Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Road trip- Bike vs Car: Which is better?

Most of my road trips were in cars. Recently I did a few trips on bikes, thanks to bike rentals that are now available and because of my recently bought new bike. Both bikes and cars have their advantages and disadvantages, when being used for a road trip. In this post of mine, I am trying to compare the two. 

Travel Time
Usually take less time
Usually slower, except in city conditions where bikes can negotiate traffic easily
Top Speed
Relatively less
Toll booth
Always paid, causes delay in case of long queues, factor about 2-3 Rs per km for toll expenses
Usually free, except few places like NICE Road etc, I could catch up with all cars that overtook me at the next toll both where they waited in queue while I could zip ahead in the bike
More space
Less space. Painful if there’re lots of stuff to carry
Relatively Safer. During minor accidents car’s body takes the hit, in case of medium accidents seat belt and airbags can save lives.

Cars are more stable in case of sudden obstacles like a pothole, stones etc
Safety is poor despite wearing helmet, jackets etc. Ride might be thrown off the bike in case of impact, skid etc.

Bike airbags are available, but not common
Fuel Economy
High, bikes can usually go twice or thrice the distance than a car for same amount of money
No of passengers
4-5 comfortably
Max 2, not possible if both have a bag each
Luggage Safety
Bags and other stuff can be kept in car and locked
Since everything is exposed, leaving stuff behind could be risky. Either one has to carry it along or find a cloakroom or plan other means to ensure safey of luggage
AC, Heating, foldable seats on which one can sleep, more comfortable driving position
Not as comfortable as a car, frequent stops are required to relax and refresh
Maneuverability & Access
Narrow roads are not accessible by car. Parking, turning etc will be difficult.
Bikes are more fun to cut a corner at high speed, negotiate small roads/congested roads. Bike can go wherever a car can go, not true other way round
Cost of ownership
Relatively high
Relatively Cheaper to own and maintain
Flat tyres
Relatively easy to manage because of spare wheel
Manageable for bikes with tubeless tyres, puncture kit and a foot pump, but not everyone carries all of these.
Difficult for radials (tube tyres)
Protection from weather
High. Car’s body offers basic defense against adverse nature
Poor. Rider has to suffer chilling wind, rain, hot sun and other elements
Formation, Group rides and photography
Traveling in multiple cars is not that fun as each car will be on its own. You can’t make much formations.
Riding in a group of bikes is more fun, as one can form a formation, single/double file lines etc. It is more fun in group travel than cars
Public appreciation
This depends on how expensive/exotic the car or bike looks like. Riding a 6 lakh Harley can get you more attention than a 9 lakh Ertiga
 Night Drive              
 Fairly comfortable
 Not comfortable, not safe
​17       ​Community Support    ​Not many. Car owners often go on trip alone, do not go in large groups of cars. There're few groups but mostly online, not as active as bike groups​There're many​ active biker communities-by city (Ex: Bangalorebikers), by Bike maker (Ex MadBulls). Very easy to interact with other bikers and plan road tripsBike

As you see, cars have more advantages- 6 for bikes vs 10 for cars. What are your thoughts?


Letzstepout said...

Your comparison is amazing.
Thanks for sharing such a valuable information.

Ghatikallu Best place to visit


nice post,maintenance wise bike is cheaper than car


nice post,maintenance wise bike is cheaper than car

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Senthil kumar

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I got a comment by email from an Anonymous user, but that seems to be missing here... copy pasting from email

Hi, a couple of points to note:

1) Safety: It is easier to take pre-emptive measures in a bike to avoid hitting that truck coming in the wrong direction. Cars need more room to avoid contact.

OTOTH cars can prove safer in the event of a collision ONLY if you are wearing seatbelts. Much safer if you have airbags. Else it can be much more dangerous than a bike, where upon crashing you usually slide a lot before coming to rest, whereas in a car, you will fly and hit the seat/dashboard/windshield in front of you.

That said, if one watches the Global NCAP's crash test videos of Indian cars like the Swift, Figo, etc, it quickly becomes clear that the safety most of our popular cars offer is merely an illusion since they have such a weak frame that it doesn't absorb much impact.

Hence, riding a bike can actually be safer, provided you know what you are doing.

2) Luggage safety: unless the car has bullet proof glass, stuff kept in the car is easy to steal. Safest place to keep valuables is the (metal enclosed) boot, which hatches/SUVs/MUVs lack. Head units themselves attract a lot of thieves, who might take a look around the car for other objects once they break in.

In my experience shopkeepers are usually very friendly to bikers and offer to keep an eye on the bike & the luggage while we roam around.

3) Overall attitude of other people: I feel ppl are generally more friendlier when I'm on my bike than when I am in a car. Perhaps they find it easier to connect to someone who in their opinion is too poor to buy a car. Even if the bike actually costs more than a hatchback!

4) Protection from weather: Sitting inside a car with AC set at 22 deg, you can't feel the difference between being in the scorching Thar desert and freezing cold desert of Kashmir. Getting drenched in the rain while riding a bike is simply awesome, don't you think? :D

Mahesh Divya said...

any review on Mobilio , if yes kindly send me ti my email id.

Thanks !

Frank Harwig said...

Hello, I think bike is the most preferable thing foe road trip any moment. Moreover,maintenance wise bike is cheaper than car. Its very smooth for driving in any way or road side. So I prefer it best. Thanks for the nice post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Mahesh Divya

Sorry, haven't reviewed mobilio. Didn't have a chance. It has flopped in the market. Consider other cars

@Frank- Thanks for sharing your preference.