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Types of Motorbikes: The Ultimate Guide

Author
Ari Kypuros Owner & Founder of Tyreman M/C
15min April 26th, 2022
a close up of a motorbike sitting in a shop

With so many types of motorbikes on offer, how do you choose the best option for you? First, it is important to understand that each variety of bike is designed for a specific activity. While they will all have you set for fun and adventure, it’s vital that you make sure you choose the right ride before laying down that hard-earned cash.

If you are looking at buying your first bike, the options can seem daunting. At Tyreman MC, we make sure we sell the highest quality tyres for a range of motorcycle types, from cruisers to sport, scooters and more. As experts, we thought you might find an ultimate guide to the many types of motorcycles helpful; so we made one!

Even if you are a motorcycle veteran, this article may help you make an upgrade decision or show you some new riding realms to venture into. So first time riders, or those switching bikes, read on to learn what your options are.

a man sitting on a street motorcycle on the road

Street Motorcycle

Let’s begin with the simplest and most common of all motorcycle types. With an easy-to-understand design, the standard motorcycle is the best all-rounder. Available from 125cc to 1,000cc, this type of motorcycle can be a great place to start for any rider and still allows for a level of customisation.

Ergonomically the rider sits in a neutral, upright position with a seat height that comfortably suits all body types. Both beginners and experienced riders will be able to find a size within the standard range to suit their abilities, and you can upgrade to a ‘sport standard,’ which features added performance benefits in terms of its power or handling capabilities.

the back of an adventure motorcycle sitting on the road

Adventure Motorcycle

Adventure motorcycles have long-travel suspension, luggage options, wire-spoked wheels and drop protection, everything you need for, you guessed it, a big adventure!

These bikes offer capability and range and can handle some light dirt track riding. Sometimes referred to as dual-purpose bikes, these are what you’ll ride for commuting and touring down the highway.

These already comfortable bikes have been given some modern upgrades to increase their comfortability with things like heated seats, in-built GPS systems and more for those long road trips.

a man riding an off road motorcycle on a hill

Off-Road Adventure Motorcycle

The off-road version of the adventure bike looks like the BMW R1250GS Adventure, which is similar to the adventure model described above but designed for off-road use.

The main points of difference in the off-road model are:

  • Larger fuel tanks
  • Crash protection
  • Longer travel suspension
  • Higher seats

In most cases, these bikes won’t have lights or turn signals, meaning you won’t be able to ride them to your adventure spot; instead, they will need to be trailered.

a cruiser motorcycle parked beside a brick wall

Cruisers

The cruiser, or chopper, is unsurprisingly designed for cruising. It has a lower seat height and some luggage space and is the perfect weekend ride companion. The engine usually goes up to about 1,000cc, making it an accessible choice for new and experienced riders.

Harley-Davidson is the iconic cruiser brand, but any low slung motorcycle that can be accessorised and prepped for a long road trip falls under the cruiser category. The riding position has your feet forward with an upright or slight back-leaning torso in a low seat. You’ll notice a large rear tyre, raked-out fork and low down torque engine.

Cruisers are heavy bikes that are all about looking and sounding good instead of being fast pieces of machinery. This is about looking and feeling very, very cool.

a green motorcycle turning a corner

Sport Bikes

The opposite end of the bike spectrum to the cruiser is a Sportbike, purpose-built for speed, agility and cornering. These bikes have high seats, low handlebars and rear-set footpegs. The engines vary in size, and modern models blend technology and development to ensure you can ride track or street comfortably.

Sportbikes often have a high amount of horsepower and torque while also being made from lightweight materials like carbon fibre. The goal here is maximum performance. We recommend a smaller engine for new riders who are considering the Sportbike route, and the higher powered models require some practice and skill.

a naked bike sitting on the hill

Naked Bikes

Naked bikes are sport bikes with the fairing removed and other tweaks to make them less aggressive. Also referred to as roadsters, muscle bikes, streetfighters or hyper-naked bikes like the Yamaha R-125 or BMW S1000RR fall under this category.

a cafe racer motorcycle sitting on the road

Cafe Racer

A Cafe Racer is a traditional naked bike with a seat hump, low clip-on handlebars, a single headlight and a minimal fairing. The goal with these bikes is a lightweight model with good speed and handling. Modern options put a heavy focus on style and often have a retro-tinge to their design.

people sitting atop touring bikes heading around a corner

Touring Motorcycles

The largest type of motorcycle is built for cross-country riding. Touring bikes have a large amount of storage and comfortable set-ups, so you can ride for hours without any issue. In addition, they feature large fairings to block the weather and engine sizes that can haul gear at highway speeds.

The Honda Goldwing is the most popular Touring model and one of the heaviest bikes on the road. So if long rides across the country are your dream, you’ll need a Touring bike to make it a reality.

a person sitting on a sport touring motorbike

Sport Touring

The Sport Touring variants are an exact mash-up of both Sport and Touring. They have a taller seat height than a Touring motorcycle with more luggage capacity than a Sport. This makes them perfect for both long rides and quick trips.

The engine is usually mid-range, with bigger options available to suit any riding style. The Kawasaki Concours14 ABS is a popular Sport Touring model that will carry your gear, and you quickly make your way down the highway for a bit of fun.

a man sitting on a dual sport motorbike

Dual Sport

Dual Sports are another variant that mixes off-road and road features well. With the suspension and tires for the dirt track and legally required features for street riding, Dual Sports are a good in-between option. The seat height is tall, and they will have limited storage options out-of-the-box, but additions to turn them into weekend trip warriors are always an option.

The KTM 1090 Adventure is a great example of a Dual Sport built for weekend riders who like to take a long cruise every now and then.

a man riding a scooter on the road

Scooters

Scooters are lightweight, low to the ground bikes built for riding around the city streets. They start at 50cc and go through to 500cc with limited storage. So if you are a city slicker that wants an easy way to get around town, Scooters like the Honda Ruckus will help you jet from A to B while dodging that peak-hour traffic build-up.

a woman riding a moped on the street

Mopeds

Similar to a Scooter but also different, the Moped is a very light bike with a small engine that can even be electric in some cases. They have a retro tinge that gives a more unique look to the scooter design.

Actual mopeds are hard to find, with only a few brands still offering an option. This is one step under a scooter in terms of size, weight, power and storage, but one above inefficiency as a result.

a retro motorcycle sitting in a warehouse

Retro Motorcycles

While we’re mentioning retro models, you can find a range of modified bikes that have been customised to provide a more traditional look while still featuring modern tech. The look of old with the riding experience of a new bike is very appealing for a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts.

Look for a single round headlight, rounded clocks, stitched seats, subtle colours, round exhausts, and wire-spoked wheels to create the retro look that turns heads when it rolls down the street.

a man sitting beside a motorcycle bike in a field looking out to the view

Choosing The Right Motorcycle For You

Now you understand a little more about the many options available; you may be more or less confused as to which is right for you. The bigger motorcycle brands will often offer more than one of the options above with different engine sizes and features available.

Unless you have your heart set on a specific brand, think about how you plan to use your motorcycle. Where will you be riding it? What types of trips will you be taking? This will help you narrow down the search to find the best bike for your needs. Always keep the bike’s safety features in mind and match those to your riding skill level.

Tyres are also a significant consideration when it comes to enjoying your ride and being safe on the road. The experts at Tyreman MC have the highest quality motorbike tyres for different styles of riding and bikes. We’re always happy to chat with new riders or experienced motorcycle enthusiasts about their ride to find the right tyre option to suit. Let’s chat today about the best tyres for your motorcycle!