Top 10 Urban Bikes For City Commuting


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Major metropolitan areas, whether they’re big, sprawling cities or smaller suburban towns, tend to have streets with no shortage of traffic. As such, it can be a challenge for motorcycle riders to commute to and from work. If that’s something you tend to do, it is critical to know what kind of bike can handle city stress and be fun to ride at the same time. Enter urban motorcycles. These can be conveniently used within cities, thanks to their easy rideability, convenient handling, and good fuel economy.




It may be obvious, but it’s worth noting that size truly does matter when it comes to the motorcycle you choose. You wouldn’t find it comfortable to ride the small Honda Rebel 300 on a cross-country road trip. Conversely, those oversized touring bikes that are perfect for road trips, like the Kawasaki Concours, become a liability in the city. Urban bikes are ideal for navigating narrow and congested city streets. They are lightweight, nimble, and pack enough power for occasional fun when you find a traffic-free stretch. The trick is finding a motorcycle that has just the right amount of power, married to the right amount of weight. That’s easier said than done, which is why we’ve curated this special list of some kickass urban two-wheelers.

UPDATE: 2024/03/07 10:09 EST BY UTKARSH SOOD

With cities growing at a quick rate, and gas prices climbing ever higher, more and more residents are choosing motorcycles as their commuting vehicles. With manufacturers releasing new models every year, it could be tough to know which bike is the right for your commute. In order to keep our readers up to speed on all the latest releases, we have updated this article with new information. Older entries have been updated with the latest details and new motorcycles have been added to make sure all information is timely to include some of the newer releases.


In order to give you the most up-to-date information possible, the data used to complete this article was sourced directly from the manufacturer’s website alongside authoritative sites. The models are listed in terms of their MSRPs, from the highest to the lowest.

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15 Ducati Monster +

Starting MSRP: $12,995

Red 2024 Ducati Monster 937 Plus cruising over a bridge
Ducati

Leave it to Ducati to rock the house with aesthetic choices that forever divide its fans. To some, there was no better version of the Monster than the previous generation. Then Ducati went and changed it all, criticism be damned. And though the Monster may have lost the iconic trellis frame, its looks are not as bad as some may claim. But such superficiality aside, Ducati’s Testastretta 11° twin engine is the real star of the show, seemingly tailor-made for city streets.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

937cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Testatretta 11° Desmodromic 90° V2

Power

111 horsepower

Torque

69 pound-feet

Weight

414 pounds (wet)

Fuel Economy

~45 MPG

The engine is more than enough to scream down the highway and fast roads of any town. It also has a quickshifter, wheelie control, and power modes that allow for adjustability of the performance based on road conditions. The seat height is a manageable 32.3 inches, perfect for around-town slow-speed maneuvers. Overall, there’s nothing upsetting about its excellent performance and handling.


14 Zero S

Starting MSRP: $12,995

2024 Zero S Motorcycle, On the road shot
Zero Motorcycles

The Zero S may be an electric bike, but it is an urban naked at its heart. The S has a slightly higher stance than other bikes on this list, making it a great option for someone taller. It also manages an 89-mile range, perfect for someone who plans to stick to urban city riding.

Performance Specifications

Battery

14.4 kWh

Engine Type

Z-Force 75-7 enhanced thermal efficiency, passively air-cooled, interior PMAC

Power

68 horsepower

Torque

97 pound-feet

Weight

492 pounds

Fuel Economy

380 MPGe


Meanwhile, it can accomplish a top speed of 98 mph, so there is plenty of punch for when you feel feisty. The suspension is tough, so it excels in cities with bumpy roads too. Not to forget, its ridiculous fuel economy.

13 Harley-Davidson Nightster

Starting MSRP: $11,999

Harley-Davidson Nightster
Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson is doing a lot of fun things with their latest Revolution liquid-cooled engine. One of those things is the extremely successful Pan America adventure motorcycle. That bike isn’t exactly the right choice for city riding, though it’ll do just fine getting you to the nearest Starbucks. A far better choice would be the Nightster, which comes very close to being a good, affordable city bike.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

975cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Revolution® Max V-Twin DOHC

Power

90 horsepower

Torque

70 pound-feet

Weight

481 pounds (wet)

Fuel Economy

52 MPG

It has a great, classic cruiser style, a modern, reliable engine full of character, and a sporty seating position with mid-controls. With 90 horsepower in your right hand, on a lightweight and nimble chassis, the Nightster is the ideal cruiser choice for commuting in the city.

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12 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle

Starting MSRP: $10,995

Ducati Scrambler-Full-Throttle
Ducati


Ducati’s super successful lineup of urban assault vehicles known as the Scramblers continues to evolve. One of the newer models, the Full Throttle, strips back some of the flourishes that have become the hallmark of the Scrambler lineup in favor of producing a motorcycle that is more easily customizable. Its small, compact frame, characterful motor, and handsome minimalist styling are perfect for anyone willing to brave the streets of a big city.

Performance Specifications

Displacement

803cc

Engine Type

Air-cooled Desmodromic L-Twin

Power

73 horsepower

Torque

49 pound-feet

Weight

408 pounds

Fuel Economy

44.6 MPG


This nimble package has a flat, comfortable seat and improved suspension to handle both the rider and passenger when needed. Though it’s one of the cheaper Ducati options, the bike comes standard with LED lights, an informative display, and dual-channel Bosch cornering ABS. You may not be scrambling up a mountain on the Icon Dark, but it’ll get you to your work desk in style.

11 KTM Duke 790

Starting MSRP: $9,499

2024 KTM 790 DUKE front 3/4 action shot
Rudi Schedl via KTM

It has been given a surreal nickname, but it may as well be a scalpel due to its sharp looks and handling. The Duke 790 is subjectively the best-looking KTM, with the alien bug aesthetics dialed way back in favor of minimalism, sharp angles, and exposed engine components. If the goal is to get through city traffic with haste, while turning heads in the process, then KTM was right on the money.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

799cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Parallel-twin DOHC

Power

105 horsepower

Torque

64 pound-feet

Weight

414 pounds

Fuel Economy

45 to 50 MPG

The ride-by-wire system delivers smooth throttle response from the torquey engine. The handlebars are adjustable, allowing for maximum comfort when you’re forced to go through stop-and-go traffic. Yes, the nickname is a bit much, but the way the Duke 790 cuts through congestion, it’s not entirely undeserved.


10 Triumph Trident 660

Starting MSRP: $8,595

Silver Trident 660 rounding a bend
Triumph

Nothing compares to having a Triumph as a means of transportation. The British company released the Trident in 2021, and the best part was that it was a triple! That’s correct, they made the price extremely competitive and based the engine on its Street Triple 675 and put it in a capable frame designed for navigating through cities.

Performance Specifications

Displacement

660cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Inline-three

Power

80 horsepower

Torque

47 pound-feet

Weight

416.7 pounds

Fuel Economy

35 to 40 MPG


Now in 2024, it remains among the best commuter bikes out there. The bike’s agility should not be taken for granted, for it is far more capable of handling lengthy road excursions. ABS, a TFT display, and ride modes are just a few of its many features. What more could you ask for?

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9 Kawasaki Eliminator 450

Starting MSRP: $6,649

Rider sitting astride a white 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 450
Kawasaki

When Kawasaki launched the new Eliminator, they had their sights on the entry-level retro motorcycle market. Perhaps the most worried in the segment was the Honda Rebel. Given the Honda cruiser’s extensive background and widespread appeal, Team Green lacked any resources to take on the popular kid in the market. But the Eliminator does that quite well.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

451cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Parallel-twin DOHC

Power

45 horsepower

Torque

26 pound-feet

Weight

385.9 pounds

Fuel Economy

45 MPG

The US-spec Eliminator has a 450cc mill with 31.7 pound-feet of torque. Its weight advantage of 22 pounds over the Rebel is another factor that ensures you’ll reach serious speeds fast. Plus, the Honda lacks a pillion saddle and smartphone connectivity–both standard inclusions on the Kawasaki.

8 Honda Rebel 500

Starting MSRP: $6,499

Driver turning on a grey dirt bike.
Honda


Honda has gone to great lengths in order to leave the aging, gasping Rebel 250 in the past. Though some may look back on that decades-old model as the ideal beginner cruiser, Honda would rather you forget about it and choose the 500 version in its place. It’s a thoroughly modern bike and the engine virtually guarantees that the Rebel will stay in your stable for a long time. Though it’s a bit on the heavier side, do not assume that the high curb weight will translate to sluggish handly. After all, Hondas do a great job at hiding their hefts.

Performance Specifications

Displacement

471cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Parallel-twin DOHC

Power

46 horsepower

Torque

30 pound-feet

Weight

408 pounds

Fuel Economy

67 MPG


The kicked-out and oversized front tire lengthen the wheelbase, making it easier to control. It also has a very low seat, making it more comfortable to ride in stop-and-go traffic. Honda also adds plenty of features, such as LED lighting and ABS. There is also an extensive aftermarket lineup of parts and accessories. This makes it simple to customize your bike.

7 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401

Starting MSRP: $5,899

Husqvarna Svartpilen 401
Husqvarna

The Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 has an engine and chassis platform taken from the KTM 390 series. It is then outfitted with ultra-modern and urban-looking body styling. It is a perfect example of taking the typically vintage-inspired café racer design and turning it into a fresh and modern aesthetic.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

399cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Single-cylinder

Power

44.6 horsepower

Torque

28.9 pound-feet

Weight

350 pounds

Fuel Economy

69 MPG

Your body will appreciate the large and supportive seat. Your pride will appreciate the high quality and cool image this bike will help you cultivate. And since the wheelbase is on the longer side, you’ll appreciate the straightline stability.

6 Kawasaki Z400

Starting MSRP: $5,399

White Kawasaki Z400 cruising through town
Kawasaki


The upright riding position of the Kawasaki Z400 makes it a perfect commuter motorcycle. Its light curb weight and low seat make it ideal for city riding, too. Comfortably put your feet on the ground as you walk your bike in rush hour traffic. The short wheelbase contributes to the responsiveness of the bike.

Performance Specifications

Displacement

399cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Parallel-twin DOHC

Power

45 horsepower

Torque

28 pound-feet

Weight

364 pounds

Fuel Economy

~ 60 MPG


In addition, Kawasaki makes the Z400 worth buying by including performance features that you would typically only find on more expensive motorcycles. The slipper clutch and anti-lock brakes are just two of these nice-to-have features.

5 Honda CB300R

Starting MSRP: $5,149

Black Honda CB300R overhead view
Honda

The Neo-Sport Café model from Honda pays homage to the traditional, homegrown café racers. Although the CB300R’s engine is essentially the same as that of its predecessor, the CB300F, it was updated in 2017 and continues to be among the greatest city-suited models to come out of Honda’s factory.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

286cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled single-cylinder DOHC

Power

31 horsepower

Torque

20.3 pound-feet

Weight

319 pounds

Fuel Economy

70 to 75 MPG

It features a modest pull weight at the lever to offer your left hand a little respite, and a slipper-style clutch that transfers the engine power to a six-speed transmission for some anti-hop safety. Its 20.3 pound-feet of torque and 31 horsepower provide the ideal amount of power for your everyday commutes. All the while returning an impressive fuel economy.

4 Yamaha MT-03

Starting MSRP: $4,999

Yamaha MT-03 action shot
Yamaha


There are plenty of fantastic city bikes in Yamaha’s lineup. But it all starts with the MT-03. Small, nimble, and tons of fun, the MT-03 is a beginner’s dream bike. Coming in at just under $5,000, the baby streetfighter retains the bonkers looks of its larger siblings, while keeping the weight off and the comfort high. The seat is 30.7 inches tall, which is very reasonable for city riding, where stop-and-go traffic is the norm.

Performance Specifications

Displacement

321cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Parallel-twin DOHC

Power

41 horsepower

Torque

24 pound-feet

Weight

373 pounds

Fuel Economy

56 MPG


It also comes standard with ABS, LED lights, and a twin-cylinder engine (unusual for its class, where single cylinders typically rule). And other than an LCD instrument screen, there’s not much else between you, the bike, and the road. If you’re just starting out on motorcycles, and on the lookout for a fun, light bike, you couldn’t possibly go wrong with the MT-03.

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3 Triumph Speed 400

Starting MSRP: $4,995

Red 2024 Triumph Speed 400 rounding a bend
Triumph

Triumph’s 400 twins have caused quite a stir. You get a great, tractable engine with great fueling and low-end torque in both motorcycles. Both, the Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X are excellent motorcycles. But the Scrambler has a slightly longer-travel suspension design for minor off-roading, so our pick would be the Speed 400 for city stints.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

398cc

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled Single cylinder

Power

39.5 horsepower

Torque

27.7 pound-feet

Weight

375 pounds

Fuel Economy

80 MPG

If you are looking for a commuter motorcycle that looks dashing, offers everyday fun without sacrificing horsepower, and ergonomics that you wouldn’t complain about during rush hour traffic, hardly any bike comes close to the Speed 400. Oh, and it is a Triumph. Don’t you dare forget that!

2 Royal Enfield Hunter 350

Starting MSRP: $3,999

2024 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Dapper G 1
Royal Enfield


The Royal Enfield Hunter makes for a rather nifty sub-350cc commuter. Similar to other budget-friendly RE models, the sales are mostly driven by the overall value rather than the power. Its engine, which is built on Enfield’s brand-new J series platform, is rated at about 20 horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque.

Performance Specifications

Displacement

349cc

Engine Type

Air-cooled Single cylinder SOHC

Power

20.2 horsepower

Torque

19.9 pound-feet

Weight

400 pounds

Fuel Economy

85 MPG


The bike has classic design features, identical to all Enfield vehicles. Several superfluous decorations from the brand’s more conventional cruisers have been removed from the Hunter, giving it a cleaner, sportier aesthetic. It’s an excellent option for a city bike because it’s more agile than its counterparts.

1 Honda Grom

Starting MSRP: $3,599

White 2022 Honda Grom cruising up the road
Honda

There is no denying that the ultimate urban motorcycle is the Honda Grom. It is so light that you could pick it up and move it if you had to. Its small size makes it ideal for finding the tightest parking spots. So you never have to worry about parking far away and walking.


Performance Specifications

Displacement

124cc

Engine Type

Air-cooled Single-cylinder SOHC

Power

9.7 horsepower at 7,250 RPM

Torque

7.7 pound-feet at 5,500 RPM

Weight

224 pounds (wet)

Fuel Economy

166.5 MPG

Additionally, the Grom is so popular that you are sure to find fellow Grom riders. Joining a group or pack brings a sense of joy and camaraderie to the experience. While you are at it, browse the extensive accessories and parts catalog to customize your new commuter bike.



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