Researching motorcycles is a difficult process. With so many different types, styles, engine sizes, technology and more; but which type is right for you?
I’ve done the research and being a young man (28 at the time) I decided to start out with a Sport Bike. There are quite a few reasons why I picked the Sport Bike type but this doesn’t mean that you should follow my lead.
There are so many factors to take into consideration. Your experience level, how you plan to use the bike, how often you plan to ride, where you plan to ride it, and what aesthetic you are going for are all important factors you need to consider. Luckily, we’ve done a lot of research on the different types of bikes already for you. Let’s look into these types and while you do, think about which one matches up best with what you want from a bike.
What type is best for me?
Which type is best for you depends on, well, you. How long have you been riding? Where do you live and where will you be riding? How big of a bike do you want? What is more important to you; speed or comfort? All these questions and more you need to ask yourself to determine what type of bike you want. Let’s break each type down further so that you can have a better when making your decision.
When you picture a classic motorcycle in your mind, you are picturing a cruiser. With its low seat, higher tank and handlebars, and forward-facing foot controls, this bike is recognizable and irreplaceable. This is the bike you take on long rides with your club. It also has a seat for a passenger so you can bring someone along on the adventure. It is comfortable and most of these motorcycles can last for years upon years.
Cruisers are not perfect. Some people complain they are too loud. They are not meant for speed or precision turns either, so if you are looking for something to race through the city or on a track, this is not the bike for you. It is also known as a gas guzzler, but its deep purr should have already told you that.
Sportbikes are like race cars. They are pretty to look at and powerful, but they are not meant for long-distance riding. You may know this bike as one of the types that go by the moniker of “crotch-rocket”. They are fast. They are also good at hairpin turns and navigating the city streets. Many people get this type of motorcycle when speed is their primary goal.
Crotch rocket types, including this one, are ten times more likely to result in a deadly crash than any other type. Most investigators and lawyers agree that this is because of the speed and power. Operators don’t always realize or respect how quickly these motorcycles can accelerate. It takes a lot of practice and self-control to ride one of these safely.
The naked bike is a bike without the plastic body pieces on it. It is usually created from a sportbike or a standard. They are fast and small. The lack of big body parts makes this bike harder for the wind to push it around, but it is also harder to see for surrounding drivers because of its smaller profile.
Supersport bikes are designed for racing. They are faster than any other type. So fast that some manufacturers had to modify the models they wanted to be able to sell to make them street legal. These motorcycles are great on speed, but they are finicky, expensive, and can be very dangerous for anyone not well-trained to race. This type is not beginner focused.
Adventure Bike or Dual-Sport
Adventure bikes and Dual-Sport bikes have the same purpose and are a notorious point of contention among motorcycle enthusiasts. So what makes an adventure or dual-sport bike? Well, simply put, it should be able to take you on and off road. Some examples are the BMW R1200GS, the Enduro, and the Ducati Multistrada S. These bikes, although fast and fun, require a lot of maintenance.
The Standard is another name for a naked bike, although some argue that the Standard usually has more upright seating than the traditional naked bike.
The Touring motorcycle is huge. These are the biggest type. Made with large engines, big bodies, and big windshield you will recognize these as the ones you often see on the highway with saddlebags. They are powerful and strong, but that comes with a hefty price tag. They are cumbersome and can be hard to maneuver, however, if you will be going cross country on your bike this would be the best bike for the job.
This is another name for the dual-sport and encompasses dirtbikes, off-roading bikes, and adventure bikes.
Enduro motorcycles are meant for long-distance off-roading competitions. They can run on the pavement but are best on dirt. These competitions can last for days on end and usually bring the riders throughout dangerous terrain. They are built with smaller engines but bigger gas tanks and suspensions to make riding a breeze off-road.
Scooters have a walk-through frame and a platform for your feet. They can be powerful but are usually meant for city driving at slower speeds instead of highway riding or races. They are comfortable to drive and good for beginners to the bike world, including teenagers. They won’t usually take you too fast or super far, but they are convenient for city dwellers and short distances.
Motocross bikes are off-roading dirt bikes that are made specifically for dirt-track racing. They do not have as many safety features as most other bikes because they are meant to be ridden in controlled environments. These are great for sport riding and racing, although they do not hold a ton of fuel and are not meant to be used in any environment other than the track.
The term “Off-Road Motorcycle” encompasses the motocross, the enduro, the rally bikes, and any bike whose primary purpose is to take you off the pavement.
Electric motorcycles run on electricity instead of gas. They are cleaner, quieter, and usually require less maintenance. However, they also need charging more often than most bikes need their gas tanks filled, and the fact that they need to be charged means they can not go on the long trips that their gas-powered counterparts can. Although it’s a relatively new market, we hope that the technology in these motorcycles become better and hopefully, in time, become the norm.
Many motorcycle manufacturers have released their own lines of Heritage bikes, and BMW was no exception. They released the R NineT line in 2013 and have been making them ever since. These bikes are based on classic looks and they all have a 1,170cc flat-twin engine. They are meant to look and run like throw-backs to the era of the stripped-down motorcycles.
This is BMW’s newest line. It features a motorcycle and a scooter and is meant to help you navigate city streets safely and efficiently. Less fuel consumption is one of the major positive factors in these models. They are great for city use, as they are intended to be, but if you like long country rides this will not be the line for you.
Now that you have a better idea of the type of motorcycles you can narrow down the search for the perfect one for you. As a beginner, it is recommended you stick to 300-500cc engines. You should also consider something that is not too heavy. It will take you a while to adjust to the size and learn to maneuver the bike, both on and off-road.
So what do you think? Do you plan to go off-roading? Do you want long-haul adventure while you ride across the country? Will you be a weekend warrior full of gusto on a Sunday afternoon but back to work Monday through Friday? Maybe you will want to use your bike as your primary commuting vehicle. These are all things to consider.
What about your overall look? The sportbike looks fast and sleek. You can zip in and out of side streets and through the city looking awesome in your gear and on your purring bike as it zooms around. Do you like the idea of looking like the classic rider? Do you want a roaring Harley to sit back and take in the sights as you cruise across the countryside?
Once you have taken all of these things into account, it’s time to go look at bikes! Sit on each one. Ensure the height and weight are all good for you. Check the CCs. Don’t go too high on your first bike! Ask about suspension and how much gas the tank will hold. Find out what the overall MPG is and how far you can go on a tank.
Above all, pick a bike you absolutely love. They can be expensive, and the bike will be an investment. A well-cared-for machine will last you years, if not decades. Make sure it is the right fit, the right color, and will allow you to ride for its intended purpose. Love your bike!