Not all motorcycles are created equal. Some are speed monsters, while others are a bit subtle and understated. Regardless, riding a motorcycle is a thrilling experience that comes with unrivaled joy. For this reason, choosing a particular motorcycle should be a conscious decision that you make. Some bikes are strictly utilitarian and designed to achieve a specific function. Others are designed to attract eyeballs and catch the attention of females on the road. In many ways, motorcycles are like vehicles albeit more fun. They come in different shapes, sizes, and power to suit each type of rider. But unlike cars, motorcycles have the ability to stir the soul, take you on serious adventures and be your companion on the road. In this article, we will look at the different types of motorcycles and give you a definitive guide to each type. Let’s dig in.
If you are a motorcycle enthusiast you may be starting to get intrigued by the many types of bikes that exist. Perhaps a visual guide to the various kinds of motorcycles will help clear the doubts in your mind as you embark on a journey of knowledge. Here are some common types of bikes that are currently taking the market by storm.
An adventure bike is one of the most recognizable types of bikes in the world. It is built to take on the harshest terrains and drive in the fastest tracks around the world. These bikes are designed and built to withstand any form of punishment and endure a lot of resistance on the road. Adventure bikes have the capability to go through jumps and bumps before they can be sent parking. They look like a cross between a traditional bike and a dirt bike. By combining the two DNAs, they can get the best of both types. If you happen to own an adventure bike, you will be at home cruising down the highway or when traversing rocky roads. To make sure they are well-adapted for their use, the long-travel suspensions, high seat, and high handlebar. The high handlebar position is especially useful when standing up in the saddle in case the road gets rutted and rocky. Modern ADVs also come equipped with cruiser style comfort features like GPS systems, radio, and heated grips to make your ride more comfortable on the long hauls.
The chopper is arguably one of the most iconic motorcycles in the United States. Having emerged in the 1950s as the preferred motorcycle for moving around the country, it has featured countless times in pop culture. By definition, it is the ultimate symbol of rugged masculinity and an emblem of the biker community. The extreme construction and design of this motorcycle make it stand out from the rest. Its raked forks, modified steering and showy chrome make it aesthetically appealing. In essence, the motorcycle’s design is originally built from a standard motorcycle that has been chopped. Its long front end and reclined seat are unmistakable from afar. Perhaps the most iconic chopper is the Harley-Davidson Panhead motorcycle which has now become the defining symbol of the American male.
The cruiser style motorcycle became wildly popular in the United States beginning the 1930s. Over the next decades, the cruiser managed to remain popular among many bikers in the United States and has remained popular ever since. A variety of cruiser motorcycles were built by the renowned company, Harley Davidson, and others by Excelsior and Indian. The cruiser is built to take on the harshest terrain by incorporating a compact and old-world design. By the look of things, the cruiser is built to take on punishment and provide moderate level of comfort on the ride. Its fork rake is less pronounced than that of a chopper and it is designed for a laid-back riding experience with its low seats. Cruiser style motorcycles are built for cruising down the highway at relatively low speeds with just enough luggage for your trip. The good thing about the cruiser motorcycle is that it can be customized and equipped with luggage racks to add to your weekend fun. One thing for sure is the unmistakable silhouette of the cruiser bike and its cool style which typifies the American image.
There are infinite variations of cruisers one of which is the power cruiser. Power cruisers have more power and are designed for more aggressive riding experience. They come with upgraded brakes, suspensions, and low ground clearance. In addition, they have thick rear tires for more traction and large exhausts. Power cruisers are built for performance and speed and often have sportbike characteristics. Some distinct features of power cruisers include their deluxe surface finishes and an exotic look compared to their less powered counterparts. They became popular in the 1980s when more horsepower became a core fashionable features for riders. Typically, power cruisers have neutral sitting positions to allow for better control especially when cornering.
Off-road bikes are the ultimate motorcycles for taking on the rough terrains, and muddy passages. This means that they have higher suspensions and taller seats compared to adventure bikes. If you are looking for a motorcycle to take you to places and provide you with unparalleled sporting, then a dirt bike is what you need. Their heavy construction means it can withstand any force or punishment without breaking down easily.
Standard motorcycles are very common on the road and popular. Their understated design makes them ergonomically suitable for almost everyone. Standard bikes have an upright riding position that affords the rider the best comfort. This type of bike isn’t specialized for any particular riding style and will do fairly well in most riding situations but not the absolute best. Standard motorcycles can be modded for maximum speed, and fitted with luggage racks for better traveling.
As far as longevity and endurance go, Enduro bikes are the closest you will get for the most demanding competition-Enduro. These bikes are built to test the endurance and stamina of the rider in some of the most treacherous terrains. Enduro bikes look much like motocross but have special features that make them suitable for Enduro sport. One of these is a big tank and an engine that is tuned to provide the highest reliability. If you want a bike that will be durable for the long-distance rides, then the Enduro is the perfect motorcycle to achieve your goals.
However, you will find the narrow seats and stiff suspension to be awful while off the road. Due to their exclusive use in the Enduro competition, Enduro bikes come fitted with sports navigation and timers to aid the rider in timekeeping. Overall, every element of the design is meant to make this motorcycle take on hours of abuse and punishment on some of the most rugged landscapes.
Just as the name goes, a naked bike is a type of motorcycle that lacks the fairings and body work that hides the inner mechanical workings of the motorcycle. The chassis is simple. Naked bikes are like sport bikes without the intricate body work. They come with different engine sizes but with the technology, and development of a sport bike albeit with acceptable limits of torque and speed for street riding.
Sport bikes, also popularly known as crotch rockets, are a type of bike built for speed and maneuverability. Everything from the seat configuration, to aerodynamics of this motorcycle are geared to aid in speed. From the outside, it looks very impressive and aggressive at the same time. The bike is set to lean forward to offer better aerodynamics which is actually higher compared to cruisers or standard bikes. An important consideration that goes into the making of this motorcycle is weight saving. The bike is primarily made from plastic and aluminum, making it lighter than other bikes in this category. Despite their thrilling speed and fun on the road, sport bikes are not a good choice for long distance riding or cross country. You will struggle to carry any luggage, and the level of comfort is not so great.
Motocross bikes are motorcycles built to compete in outdoor events that constitute rough terrains, tight corners and high jumps. They combine both off-road and on-road capabilities in some cases. Heavily built suspensions allow the bike to take on the roughest surfaces with ease. Super cross riders compete indoors rather than outdoors. Some iconic motocross bikes are made by household brands such as Kawasaki and Honda.
For some diehard bike enthusiasts, the inclusion of a scooter in this list may seem like a misplaced idea. But essentially, a scooter is similar to any standard bike in the sense that it gets you to where you want to go. Scooters are small lightweight motorcycles that have small engine capacities ranging from 50cc to 250cc. This makes them very fuel efficient and an economical way to get around the city. Some people see them as being traditionally feminine because of their popularity among female riders.
Power scooters are a relatively new category of motorcycles which are quickly becoming popular for urban commutes. Their unique design incorporates a step-through body and a motor into the chassis. They however pack more power than their famous counterpart, the scooter.
If you like to take the long distance tours across the continent, then you might want to get yourself a touring bike. A touring style motorcycle is comfortable, and comes with plenty of storage to carry your stuff on the long trips. Some popular touring motorcycles include the Honda Goldwing, which is arguably the most popular touring bike in the market today. Advancement in technology has also equipped touring bikes with features such as intercom systems, navigation systems, and satellite radios.
A sport-touring bike is a cross between a sportbike and a touring bike. It combines the amenities of a touring motorcycle with the aggressive and speed-focus of the sportbike. The distinguishing feature of a sport touring bike is its luggage-hauling capabilities and fine-tuned features for speed and maneuverability. They make great weekend riders or can be used for daily commutes, and cross-country touring depending on how you configure it. Usually, the engines are relatively smaller compared to regular touring bikes and range from 600cc to 1000cc.
Depending on your preference and riding style, you may choose a sportbike if you are inclined to performance and aggressiveness. If you are looking for comfort and long haul capabilities, perhaps an adventure bike or standard bike will fit the bill. More importantly, you should decide whether you want speed, comfort, adventure or functionality to help pick the right motorcycle.
One certain thing is that no matter what type of motorcycle you eventually go for, the thrill and enjoyment that comes with owning one is constant. While at it, make sure to take the best safety measures such as getting a license, wearing protective gear, and maintaining your bike.