Types of motorcycles

 

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes 40 seconds
Motorcycles come in a variety of styles and specifications, each purpose-built for a specific goal and having distinct characteristics such as riding position, handling, engine performance and the like. What kind of a motorcycle you buy/ride, will depend on your needs – touring, commuting, off-roading, track racing, etc. The types of bikes are:

  • Standard
  • Sport
  • Cruiser
  • Tourer
  • Sport tourer
  • Dual purpose/Adventure sport
  • Enduro
  • Scooter
  • Maxi Scooter

    Here is a detailed description of each type:

1) Standard

Commuter/Standard motorcycle type
Hero Xtreme
  • Engine – Engine sizes range from 100cc to 1000cc, with strong low-end and mid range performance for ease of riding in the city and commuting
  • Not designed for any specific purpose
  • Riding position – Upright, comfortable riding position, mid-range handlebars, average seat height (read more about body position)
  • Easy handling, decent acceleration and braking
  • Good choice for beginner riders
    pulsar
    Bajaj Pulsar 150

2) Sport

Sports bike or racing bike
Yamaha R15
  • Engine – Characterized by high performance engines having decent mid range and strong top end performance and high engine power. Engine sizes range from 125cc to 1400cc (as of this time of writing). Understand more about a motorcycle engine.
  • Streamlined bodywork, equipped with aerodynamically designed fairing to improve high speed stability and reduce wind resistance
  • Excellent cornering, precise handling and swerving, strong braking and quick acceleration capabilities (learn how counter steering works)
  • Ideal for fast/spirited riding, track racing
  • Riding position – Forward leaning riding position which places the riders’ arms far out forward and feet backwards and upwards, low-range handlebars (majority of these bikes use clip-on handlebars), average seat height
  • Best for intermediate and advanced level riders
    If you own a sport motorcycle, you can get in touch with us to learn advanced cornering
honda-cbr-250r-pearl-sports-yellow.png
Honda CBR 250R

3) Cruiser

Harley Davidson Iron 883
Harley Davidson Iron 883
  • Engine – Characterized by high torque, cruiser engines are tuned to offer high torque at low RPMs, making frequent gear shifting unnecessary, unlike in a sport bike
  • Purpose built for cruising and long distance ride comfort
  • Limited cornering ability, primarily due to lack of ground clearance
  • Good stability in a straight line due to long wheelbase
  • Riding position – Low seat height and laid-back riding position, typically with feet forward, mid to high range handlebars
    If you own a heavy motorcycle and are facing problems with handling, you can practice these slow riding maneuvers.
    7581057.png
    Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500

4) Tourer

Touring motorcycle
Honda Goldwing
  • Engine – Characterized by large, powerful and torquey engines, can easily carry luggage and 2 occupants
  • Purpose-built to cover long distances at high speeds in extreme comfort and have a large fuel tank
  • Riding position – Relaxed, upright seating position, mid range handlebars, low and wide seat
  • Bulky motorcycles equipped with large front fairing and windscreen to improve aerodynamic efficiency and protect the rider from wind blast and environmental elements, luggage carriers and creature comforts like heated grips, cruise control, stereo system, etc. are also present
    Learn how to handle a heavy motorcycle.
vivid-black-Electra-Glide-Ultra-Classic-Low.png
Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic

 

5) Sport tourer

Sport tourer motorcycle
Yamaha FJR 1300
  • Engine – Powerful engines with the right balance of power and torque for performance oriented touring
  • Purpose built for sport-oriented touring, these bikes combine attributes of sport bikes and tourers
  • Excellent handling, braking and acceleration
  • Riding position – Upright neutral seating position, mid range handlebars, average seat height
  • Equipped with front fairing and windscreen to improve aerodynamic efficiency and protect the rider from wind blast and environmental elements, luggage carriers and may also have creature comforts like heated grips, cruise control, stereo system, etc.
  • Ideal for intermediate and advanced level riders (Explore advanced skills to level up your riding)
    2000000142.jpg
    Kawasaki Concours 14

    6) Dual purpose/Adventure sport

KTM 1090 Adventure R
KTM 1090 Adventure R
  • Engine – High torque, high horsepower engines
  • Designed to be ridden in both, on-road and off-road situations, known for their ruggedness and off-roading ability
  • Can be fitted with saddle bags for carrying luggage
  • Characterized by tall seat height, high ground clearance, long travel (tall) suspension, high center of gravity
    Riding gear is recommended, specially for off road riding. Check this section on riding gear before heading out.
2018_Ducati_Multistrada_1260PikesPeak.jpg
Ducati Multistrada

7) Enduro (street legal version of off-road motorcycles)

Honda CRF450L
Honda CRF450L
  • Engine – Usually come with single cylinder engines with average power and torque rating, characterized by high acceleration figures
  • Lightweight motorcycles characterized by high seat height, tall suspension and high ground clearance
  • Purpose built for serious off roading, rough terrains and mountain biking, extremely rugged, go-anywhere ability, contain some form of engine protection to prevent grounding
  • Uncomfortable and narrow seating, small fuel tank
33001_690_Enduro_R_MY_2015_600x.jpg
KTM 690 Enduro

8) Scooter

Honda Grazia, Honda Activa family
Honda Grazia
  • Engine – Small engine capacity, usually single cylinder engines with less power and torque, engine is usually part of the swingarm (Honda Activa and TVS Jupiter are quite popular in India)
  • Characterized by a step-through frame and automatic transmission (Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT)
  • Best suited for city riding, easy to ride and maintain, have built-in storage space
  • All-enclosing bodywork makes them cleaner and quieter than motorcycles, wheels are much smaller than those of motorcycles
  • Riding position – Mid range handlebars with upright neutral riding position, easy accomodation, very comfortable
17.png
Suzuki Access 125 SE

9) Maxi scooter

Maxi scooter, power scooter
Suzuki Burgman 650
  • Engine – Powerful engines, higher engine capacity than scooters (single and multi cylinder engines, both available), engine is usually part of the swingarm
  • All-enclosing bodywork makes them cleaner and quieter than motorcycles, wheels are smaller than those of motorcycles
  • Have a lot of built-in storage space
  • Characterized by by step-through frame and automatic transmission (Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT), ideal for city riding as well as high speed highway riding
  • Riding position – Mid range handlebars with upright neutral riding position, large floorboard for easy accommodation, ease of riding, very comfortable
bmw-c-600-left-side-view-(full-image)
BMW C 600 Sport

There is a bike available for every type of rider. No motorcycle is better or worse than another, it all depends on how you intend to use it. Know about the various types of motorcycle licences.

* Some of the above motorcycles/scooters may not have been launched in India, at this time of writing.

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