Have you ever wondered how the two-wheel and the three-wheel motor vehicle came into existence? Motorcycles are any two-wheeled or three-wheeled motor vehicle that is usually propelled by the internal combustion engine. Just like many inventions, the motorcycle also evolved in different stages and that’s why we have come to see the different types of motorcycles.
The first bicycle-styled automobile with a gasoline engine come into existence in the year 1885. It was invented by three Germans: Gotlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Nicolaus Otto.
In 1876, Otto invented the four-stroke internal combustion engine. Some years later, Daimler and Maybach set to work as they incorporated the new technology into a motorized cycle known as the Petroleum Reitwagen.
Daimler’s Reitwagen, however, did not have a maneuverable front wheel, instead, it relied on a pair of outrigger wheels.
The development of motorcycles continued from the 1880s onwards, many companies sprang up to produce self-propelled bicycles.
The Different Types Of Motorcycles
There are many systems used for classifying motorcycles. Some motorcycles are classified according to the intent of the designers and some are categorized according to their purpose.
Motorcycles come in different styles and differentiating one from another may be somehow difficult for the newbies who want to dive into the world of motorcycling. It is very important to understand exactly what you want before going for it.
This article is going to give some guides for the different types of motorcycles to help you find the one you have been wanting all along.
Standard Or Naked Bikes
Standard or naked type of motorcycle is one of the most common motorbikes with a simple design and is fit for all purposes. They are popular on the roads because of their easy-going ergonomics and their upright riding position.
Naked bikes don’t have fairings or windscreens, they offer sports bike performance with a more comfortable seating position, with flatter handlebars, single light cluster, and some tidying up of wiring.
Their seat height is usually in the shorter and middle-range, making it fit for both the tall and short riders comfortably.
These types of bikes can be fit with luggage, a tank bag, a different seat, and it makes a good all-round motorcycle to ride and because of their flexibility, lower costs, and moderate engine output, they are particularly suited for motorcycle beginners.
Scooters are the types of motorcycles with a smaller engine and maximized storage. They are also known as “three-wheelers.” They tend to take the existing models and add one extra wheel in the front. These motorcycles are good for commuting and also tackling the city traffic.
Most scooters designs allow both front wheels to tilt and to even lock in the upright position at slow speed.
They have a floorboard, small wheels, and a smooth line, and are lightweight, low to the ground, making them easy to navigate through the city streets.
Scooters come in different sizes and have enough power to get you around your commute area. These types of motorcycles offer smaller fairing with limited storage space and have outstanding gas storage.
Sport tourer is the type of motorcycle with mixed characteristics of sports and touring bikes. Their seat height is usually taller and has lots of factory-fit luggage options.
These types of motorcycles give greater comfort for long-distance riding since they are tuned to be more tolerable and much faster and with their engine sizes which are in the mid-range.
Sports tourers are also lighter and give higher speed and often have racier engines, suspensions, and brakes, which makes them corner better. They also feature tighter fairings with more aggressive performance than their cousins.
This type of motorcycle is made with speed, acceleration, braking, handling, and agility in mind. Generally, sports bikes are considered one of the lightest motorcycles made from lighter materials like carbon fiber and aluminum.
Sports bikes have higher seats, rear-set footpegs, and lower handlebars. These features categorize this type of motorcycle as one of the most aggressive bikes on the road.
They also come with different sizes and configurations of the engine, but the basic idea here is basically to bring technology, development, and research from the track to the street.
Sports bikes intend to boast higher horsepower and torque numbers, and they also incorporate lightweight. Some of them have fairings that enclose the engine completely along with windscreens that deflect the air at a high speed and give good wind protection. Their suspension system is more sophisticated for greater adjustment.
Touring Or Tourer
Touring motorcycle is one of the motorcycles designed to cover large-displacement engines, fairings, and screens that give good weather and wind protection, large-capacity fuel tanks, upright seating position. They also offer heated seats and handlebars, satellite radio, GPS, and Apple CarPlay. Their cargo space also comes in abundance.
These types of motorcycles are not about lightweight performance and they tend to be the heaviest motorcycle on the road. They also feature a fixed pannier or fancy system that helps to remove the luggage quietly.
They have excellent passenger accommodation and expansive luggage space. It’s also smooth, stable, and comfortable and also offers more storage compartments.
Off-Road Or Dirt Bikes
Off-road or dirt bikes are the types of motorcycles that are designed mainly for off-road use. They have taller seat heights to accommodate deeper brush and high suspension.
This type of motorcycle has no lights or turn signals and most of them are lightweight with wire-spoked wheels.
These are bikes that are heavily built to allow for the passage into muddy tough terrains and are for hobbies rather than sports.
Dirt bikes have some form of protection under the engine. In the case of grounding, they have engine bars in case it drops. They also have knobby tires for improved grip.
Off-road bikes are lighter and more flexible, having long suspension travel, and higher ground clearance.
Motorcross are the types of motorcycles that are designed to be raced in short, closed off-road tracks with lots of obstacles.
They have a small fuel tank for lightness and for compactness, long-travel suspension that allows riders to be able to jump at a high speed and to climb uphill. The engine of motocross is a single-cylinder with two-stroke and four-stroke units that carry in sizes.
Motorcross motorcycles can also be classified as a type of lightweight motorcycles with rugged tires, suspensions, sturdy bodywork, and high ground clearance.
Enduro bikes are modified motorcade bikes with additional characteristics like horns, lights, number plates, and effective silencing. They are mostly designed for Enduro sports. Additionally, they are mostly helping to test athletes’ endurance in participation.
They have big fuel tanks and tuned engines specifically for reliability, longevity, and sump protectors.
These types of motorcycles have long travel suspensions and are known for their durability. Their engines are fitted with a single-cylinder 2-stroke unit.
Dual-sports motorcycles also known as dual-purpose or all-purpose are one of the motorcycles that have been designed for tight trail rides rather than long-distance touring and can handle both on-road and off-road situations.
They have added lights, mirrors, signals, number plates, and some legal equipment that allows it to be used on public roads. Dual-sports motorcycles have a higher center for gravity allowing good suspension travel and tall seats to help navigate backroads.
Dual sport is also street legal and is capable of highway travel as well as urban commuting.
Cruiser is also known as “chopper” is a type of motorcycle that is designed for cruising hence the name “cruiser”. They have lower seat heights, making it a good around-town motorcycle with added luggage. Cruiser bikes are more about looking and sounding good.
This type of motorcycle is low slung motorcycle that can travel for miles and can make a good weekend rider. It mostly emphasizes easy rideability. This motorcycle is rugged and dense making it look like it can take lots of punishments.
The riding position of cruiser bikes allows you to put your feet forward and hands up. They are more comfortable than other styles and allow low and moderate speed. They have raked-out forks, high handlebars, small fuel tanks, and are modified to suits the owner’s ideal.
Many people tend to get confused in identifying mopeds and scooters. Moped simply means portmanteau of pedals and motorbikes.
The moped is a type of motorcycle that has a lighter frame based on a bicycle-style and a smaller engine or an electric motor in place of the engine.
Mopeds are subject to less strict licensing than bikes with larger engines and are popular motorbikes because they are relatively affordable.
They are lightweight and are limited on power but they also have a retro-cool about them. They offer minimal storage or no storage at all, and they also offer limited or no fairings to help block the wind and weather.
Not all the major motorcycle brands offer a true Moped model but only one brand that is ToaToa produces a simple moped motorcycle.
Adventure bikes are some of the motorcycles that are believed to be capable of both on-road riding and off-road riding, but their natural terrain is the unpaved roads.
They have long-travel suspension, higher seat height, handlebar position is perfect for all-day comfort, and extensive luggage options, making it one of the all-rounder for touring, sports, or commuting.
Adventure bikes are ideal for both weekend trips to the nearby mountains or a journey around the world. An adventure bike can handle both paved roads or those challenging unpaved trails that take you out of your comfort zone.
Street motorcycles are the types of motorcycles that are designed to be ridden on paved roads. They have a light tread pattern, engine, and their tires are smooth. Typically, street motorcycles are capable of going for a speed of 160 km/h and at many speeds above 125 mph. With firms like Harley-Davidson, electric motors are becoming more common.
Most motorcycles are modeled with two wheels except the tricycles, which come with three wheels, one in the front and a pair in the rear.
The three-wheeler is treated as a motorcycle basically for registration and licensing purposes. They keep all three wheels on the ground when they lean to negotiate curves.
The Honda Gyro range is one example of a motorized motorcycle, its front wheel leans and a pair of rear wheels do not.
Utility motorcycles are the types of motorcycles that are specially designed to serve specific job functions, such are those used by the ambulance, blood bikes, fire, and military services, and for specialized delivery services.
Maxi scooters are the types of motorcycle are cheap, a lightweight motorcycle that is designed for riding around the city. It comes with a bit more performance and versatility.
Maxi scooters are also known as touring scooters. They offer a larger engine and good wind protection, making them good for commuting and long-distance riding.
They have a large engine that is mounted into the frame. This type of motorcycle also has larger fairings for better wind protection and more storage room both in the fairings under the seat.
Maxi scooters tend to have a step-over design and their models offer cruiser comfort which is combined with a big engine. They have great luggage space, good pillions, and an automatic gearbox for easy riding.
Power cruisers are categorized on their own because they are typically different from cruiser bikes. This is because of their high level of horsepower. This type of motorcycle is mostly known for speed.
They come with better ground clearance, upgraded brakes, and also have muscular look.
Power cruisers are enhanced with a neutral riding position to allow for better concern when the rider feels the need for speed.
It is also a more powerful variant of the cruiser bike with more aggressive riding. When compared to standard cruisers, power cruisers have larger exhaust pipes, thicker rear tires, and better suspensions and brakes. Power cruisers can also be seen as a mix between sports bikes and cruiser bikes.
This motorcycle gives the same comfortable ride just like cruiser bikes deliver with speed.
Modern classic motorcycles also called retro, are fashionable makeovers with a sporty design. They come with a classic, single round headlight, and simpler round clocks.
These motorcycles also come with features like subtle color schemes, stitched leather seats, and chromed round exhausts, wire-spoke wheels, or cast wheels.
They have minimal weather protection and storage. Modern or retro are both mechanically simple and reliable
Trials are the type of motorcycle that is designed to be used during a specialized form of off-road competition testing balancing skills rather than speed. Most of them have the legal equipment for the road like mirrors, indicators, and dual-purpose tires
They have a lightweight and a good throttle response. Trails tend to have a small engine, with two strokes, a vestigial seat or no seat at all, and the footpegs. Their fuel tanks are very small, giving a very limited range.
A café racer is the type of motorcycle that is optimized for speed rather than comfort. They are lightweight and powerful.
This type of motorcycle is known for its visual minimalism with features like shorter and low-mounted handlebars which are generally coupons or attached to the fork legs, elongated fuel tanks, and comfortable seats.
Café racers have more aggressive and forward-leaning seating positions. They are classified as standard bikes with longer suspension travel and spoke wheels.
They also have a tuned engine and distinctive ergonomics to ensure responsive handling at higher speeds. Café is a perfect urban bike designed for fun and quick rides over a short distance.
Super motors are the types of motorcycles that combine the aspects of a dirt bike or dual-sport bike.
Supermotos features wire-spoke wheels, long-travel suspension, great ground clearance, and a noticeable high beak as the front fender. They also tend to have single-cylinder engines with chunky tires and large wheels.
It comes with a tall saddle, handlebar, and high ground clearance super motors can go from double jumps to even more asphalt esses without any hesitation.
They are great on the street and track and they are good commuters because of their ability to soak up on rough roads and height.
Bobber bike is a type of motorcycle with many removed parts for simplicity and to reduce weight and increase performance, to give the mean, back-to-basic look. It is the one type that has undergone a bob job.
They are built around unmodified frames. The typical construction includes stripping excess bodywork from a motorcycle; removing the front fender and shortening the rear one.
Track Racing Motorcycle
Track racing bikes are the types of motorcycles designed for high-speed oval racing, with no brakes, or rear suspension.
Their engines use methanol and are also single-cylinder four-stroke. They have two gears while some types of track racing bikes are designed to take left turns only. Examples are the speedway and grass-track bikes.
Rally Raid Bikes
Rallies are a special type of enduro bike with a significantly larger fuel tank designed for long-distance racing, through deserts. Their engine capacities tend to be larger than that of other motorcycles. They are usually between 450 cc and 750 cc.
A snow bike takes a typical dirt-bike who’s rear wheel has been replaced with a single tread system that is similar to that of a snowmobile with a large ski front wheel.
Snow bikes are much smaller and more flexible than a snowmobile. These types of motorcycles have a tighter turning radius, which lets the rider go where many snow cars cannot go.
Low rider is the type of cruiser motorcycle that has been lowered down to the ground and with little ground clearance between the road surface and the frame.
Their low profile makes them difficult in turns but is considered great for straight roads and shorter riders.
These bikes have been lowered with a lowering kit and shorter suspension or some might have no suspension in the frame at all.
Low riders don’t have swing arms but they have single-seat pans with springs underneath them to provide comfort for riders.
Traditional motorcycles are the type of motorcycle with a front and rear suspension with an upright seating position.
They generally work well for many different purposes of riding and are the best option for those who want a motorcycle that serves all the riding functions.
Traditional bikes come with low seat heights and are therefore ideal for short riders.
Electric motorcycles are plug-in electric vehicles with three or two wheels. The electricity in this motorcycle is stored onboard in a rechargeable battery which drives motor electric motors.
They are modified with features like instant acceleration and a good break-horsepower. Electric motorbikes are free from gears and the rider will enjoy riding without shifting gears since they run storage batteries.
These types of motorcycles require less maintenance when compared to other motorcycles but are more expensive than fuel motorcycles.
Electric motorcycles works on stored electricity. They have no rear exhaust and transmission noise.
Soft Tail Bikes
A soft tail motorcycle is the type of motorcycle with its rear suspension spring or shock absorbers located out of direct view.
The Harley Davidson soft tail frame is designed to look more like the rigid frame bikes with a rear suspension.
Its shock absorbers are positioned along the axis and tucked under the transmission on models.
Types Of Motorcycles; Final Thoughts
There are many types of motorcycles in the market. You only need to go through this list of motorcycles and you will be good to go.
With every detail provided in this article, about the different types of motorcycles, it will be more than easy to choose what is best for you since you now have some basic information required on the types of motorcycles available in the market.
For anyone who was interested to purchase a motorcycle but didn’t have any idea on what to go for, you can now feel free to go and get one and, if you were already in this field, feel free to either change to the one that you feel will fit your needs and interest