Best Motorcycle Upgrades For Commuters

Making your motorcycle better for the daily commute.

We've all heard of "Ride To Work" day, and plenty of us think, I ride to work every day! If you're a moto-commuter, then your motorcycle plays an especially important role in your life. As your daily driver it needs to keep you safe and comfortable in all kinds of weather and tote you and your work essentials to the office, school, or jobsite. To that end, there are certain mods that most serious commuters do to make their bikes a bit more versatile. Here are some top options, brought to you by a staff that relies almost exclusively on motorcycles to get around.

Top Box Luggage

SHAD SH26 Top Case on motorcycle on white background.
Top boxes may look dorky, but you can’t beat the convenience of lockable, rigid, waterproof storage that doesn’t increase the width of your bike.Amazon

If you're commuting on two wheels, then you're bound to need cargo space, and few options are as efficient as a top box. Sturdy, waterproof, lockable, and out of the way of you and your passenger, a top box like Shad's SH40 makes bringing your laptop and lunch to the office especially easy. We love top boxes because they don't increase the bike's width making lane-splitting (legal here in California), maneuvering, and parking easier than if you had saddlebags. Plus the top-loading feature is endlessly convenient.

Heated Grips

Koso Apollo Heated Grips on white background.
Koso’s Apollo grips have five heat levels and are available as plug-and-play kits for both 1-inch and 7/8-inch handlebars.Amazon

Some riders think heated grips are for sissies. Well, don't knock 'em until you try 'em. Cold hands are no good for comfort or dexterity on the controls, so whether you're commuting or touring, heated grips are a great mod. You can get cheap kits that go under your existing grips, but those don't often hold up. Instead, we'd recommend replacement integrated heated grips like these Apollo grips from Koso. They're not too bulky, have built-in controls, multiple heating levels, and circuitry that'll turn them off if your battery voltage gets low.

Touring Windscreen

Zero gravity touring windscreen on white background.
When the rainy season rolls around, a taller touring windscreen is a great way to stay warm and dry. Zero Gravity offers touring screens for most makes and models.Amazon

Most bikes outside of the touring category come equipped with windshields that are meant to look sleek rather than actually shield you from the wind. If you need a little extra weather protection on your daily commute, a touring screen from Zero Gravity is a great mod. Taller than stock and available in clear, light smoke, or dark smoke, a ZG Touring Screen adds style and comfort to your ride.

Quick Oil Drain Valve

Fumoto B109SX BSX-Series Engine Oil Drain Valve on white background.
Well isn’t this a clever gadget! Forget fiddling with the drain bolt—this Fumoto valve makes draining your oil as easy as turning a lever.Amazon

Riding your motorcycle every day may mean that your oil changes come pretty frequently. Replacing your stock drain plug with a slim Fumoto valve streamlines oil changes by allowing you to drain your lube with the turn of a lever. Stick a hose on the end of the valve and you can direct that dirty oil into a drain pan without having to remove bodywork, and of course, there's no torque wrench required after the initial installation. If you're wondering if the Fumoto is safe, don't worry. It uses brass fittings with nitrile seals, and the ball valve is secured closed with a clip.

A Loud Horn

Stebel 11690019 - Nautilus Compact Mini Air Horn on white background.
Distracted drivers are an all too common occurrence on today’s roads. Get their attention with this punishing 139-decibel horn.Amazon

More seat time means more exposure to distracted or inattentive drivers, and your bike's stock horn might not be loud enough to get you noticed. Installing an aftermarket, extra-loud horn like this Stebel Nautilus will make drivers think there's an 18-wheeler bearing down on them. With 139 decibels of skull-rattling two-tone sound, the Nautilus will shake anyone free from their cellphone stupor. The Nautilus is small enough to take the place of most OEM pancake horns, though it's a higher-draw unit that requires its own dedicated wiring.