Motorcycles are awesome.
In a lot of ways, they encapsulate the true meaning of freedom.
When you hop on a bike and take off down the road, all of the stress of life tends to melt away—and you tend to just feel really good.
You’re cruising along. The wind is in your hair. You’re riding with some of your best friends…
Life is great!
But what if you’re just getting started with motorcycles, and aren’t sure exactly what to buy?
What if you’re shopping for the perfect style, and just aren’t sure which types are even available (and what each type is best for)?
These are important questions to ask. So in this post, we’re going to walk you through all of it.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to the different types of motorcycles.
Standard motorcycles are basic roadsters that are intended for use on the streets and for commuting.
They have the rider sitting upright, are built to be fuel-efficient, and don’t usually contain any ‘extras’ like windscreens.
These bikes tend to be basic, affordable, and relatively easy to operate.
If you’re just getting started and want to ride on the highway—then this is most likely the type of bike you’ll start with.
Cruisers tend to be larger motorcycles that are tuned for low-end torque, making them easier to ride over longer distances.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are a great example of a brand that helped to define the cruiser class.
If you enjoy going on longer rides on the highway and want to look super cool at the same time—then this is probably the type you’ll be looking at.
Note: Some cruisers can be expensive! If you’re thinking about riding one of these bad boys around in downtown L.A. or Beverly Hills, make sure that you have a personal injury attorney on-call to help you out if someone runs into you and damages your bike.
You won’t want to have to eat all of those costs by yourself while getting screwed by the insurance company!
Touring motorcycles are motorcycles that are equipped for comfortable long-range distance riding. They tend to have large-displacement engines, screens on the front for wind protection, larger fuel tanks, and a relaxed upright seating position.
They also tend to be great for carrying passengers.
If you’ve ever seen a Honda Gold Wing, then you’ve definitely seen what touring motorcycles look like.
Sports motorcycles are basically bikes that are designed for high speeds, fast acceleration, efficient braking, and fantastic handling and grip.
They’re just generally crafted to go fast, and to be great at doing so.
They tend to be outfitted with high-performance engines and lightweight frames. If you’ve ever seen a Suzuki GSX, then you have a pretty good idea of what sport bikes look like.
These bikes tend to have the rider leaning forward, so as to minimize air resistance. Another variation of the sport bike is the ‘muscle bike,’ which is basically a twist on the traditional sport bike design that focuses more intently on engine power.
Off-road motorcycles, also known as scramblers and/or dirt bikes, are motorcycles specifically crafted for off-road use.
They tend to do best when used on surfaces that aren’t conventionally paved (grassland, mountains, dirt trails, gravel roads, etc.).
Off-road motorcycles tend to be lightweight and flexible. They have high ground clearance, and are geared to provide more torque.
They’re also usually equipped with heavy-duty suspension—to account for the bumps, rocks, and other natural debris they’ll be driving over.
6. Dual Purpose
Dual-purpose bikes, also called dual-sport bikes or on/off-road motorcycles, are basically motorcycles that can be used to ride either on the highway or off-road.
They look (and feel) a lot like a dirt bike, and even tend to be built with a dirt bike chassis. But they also have mirrors, signals, lights, and everything else that’s needed in order for them to be street-legal.
This is a great option for people who may want to ride off-road once in a while, but who also want to be able to ride their motorcycle on the highway, commute to work, spend time riding with friends, etc.
There you have it.
The 6 basic motorcycle types, and what they’re designed to do.
Are you thinking of purchasing a motorcycle?
If so, this guide will hopefully get you started on the right foot.
Just figure out what you’d like to do, choose a bike that best fits those desires, and start shopping.