Types Of Motorcycles

You’ve likely noticed that there are a number of different types of motorcycles to choose from – each of which has features that make it better or worse for different types of riding conditions. The following is a brief breakdown describing each of the different motorcycle types.


touring motorcycle

“A touring motorcycle is a type of motorcycle designed for long-distance touring and heavy commuting. Although any motorcycle can be used to tour with, manufacturers have brought specific models designed to address the particular needs of these riders. Common to the touring motorcycle models is usually large displacement fairings and windshields (to offer a high degree of weather and wind protection), large capacity fuel tanks (for long ranges between fill-ups), engines offering lots of low-end horsepower, and a more relaxed, more upright seating position than sport bikes.” Touring motorcycle can be divided into three main sub-categories including Full-Dress Tourers, Global On- And Off-Road Tourers, and Sport-Tourers.

Photo by El Biffster


cruiser motorcycle

“Cruiser is the term for motorcycles that mimic the design style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson. The market for models evocative of the early cruisers has grown to embrace 60% of the U.S. market, such that all major motorcycle manufacturers—from Honda to Suzuki to Moto Guzzi to BMW have currently or have had important models evocative of the American cruiser. The riding position on a cruiser places the feet forward and the hands up, with the spine erect or leaning back slightly. Chopper-style motorcycles are considered cruisers. Many cruising motorcycles have limited performance and turning ability due to a low-slung design. Riders who enjoy cornering at higher speeds may need to customize to enhance lean angle, or start with a performance or sport-cruiser. Cruisers are often custom projects that result in a bike modified to suit the owner’s ideals, and as such are a source of pride and accomplishment. Cruisers are sometimes called custom even in the absence of aftermarket modifications.”

Photo by omniNate


crotch rocket

“A sport bike is a motorcycle optimized for speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering on paved roads, typically at the expense of comfort and fuel economy in comparison to less specialized motorcycles. With the emphasis of a sport bike being on speed, acceleration, braking, and maneuverability, there are certain design elements that most motorcycles of this type will share. Rider ergonomics favor function. This generally means higher foot pegs that move the legs closer to the body and more of a reach to a lower set of hand controls, such as clip on handlebars, which positions the body and weight forward and over the tank. Sport bikes have comparatively high-performance engines resting inside a lightweight frame. High tech and expensive materials are often used on sport bikes to reduce weight. Braking systems combine higher performance brake pads and disc brakes with multi-piston calipers that clamp onto over-sized vented rotors. Suspension systems are advanced in terms of adjustments and materials for increased stability and durability. Front and rear tires are larger and wider than tires found on other types of motorcycles to allow higher cornering speeds and greater lean angles.”

Photo by stephen9



“Standards are versatile, general purpose street motorcycles. They are recognized primarily by their upright riding position, partway between the reclining posture of the cruisers and the forward leaning sport bikes. Foot pegs are below the rider and handlebars are high enough to not force the rider to reach far forward, placing the shoulders above the hips in a natural position. Standards are often recommended to beginning motorcyclists due to their flexibility, relatively low cost, and moderate engines. Standards usually do not come with fairings or windscreens, or if they have them, they are relatively small.”

Photo by eyeliam



“Scooter engine sizes range smaller than motorcycles, 50–650 cc (3.1–40 cu in), and have all-enclosing bodywork that makes them cleaner and quieter than motorcycles, as well as having more built-in storage space. Continuously variable transmissions (CVT) make them easier to learn and to ride. Scooters usually have smaller wheels than motorcycles. Scooters usually have the engine as part of the swing-arm, so that their engines travel up and down with the suspension.”

Photo by Astragony


dual-purpose motorcycle

“Dual-sports, sometimes written dual-purpose, are street legal machines that are also designed to enter off-road situations. Typically based on a dirt bike chassis, they have added lights, mirrors, signals, and instruments that allow them to be licensed for public roads. They are higher than other street bikes, with a high center of gravity and tall seat height, allowing good suspension travel for rough ground.”

Photo by Logantech


off-road motorcycle for recreational trail riding

“An Enduro motorcycle is a motorcycle specially made for the Enduro sport, with the long travel and medium-hard suspension of a motocross bike conjoined with features such as a headlight and quiet muffler to make the bike street-legal for parts of the track. The engine of an Enduro bike is usually a single cylinder 2-stroke between 125cc and 360cc, or 4-stroke between 250 and 650cc. Enduro motorcycles most closely resemble Motocross motorcycles.  The demands that Enduros place on a bike are severe, and compared to standard street motorcycles, Enduro bikes require a great deal of maintenance to maintain peak operating capability. Their maintenance can be compared to that of Motocross bikes, except that Enduro bikes tend to require more collision prevention/repair maintenance and, until recently, Enduro bikes were developed by their manufacturers as totally different bikes than MX bikes, and accordingly they were developed with longer service-life engines, more durable components, less concern for weight, and other Enduro specific considerations.”

Photo by Matalyn


motorcross motorcycle

A Motorcross motorcycle is a bike built specifically for the sport of Motorcross. “Motocross is a form of motorcycle sport or all-terrain vehicle racing held on enclosed off road circuits. Motocross is derived from the French, and traces its origins to British scrambling competitions. The name “motocross” is a portmanteau derived from the words “Motorcycle” and “Cross Country”. BMX, or bicycle motocross, is the equivalent sport for non-motorized dirt bikes.”

Photo by BlackpitShooting


trials riding

“Trial motorcycles are distinctive in that they are extremely lightweight, lack seating (they are designed to be ridden standing up) and have suspension travel that is short, relative to a motocross or Enduro motorcycle. Motorcycle trials, also termed observed trials, is a non-speed event on specialized motorcycles. The sport is most popular in the United Kingdom and Spain, though there are participants around the globe. Motorcycle trials is often utilized by competitors of other motorcycle sports (such as motocross or street racers) as a way to cross-train, as trials teaches great throttle, balance, and machine control.”

Photo by Sonietta46 – Definitions from Wikipedia

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1 Comment

  1. suzuki

    September 13, 2012 at 6:54 am

    i have plan over a time to by a motor cycle and this is the time that could choose what type of motor cycle will be the best for my use
    where i stay is mady and the road is salavery when it rain so i need the dusty motor cycle

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