Motorcycles are one of the best options for commuters, especially in cities, as they are cheap to run, easy to park and often have low emissions. The last point is particularly important as low-emission zones are becoming more prevalent in UK cities and commuter areas.
But with so many to choose from, how do you know which motorbike to get? Read our blog on the best commuter motorbikes to find some great options that can handle all-year-round riding. All the bikes on this list are ULEZ-compliant so you don’t have to worry about paying the ULEZ charge.
1. BMW F900XR
The BMW F900XR is more than just a commuter motorcycle, but often the best ones are. It’s sporty yet comfortable, and is able to cover daily use no matter the surface – as long as you don’t ride it off-road. The F900XR has a relaxed upright seating position, making it easy to ride over long distances, as well as a wind and weather protector, which are ideal if you need the bike for commuting all year round.
BMW’s F900XR complies with Euro 5 emission standards, meaning you shouldn’t need to pay ULEZ or CAZ charges. Bought new, the bike will set you back just under £10,000. You can get older models for between £6,000 and £9,000, but make sure they’re Euro 3 compliant and above to avoid paying charges when travelling into the city.
The beauty of the F900XR is that it doesn’t just have to be used for commuting. It can also be used for touring, long-distance journeys, short trips to the shops, bragging rights… The only downside is that many report the seat is fairly hard, but if you’re tempted you can purchase a comfort seat to counteract this..
2. Honda NC750X
Considered a favourite for commuters and priced at around £7,800, the NC750X is more affordable than the BMW F900XR. If picking one, go for the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) version – the standard one features short gearing, which can be quite annoying. And, really, why would you want to shift gears when riding in the city traffic?
The most recent 2023 model is Euro 5 compliant, meaning you can safely use it in the city without having to pay the ULEZ or CAZ charge.
The NC750X model has been praised for its reliability and safety features, making it a great bike for commuting and safe weekend fun. While some manufacturers find it difficult to strike the right balance between creating a bike that is both powerful enough to enjoy a long weekend cruise and not too big to ride on city roads, Honda has been able to do this and more with the NC750X. Beginners and biker veterans alike are sure to get a lot out of this model.
3. Vespa Primavera 125 Euro 5
First launched in 1968, the Vespa Primavera has played a big part in the Italian company’s history. The model made a return in 2014 and has been updated regularly ever since. If you’re looking for a fairly low-powered but equally fun, affordable and stylish mode of transport, look no further than the Vespa Primavera 125cc.
The 2020 Euro 5-compliant version is ideal for cosmopolitans living or commuting into cities within low-emission zones. Vespa’s motorbikes have always been elegant and this model is no exception as it borrows some styling tips from the Vespa 946. The latest model also has a fuel consumption figure of 113 miles per gallon, which should get the job done for most commutes.
At around £4,000 new, this is a great commuter bike for beginner riders or those not wanting to spend too much on their daily ride.
4. Honda CB125F
Honda has always been great at producing economical, brilliantly practical, small-engined commuters ever since its world-changing first 50cc Cub in 1958 – the bike that went on to be the world’s best-ever selling vehicle. In the UK, its closest equivalent, arguably, is the Honda CB125F.
First introduced in 2015 as the latest in a long line of 125cc, four-stroke, single cylinder commuters, it’s a no-frills roadster that simply does what it sets out to do incredibly well. It’s easy-as-pie to ride and, thanks to a claimed mpg of 188.4 for the 2021 model (although be warned that you’ll likely get less than this out of the bike), is cheap-as-chips to run as well.
The motor produces 10.7bhp at 7500rpm which is just about enough for 70mph. Assembly in India keeps the price down to as little as £2799 without noticeably sacrificing quality. It’s also lighter and more durable than most at this end of the market, looks good and even has proper twin clocks and a fuel gauge – everything you need, in fact, for that bargain basement commute across town.
Be warned, though, that some riders suggest that the motorbike isn’t as fun to ride on dual carriageways or motorways because it struggles to reach 70mph.
5. Mutt Motorcycles Sabbath 125
Birmingham-based bike builders Mutt Motorcycles, have reinvented the small capacity custom market with their range of 125cc cafe racer-inspired’ bikes. Our favourite of the range – the Sabbath 125 – offers an ultra lightweight stealth matt black frame that is perfect for any new rider wanting to capture a cool look.
Starting from just £3,650, this is another relatively affordable commuter bike that has plenty of attitude. All 2021 models are Euro 5 compliant, so if you’re buying an older model second-hand, make sure you check that they’re compliant. You should find that most Mutt Motorcycles bikes are at least Euro 4 compliant, which is fine for ULEZ and CAZ areas.
6. Suzuki SV650
Often touted as one of the best commuter bikes in the UK, you’re probably not surprised that the Suzuki SV650 has made this list. Despite its nimble size, the SV650 has enough power to jump ahead of the traffic, making it ideal for city riding. Its 650cc engine and 72bhp means that it’s more than capable of completing longer motorway or dual carriageway commutes, and its upright seating position will keep you comfortable throughout.
Starting from around £7,000, the SV650 is a little pricy compared to other bikes on this list, but it certainly does pack a punch for that price. Its versatility allows you to use the bike not only for commuting, but also for fun weekend rides with twisting turns. The 2021 model is Euro 5 compliant so you won’t have to pay the charge in low-emission zones.
Make sure you’ve got motorcycle insurance for your daily commuter
No matter which bike you choose for your daily commute, we offer affordable motorcycle insurance that can be tailored to suit your needs and budget – call us for our best rates on 0330 123 1028 or book a callback at a time that suits you.