Tips for Motorcycle Commuting

The great thing about motorcycle commuting is that you get to add at least two motorcycle rides to every work day, plus the bonus of occasional head-clearing rides during your lunch hour. But riding to and from work on two wheels is demanding. Riderstaffers commute every day and we deal with rush-hour traffic, gridlocked freeways, frenetic city streets and crowded parking lots, as well as occasional close calls, bouts of bad weather, flat tires, unexpectedly empty gas tanks and—mercifully rare—accidents.

1) Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb

Commuting is not the time to try and look cool in your black leather jacket and matte-black helmet, which makes you all but invisible to today’s distracted, smartphone-addicted drivers. The smart move is to make yourself as conspicuous as possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to wear hi-viz apparel.

2) Dress Like a Spaceman

Road warriors should never go into battle without their armor. Adhere to ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) and wear a full-face helmet, armored jacket and pants, gloves and boots. Or, instead of a jacket and pants, go with Aerostich’s Roadcrafter, which has been around for more than 30 years and is the go-to one-piece riding suit for many motorcycle commuters. You can zip in and out of a Roadcrafter in seconds, and it’s designed to be worn over regular clothes.

3) Flip Your Lid

Every motorcycle commuter should wear a full-coverage helmet that protects his or her entire head. For added convenience, consider a flip-up or modular helmet, such as the Shoei Neotec. A quick-release button allows you to raise the chinbar so you can talk to a gas station attendant, toll taker or friendly bystander without having to remove your helmet.

4) Be a Middleweight Champ

The best motorcycle to commute on is one you already own. But if you can choose among several motorcycles in your garage, or if you’re considering buying a bike to commute on, we recommend a contemporary machine with modern suspension, tires and ABS-equipped brakes.

5) Be a Hard Ass

As a motorcycle commuter, you’ll want to be able to easily transport stuff to and from work, such as your lunch, a laptop, a pair of work shoes (since you’ll be wearing motorcycle boots on the bike) or groceries you picked up on the way home. Hard-sided, lockable luggage is the way to go.