Best first bike for a 50-mile commute

By MCN -

 16 April 2010 15:37

Q. I’ve finally got the nerve to do my bike test, and I’m now wishing I could have been one of the happy elite to have taken my test when I was 18, and had a man shouting at me with a clipboard some half mile away from where I was riding.

As it is, my CBT is on Saturday, and I'm going to do my Direct Access soon after that.

I want to commute on a bike, which is about 50 miles each way to west London on motorways and side streets, and I have whittled down my choice to an eclectic three, as my budget is £3500 and I have no intention of getting my knee down, except when I'm cleaning the bike.

They are: a Triumph Tiger 955i, Honda VFR800i, or maybe a VTEC if it seems all right for the money.

For some reason I have excluded the CBR600F and the Thundercat, as I'm 6ft.

But it does concern me that I'd be going for a larger displacement bike, but then it's all about how I ride it, isn't it?
Andrew Tuckett, email

A. Those bikes you are describing are getting a bit long in the tooth now at your budget.

They are also pretty big and heavy, especially if you are threading your way through heavy traffic on your daily commute into west London.

Why not look at a slightly smaller capacity bike, which will still be faster than all but the loonier driven sports cars?

The Kawasaki Versys is good for taller riders, as is the ER-6 or the SV. And you’d be getting a more modern bike for the same money that was easier to handle. 

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