While many people ride for pleasure alone, some look to motorcycles as a useful tool for work. Whether you may be looking at motorcycles for delivering food, or are a motorcyclist looking to monetize your hobby, you may wonder which motorcycles are the best for food delivery.
The 5 best motorcycles for food delivery drivers are:
- Honda Super Cub
- Yamaha Zuma 125
- Vespa Sprint 150
- Honda Trail 125
- Honda Metropolitan
There are a lot of bikes that fit the general criteria for being good for delivery drivers. However, understanding the criteria is the important thing, so that you can buy the right bike for your needs. Below, I’ll go through some of these factors and motorcycles in much more detail.
There are a few different factors to look at when considering which motorcycle will be best at food delivery. Given that you’ll be spending a lot of time on your bike as a delivery rider, making sure you’ve made the best choice of motorcycle will ensure you enjoy your work life as much as possible.
The first and probably most important criterion for a food delivery motorcycle is that it should be easy to mount and dismount. While you’ll spend a lot of time riding, you’ll also spend a lot of time hopping on and off your bike to deliver food to various customers in various different types of buildings.
Given this, a bike that’s easy to mount and dismount is a good idea. While a super sport may be very fun to ride, and certainly has the power to get your deliveries done quickly, it won’t be very easy to get on and off one. Trust me, on your 25th time in a day mounting a high-seated race bike, you’ll be wishing you went with something easier to get on!
So, which types of bikes are easiest to mount and dismount? Well, this will vary to some degree depending on your height and what motorcycles you may be used to, but the easiest type in general is a scooter (or moped).
One of the biggest reasons step-through scooters are popular as delivery vehicles is their ease of mounting and dismounting. It’s basically a glorified motorized chair. You just sit down on the bike and go. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
The next thing to consider when looking at food delivery motorcycles is comfort in general. Beyond getting on and off, you’ll be spending a lot of time riding this motorcycle. If your bike is uncomfortable to ride, you’ll have to deal with that reality constantly, which won’t be any fun at all.
So, what makes a motorcycle comfortable? There are a few things to consider. First of all, I’d recommend a motorcycle with an upright seating position. Many bikes may require you to lean over them to operate them properly. For a once a week ride into the countryside that’s fine, but for a work vehicle, it will get annoying quickly.
Scooters fall under this category, as well as most dual sports, and standard type motorcycles. Motorcycles with odd seating positions tend to be sportier bikes, so that’s another reason to stay away from those for delivery purposes. I’d also avoid any sort of chopper, or anything with unusual or far away handlebars.
Seat size and material are also very important. Scooters have big cushy seats that are usually pretty comfortable for long periods of time, while many dual sports and sport motorcycles tend to have smaller seats that aren’t as nice to sit on.
This is a very individual thing though, as many riders prefer different sizes, types, and materials of seating for their riding experience. I’d recommend taking longer rides on as many different types of bikes as possible in order to see what works best for you.
Make sure your handlebars and hand grips are comfortable to use as well. These can usually be changed by you or someone else, depending on your bike. Having nice bars and grips that you like ensures a much more comfortable and enjoyable ride.
Another comfort consideration is the amount of noise your bike makes. While the fun sporty exhaust is nice, if it’s too loud, you’re probably going to regret not having a quieter muffler after a few days of delivering. You have to ride all day, so make sure your bike has a noise level that you won’t get tired of.
Noise level is an important comfort concern for yourself, but it can also help keep customers happy. Especially if you’re delivering late into the night, a really loud muffler can be suboptimal for the food delivery lifestyle.
Many people may get annoyed at hearing your loud bike ride through their quiet neighborhood at 11pm just to deliver some pizza. This is another reason to have a quieter muffler on your bike.
Another consideration for food delivery motorcycles is mileage. Given that you’ll be riding a huge amount, your mpg can have a big impact on what your expenses look like. Most companies you may deliver for won’t pay you more money if your motorcycle is less fuel-efficient, so it’s on you to deal with the cost of a gas guzzler.
While many motorcycles get pretty good mileage, many others don’t. A 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster averages around 28 miles per gallon, while a 2022 Honda Metropolitan averages 117. These are drastic motorcycle examples, but they illustrate an important point. When delivering, you may average over 100 miles a day, so that mpg figure starts to make a big difference pretty quickly.
Beyond mileage, having a motorcycle that is cheap to run in general can be a huge bonus when delivering. Delivery vehicles get beaten up with lots of use, often in heavy traffic. There will be more maintenance required, and you may have to replace various parts while delivering with your bike, so having a motorcycle that is cheap to maintain can be hugely beneficial.
Another thing to look for in a delivery bike is that it is fun to ride at low speeds. While sport bikes are very fun, they’re really made for going very fast, not slow. At low speeds, they’ll feel big, overpowered, and unnecessary. In contrast, a small and light scooter will be huge fun to thrash around at low speeds.
When you deliver, you probably won’t average high speeds very much. While you may see a highway or two, in most cases you’ll be driving on streets and through neighborhoods. None of these places will require tremendous speed, so there’s really no point owning a bike capable of going that fast.
The last thing I’ll mention is size. Again, a point for the scooters, as small size is incredibly helpful for delivering. Most likely you’re going to be in a reasonably densely populated area, so a large bike will be difficult to maneuver as easily as a little scooter. With a little bike, you’ll fit through gaps, and you won’t get stuck. This can save a lot of time and stress when delivering.
Another reason to have a compact bike is that it will be much easier to park. Many built-up areas have small motorcycle parking zones, but they won’t always fit larger bikes. Even just in a neighborhood, if you have a compact motorcycle, it will be easier to avoid blocking traffic when you’re parked.
Wherever you are in the world, you’ll be able to find one of these bikes. You can buy a new one directly from Honda, or an old one from the used market. It’s a bike that was originally designed by Honda to be rideable with one hand, so that soba delivery boys could use it instead of a bicycle.
The newest model from Honda comes equipped with a 124cc air-cooled engine, which will give you enough power for most around town things. It comes with a 4-speed semi-automatic transmission that is shifted with your left foot – no clutching required.
It does have a somewhat different control layout from a standard scooter. The rear brake is a pedal for the right foot instead of a lever for the left hand, and you’ll have to use your left foot to shift. The front brake is controlled via the right hand, and the left hand doesn’t have to operate any riding controls beyond steering. This design was to enable the Super Cub to be ridden one-handed.
While this can be a bit tricky to learn if you’re coming from a bicycle or a smaller scooter, it’s pretty easy to pick it up relatively quickly. If you’re coming from a larger motorcycle, however, these controls will be very easy, as they’re much closer to standard motorcycle controls.
As a smaller bike, it’s certainly not going to be very comfortable on a highway for long periods of time, but for most people delivering with a motorcycle, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The Super Cub has a step-through design, like a standard scooter, so mounting and dismounting shouldn’t be an issue.
This bike also comes with larger wheels, much closer to the size of a bicycle than those on a standard scooter. These large wheels can roll over bumps much more easily and comfortably. The seat height is pretty low, at just over 30 inches, so most people should have no problem with it, regardless of height.
The mileage this bike gets is absolutely insane. According to Honda, the new Super Cub averages 188 miles per gallon. While these figures are often tested in the best possible conditions, I believe that depending on how you ride, you could see real mileage figures not too far from that. Not all of the older ones get mileage quite that good, but they still do very well.
The Super Cub weighs in around 240 pounds, including all of its required fluids, which is less than many bikes around the same size. While this is a bit more than some 50cc bikes weigh, given that it’s a 125cc, it’s very lightweight. Lots of other scooters with this engine size weigh much more. This light weight will make it easy and fun to throw around at lower speeds.
So, with an easy to ride design, large comfortable wheels, enough power to get around, very light weight, and almost unbelievable mileage figures, the Honda Super Cub meets and exceeds pretty much all of the listed criteria for a good food delivery motorcycle, making it easily one of my top choices.
Another bike in the 125cc class, the Yamaha Zuma has been on the scene and popular for a good few years now. It’s made primarily for road use, although it has been designed to be beefy enough for a few gravel roads here and there.
The transmission is fully automatic, so shifting isn’t necessary, just twist and go. The engine, like the Honda, is a 125cc single-cylinder motor, although this one is liquid-cooled instead of air. This will have benefits and drawbacks depending on what you use the bike for.
The advantage of air-cooled bikes is simplicity and weight. They don’t need a radiator and don’t contain coolant, so overall they tend to be simpler and maintenance-free. Having a radiator and coolant also means more weight, as there are a lot of additional parts that have to be carried.
The big advantage of liquid cooled bikes lies in their advanced cooling abilities. Hopefully if you’re delivering food on a small scooter, you’ll be able to find gaps in traffic and make your way through congestion fairly efficiently, but this may not always be the case. If you get stuck waiting in traffic, a liquid-cooled bike will tend to stay cooler.
If you live in a place where lane-splitting is legal, so you don’t have to wait for traffic, this won’t really matter to you, as you should have no overheating issues. This can also be the case if you live in a place that has a colder climate. However, if you get stuck waiting in traffic in a hot area on an air-cooled bike, it’s possible you may have overheating issues.
Neither one is right or wrong, really, as they’re just different ways of cooling a bike. What you need will depend on how you ride, your local laws, and your local climate. It’s important to think about this though, especially if you’re relying on this motorcycle for work.
The Zuma 125 weighs in at 282 pounds, so it’s a good bit heavier than the Super Cub. This weight isn’t excessive though, so it’ll still be fun to throw around and easy to maneuver. Like any smaller bike, it’s really best for in-town use, but with a theoretical top speed of 73 mph, it could still be used on some highways. That said, I don’t know how comfortable it would be.
As far as mileage is concerned, The Zuma averages around 100 mpg, which is not bad at all for a 125. Anything over 100 is still really good, but it isn’t even close to matching the Honda’s mileage, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Unlike the Honda’s larger motorcycle-like controls, the Zuma has a pretty standard scooter-type layout, all riding controls such as brakes and accelerator are controlled via the handlebars. Your feet can just sit on the deck comfortably, and don’t really have to do anything. This will probably make it easier to pick up if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before.
While I personally prefer the Super Cub, the Zuma 125 is still a really great bike. It’s got some nice design features, enough power to hang in traffic, and is lightweight and compact enough to be fun at low speeds through built-up areas. It also may be a better choice than the Honda if you’re new to riding, or just want to have less to do while riding, as it doesn’t require any shifting.
Vespa offers quite a range of scooters that all are really pretty similar, so I’ll just cover the one I feel is best for food delivery, but keep in mind if you’re interested in getting a Vespa that there are a lot of comparable options.
The Vespa Sprint 150 is a stylish scooter, with Vespa’s characteristic curves and gloss. It’s one of the prettiest scooters on this list, with a lot of chrome accents and nods to Vespa’s vintage heritage.
The original Vespa was inspired by small American Cushman scooters, parachuted down to Italy to be used to fight the Germans in World War 2. After the war ended, an aeronautical designer named Corradino D’Ascanio was tasked with designing a motorcycle that could get around the war-torn cities of Italy without issue.
D’Ascanio didn’t particularly like motorcycles though, he found them dirty and impractical. So, he decided to design something he would like, a scooter that could avoid all of the problems he had with motorcycles. The Vespa (“Wasp” in Italian) was born, named for its buzzing engine sound.
It was very popular. D’Ascanio had changed the idea of what a motorcycle could be and who it could be for. Anyone could ride one, and do so comfortably. The Vespa sold well, and the company has been making them ever since. The design features of many modern scooters can be traced back to the days of the Vespa, and its redesign of motorcycling in Italy.
While this modern Vespa may not herald the same culture shift its forefather once did, it’s still a great little scooter. Pretty styling, a comfortable ride, and a torquey motor make this scooter a joy to ride around at any speed, though given its top speed of 70 mph, it will be most comfortable in cities and maybe a highway or two occasionally.
The Sprint 150 weighs in at 260 pounds, but that doesn’t include any of its fluids, so I’d tack on another 20 or so to that. The engine is an air-cooled single cylinder, churning out a respectable 13 HP, and it’s fuel injected, which most modern scooters are (but not all). It averages around 95 miles per gallon, which is not bad at all.
Vespas are a special breed. They have an energy to them that feels different than other scooters. If style is your thing, this is one of the bikes on this list that may be best suited to you. Vespas are often more expensive than the equivalent Japanese motorcycles though, so keep that in mind when looking at them.
Another beautiful retro scooter from Honda, the Trail 125 is a great choice for delivering food. Like the Super Cub, this motorcycle is available new from Honda, but you can also find various examples of different ages on the used market.
The Trail 125 is not the same as the Super Cub, but it is certainly similar in many ways. The engine appears to be roughly the same, a peppy little 125cc air-cooled, fuel injected, modern equivalent of the old engine that put Honda on the motorcycling map back in the 1960s.
The controls are also the same – a 4-speed semi-automatic transmission operated by the left foot, and a rear brake operated by the right foot instead of the left hand. The rest of the bike however, aside from the drivetrain and controls, appears to be quite different.
Despite being a shiny retro remake of an old classic, the Trail 125 really does seem to be built to go off-road. It has a beefy chassis for absorbing bumps, fork boots for preventing dust and debris from damaging the forks, and a raised exhaust pipe to avoid rock damage.
Behind the small rider’s seat is a sturdy-looking rear rack, a staple of the old bikes that I’m glad Honda kept. This rack can be very useful for hauling a variety of things, but if you’re looking at bikes for food delivery, it could mean you don’t have to do very much work to make this bike capable of hauling a large box of food around.
Like the Super Cub, it’s a smaller bike, so overall it should be very comfortable for in-town riding, but not as much on the highway. Another effect of the Trail 125 being slightly more off-road oriented is a different sprocket size on the rear wheel, giving the bike a little more low-end torque but a slightly slower top speed than the Super Cub.
This gearing change, combined with a few other things such as slightly higher weight, means the Trail 125 doesn’t match the Super Cub’s insane mileage figures, but it still manages a very respectable 112 miles per gallon, one of the highest on this list.
Honda has managed to preserve the style of the old trail bikes while updating a lot of the technology in useful ways. It looks fantastic, and I think it would make a great food delivery bike.
The Honda Metropolitan is another great choice for a food delivery motorcycle. It’s small, light, and stylish, and should be a lot of fun to ride around, especially given how small it is. It’s quite different from the other bikes on this list for one particular reason – it’s 50cc.
Having a bike with a 50cc engine has a lot of benefits and also a lot of drawbacks. First of all, as you’d expect, it’s not very fast. Its 50cc engine propels the Metropolitan to an underwhelming 40 mph, and that’s probably as fast as you’ll ever get it to go. Most bikes are comfortable to ride at no more than 75% of their top speed.
If you’re in a super dense urban area, no problem, you may not even get it to 40 mph, but if you need to deliver in an area that requires higher speeds, you’ll struggle to keep up with traffic. For some people, a 50cc bike is perfect, but that will come down to what speed of riding you need to do.
Mileage-wise, it averages 117 miles per gallon, which is pretty amazing, but still not as amazing as its cousins the Super Cub and the Trail 125. The Trail 125’s mileage is almost the same, and the Super Cub bests it by a whopping 81 mpg, which is especially notable given that the engines in both the Super Cub and Trail 125 are more than twice as large.
The biggest thing the Metropolitan has going for it is its low weight. It weighs 179 pounds, which is very light, about 100 pounds lighter than the Zuma 125. This weight difference will be really noticeable during low-speed maneuvers which, when delivering, you will probably be doing a lot.
Another notable point for 50cc bikes is that in many US states, you can ride a motorcycle up to 50cc without needing a special motorcycle license. For someone looking at delivering food on a motorcycle, this can be useful if you don’t already have a motorcycle-specific license, and don’t want to go through the trouble of getting one.
Overall, the Metropolitan is a great little scooter that will be super light and fun to ride at low speeds. Whether it’s a good choice for you will mostly come down to what kind of speeds you need to do on a consistent basis.
When delivering food on a motorcycle, there are some other things to take into consideration beyond the bike you have. You’ll be spending a lot of time riding around, so making sure you’re safe and comfortable while doing so is important to think about.
Comfort-wise, make sure your riding gear is comfortable. Safety gear is important, but you will also be on and off the bike a lot, so wearing clothes you can comfortably use all day will help prevent fatigue and other such issues. Make sure your gloves and helmet aren’t too heavy or tight, and that they don’t cause discomfort when worn for long periods of time.
Safety-wise, making sure you have strong gear is important. You’ll spend a lot of time exposed in traffic, so protecting yourself is key to long-term success and happiness with the bike you choose. Make sure you have a solid helmet especially, as your head is important and fragile, and can be damaged even in low speed accidents.
Making sure you’re visible is also paramount to your safety. Try and have brightly colored gear, maybe some retro-reflective decals on your helmet, and even a brightly colored bike if possible. A large portion of motorcycle accidents occur because another driver didn’t see a motorcycle, so eliminating that chance as much as possible is a good idea.
Delivering food on a motorcycle can be a really fun job, you can earn money while also enjoying motorcycling. There are a lot of different bikes you could do it on, but small, easy to mount, easy to ride, fuel-efficient bikes will be the best by far.
Which bike you choose will come down to personal preference, but make sure to take some time to get to know different options, as you’ll be spending a lot of time riding this bike!