We all love to look at rare bikes we might never call our own, don’t we? Yet in most cases, while they’re something lovely to dream about, practicality isn’t necessarily a major concern (if it’s even a concern at all) when daydreaming.

You’re going to think about bikes differently if you’re someone who commutes every day on one, as opposed to someone who only rides on the track or dirt and skips the street entirely. You’ll think about them differently still if you’re someone who collects but doesn’t necessarily ride.

If you’re the first type of rider in the paragraph above, then you’ll probably prefer a bike that can do many (or even most) things reasonably well. Riders of the latter types tend to be more specialized about what they want since they’re mainly concerned with using their bikes for one particular thing. 

Despite such proclamations, there’s no such thing as a perfect bike, after all; only a bike that’s perfect for you. Even that can change over time, which makes things more complicated. The question is, does a bike exist that can do most things you need it to do reasonably well, instead of your needing to have a whole fleet of bikes to accomplish what you want? A Swiss Army Bike (but not the actual bike of the Swiss Army, which is a completely different thing), if you will?

A good Swiss Army knife of a motorbike should have, at a minimum:

  • Enough fuel (or battery) capacity to suit your everyday needs and not make you anxious
  • Enough power to go on all the roads you need to traverse on a daily basis
  • Enough character to keep you interested
  • Not so much perfection or rarity that you’re unable to relax when you park it anywhere
  • A certain level of ease that it inspires in you when you ride it, so you’re enjoying yourself but you’re not (too) stressed if you drop it.
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What Are ‘Most Things’?

Katalis Spacebar - Right Side Bread Basket View

Let's get this bread.

If you spend a lot of time commuting by motorbike, you’ll have certain needs. More than likely, you’ll need to transport some type of bag (backpack, briefcase, duffel, or something similar) with your everyday necessities inside. If you’ll be commuting in all weather, then you’ll also want some type of way to protect your items from the elements. This could be a waterproof bag, luggage, or both.

How much space you ultimately require will depend on you. Do you want the ability to store your gear inside your bike, or will you be bringing it inside with you? Does your everyday carry involve anything oversized? What about odd shapes or sizes of things that you require? My first motorbike was a maxi scooter, precisely because I needed to carry a knife roll and you couldn’t fit that in a standard side case.

You’ll also want something that’s reasonably fuel efficient, but still powerful enough to handle whatever roads you need to take to get where you need to go on a daily basis. In some cases, that could be a little moped. However, most riders will probably need something that can go a bit faster and have at least a little more power. Not a Kawasaki Ninja H2, exactly, because that’s impractical in the other direction. But something in between would be perfect.

Comfort Is Important

Go The Extra Mile With Touratech’s Comfort Seat For The Honda XL750 Transalp

If your bike is mostly perfect but it needs a few tweaks, that's what things like aftermarket saddles are for.

Riders are all different. What position you find most comfortable to sit in for a long time might be different from what your friend likes, and vice versa. Some people like forward foot controls, while others can’t stand how it makes them feel like their tailbone is being continuously smashed in a hydraulic press. The most important thing is that you do you, and make yourself comfortable on your journey.

It doesn’t matter what someone else likes; it matters what you like (unless they’ll be riding with you). Bikes, like so many things in life, aren’t one-size-fits-all. Neither are people, so that completely tracks.

Ultimately, It’s About All The Things Your Chosen Bike Can Do To Meet Your Needs

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Get the right bike and the right gear and you're good to go for miles and miles.

Does the bike you’re thinking of meet all the criteria above? If so, then congratulations. You may just have found yourself a two-wheeled companion that you’ll only grow fonder of as time passes. It may not be the prettiest, it may not quantifiably be the best, and it may not win any awards at your local bike shows.

But if it’s your constant everyday companion, and it means one less day spent driving, we think it’s worth it.

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