There’s something very liberating about hopping on a motorcycle, twisting the throttle, and hitting the road—especially when you live in Oakland or San Francisco. Motorcycles are not only a great economical way to get around as an everyday commuter option, they’re fun to ride as well. But, take it from me as a Northern and Southern California motorcycle accident lawyer that it can be more dangerous if you are riding the wrong bike for city conditions. When you live in the city you don’t need an oversized monster between your knees. (Especially if you are prone to lane-splitting to get in front of traffic at stoplights.) In fact, riding a bike that’s not specifically suited for urban streets can make getting around in crowded neighborhoods all that much more difficult. And parking and storing bigger bikes becomes much more challenging as well. But you don’t have to compromise everything you like about riding in Oakland or San Francisco just to get a set of wheels that work for you.
Below you’ll find 5 of the best motorcycles for urban areas—classy yet compact!
- The Suzuki TU250X
Suzuki has been making economical motorcycles for decades but they often get overlooked (mostly because of the media hype surrounding other brands of bikes). But if you ask just about anyone they’ve probably either ridden or owned a Suzuki bike in the past. Many motorcyclists even learn to ride on these bikes. Why? Because, like the TU250X most Suzukis are easy to use and maintain, have great gas mileage (up to 80 mpg), and are affordable. The TU250X is great for beginners in urban environments because it’s small (just 320 pounds give or take) and only spits out 16 horsepower so you don’t have to worry about it running away with you.
- The Honda Grom
The name makes me think this bike is for kids (young surfers are referred to as “groms”), but this tiny little bike is wonderful for tucking away in stairwells and alcoves when parking is tight. It weighs just 225 pounds! It is a bit underpowered but the mediocre 125cc engine does dramatically increase efficiency—making Honda’s Grom at least one step up from moped or Vespa. Think of it as an entry-level machine.
- Ducati Scrambler (Sixty2)
While Ducati has struggled to carve out a foothold in the American market, their motorcycles have become staples in cities all over the world—especially in Europe and The U.K. The Scrambler is probably their most popular model but it may be a bit big for getting around the city on a day-to-day basis. Enter the Sixty2. This model is essentially the same bike with a smaller 399cc engine and a weight of just a hair over 400 pounds. The styling is really something special too—it’s off-road inspired complete with immense travel distance on the rear suspension and a stripped down design.
- The Kawasaki KLR650
If you’re looking for something you can actually take off-road on occasion—say on camping trips to Big Sur or weekends away in the desert east of Los Angeles —the KLR650 is a great supermoto mix. It combines the performance and small profile of a city bike with the suspension, and accoutrements (hand guards, windshield, fenders) of an off-road adventurer. It’s a bit on the heavy side at 430 pounds—which may make it a bit of a challenge to handle—but experienced riders will love the all-around performance in a tight, affordable package.
- The Harley Davidson Street 750
No list of motorcycles would be complete without at least one legendary Harley Davidson. This iconic motorcycle manufacturer has really captured the spirit of American motorcycling over the past 80 years or so. But you don’t often think Harley when you think city bike. The Street 750 is here to change that. This is the first completely new machine from Harley in ten years and was voted by Gear Patrol as the best cruising bike for city dwellers. The sleek chassis and minimalist lines don’t scream Harley but the performance does. This frame is noticeably more stable than many of the lighter bikes on this list and is available with either a 750 or a 500 strapped underneath.
Urban Riding Versus Rural Riding
National statistics show that almost half of all motorcycle accidents happen in cities like Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose. More fatalities occur in rural areas (likely due to increased speed) but when you’re travelling just inches from cars, trucks, and city buses, the opportunity for a wreck is ever-present. Urban riders have a responsibility to protect themselves (and others) from harm. This includes picking a bike that fits their body type, experience level, road conditions and commuting needs.
However, most motorcycle accidents in California are caused by automobile operators. In cases like those, there is help for injured riders. The experienced Oakland motorcycle accident lawyers at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers have successfully helped victims get the compensation they deserve both in court and in out-of-court settlements.
To see if we can help you get back on your feet, submit your case online now for a free evaluation or call (510) 858-2231 today.