Best Motorcycles and Scooters for Commuting
2020 was a difficult yet transformative year for many people. The ongoing restrictions that Covid-19 has brought have meant changing the way we live our lives. One area greatly impacted is commuting to work (for those not able to work from home). If you want to avoid crowded public transport, and frankly who doesn’t, then now is the perfect time to switch your commute to a scooter or motorcycle!
Once you’ve completed your CBT Training with RideTo, the next task is to find a suitable bike for the daily commute. Here are our choices of six of the best motorcycles and scooters for commuting.
Honda PCX125First on our list is a Honda. There are numerous reasons why this is the best selling scooter in the UK. It looks good, is frugal, very practical and is a joy to own and ride. The liquid cooled 125cc engine is spritely, yet Honda claims a massive 134mpg can be squeezed out of it. It’s a thoroughly modern styled and specced scooter with LED lights and a digital dash. Couple this with good weather protection, ample under seat storage, good road manners and bulletproof Honda reliability and you have yourself a hassle free scooter for commuting. At £2999 it's not going to break the bank either.
We couldn’t ignore putting a 50cc scooter on our list, and the king of those has to be the sporty little SR50. The bonus of a 50cc scooter is that you can ride one without L plates if you have a full car licence (assuming you passed your test prior to February 2001). If you don’t fall in this category then a CBT certificate will be required. Despite its diminutive capacity the Aprilia offers a surprisingly sporty ride, which has made it a dream teenage starter bike for decades. The liquid cooled two stroke single cylinder engine offers punchy performance, and with its very light weight, the SR50 is a perfect machine for nipping around city streets. Unusually for a 50cc scooter it has disc brakes front and rear, as well as chunky 130 section tyres which give it a real sure footedness in all weather conditions. Again with a price of £2,699 it’s as easy on the bank balance as it is on the eye. A perfect scooter for commuting short distances.
The ultimate city commuter, particularly in London has to be an electric scooter and the Niu NGT is one of the best currently available. It makes huge sense not only from an environmental point of view but also financial. With a range of up to 60 miles and a 3.5 hour charge time it works for all but the longest commutes. It's a classic yet futuristic looking scooter with a 3000w motor which will propel it to a top speed of 45mph. At £3200 (with the government's plug in car grant) it is more expensive than its combustion competition. But, factor in the zero road fund licence fee, congestion charge exemption and minimal service costs then it starts making a lot of sense. A full charge of the two lithium 60w batteries costs under 20p, even the most frugal of petrol engines are not going to get near that. Electric motors are well known for their instant torque and the Niu will keep up with any of the 125cc machines on the market, but it will do it silently whilst saving the polar bears. What's not to like?
Vespa GTS Super 125
If you intend to ride a scooter for commuting and are looking for a little more style and Chic, then look no further than the GTS from Vespa. Its classic styling and metal bodywork take you back to the romance of films like Roman Holiday. (Although we can assure you your RideTo Partner School will have you riding better than Audrey Hepburn did!) Despite its old school looks the Super 125 is chock full of modern technology. The i-get engine offers great fuel economy, improved greatly by its ‘start stop’ technology. There is plenty of storage space and fantastic weather protection. Its price at £4,499 is a bit of a premium to a run of the mill scooter, but the style, impeccable road manners and resale value more than make up for this. Using this scooter for commuting will definitely bring a smile to your face.
On to full manual motorcycles now and first on the list is Yamaha MT-125. This is a bike that can be ridden after completing your Compulsory Basic Training, and it's certainly a handsome machine. It obviously shares the DNA of the MT series and looks like a ‘post diet’ version of the fire breathing 157 hp MT-10. The looks are backed up with an LCD dash, LED lights, slip assist clutch and wide tyres, which make for a motorcycle equally at home exploring the countryside at the weekend as it is cutting through traffic on your weekday commute. It’s £4500 price tag is a step up, but this 15hp 125cc single cylinder machine will reach a top speed of 80mph and is comfortable and flexible enough for all day riding.
It seemed only fair to include an electric motorcycle in the list as well and the Zero S is a good, yet expensive option. It is powered by an 11kw electric motor which is classed the same as a 125cc petrol engine. It can therefore be ridden after completing a CBT course. It offers the same benefits as the Niu mentioned above in terms of Road fund licence and congestion charge exemption, but offers more range and more performance. In fact 11kw electric motorcycles will outperform their combustion engined counterparts across almost every measure. The Zero S will reach 90mph and offers 78ft/lb of torque (that's more than a Ducati 959 Panigale!) So you get a full sized motorcycle that can be ridden on a CBT certificate, it's great for commuting (particularly in cities with a congestion charge) and works as a weekend warrior too, assuming you don’t want to go too far. The only drawback is the cost, at £11,490 it's the most expensive option on our list.
Honda NC750X DCT
The last commuter motorcycle machine on our list is reserved for riders with a full or A2 licence. The NC750x has been a long time favourite of commuters who have perhaps a longer journey. The bike is a combination of bomb proof Honda reliability, frugal fuel economy, comfort and practicality. The ‘dct’ version is fitted with the automatic dual clutch transmission. The lack of clutch lever and foot gear shifter make for incredibly relaxed and easy riding. It performs faultlessly and effectively turns the NC750x a big twist and go. The bike is well specced of course, but one of its best design features is the storage capacity. Those clever designers at Honda fitted the fuel tank under the seat which left enough room in the dummy ‘tank’ to store a full face helmet. A very handy feature for a commuter! The Honda also offers great value at £7799 which is why it's been one of the most popular commuter bikes for many years.