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Motorcycles 101 Motorcycle Types and Styles
 

Motorcycle Types and Styles Hot

Types of Motorcycles

Motorcycle Types and Styles
Motorcycle Types and Styles
Motorcycle Types and Styles

Features Info

There are hundreds of motorcycle types, sizes and styles to choose from, so it's important to understand the differences before you get started.

Some bikes are "purpose built" and designed to do one thing well. Others are built to handle a variety of conditions or types of terrain, but may not be the absolute best for any one specific use.

Here's a brief list of basic motorcycle types followed by three words that describe each category:

  • Sport Bike: Acceleration, adrenalin, amusing
  • Standard: Upright, comfortable, compliant
  • Naked (aka Street Fighter): European, aggressive, sans-fairing
  • Sport-Tourer: Zippy, comfortable, taller
  • Cruiser: Attitude, relaxed, bad-ass
  • Dual-Sport: Diverse, adventurer, lightweight
  • Off-Road: Explore, nature, agile
  • Motocross: dirt, race, jump
  • Youth: Fitted, small, fun

Some two-wheel enthusiasts enjoy time on more than one type of motorcycle. For instance, it's common for a motorcycle enthusiast to own a street bike plus a dirt bike or dual-sport as a second bike, so he or she may explore both on and off-road destinations.

Each motorcycle manufacturer, print magazine, website or trade organization defines and separates motorcycle types to best suit their individual needs. There is not one standard list that everyone works from.

While there are some terms consistently used like "cruiser," "sport" and "dual sport," once you dive into a particular motorcycle manufacturer website or visit an on-line magazine, you are likely to find slight variations of how the different motorcycle types are classed.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) defines three basic motorcycle types and further breaks them down by engine size:

  • On-Highway: Under 125cc, 125-349cc, 350-449cc, 450-749cc and over 749cc
  • Dual: Under 125cc, 125-349cc, 350-449cc, 450-749cc and over 749cc
  • Off-Highway; under 125cc, 125-349cc, 350-449cc, 450cc and over

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) website is a great resource for learning more about the variety of motorcycle types. The AMA's "Getting Started" section lists pros and cons for each street motorcycle type including: standards, cruisers, sportbikes, dual-sports and scooters.

Motorcyclist magazine's website has one of the most extensive lists of motorcycle types I've come across. They break it down into 27 categories including some of the less common classes like: adventure, chopper, roadster, sportminicycle and touring scooter.

To help consumers find the right bike to buy, Cycle Trader uses the following 17 categories to define the types of motorcycle listed for sale.

  • Antique/Vintage
  • Classic 1956-1882
  • Custom
  • Dual Sport
  • MX or Motocross
  • Moped
  • Sport Touring
  • Standard
  • Trike
  • Competition
  • Cruiser
  • Dirt Bike
  • Electric
  • Mini and Pocket
  • Scooter
  • Sportbike
  • Touring

Motorcycle Types by Manufacturer

Each major motorcycle manufacturer showcases their products divided by motorcycle types that best suit their needs.

Aprilia brand motorcycles are classified on the U.S. website by three simple categories: road, offroad and scooters. Nine models come up under the road heading, three under offroad and six under scooter.

The BMW motorcycle maker in Germany showcases an 18-model streebike line up broken down into five specific types: sport, tour, roadster, enduro and urban mobility. Their scooter offerings include two 600cc models

Innovation is nothing new for the Canadian company called Bombardier or BRP. Introduced a few years ago, the three-wheeled Can Am Spider Roadster is a cross between a car and a motorcycle. The Spider is static stable and offers a variety of creature comforts such as: heated grips, cruise control, adjustable windscreen, sound system, plenty of storage and room for a happy passenger. The Can Am Spider comes in eight different models and ranges in price from $18,500 to $31,999.

The Italian manufacturer Ducati breaks down their 23-model line-up into six different types of motorcycles or categories: Diavel, HyperMotard, Monter, Multistrada, Streetfighter and Superbike.

Harley-Davidson breaks it down by Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod, Touring, Trike and their CVOs or Custom Vehicle Operations motorcycles. The CVOs models are built with a number of special top line features that include a custom-built engine.

Honda separates street bikes from off-road, then further separates the their products into a long list of options. For street, you will find: touring, sport-touring, adventure, cruisers, chopper, sport, motard, dual sport and scooters. Under the off-road banner, you'll discover dual sport (again), trail, motocross , ATV sport, ATV utility and MUV which stands for their multi-purpose side by side utility vehicle called Big Red.

Kawasaki breaks down their motorcycle types into nine categories: sport, supersport, supersport tourer, touring, cruisers, dual-purpose, off-road and motocross.Until recently, the supersport tourer category did not exist for Kawasaki. This new category was created to accommodate the new Kawasaki Concours14, a large displacement motorcycle with plenty of super, sport and tourer to go around.

Find yourself on the Suzuki website and you'll discover two wheel products first divided into two basic categories, motorcycles and scooters. There are 40 different types of motorcycles and only two scooters.

Drill down and you'll be picking from sportbike, cruiser, touring, standard, adventure, dualsport, motocross, off road and kids under the motorcycle heading. Those more interested in scooters will find two Bergman scooters, one with a 650cc engine size and the other a smaller 400cc.

KTM offers choices within five categories including motocross or MX, enduro, supermoto, travel and sportbike. Drill down a bit and you will see eleven different orange MX models, 16 orange enduro offerings, one orange 450cc supermotard machine, four 990cc travel (or adventure style) models and two orange and white 1190cc sportbikes. KTM is based in Austria.

Moto Guzzi offers a short list of very unique motorcycles. The five models offered in the U.S. market are not delegated into categories. Each model

Triumph categorizes their 15 different street motorcycle offerings into six different classes: adventure, classics, cruisers, roadsters, supersports and touring.

Based in Minnesota, Victory motorcycles are made by Polaris. The lineup is broken down into three main types: touring, baggers and cruisers. A total of 17 models are offered ranging from $15,000 to $26,000.

Yamaha uses the Star Motorcycle brand for all of their cruiser bikes. There are eight different Star Motorcycle sub-categories and 27 individual models of ranging in engines sizes from 250cc to 1300cc. The Star Motorcycle types include these models:

  • Royal Star
  • Stratoliner
  • Roadliner
  • Raider
  • Stryker
  • Road Star
  • V-Star Warrior
  • VMAX

Venture outside of the world of Yamaha cruisers and you'll see the rest of their two-wheel offerings defined by street, scooter and off-road. Under street, there is supersport, supersport touring, adventure touring and dual purpose. The scooter category lists eight different models.

With hundreds of choices, it really doesn't matter which brand or type of motorcycle you decide to go with. What is important is that you find the bike that is right for you, your style and how you plan to use it.

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Motorcycle Types and Styles
Motorcycle Types and Styles
Motorcycle Types and Styles

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