Whether you’re a rookie rider who’s contemplating buying a motorcycle and getting his feet wet in the world of two-wheel transportation, or you’re a seasoned road hog who needs a memory refresher on what types of motorcycles exist, you will certainly find this topic interesting and surely learn something new. This article is written for you so make sure to read it before you start burning rubber.
We’ll start by separating motorcycle types into two categories — street bikes and off-road. If its purpose is to melt the pavement or at least roll on it, then it’s called a street bike. Street bikes are the largest category, so there’s quite a few of them. Here are the main types of motorcycles built for the road.
Starting from the slowest of the bunch, the moped is a lightweight hybrid of a motorcycle and a bicycle. Mopeds utilize a very light frame and are equipped with a small engine. Some even come with additional pedals.
They are usually powered by a one-speed two-stroke 50cc gasoline engine, but there are also electrical variants. Affordable, reliable, and easy to maneuver through heavy traffic, mopeds are great for those looking to purchase their rookie motorcycle.
The fuel consumption is also a big advantage of mopeds, as they are the most fuel-efficient bikes on our list. That being said, if you’re looking to get a little wind in your hair, mopeds will do the truck, however, for riders looking to experience some real speed, these bikes will feel lackluster.
The scooter is considered as the big brother to a Moped. Similarly lightweight, maneuverable, and low to the ground, scooters have proven to be an excellent means of transportation in urban areas. Riding one of these, you can squeeze through traffic with ease, but they can also pack a punch if equipped with a bigger engine.
Engine size can vary. Most commonly scooters are powered by engines ranging from 50cc through 250cc; however, some hybrids can go up to 700cc — like the Honda NC700D Integra. If you need a two-wheeler to get you to work, scooters can be the ideal choice for your daily commute. If you’re looking for something to drive on the highway, keep on reading.
The touring type of motorcycle is a long-distance machine, equipped with a large engine and designed for comfort and speed. Their heavy frames and huge fairings are not exactly made for efficient aerodynamics but will get you from coast to coast without breaking a sweat. Heavy, reliable, and sufficiently fast, touring bikes stick to the asphalt like glue.
Aside from unmatched comfort allowing you to ride for days, touring bikes also offer the largest storage capacity. If you’re looking for a motorcycle that will last you a century, touring bikes are a great return on investment.
The standard bike is the first type of motorcycle on our list that is a real sporting machine, which is evident as soon as you take one look at it. They usually come without fairings, so they are often called “naked”.
Another name they go by is “roadsters” since they are a common favorite among riders looking to have a little fun on the road. The most accurate way to describe standard motorcycles is to call them a jack of all trades. These types of bikes don’t really excel in any department. That being said, they can handle various types of scenarios, so they make an excellent all-purpose motorcycle.
These bikes can vary in power and size, so for instance, the KTM Duke 390, Suzuki sv650, and the Ducati Monster 1200 are all considered standard type motorcycle, even though they are substantially different both in horsepower and engine size. When riding a standard bike, the driver’s position is slightly leaning forward, however, the feet are placed directly underneath the driver, allowing him to reach the ground with ease and giving him good control.
Built for speed and agility, sportbikes are road racing machines equipped with powerful engines capable of reaching top speeds and adequate high-tech disc brakes able to stop them in place in a matter of seconds.
The design is sleek and aerodynamic, minimizing air drag. If you’re an experienced motorcycle rider looking to purchase a bike built for the track, sportbikes are a clear choice. Sure, many people use them to get around town, but due to the forward-leaning, aggressive driver position, don’t expect the ride to be comfortable for too long. That being said, if speed is what you’re looking for, sportbikes are the way to go.
The Suzuki GSXR, Yamaha R1, Kawasaki Ninja, and BMW S 1000 RR are the cream of the crop when it comes to Sportbikes.
Taking a step back from high speeds and razor-sharp handling, we take a look at the comfortable and old-fashioned cruisers. These motorcycles have a very distinct design, made famous by Harley-Davidson and their “Big Twin” classics.
The design favors comfort over speed, making cruisers a great choice for mid- to long-distance travel. Thanks to the lower seat height, raked forks, and kicked out front wheel, cruisers are easy to control. This makes them a superb choice for inexperienced drivers who are looking to upgrade to a bigger bike.
Engine size can range anywhere from 125cc all the way to a whopping 1900cc. Choppers are a variant of cruisers that are often custom built. They are recognizable by extremely raked forks and a front feet position.
Bikes that are able to tackle the roughest roads and go anywhere fall into the category of off-road motorcycles. We’re going to separate this category into two different types of motorcycles. Dual-sport and dirt bikes.
7. Dirt Bike
Dirt bikes are without a doubt the most popular off-road machines. If you’re looking to get down and dirty or you’re fond of jumping stunts, dirt bikes are your bread and butter. Armed with knobby, aggressive tires, dirt bikes are able to provide excellent grip even on loose terrain.
Seat height is tall, and the suspension is high, making large bumps on the road barely noticeable. This design also prevents the bike from getting damaged while cutting through obstructed terrain. If we were to pick the bike that offers the most fun out of all the different types of bikes we covered, dirt bikes would most definitely be our choice.
8. Adventure Bike
Dirt bike’s stronger and bulkier cousin, the ADV — better known as an adventure bike, is the vehicle of choice for thrill-seeking riders.
These monsters on two wheels are built to tackle any challenge thrown at them. Practical and versatile, they can also be a good choice for long-distance travel with off-road capabilities.
Similar to the dirt bikes, ADV motorcycles feature a wide, flat handlebar, allowing the rider to stand up while driving off-road. However, in contrast to their smaller siblings, ADV machines feel a lot more comfortable, thanks to the wider seat.
Since they are built with travel in mind, ADV’s can be equipped with additional storage options, allowing you to carry anything you might need on the road. The BMW F 800 GS Adventure would be our choice if we were shopping for an ADV bike.
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