The Best Motorcycles for Commuting
The 3 Top Picks as Motorcycle CommutersClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Best Motorcycles for Commuting
A lot people wonder if it is possible to commute comfortably on a motorcycle. The answer that is, yes. You can save on gas and have a pleasant commute to work on a motorcycle if you consider a few things. The first thing you want to consider is an upright riding position. Commuters have to deal with more traffic than recreational riders; you want to be able to see far ahead so you can ride defensively. This is key.
If you are 6 ft. tall, you want to choose a bike that is comfortable to mount. You also want to feel secure when your feet are on the pegs. Grab the handlebars and make sure your shoulders and elbows are not in a bind. Finally, take the bike for spin. This way you can make sure the bike is comfortable as you ride. If you are considering a motorcycle as a method of commuting, we assembled a list of the top three bikes below. These are the best of the best when it comes to safety, comfort, and reliability.
Commuter's Choice 1: Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra FLTRU
The 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra FLTRU takes the number one spot in our most comfortable motorcycles for commuting long distance at highway speeds. Additional comfort from a newly designed seat along with a sculpted rear back section provides additional back support. The front part of the seat is now smaller so your feet set firmly on the ground when you are at a stop.
This is a massive machine. The 103 in. motor has plenty of power. On hot summer days, the fairing has been vented for additional airflow. It has all the amenities. Cruise control, advanced audio system with four speakers, a touring package, and frame mounted intercom with a system just to name a few. The Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra will take you to and from work in comfort while sipping gas.
The only drawback? The size and massive fairings that make this bike so comfortable on the highway can be unwieldy in tight city traffic. If you are going to be commuting in a metro area with tight streets, you might want to opt for a bike that's leaner and meaner.
Commuter's Choice 2: BMW K1600GT
The second most comfortable motorcycle for commuting is BMW's new inline 6-Cylinder, the K1600GT and GTL. These bikes are not out yet, but BMW has a long tradition of designing motorcycles that are comfortable and reliable. The new BMWs should up that tradition. The K1600 GT and GTL will offer some of the best comfort and safety features in the industry. A perfect center of gravity combined with a well-designed seat and handlebars makes the BMW a buyer's choice.
The engine will offer superb low-end torque. Reportedly, 70% of torque will available from as low as 1500 revs. There is also a sophisticated traction control system that has modes for Rain, Road, and Dynamic. The engine is the lightest and most compact 6-cylinder in production. ABS brakes will be standard, and BMW's new adaptive headlight system will be an option.
Commuter's Choice 3: Kawasaki Vulcan 1700
Kawasaki's Vulcan 1700 slides in at No. 3. The engineering team
describes their product as " nostalgic muscular and modern". One look at
the Vulcan 1700 and we know why. This sleek muscle machine has all the
comfort and all the amenities as the first two bikes on our list, plus a
safety record that is second-to-none. If you what style, comfort, and
safety at a price hard to beat then be sure to check out Kawasaki's
So there you have it, these are the top three commuter bikes of the future. Happy shopping.
Honorable Mentions / Great Urban CommutersClick thumbnail to view full-size
Honorable Mentions for Commuting
Really, the best motorcycle for commuting depends on the nature of your commute. The bikes we've listed above tend to be more appropriate for longer commutes on the open road. They are comfortable for long distances, but not so large and bulky as, say, a Honda Goldwing or similar mega-tourer.
For more tighter urban commuting, such as that experienced by Bay Area riders, or people in larger metro areas, some other bikes to consider include:
- Yamaha FZ1: Upright riding position, good torque
- Kawasaki KLR650: Upright, dirt-inspired riding position, off and on-road prowess, more affordable pricing. Not as comfortable as some at freeway speeds
- BMW G650 GS: nearly 1/3 the power of the K1600GT, and a single cylinder, this bike could be better for tighter urban riding. It is lighter, more agile, and has off-road capability
Motorcycle Commuting Poll
How Often Do You Commute on Your Motorcycle?
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- Riding a Motorcycle Safely in Wet Weather
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- The Best Motorcycles for $1000
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- BMW K-1600-GT and K 1600 GTL
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