While there are no official class systems for motorcycles, there are a handful of commonly used categories the describe the style of the bike and its intended use.
Within each class there are sometimes sub-classes or styles that can be used to describe a specific bike.
The main categories of the different types of motorcycles you’ll see include:
- Enduro/dirt bike.
Some common sub-classes within these larger categories, which can be thought of as styles, include:
- Naked bikes.
- Muscle bikes.
- Cafe racers.
What is a Standard Motorcycle?
A standard motorcycle describes general purpose street bikes.
They typically feature:
- Upright riding position.
- Lower cost.
- Mid-range engine size and power.
- No fairings or windshields.
- No luggage racks or saddle bags.
What is a Sport Motorcycle?
Sport motorcycles are built for speed, cornering, and acceleration.
These types of bikes typically feature:
- Lightweight construction.
- Inline engines.
- High performance brakes and suspension.
- Higher, rear-placed footpegs with a forward leaning riding position.
What is a Touring Motorcycle?
A touring motorcycle is a bike that’s designed to travel long distances comfortably.
These types of bikes feature:
- Larger engines.
- Fairings and windshields.
- Large fuel tanks.
- Comfortable riding position.
- Luggage and storage compartments.
What is a Sport-Touring Motorcycle?
Sport-touring motorcycles are designed to combine some of the performance aspects of a sport bike with the distance features of a touring motorcycle.
What is a Cruiser Motorcycle?
A cruiser motorcycle typically describes larger sized, larger displacement motorcycles with engines tuned for low-end torque and less shifting.
Cruiser motorcycles typically feature:
- More relaxed riding positions with the foot controls towards the front of the bike.
- Lower seat height.
- Lower ground clearance.
- Windshields and fairings.
What is a Dual-Sport Motorcycle?
A dual-sport motorcycle is designed for on-road and off-road use.
The bikes typically feature:
- Dirt bike and off-road frame and suspension features.
- Higher clearance.
- Features suited more towards road or more towards street use depending on the tires and setup.
What is an Enduro/dirt bike?
Enduros and dirt bikes are motorcycles that are designed to be used off-road only.
These typically lack the components necessary for street-use such as lights, mirrors, turn signals, etc.
What is a Bobber Motorcycle?
A bobber motorcycle describes a motorcycle that strips down some of the standard body work to remove weight and give it a more exposed look.
One key component of a bobber is the shortened rear fender.
What is a Bagger Motorcycle?
A bagger motorcycle describes as motorcycle with full fairings and cargo bags.
What is a Scrambler Motorcycle?
A scrambler motorcycle combines off-road components with a street bike.
These often feature knobby tires, higher exhaust routing, fork gators, and other off-road handling and style components.
What is a Cafe Racer?
A cafe racer describes a style of motorcycle that is lightweight, fast, and optimized for speed and handling.
They often feature pulled down handlebars and knee-divots in the gas tank for a more aggressive riding position.
Their design is typically minimalistic and speed-oriented.
What is a Chopper?
A chopper motorcycle describes a custom motorcycle that modifies the stock frame (or includes a custom frame).
They often feature raked forks, higher handlebars, low clearance, and rear sissy bars.