning a wrench and working on something. I was torn between restoring a motorcycle or an old car, and I was swayed towards the motorcycle because it was much less daunting of a task.
There aren’t that many parts and systems that are near as complicated as full size vehicles. By following the steps I outline in some of my other posts I can show you how I restored beautiful motorcycles for around $500. No classic car can even get a scabby restoration for less than $3-$5,000.
So if you’re itching to fix something then start with a motorcycle! The initial investment is much less than a car. Perhaps you can negotiate with your wife that you will buy a fixer-upper motorcycle instead of a brand new one as this will save you a lot of money.
If the mechanical part really isn’t your thing, you can still try to bring up with your wife how happy you’d be to get a motorcycle. Having a motorcycle is much more than just a “thing,” it has a lot to do with the sense of freedom you feel while riding it that doesn’t really compare to anything else.
Compromise Your Riding Rules
Compromise is something that my wife and I have become much better at in our marriage the past few years. She likes going on trips and hanging out with friends while I’d rather hang out in the garage and work on my projects. Neither one is wrong, but we have to make clear compromises for each other so we both know what time is allotted for which activity.
Here is an example of my personal compromises I made with my wife when I bought a motorcycle. Her main concerns were cost and safety. To address her safety concern I promised her that I would not ride my bike on the highway/freeway and that I would never leave the house without a helmet.
Riding around my neighborhood at 15 mph with a helmet on sometimes feels like a nuisance, but that was important to her so I do it. And to make sure I wasn’t tempted to ride on the freeway I picked an old bike that looked beautiful but wasn’t quite able to travel at highway speeds.
Brainstorm some ways you can compromise your riding rules to help your partner feel you will be safer out on the roads.
Let Her Spend As Much As You Do
Try to think of other fair compromises you can make with your spouse that will help them see how important this is to you. Take dance classes with them, promise to take them on a date twice a month without the kids, let them go on a trip with their friends.
You’ll have to adapt it to your situation but the principle remains the same, you have to give up something you’re comfortable with in order for the other person to be willing to also take a step forward. Here are some more suggestions about how to compromise.
Possibly the best trick of compromise is letting your spouse spend as much on one of her hobbies as you want to spend on yours. If I want to spend $500 on an old project bike to fix up then I always make sure that my wife gets to sock away $500 as well for a trip or whatever she wants to do with it.
She probably thinks your hobbies are as weird as you think hers are, so if cost is their hang up then try giving each other the money to complete the fairness.
If money is tight and you don’t have the slew of cash to produce such a compromise, then state that you are willing to have this be your Christmas present, birthday present, etc. or all of the above for the next year or two. Or try agreeing on your partner getting to choose what the next big purchase is.
Sell Some of Your Belongings to Show Her How Serious You Are
Try selling some of your personal belongings to provide funds for a motorcycle. This will not only help financially, but it will also show your wife what you are willing to sacrifice to get this motorcycle. This will especially be effective if you sell something that’s quite valuable to you.
For example, maybe sell your video game console or laptop or downgrade your phone, etc. When I bought a recreational motorcycle a few years ago, my wife had concerns about finances. So I sold my Play Station which paid for a big chunk of my motorcycle and also showed my wife how serious I was about getting a motorcycle.
Remember, if your wife agrees to letting you get a bike, she is sacrificing her worries and nerves. Compromise, compromise, compromise!
Make a Budget
Another cost related point of compromise is making a strict budget with your spouse of how much you’re going to spend on the project if you plan to do any customizing. But you’ll actually need to stick to it. If you keep going over budget every month, the motorcycle will quickly become a point of contention in your relationship. No piece of machinery is worth a strained relationship.
So if you decide together that you can spend $50 per month then stick to that, and then find small ways on the side to make a bit of extra cash. Sell old motorcycle parts you take off the bike or old junk around the house.
The whole foundation of compromise is actually sticking to what you said you would do. Don’t lie about how much you’re going to spend. Be honest and open about the money and then the motorcycle will be something fun that both of you can enjoy together. Riding is something my wife and I love to do together, and occasionally I can even get her out in the garage to work on it with me, but that’s only because I’ve made those compromises and then kept them.
Increase Your Mechanical Skills
When you first jump into a new project your learning curve is going to be exponential. As soon as you start understanding how certain things work you’ll get excited about it and want to figure out more, and knowing how things work is just going to make you that much safer of a rider.
Buying an old project motorcycle is a great way to increase your mechanical skills (see my article here about what to look for when buying a project motorcycle). Being able to work with your hands and fix things yourself is empowering and exciting. Many years ago people used to have to go to mechanic shops and libraries to look through manuals to figure out how things went together.
In this day and age we have an endless reservoir of information at our fingertips, so there really is no reason to ever say that you can’t fix something yourself, because you can! If I can learn how to do it by myself then so can you.
Once you start to do small projects on your motorcycle you’ll start to have thoughts like, “ Oh, that’s what that one part on my car does” because a motorcycle and a car have basic components that are similar, they’re just much easier to get to and work on with a motorcycle.
After owning a motorcycle for a while you’ll be able to jump in and fix certain things on your cars as well, which will save you tons of money. That’s what happened to me, after owning a motorcycle for a while, I learned how similar parts on my car worked and then I didn’t feel so overwhelmed working on my car. Click here to see my list of recommended tools that are essential to work on your motorcycle.
Improve Qualities Suitable For Employment
A completely unforeseen benefit of owning and fixing motorcycles that I found out recently is how attractive a skill set like “classic motorcycle restoration” can be to potential employers on a resume.
I was recently interviewing for positions as a mechanical engineer with companies all over the country and was very surprised at how much the interviewers wanted to talk about my motorcycles instead of academic projects I had completed. Not because they particularly liked motorcycles, but because having some hands on knowledge of how mechanical things work is very sought after in my industry.
I also have a brother in law who is an attorney who first introduced me to cafe racers years ago. He also wrote “classic motorcycle restoration” on his job applications with law firms and said it was brought up several times in interviews because people thought it was so cool.
You’ll Look Pretty Dang Attractive!
I don’t need to preach to you about how cool it is to ride a motorcycle. Chances are, if you feel good on your motorcycle, you probably look good too.
My first date with my wife was taking her on a motorcycle ride around our college campus years ago. Having that skill set of being able to restore a motorcycle is very attractive to a lot of people, and it certainly helped me to win my wife over! Having hands on experience of fixing stuff is sexy, so just jump in and do it.
Suggest to your wife to let you take her for a motorcycle ride on a friend’s motorcycle or a rented one. This may give her the confidence that you’re suitable to own a machine like this. And who knows, maybe she’ll love the ride!
Motorcycles Are Good Emergency Vehicles
My wife actually brought up this point a while ago and at first I didn’t understand. I asked her to elaborate and was pretty surprised by her thought out response (she’s now a full on motorcycle convert).
We recently moved to Mississippi in the middle of hurricane season, which was a little daunting for us thinking of having to battle such an element. My wife mentioned that right before hurricanes come a lot of people leave at the same time if there’s not a lot of notice, so traffic backs up quickly and it’s hard to get out of town, or even around town for that matter.
Motorcycles are the perfect mode of transportation in those situations. Being able to zip past cars and get to where you need to go could be the difference between life and death.
You’ll Be Safe From an Electrical Grid Attack
Another point she brought up was the fact that the military has stated that the most likely type of attack on the United States will be an attack on our electrical grid, with bombs being able to burn up all circuitry within a large range. But most old motorcycles don’t have computers! So there is nothing to fry, leaving you free to travel like nothing ever happened.
You might think this is a bit extreme and that I’m one of those doomsdayers. Most people might say this will never happen, which would be great. But if it does then you have a mode of transportation in a horrible crisis. And if not then you have a sweet motorcycle anyways.
So whatever your spouse’s concerns are with letting you get a motorcycle just be kind and persistent. Sometimes it takes a while for them to come around. This article can also relate to any type of partner, men and women alike. Just remember to be open and willing to compromise.
What it called when you ride on the back of a motorcycle? Believe it or not, there is an actual term for this. As motorcycle passenger is also called a “pillion rider.” Most people don’t use these terms nowadays, so it’s probably better to just stick with “passenger” or “front/rear” rider.
What should I wear while riding a motorcycle? There is a slew of gear you can purchase at a store or online to prevent any harm from happening to you in the case of an accident. At the minimum, you need to wear a helmet, long pants, and shoes/boots that cover your ankles.