Types of Motorcycles

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.

Motorcycle Types

The main categories of the different types of motorcycles you’ll see include:

  • Standard.
  • Sport.
  • Touring.
  • Sport-Touring.
  • Cruiser.
  • Dual-Sport.
  • Enduro/dirt bike.

Motorcycle Styles

Some common sub-classes within these larger categories, which can be thought of as styles, include:

  • Naked bikes.
  • Muscle bikes.
  • Choppers.
  • Bobbers.
  • Scramblers.
  • Cafe racers.
  • Baggers.
  • Streetfighers.

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.

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