Why Bike to Work?
Statistics show just 3% of Americans use motorcycles when commuting to work, but the data is subject to change. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the average American commute on its head. Reports show interest in motorcycling peaked during the pandemic and it’s not going away anytime soon.
More people are working from home than ever before, giving them the freedom to invest in a vehicle of their choosing. Instead of taking public transportation, many people are choosing to ride to work instead, especially in urban areas. New electric motorcycles make it easier and more cost-effective to ride, sparking interest in environmentally-conscience consumers.
Biking to work puts you in control of your commute. You can see more of your surroundings without spending as much money of fuel and repairs. Parking is also a cinch. Your motorcycle won’t take up a lot of space, giving you the freedom to park where you please.
What to Look for in a Commuter Motorcycle
A commuter motorcycle serves a specific purpose. It should be easy to use and lightweight with excellent fuel efficiency. You should also feel relaxed behind the wheel, considering how much time you’re going to be spending on your bike. Look for a comfortable seat that supports your body.
Storage is also key for most commuters. You should have room for all your work essentials, including your laptop, tablet, lunch, and any other equipment you may need throughout the year.
Safety should be your first priority when shopping for a commuter motorcycle. Consider all the different circumstances you may encounter on the road, such as ice, sleet, snow, and mud. Look for a bike with the latest safety features, such as anti-locking brakes, automatic braking system, and stability control.
You don’t have to use your new motorcycle for just commuting. Consider a more versatile option if you still want to tear through the mud and explore off-road trials in your spare time. All work and no play might drive you crazy. You may hear the call of adventure the longer your bike sits in the driveway.
The Best Bikes for Everyday Commuters
Finding the right bike all depends on your commute and how you plan on using your motorcycle. Auto manufacturers have started catering their products to everyday commuters and safety-conscious drivers, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a bike suitable for your morning ride.
Without further ado, here’s our list of the best motorcycles for commuting on the market today:
1. 2021 Suzuki SV650
Behold the power of the Suzuki SV650, one of the best reviewed bikes of the year – and for good reason. We couldn’t resist giving the #1 title to this charming commuter. It has a sleek, professional look that’s sure to become a topic of conversation around the watercooler.
Equally sporty and practical, it’s remarkable easy to use with ample suspension and up to 72 HP for more possibilities behind the wheel. The SV650 is also one of the most fuel-efficient bikes on the market, getting up to 50 MPG. Not bad for a roomy 3.8-gallon tank.
The cushion is so soft you’ll actually look forward to driving to work. The safety features help you respond quickly on the street, trail, or highway.
Relatively affordable at $7,1000, it’s a great value compared to some of the other options on this list. You will get far in this simple, yet surprisingly capable commuter bike.
2. 2021 Zero SR/F
Simple, modern, and elegant, the 2021 Zero SR/F is everything you could want in a bike. The company has emerged as a leader in compact, electric motorcycles and the SR/F is their most advanced model to date. A fully charged battery gets you about 100 miles and it does take a while to charge. Expect about an eight hour wait time when using a standard 120 V outlet. You can upgrade to the premium version, which comes with a special inverter that cuts the charging time down to 4 hours.
Of course, this is ideal if you work the typical 9 to 5 schedule. Just let the bike charge overnight and you’ll be good to go in the morning. Most of us aren’t commuting more than 100 miles to work, so don’t sweat the mileage limitations. This will limit your ability to cruise around on the weekends, but you will get to work on time and in one piece.
The SR/F comes with a number of sophisticated safety features to give you more peace of mind on your way to the office, including stability control, ABS, regenerative braking, and softer suspension on bumpier roads. You can choose from several rider modes, including sport and street. Use the latter when navigating traffic and urban areas.
Zero pulled out all the bells and whistles and the SR/F has the price tag to prove. The basic model starts at $19,500 and the premium goes up to $22,000.
3. 2021 Honda CB300R
The CB3000R is perfect for anyone that commutes to work in the city. It’s fast without taking up a lot of space, so you can weave in and out of tight spots without breaking a sweat. At 320 lbs., you can almost bench press it.
If you’re adamant about staying comfortable, you can pretty much stop your searching now. The cushion on the Honda CB300R has become something of a legend in the biking industry. One touch and you’ll swear off every other make and model for good. Regardless of your body size, your rump will feel right at home of the back of this inner-city darling.
It’s not electric with a small gas tank that holds just 2.6 gallons. However, that will get you about 200 miles of driving time. If you go past 80 MPH, expect your fuel efficiency to take a hit.
The suspension is also a thrill when driving off road. You can still get messy on the weekends without feeling like you’re riding on the back of a wild bull.
4. 2021 BMW G310 GS
The latest bike from BMW does right by commuters. It offers more protection than the much-admired G310 G naked. It comes with a small wind deflector to keep your uniform in check. The raised, soft cushion gives you a better point of view of the road.
You don’t have to by shy when riding on the back of the G310 GS. The name BMW says it all. It comes with 34 HP and adequate torque for cruising through all kinds of terrain. The suspension will serve you well in the woods and on the highway. It gets up to 90 MPH for a faster commute.
Despite its off-road capabilities, this BMW comes with all the features you’d expect from a modern commuter motorcycle, including ABS as standard, rear rack for more storage space, and less sensitive controls for turning corners on a dime.
It’s also a great choice if you’re looking to save money. The G310 GS starts at around $5,800, helping you stay well within your budget.
5. 2021 KTM 390 Duke
Never underestimate the Duke. KTM has a reputation for crafting quality motorcycles with top-shelf shocks and brakes, but they usually leave commuters out in the cold. All that’s about to change with the 390 Duke. It comes with a smooth seat for more comfort behind the wheel, marking a drastic change from its predecessors. It’s still not as a soft as some of the other makes and models on this list, thus the lower rating, so your bum might start to ache after a long ride.
Like other KTM bikes, the 2021 model is exceptionally agile and quick to respond. If you like to stay moving and reach your destination as quickly as possible, this is the bike for you.
Expect to turn heads on the back of this commuter. It comes with a bright orange frame, so you’re bound to cause a stir at the office. This will also come in handy when driving at night, especially in areas with poor visibility.
The 390 Duke is definitely more of a hybrid-sport, but it still makes the list of this year’s best commuter bikes. It’s a great choice if you want the best of both worlds.
You might need more than just a motorcycle to commute. Consider adding the following upgrades to your new ride to make the most of your daily routine:
Wireless Communication for Helmets
Communication never stops when you’re working full-time. Most of us need to be on-call 24 hours a day thanks to the internet and today’s never-ending workday.
Stay in touch with your colleagues, bosses, and employees with wireless motorcycle communication systems. Just attach the device to your bike or person to take calls and listen to music behind the wheel. Today’s systems are waterproof, so you can leave it outside without damaging your equipment. Use Bluetooth motorcycle speakers to listen without taking your eyes off the road. The device automatically adjusts the volume to make sure you can hear everything the person is saying. It’s also great for riding in groups or pairs. If you need to stay in touch on the go, be sure to add a communication system before you hit the road.
Motorcycle Helmet Headset
Don’t forget to attach your communication system to a headset, so you can respond in real-time. It should fit into your helmet for a comfortable ride without interrupting your view of the road. Look for motorcycle headsets that work with your chosen communication system for instant compatibility.
Most drivers are used to charging their smartphone in the car. If you’re looking to do the same, add a portable USB charger to your bike, so you never have to worry about showing up to work with a dead battery. We use our cellphones for just about everything these days, including basic navigation. Use the charger to power your phone while looking up directions. You can also use it to power a dash cam, GPS, or your wireless communication system.
Electronic Chain Oiler
Everyday commuting requires regular maintenance. You can’t just assume your bike will be ready to go in the morning, even if it’s brand new. Chain maintenance is crucial to keeping your bike in tip-top shape. Use an electronic chain oiler to automatically lube up your chain on the go. The oil dispenser attaches directly to the bike’s drive system for constant moisture. It comes with a built-in interface that monitors temperature and oil dispensing levels for more peace of mind.
Now’s the time to become a motorcycle commuter. Safe, fast, and cost-effective, there are so many reasons to ride your bike to work. If you’re new to the world of motorcycling, be sure to sign up for a basic training course to get your license. Learn about your state’s riding laws to avoid any trouble on the road. Don’t forget to add some additional gear to your bike to make it easier to use.
With a little bit of practice, you’ll be riding to work like a pro. Keep this information in mind to make the most of your morning commute.