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What are the best motorcycles for commuting? Our top picks

POSTED: 20/12/2023

Commuting on four wheels is rarely fun. Unless your route to work consists solely of deserted B-roads, taking the car is often a stressful and irritating experience. Congestion is all too commonplace on Britain’s crowded roads, and in a car you’ve got no choice but to sit and wait, wait and wait some more. Frustrating.  

Switch to two wheels and the commute starts to look a whole lot more appealing. Not only does a bike make any trip more of an event by default, it allows you to cut through the worst of the traffic with ease, saving you time and keeping your blood pressure in check. 

Even the most humdrum of motorcycles can make the commute to work an enjoyable experience. Granted, you’ll be more exposed to the elements, but the time you’ll save and the fun you’ll have will make it all worthwhile. 

Plus, advancements in riding gear over the past few decades mean that using a motorcycle through winter is now a much more enjoyable experience. There are plenty of options out there with built-in thermal insulation, keeping you warm when the temperature outside plummets - and brands like Alpinestars even produce heated motorcycle clothing

There’s a strong financial case to be made too. Some of the bikes we sell can crack upwards of 100 mpg, a feat that very few cars would be able to get close to. And that’s before you take into account the much lower purchase price of a motorcycle. 

Commuting on a bike is a sound idea, then. But which one should you choose - and what should you look out for when buying? Read on to find out.

What to look for when choosing a commuter motorbike

If you’re buying a motorcycle with the intention of commuting on it, there are a handful of key considerations to bear in mind.

  • Comfort 
  • Reliability
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Riding enjoyment

A good commuter bike is one that offers a reasonable compromise between each of the four factors listed above. It’s got to be comfortable, but you don’t want it to be too heavy, cumbersome or boring to ride. It’s got to be reliable in all weathers and, ideally, it should be light on fuel to keep more money in your pocket. 

So, with all that in mind, which bikes should be on your shopping list? Here are a few of our top picks…

The best commuter motorcycles for short commutes

If you live relatively close to work and your route is mostly made up of low-speed roads through residential areas, a scooter may be the best bet. When it comes to scooters, Suzuki has always been up there with the best of them - and its venerable Burgman 400 may well be the pick of the bunch. 

Its torquey four-stroke engine delivers more than adequate performance and, despite its hefty 218 kg kerb weight, the Burgman is surprisingly manoeuvrable. Ride is probably this machine’s trump card, though: for a scooter, the Burgman is impressively composed. It manages upwards of 70 mpg, too. 

Although the Burgman is a popular choice, there are a whole host of other options out there from brands like Piaggio and Vespa. The Vespa Primavera 125 can achieve more than 120 mpg, for instance, making it one of the most fuel-efficient scooters out there. 

The best commuter motorcycles for long-distance commutes

Adventure tourers make the perfect commuters, particularly if you drive into work from further afield. A good tourer will take everything in its stride: from bumpy country lanes to motorways and city streets, these versatile bikes are built to take it all on. 

With plenty of straight line performance and sporty handling, modern tourers are a joy to ride - and they’re incredibly fuel efficient to boot. All of this makes them so much more than a commuter. Buy an adventure tourer and you’ll want to ride it at the weekend, too. 

One of our favourites is the Kawasaki Versys 650. ‘Designed to conquer the urban jungle’ in the words of Kawasaki, the Versys 650 is available with an adjustable windscreen, a colour TFT display and Bluetooth to make each and every journey that little bit more comfortable.  

The Honda NC750X is another stellar choice. Dependable and impeccably well-built, the NC750X is designed to wear all kinds of different hats, from cross country commuter to weekend adventurer. If you’re looking for one bike that can do it all - with comfort - it’s hard to argue against the NC750X. We particularly love its lightning-fast dual clutch transmission.

The best electric commuter motorcycles

Petrol power isn’t your only option nowadays, particularly if you have a shorter commute. We stock a range of electric motorcycles and scooters here at Wheels, and many of them make ideal commuters. 

The Zero range is proving particularly popular for this purpose, the S and DSR/X in particular receiving rave reviews from the motorcycle press. We reckon the DSR/X has to be one of the best electric commuter motorcycles out there, rolling the best bits of a sports bike and a tourer into one usable package. Its impressive torque figure of 229Nm makes commuting an effortless and enjoyable experience - and a 179-mile city range is more than enough to satisfy most people’s needs. 

Find the bike or scooter of your dreams at Wheels

If you’re in the market for a new or used commuter bike, you’ll be spoilt for choice here at Wheels Motorcycles, the UK’s number one multi-brand dealership.

Located in Peterborough and Cradley Heath, our locations are packed with quality machinery from the likes of Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, Zero and many more - and the vast majority of them come with an unbeatable lifetime guarantee. Check out our complete lineup of bikes online today or pay us a visit in store.

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