Conquering the Commute: Riding to Work

The hyper-efficient Honda NC700X equipped for commuting by Twisted Throttle
The hyper-efficient Honda NC700X equipped for commuting by Twisted Throttle

With gas prices continuing to climb and free time being a limited and cherished resource, riding a motorcycle to work just makes good sense. Check out these points below to see how and why to make motorcycle commuting work for you:

Save Time, Save Money

According to the Ride To Work website, the average U.S. commute is a mixed route, meaning it requires workers take a combination of open roads and city surface streets. It’s 29 miles long and takes, by car, about 55 minutes to complete.

Now compare that to commuters who ride motorcycles they shave an impressive 33 minutes off this same commute. Add that up coming and going, and that’s an extra hour-plus every day and who couldn’t use that? Add to this the fact that passenger cars have an average mpg of 22.3, but motorcycles get an average 50.1 mpg. That’s more than twice the fuel mileage, which translates into some big savings each week at the gas pump.


If you’re concerned about any inconveniences riding a motorcycle to work may present, investigate the variety of motorcycle accessories that are available and convenient for riders to use. There is gear to keep you safe, warm and comfortable during commute times.

Perhaps the most vital accessory is a good, sturdy helmet. Helmets protect your brain from injury and decrease the likelihood of death. They come in different styles, including open-face, half-coverage and full-face just make sure to wear one that fits snugly. To lessen the helmet-hair effect, get a ventilated helmet, which decreases how much your head sweats.

There are in-helmet earphones that enable riders to enjoy music and still be able to hear traffic and sirens, and radio and stereo features that work with your MP3 device. Garment cases enable you to pack work clothes on your bike and keep them clean and wrinkle-free.

Be Safe (and Save on Insurance)

New riders should take a motorcycle safety course. Not only will it make you a safer rider, but successful completion usually gets you a break on insurance costs, too. (just make sure the course you enroll in is recognized by your insurance provider).

Safety courses teach riders how to start and stop, how to inspect a motorcycle and how to maneuver in varying traffic situations. They also teach riders how to recognize and avoid potential hazards, including blind spots.

Nick Ienatsch of explained, If you can’t see the driver’s face in the car’s mirror, that driver can’t see you and you simply don’t exist. He suggests motorcyclists use acceleration, deceleration and lane position to “ride in the mirrors” of the cars around you, adding, The Highway Patrol teaches its riders to constantly move through traffic, to ride slightly (slightly!) faster than traffic and move through blind spots rather than sitting in them. Good advice.

Commuting can be Cool… No, Really!

If you think motorcycle commuting has to be drudgery, then you’re missing the point. Check out this video of Twisted Throttle’s fully ticked out urban commuter, the Honda NC700X. The hyper-efficient adventure styled “soft roader” makes 64-73mpg, and does it with a fair bit of fun.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. J. Rose says:

    A missed opportunity I think, see Overland Magazine’s motorcycle review of the NC700X says it all. May be a few more cc’s = more torque, a larger tank with the fuel cap a’la BMW F650,= 300+ miles & a good touring motorcycle


  2. Jason says:

    How does riding a motorcycle to work shave 33 minutes off the commute unless you live in California? Lane splitting is illegal is every other state in the US.

    Riding my motorcycle to work takes exactly the same time as my car. The bike averages 40 mpg on premium while the car gets 45 on regular. The bike goes through a $350 set (2) of tires in 6500 miles while the car goes through a $350 (4) set of tires every 50,000 miles. I would still ride if the route was interesting but sitting in stop-an-go traffic for 7 miles / 30 minutes followed by 20 miles / 20 minutes on the freeway isn’t my idea of a good time.


  3. Alex says:

    You right, Jason… We can’t save our time without line splitting.
    It’s everything about money… Ticketing for splitting = more money to city budget… Standing in heavy traffic = more money for oil company…
    Allowing to ride without protection gears/helmet = mach less money for insurance company for hospital treatment… Death is chipper for them, than treatment…(((
    This kind of “care” for bikers is a big fake…
    Around the world we can see totally different picture: line splitting, free parking, special spot in front of stop line… must to wear the helmet…
    Who care?…


  4. Tom says:

    In my town in Minnesota we have special car pool lanes which motorcycles are allowed to use, which can save 10-15 minutes on my 45 minute commute. My car gets 23 mpg while my bike gets 40, so it’s another win for the bike. I think my situation is more typical than Jason’s.


  5. Sam Chidester says:

    My commute is 55 miles one way, straight through the heart of Houston, Texas ; about 30% surface streets, the rest freeway and HOV lanes. This I have been doing for 25 years, the last 18 on a motorcycle as often as not, with over 200,000 miles racked up on 5 motorcycles so far. These include a Suzuki GS850G, BMW K1100LT, Kawasaki Voyager XII, Honda CX500, and a Yamaha Majesty 400 scooter. Houston offers year round riding weather, if you can ride in the rain (46 inches per year) and deal with the heat (110 F heat index not uncommon). The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are free to motorcycles, this thanks to some good lobbying leverage exerted by the American Motorcycle Association when the HOV’s first came into being. These HOV lanes reduce my commute time by about 30 minutes compared to slogging it out in regular traffic in a cage (4 wheeled vehicle). I have found the people commuting to work in Houston to be purposeful but polite. Its not very often that I see a reckless or really rude commuter. Also Houston commuters are in aggregate pretty good drivers since they get a lot of practice time behind the wheel! Cost wise, if you ride cheap bikes like mine and do your own maintenance, it probably pencils out a little cheaper than a fuel efficient car, but not enough to make up for the safety deficit in most people’s minds. For me safety isn’t much of an issue, since the only place I feel really at home is on a motorcycle. I’ve been riding 46 years and, after a really bad crash early on, have acquired kind of a traffic 6th sense i.e. learned how to read traffic “body language” and have braking / counter steering / 360 traffic awareness that is pretty much running as a continuous sub-routine in my brain. For someone new to motorcycling this commute across town in Houston is not one I would recommend. But for me, sometimes it is the best part of my day!


  6. Steve B. says:

    I’m contemplating replacing my heavily farkled ST1300 (cruise control, sat radio, CB…) for a 700/750X. I took out a demo last year and found that it really is a different ride from all my other bikes from the 1970s onward. The low red line was a real frustrating element of this bike. I was constantly bumping the rev limiter on moderate to hard acceleration.

    Sure, it has lots of torque (for a 700). But this engine is a whole new mindset in riding. It means shifting way before your programmed synapses tell you to. The bike handles great, is comfortable, has the cool storage. Those of you who call it a scooter because of that feature…get over yourselves. It’s damned handy at no cost to form or function. But learning to shift at car rpm levels will be hard.

    To equip it for long weekend touring is starting to get better with more after market stuff. This video has me thinking hard about lightening my saving account.


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