The first step in choosing the right motorcycle is recognizing each attribute of the different bikes that make it more suitable for you, whether you are a new rider or someone with more experience. We know that size matters and power is essential, so let’s get into it.
The Most Common Types of Motorcycles
If you are new to the scene and are still unsure which you should get, here are the most common types of motorcycles available in the market today and why they might be the right choice for you.
Sports Bike (Crotch Rocket)
Also known as crotch rockets, sports bikes are aerodynamic and have that characteristic hunched-over seating position that makes them look even faster.
Some common examples of sports bikes include the Suzuki GSX and the Honda CBR. These bikes are agile and extremely fast, with the Honda CBR 1000 having a top speed of 178mph.
These motorcycles have a high power-to-weight ratio and are designed for riders keen on experiencing the thrill that comes with speed. They are, however, not very comfortable, especially on long-distance rides.
Dirt bikes are synonymous with adventure. They are built to be tough and quite agile, making them the ideal bike for almost every situation.
If your idea of getting a motorcycle is to go through rough terrain, mud pits, backcountry trails, and speed through urban streets, then a dirt bike might be what you need.
While they are built for adventure, they aren't the same as an adventure bike. The main difference is that dirt bikes have higher suspensions and taller seats.
Also known as ADV bikes, adventure motorcycles are a fast-growing genre of motorcycle with people who love exploration. These bikes are massive and are fashioned after the popular BMW R-GS bikes known for their comfort, reliability and off-road capability. An adventure motorcycle, therefore, is a comfortable street bike that can go off-road.
Cruisers have become synonymous with Harley-Davidson bikes because of their uncanny resemblance and styling. While Harley-Davidson makes some excellent cruisers, many other brands are giving them a run for their money.
Cruisers are so popular because they are comfortable bikes ideal for everyday use and long trips. They tend to combine luxury and practicality quite seamlessly.
With higher handlebars, better-contoured seats and a vast array of foot positioning options, these bikes offer a comfortable ride at every turn. Better yet, cruisers come with a wide range of customization options, making them the ideal bikes for people who desire a specific riding style that speaks to their personality.
Although cruisers are incredibly comfortable to ride, they tend to be quite heavy and, as such, might not be the best bike option for beginners. It would take time to build enough strength to enjoy riding your cruiser every day without getting worn down by its weight.
There are two types of motorcycles in this category: touring bikes and sports touring bikes. The biggest difference is that sports touring bikes are more agile and aggressive while sacrificing some level of comfort.
Touring motorcycles are designed with absolute comfort in mind. These are the kind of bikes you should consider buying if your idea of being a rider involves touring vast regions and staying on the road for weeks on end.
These types of bikes come with a host of luxury amenities, including:
- Comfortable legroom
- Massive storage space (waterproof)
- Heated handgrips
- Weather protection
- Plush seats
These are the limousines of the motorcycle world.
Built for long-hauls, touring motorcycles come in a wide range of sizes, making it easier for everyone to find one that suits them perfectly. These are the kind of bikes that beginners would enjoy owning. Some of the most popular bikes in this category include the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and Street Glide.
Designed for day-to-day use, naked motorcycles are the perfect blend between a sports bike and a touring bike. They offer the performance of the trusted sports bike with some of the comfort and amenities of a touring bike. These include a more comfortable riding position blended with overall utility capabilities.
Also known as standard motorcycles, naked bikes are generally good but have some disadvantages. For starters, bigger naked bike models can be quite large and just as powerful as sports bikes, making them unsuitable for beginners. Additionally, most models don't come with any wind protection.
You can, however, find naked bikes that tread that thin line between comfort and performance. The Honda CB500 is an excellent example of a highly capable yet manageable naked bike.
Today, scooters range from small 50CC fuel-sippers that rarely exceed 30MPH to large 650CC bikes that can handle long-distance riding. Scooters are unique in the motorcycle world because they feature the iconic "step-through" design and a CVT (continuous variable transmission), so you don't have to shift gears.
Suppose you are a biker who's only interested in getting from one place to another within your city and don't want to deal with learning how to shift gears, high maintenance costs, and would prefer convenient features such as storage space and comfortable seats. In that case, a scooter may be your ideal bike. Scooters, however, tend to be less stable thanks to the generally smaller wheels on most models.
Choosing a motorcycle is all about knowing the kind of rider you want to be. Unfortunately, this is often something you only learn once you start riding. The best approach would be to start by renting the different types of bikes in every category and trying them all out until you find one that speaks to who you are and buy it.