Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tips to save on motorcycle insurance: Live to ride, ride to live. But save $$$ while you're at it.

I once insured an old dual sport bike I owned (Yamaha XT600). The cost for liability was only $75 a year. When I added another bike (Yamaha TT600), the cost was… still $75 yearly. Combined. The guy told me that because the “dual bike discount” was actually more than the $75 savings, he just added the second bike at no cost.

While I want more than liability only for my current bikes, I still want a deal. I came upon this article by Stacy Johnson at MSN Money while shopping around for a better deal recently.

7 tips to save on motorcycle insurance:

Live to ride, ride to live. But save a few bucks while you're at it.

When I was a teenager, my parents were dead set against two forms of transportation: convertibles (they could roll over and crush the occupants) and motorcycles (no explanation required).

As you might expect, the result was a lifelong love affair with both. For a large part of the nearly 40 years I've owned bikes -- my current is a 1999 Harley Softail Custom -- I never gave much thought to insurance. I just surrendered my bike business to whatever company was insuring my car. Mistake. Some insurers specialize in motorcycle policies, so shopping companies can reward you with major savings -- as much as 50%.

1. Join the club
Members of motorcycle clubs sometimes get discounted rates. Clubs are also a great way to compare notes with other bikers, get insurance recommendations, and see who's paying what. Examples include Harley Owners Group, BMW Motorcycle Owners of America and the American Motorcyclist Association.

2. Infrequent rider discount
If you ride only on the occasional sunny weekend, ask about discounts for a part-time or occasional driver. You might also ask about lowering the coverage (and cost) if you don't ride in the winter at all. If you have a loan on the bike, however, the lender will require full coverage on it year-round.

3. Drop full coverage
You've got to have liability insurance, which covers damage you do to other people and their property. But if your bike is old and/or not worth much, you might consider dropping comprehensive and collision -- coverage that pays for theft, vandalism, or damage to your bike in the event of an accident that's your fault.
Whether this makes sense depends on how much you're paying for full coverage and how much your bike is worth. Weigh the cost/benefit, then decide. As with the prior tip, however, if there's a lien on the bike, the lender will require full coverage.

4. Choose the right bike
Some bikes cost more to insure than others. For example, sport bikes often sport higher premiums than traditional road bikes. Never replace your bike without first calling your insurance company to see if the new bike will cost more to insure than the old one.

5. Raise your deductible
No matter what kind of insurance you're paying for -- homeowners, renters, health, car, or motorcycle -- the more of a claim you're willing to pay out-of-pocket, the lower the premium. If you're comfortable raising your deductible from $250 to $1,000, you could easily save 10% to 20%. Check what your deductible is now, then call the company and ask how much you'd save by raising it.

6. Ask about discounts *
It will probably come as no surprise that your insurance company isn't going to call and inform you of potential discounts. Call and ask about discounts for anti-theft devices and keeping your bike in a locked garage. Simply say: "What discounts do you offer?" You might be pleasantly surprised to learn you already qualify.

7. Get additional coverage for extras
Regular motorcycle insurance policies don't cover any enhancements you have made to your bike, such as chrome accessories, custom paint, or a sidecar. Look into supplemental coverage for these upgrades.

* BONUS: Add other coverage (additional motorcycles, cars or a house) to obtain the maximum discounts. Take a MSF (or other MC safety course). Conditions, such as “within the past 3 years,” may apply.

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's not you, it's me. Really.

Trouble in paradise? She's gotta go...

"Listen," I told her, "we've been together for a while now..."

"Three years is a while?"

"Well, yes. It's a really long time. I usually don't stay in these kinds of relationships for more than a year. Two years tops."


"I know, I know. Listen, it not you, it's me. I just need....something else."

"I'm not good enough for you?"

"Of course you are! The best! But...I just want something different."

"I can change."

"No, not in the ways I need. C'mon, you know it's no good. I'm moving on. You'll be fine. You'll see."

Anyhow, that's how the conversation with my 2009 Triumph Rocket III Touring went today.

I love her, but I am looking to move to a Sport Touring set-up, at least for a while. Looking to sell or trade it for the right bike. You may see her on eBay, CycleTrader or Craiglist soon.

Anyone have a bike they're looking to swap? What do I want? I dunno, I'm all over the page. A couple bike's I've considered:

Honda ST1300
Yamaha FJR1300
HD Ultra Classic (I told you I was all over the page)
Kawasaki Voyager
GoldWing (yikes!)
Vespa (just kidding!)

What do you have in the garage that you're thinking of swapping?

Here's my big (2294cc) girl:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

21st Annual Ride to Work Day: (Monday, June 18, 2012)

A reminder that tomorrow is the 21st Annual Ride to Work Day.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Ride to Work Day (2008 message)

Ride your motorcycle or scooter on June 18th to demonstrate:

•The number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.
•That motorcyclists are from all occupations and all walks of life.
•That motorcyclists can reduce traffic and parking congestion in large cities.
•That motorcycles are for transportation as well as recreation.
•That motorcycling is a social good.

Riding your bike to work ANY day is a good idea, and supporting this event is even better. Like by buddy Dave says: "I'm a rider, not a collector."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clean One Owner: KLR650 for sale (Now THAT is how you ride a dual sport bike!)

Now that's how you use a dual sport bike!

Reminds me of the old Irish adage: Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without.

This is Ryan Grassley (Half Throttle), the guy from Utah who takes his KLR all over the world. His bike takes a beating but keeps running.

The world is full of armchair warriors. People who dream big and dream often, but rarely get the chance to live out their fantasies. Ryan Grassley was one of those people, and then he hit the road.

Grassley, who you might know better as “HalfThrottle,” has made a living by fulfilling his motorcycle fantasies. With his camera and his KLR 650, Grassley has been shooting motorcycle videos for the last four years throughout the Americas. It hasn't brought him fame or fortune yet, but Grassley is one of the few, lucky people, who truly loves going to work every day. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

USA Coast to Coast on a $200 motorcycle

Well, this makes me feel better about the issues I've experienced on my road trips! The way this guy faced adversity -- and found the kindness of strangers along his route -- really made this a remarkable ride. Classic stuff!

No Farkle, No Cry

Are you waiting for the stars to align and searching for just the right farkle for a big adventure? Well, you’re probably the exact opposite of Jamie Robinson, who flew into New York City, bought a $200 motorcycle, and then set a course for California…