Between winter and many people working from home instead of in the office, there's not a lot of motorcycle commuting going on right now. Personally, I miss it. I always arrived at the office more awake, aware, and relaxed than I did in the car. At the end of the day, I'd often take a long way home, destress, and enjoy the ride. Motorcycle commuting is great, and Yammie Noob has seven suggestions to make your two-wheeled commute even better.
1. Tail Bag
A backpack works, but it's better to make the bike carry the weight instead of your body. Your laptop computer, lunch, or whatever else you need to carry will fit well inside a tail bag. These can attach to a rack, or even to your passenger seat when you're riding solo. You can invest in an expensive high-quality bag, but there are many affordable options as well. Mine is a $30 off-brand Pelican-style hard case that I got at Harbor Freight for $30 and clamped to my rear rack with a couple of U-bolts. I ride my Kawasaki KLR 650 in off-road conditions that most commuters never will, and it's taken everything I've thrown at it with no problem.
2. Bluetooth Communicator
Yammie Noob is open and honest about Cardo being a sponsor of his channel, yet his suggestion to use some type of Bluetooth communicator is valid. At a minimum, you can listen to music as you slice through traffic. If you use a navigation app or GPS with live traffic data, it can talk you through an alternate route to save time. Earbuds don't work so well because you can't use them along with earplugs, while speakers in your helmet work fine with earplugs.
3. A Quiet Helmet
Even with earplugs, the less wind noise penetrates your helmet, the more comfortable your commute will be. It's worth spending a little extra money on a quality helmet for a bit of extra noise reduction. Look for a tight neck roll to keep wind and noise from getting in through the bottom of the helmet. Aerodynamic styling to disrupt the wind will also help cut down the noise.
4. Better Mirrors
Cheap mirrors will often vibrate, making it difficult to keep an eye on traffic behind you. If this is the case on your bike, it's worth upgrading. Look for mirrors that have a rubber gasket around the glass, which will help reduce or eliminate vibrations. Yammie Noob likes bar-end mirrors. They give you a better view behind you and are available in wide-angle versions for an even better view. These won't work for all bikes or riders, so use whatever makes sense for you.
5. A Bigger Windshield
A windshield helps keep the wind off your body, especially if you're commuting on the highway at higher speeds. Enlarging the windshield helps to reduce fatigue, as well as noise. The best option is one designed specifically for your bike, though a universal windshield can work. You can also get a windshield extension that attaches to the top of your stock windshield, though these can be rather expensive. I used one on my Honda PC800, and it worked well. After the old windshield broke, I replaced it with the largest replacement Clearview offered, which was five inches taller than stock.
6. A Better Seat
No matter what you ride, you will benefit from an aftermarket seat. This is true for everything from cruisers to sportbikes to dual-sports. It will make your ride more comfortable, and therefore more enjoyable. You can also use a seat to slightly alter your height, which might give you the extra inch of height or drop you need to have better control over the bike.
7. A Jump Start Battery
We've all come out to our bike to find a dead battery on occasion. It's one thing if it happens to you at home, where you can just begrudgingly take the car to work. It's quite another thing to happen to you at work, stranding you there. Some of the latest lithium iron phosphate batteries offer the ability to jump-start themselves. A small portion of the battery gets isolated from the rest, keeping just enough charge to start the bike even if you accidentally leave your taillight on all day. Think of it as a reserve tank on your battery. It's pretty cool.
Bonus: Heated Grips
Yammie Noob doesn't include heated grips on this list because he considers it a must-have modification for everyone, not just commuters. That said, it's amazing how much a little bit of heat makes those cold mornings enjoyable, or at least endurable, enabling you to bring the bike to work on days you otherwise might not so you can enjoy a warmer ride home afterward.