So you used to own a motorcycle and you want one again. Or you’ve always wanted one. But there was something in the way: a woman who told you she’s not going to spoon-feed you after the accident or the rationalization that you have a good car and don’t need a bike that’s going to gather dust five months a year.

To these excuses I present the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4. OK, it’s not a two-wheeler, but a Jeep is a perfectly viable alternative to a motorcycle.

I’m serious.

Let me state my case.

The wind: The Jeep lets you strip off the top and doors to replicate the wind-blown experience of riding a bike. Even better, you don’t have to invest a week or two’s paycheck in a helmet, full leathers, gloves and ass-kicking boots to drive the Jeep. You can wear normal clothes instead. And if a sudden thunderstorm erupts, you’ll get just as wet as a Harley rider. Yet like a bike, everything is water-resistant, so don’t worry about water pooling on the floor. Just throw on your rain jacket and keep on going.

The speed: This Jeep, with a 3.8-Liter, 202-hp V6, cruises pleasantly enough on mellow roads with the top and windows pulled off. Up and over 65 mph the ride becomes more like driving through a maelstrom. The same could be said about most motorcycles. Wind up the bike to over 70 mph and the ride gets intense. (Note: I have found that big touring bikes or sport bikes can handle anything under 90 with ease.)

The feel: The Wrangler’s stiff chassis and frame make for a stiff ride—the kind you experience riding down the street on a bike where every crack, seam and pothole is felt in your spine. You don’t so much as roll down the road in a Jeep, you bounce. And believe me, it can be fun.

Why a Jeep is better than a motorcycle

Now that I’ve explained how a stunted motorcycle buyer can sort of replicate the key benefits to riding in a Wrangler, it’s time to spell out how the Jeep beats a motorcycle.

More people: Unlike a motorcycle, the Unlimited lets you bring four friends with you. They all can wear their own clothes and none of your guy friends have to ride bitch, seated behind you, holding your waist. This presents a downside to the Jeep though, as none of your girlfriends get to ride bitch either.

More attractive to women: You can fit a baby seat in the back. This is good for attracting nannies, or in the event you find yourself hitched and making babies, it means you don’t have to sell the Jeep once the little screamers start popping out, a common lament among former motorcycle owners who lost their rigs to minivans.

More sound: The Jeep has an optional booming 368-watt seven speaker Infinity sound system with a massive sub-woofer in the back that will shake the front seats. No motorcycle set-up comes close; the Jeep’s sub-woofer ends the conversation.

More room: When it comes to taking a road trip or hauling stuff, the Jeep can stow mountains of gear securely. On a bike, you’re limited to a complex mix of bags, cases and straps that can leave your bike looking like a Thai rickshaw hauling a washing machine and live chickens.

More room for error: In stop-n-go traffic, the crew in the Jeep is just enjoying a day in the sun while the motorcyclist is trying to prevent a 550-pound monster of scalding hot metal from falling over; good luck trying to get that thing off the ground if it does fall over.

More places to go: The Wrangler Unlimited can go almost anywhere thanks to its 4WD system with front and rear locking differentials, heavy-duty axles and gnarly BF Goodrich all-terrain tires, even places where all but the nimblest dirt bikes dare to venture: desert sand, mountain fire-road, through a foot of fresh powder and deep gravel. Try that on a bike with someone riding bitch and hauling a week’s worth of vacation clothes and gear.

More practical: The Jeep has a roof and heat, which means you can drive it all winter long. And the Wrangler has air conditioning. A/C is nice. Ask anyone who has a convertible in Florida or Atlanta.


The verdict is…
This isn’t to say that there’s a downside to a Jeep. At $32,745 for the base-model, four-door Unlimited, you could outfit you and a friend on new Ducatis for the same chunk of change. You and three of your friends could all get bikes if you’re buying Hondas or Yamahas, but this conversation was never about costs. It’s about coming as close as possible to experiencing the flat-out fun of a motorcycle on four wheels. The Jeep Wrangler delivers.

(Grant Davis used to own and ride a BMW motorcycle, but life put an end to that. He currently reviews the world’s fastest and most expensive cars—and motorcycles when he can sneak them in.)