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Choosing the Perfect Motorcycle: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

So you’ve decided to embark on the thrilling journey of buying a motorcycle - congratulations! While you might already have a particular bike or style in mind, it's essential to make an informed decision and consider all your options carefully. After all, you don't want to end up with a motorcycle that doesn't suit your lifestyle or needs, only to sell it a year or two later because it sits untouched. In this guide, we'll explore the most common types of motorcycles, their pros and cons, to help you make the best choice for your riding adventures.

Standard Motorcycles

Standard motorcycles encompass a broad range known for their simple design and upright riding position, striking a balance between laid-back cruisers and forward-leaning sports bikes. Available in various engine capacities, from 125cc and up, these versatile machines can be customized with luggage and accessories, making them an excellent choice, especially for first-time riders.

One notable feature is their lower to middle-range seat height, making them suitable for most riders, including women. Standards are often "naked" bikes, lacking excessive fairings or plastic, which keeps them light and easy to maintain. Considered the originals in the motorcycle world, they offer a pure and unfiltered riding experience.

Notable models: Triumph Street Twin, Honda CB650R, Ducati Monster, Yamaha MT07, Suzuki SV650

Cruiser Motorcycles

Cruiser motorcycles, as the name implies, are designed for relaxed cruising around town. They have a lower seat height and engines tuned for low-end torque, reducing the need for frequent gear changes and making them a breeze to ride. Inspired by American motorcycles from the 1930s to 1960s, cruisers are easily recognizable, with Harley Davidson being the most iconic brand. They are highly customizable and can handle everything from a quick coffee run to longer road trips.

Within the cruiser category, you'll find various sub-styles like choppers and bobbers, all sharing characteristics like a feet-forward and arms-wide riding position, often powered by large-displacement V-twin engines. Cruisers offer both comfort and style, exuding an overall sense of badassness.

Notable models: Harley Davidson Sportster, Indian Scout, Honda Rebel, Kawasaki Vulcan

Sport Motorcycles

Sport bikes are designed for speed, agility, and sharp handling, making them perfect for carving corners. With their forward-leaning ergonomics, fairings, and high foot pegs, they position riders to lean on top of the fuel tank, resembling race bikes. While they are generally lightweight, their unique style may trade off comfort and fuel economy for power.

If you're of shorter stature, test riding a few sport bikes at a dealership is advisable, as their higher seats might require you to balance on your toes. But don't be intimidated by these beasts, especially if you aspire to participate in track or race days in the future.

Notable models: Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R, Ducati Panigale, KTM RC390, Yamaha R1, BMW S1000RR Adventure Motorcycles An adventure bike, or ADV bike, is a versatile motorcycle designed for riders who seek both on-road comfort and off-road exploration. These bikes feature characteristics like longer suspension travel for smoother rides on rough terrain, higher ground clearance to tackle obstacles, and spacious fuel tanks for longer journeys. Adventure motorcycles are known for their adaptability, making them an ideal choice for riders who want a single bike capable of handling everything from motorway cruising to adventurous off-road escapades. While many riders typically explore adventure motorcycles after gaining experience with other bike types, there are smaller-capacity adventure bikes available on the market. These bikes are perfect for individuals who have recently acquired their motorcycle license and wish to dip their toes into light off-road riding. Notable models: Sinnis Terrain 125, KTM 390 Adventure, Honda Africa Twin, Yamaha Ténéré

Touring Motorcycles

Touring motorcycles come in various shapes and sizes, specifically designed for covering long distances with utmost comfort. They feature large-displacement engines, fairings, and screens to shield riders from inclement weather. With larger fuel tanks and an upright seating position, touring bikes enable riders to comfortably journey for hours before needing a break.

These bikes are ideal for those who enjoy long road trips and covering significant mileage, but their substantial weight and price tag make them less suitable for new riders. Subcategories like baggers, dressers, sport tourers, and adventure models offer different variations to suit diverse preferences.

Notable models: BMW GS, Triumph Tiger, KTM Super Adventure, Honda Goldwing, Harley Davidson Electra Glide

Off-Road Motorcycles

Off-road motorcycles, also known as dirt bikes, are purpose-built for unpaved surfaces like gravel, mud, sand, and snow. They are lighter, more flexible, and have high ground clearance compared to street bikes. These machines are typically geared for more torque in off-road conditions and lack mirrors and lights, making them unsuitable for urban use.

Subcategories within off-road bikes include Motocross, Enduro, Rally, and Dual Sport bikes, each catering to specific riding preferences.

Notable models: Kawasaki KLX, Husqvarna FC, KTM EXC-F, Honda CRF

Scooters & Mopeds

Scooters and mopeds offer an alternative two-wheeled experience, perfect for urban commuting or short trips. Scooters are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre, and sit low to the ground, making them excellent for zipping through city streets. They come in various engine capacities, making them suitable starter bikes.

Mopeds, on the other hand, are smaller and less powerful, often equipped with 50cc engines and reaching top speeds of around 28 miles per hour. They're ideal for quick trips around town and are popular among young riders due to their accessibility with learner plates.

Notable models: Yamaha X-Max, Honda PCX 125, Piaggio Vespa, Peugeot Speedfight 4, Aprilia SR 50 R

In conclusion, we've covered the most popular types of motorcycles you'll encounter on the road. While the choices may seem overwhelming, remember to prioritize practicality over aesthetics. Define your needs and conduct thorough research online before visiting a dealership. This way, you'll avoid buying a motorcycle that doesn't align with your lifestyle. Keep safety a top priority, and welcome to the thrilling world of motorcycling! 🏍️

If you have any questions or need further guidance, please feel free to leave a comment below. Stay safe and enjoy your riding adventures!

Jennie x

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Dec 05, 2020

Great read! I think it’ll be the sports bikes for me!


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