Can i commute on a super-sport motorcycle?
Commuting on a super-sport Motorcycle
A super-sport motorcycle is designed for the track. It’s purpose is to accelerate fast, brake hard and carry speed through corners as fast as possible. They have an aggressive seating and handlebar position to achieve these important needs. Super-sport motorcycles are not designed for riding to and from work every day, tackling the city traffic or putting in miles down the highway. Can you commute on a super-sport motorcycle? The short answer is YES! Commuting on any motorcycle is possible, provided your prepared with the correct gear and have experience with the particular motorcycle your riding. If you love what you ride, the experience will always be enjoyable. Personally I rode a cbr250rr mc22 (great beginner bike) to and from work for years and I still commute on a super-sport today. As long as you know what you’re in for when it comes to the aggressive riding position, hard seat and high foot pegs, the commute will be awesome.
Preperation is key!
Once the decision has been made to commute to work on your super-sport motorcycle, you will need to plan accordingly. Prepare your motorcycle for the miles ahead by making sure its properly serviced and running nicely. Once it’s time for new tyres make sure you get some sport touring tyres (hard rubber in the middle for the straight line miles, soft on the edges for getting a knee down). Once the bike is ready for action, prepare your body for the grind both physically and gear wise. Personally I have 3 different sets of riding gear that I chose depending on the weather conditions. This is wet weather gear, cold weather gear and warm weather gear. Click here for a price list of my gear. If your commute involves any highway riding or higher speed riding, earplugs are needed. Long exposure to wind noise will damage your hearing, not to mention it can be very uncomfortable.
What do you need to take with you to work? A laptop, a change of clothes or your lunch. These types of needs can usually fit into a backpack or you can fit your motorcycle with a mounted bag if needed. Personally I keep a pair of waterproof pants rolled up in the back compartment of the bike, ready for a sudden change in weather (keep in mind the back compartment on a super-sport is extremely small!)
The commute to work
Once you and your motorcycle are prepared to commute to and from work, it’s time to prepare for the ride itself. Check out the local weather forecast the day before and morning of the commute. Now decide what gear you will ride with depending on the weather, the most important part of the journey is the ride to work, because getting wet could mean sitting in wet clothes all day. Remember that in heavy rain nothing is completely waterproof, so a change of clothes in your backpack or left at work is good preparation. The commute home is not as critical, if you get wet or cold you can just shower and dry off when you get home. Warm the bike up while you get sorted with your helmet and gloves etc. Now that you’re on the road and heading into work it’s time to enjoy the ride, make sure you allow the tyres to warm up before you get too excited. Know your planned route so you can concentrate on the ride itself, morning traffic can include many stressed out drivers running late and in a hurry. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to work to minimise stress and allow time for any unexpected holdups like accidents or heavier than usual traffic. Experiment with different traffic routes to make your commute more efficient or your ride more enjoyable.
Commuting home is the easier and usually stress free part. This is where you can really enjoy riding the bike without a time limit, the traffic is usually not as stressful and your heading back to the security of your house to shower and secure the motorcycle.
Navigating the commute
Depending on the location of your work and house, everyone’s commute is different, but the same principles apply. Your riding style will change depending on the road, traffic and weather conditions. The commute may consist of residential riding, highway riding or city riding. Personally for my commute, I ride out of the suburbs towards the highway, where I take a 20-30km highway ride into the city, then navigate the city streets towards my workplace. Lane splitting is legal for me so once I enter the city, I lane split most of the way through the heavy traffic. Being on a super-sport is super convenient for lane splitting with the motorcycle being thinner and the handlebars more aggressive, making it easier to fit through tight gaps in traffic. Super-sports are usually easier to see and hear for other motorists. Lane splitting can also be useful on the highway if there’s been an incident and traffic is at a standstill. Both navigating traffic and parking are the super positives out of commuting on any motorcycle. While riding keep a personal safety bubble of space around yourself. Always assume other motorists have not seen you, so keep out of vehicle blind spots and be very cautious while in the personal space of other vehicles. While riding in wet weather conditions it is much more dangerous for the rider. Visibility for everyone on the road is worse, and you will have less control over the motorcycle when it comes to traction and braking, the same goes for other vehicles as well. Make sure if riding in the wet to give yourself more time to get to work, slow things down and be extra careful.
Make sure you grip the bike with your legs and use your core to hold yourself up as much as possible. When riding in heavy traffic and using the brakes constantly, it’s easy to forget to hold yourself up and let all your weight down into your wrists. A few days of this will really force a rider to concentrate on their riding positionas your arms and wrists get owned.
Once you get to work, now what?
Now that you have arrived at the workplace, you will need to park the motorcycle somewhere safe. This will vary depending on your workplace, but the best security is vision. Park in a place that you can see easily during the day, or at least get to easily to check on the bike during lunch or small breaks. Motorcycles are very easy to steal and damage making your parking choices very important. Parking and security is your main concern, so have this pre-planned before you ride to work. A heavy duty security chain will offer the most protection from thieves, but use as many methods as you can to reduce the risk (bike alarm, gps tracker, disk lock). At the end of the day the most protection you can have against theft is insurance, so keep this in mind when insuring your motorcycle. You will also need a place to securely store your gear, which can be an issue for some workplaces. If your moving around on the job or don’t have a secure place to store anything, I like to find a friendly face and store my gear in the corner of their office, or maybe a co-worker or friend has a car you can lock your gear in. Securing your bike with safe parking can be the hardest part of commuting to work, so give this one some thought and be creative.
Positives of commuting on a super-sport
- Handlebars are tilted in an aggressive position close to the tank – useful for lane splitting and fitting in tight gaps
- Lighter motorcycles, cutting down on weight – easier to negotiate traffic
- Awesome looks – Usually bright colors for visibility
- Loud and unique sounds – Good for being noticed
- High acceleration – Good for entering traffic and highway negotiation
Negatives of commuting on a super-sport
- Can get hot sitting in traffic (especially the bigger bikes)
- Needs plenty of airflow to keep cool
- Stock seat is usually hard
- Stock suspension tuned for performance, not comfort
- Low windscreen for highway riding
- High footpegs
- Very uncomfortable for pillion passengers
- Easy to break the speed limits without noticing
Riding a super-sport motorcycle to work can be a very enjoyable experience. Preparation is definitely key to having a successful commute to work. There are plenty of positives and negatives to riding a super-sport to work, but the same can be said for any motorcycle. If you love riding motorcycles, why not turn your usually hated and stressful work commute into an enjoyable riding experience.