This is the second article in our new series titled Guide for New Riders. It will give you a chance to learn about different types of motorcycles, so that you can buy the type that suits your needs.
In the next article in this series I will talk about actually buying your first motorcycle.
For now, let's find out more about different types of motorcycles. The very first decision to make would be 'what kind of bike do I want to get?' This is going to depend what you want to get out of motorcycling. There are several types to choose from:
Touring / Cruiser
Let's start with a sport bike, because that's what I bought ;) According to MSF, a sport bike is a type of motorcycle under the street classification and generally emphasizes performance over comfort and passenger/load capacity. I bought a sport bike back in June 2007 (Yamaha R6s) and I was not disappointed. Very quick responsive handling and throttle control, great maneuverability, awesome look. It is though a bit uncomfortable, but only after riding long distances without a quick stop. Some other great sport bikes are Yamaha R1 (probably not good as your first bike-too much power), Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R600 and Honda CBR 600RR.
A touring motorcycle is a type of motorcycle designed for long-distance touring and heavy commuting. Although any motorcycle can be used to tour with, manufacturers have brought specific models designed to address the particular needs of these riders. Common to the touring motorcycle models is usually large displacement fairings and windshields (to offer a high degree of weather and wind protection), large capacity fuel tanks (for long ranges between fill-ups), engines offering lots of low-end horsepower, and a more relaxed, more upright seating position than sport bikes. Common current examples of full-dress tourers include the Honda Goldwing, the BMW K1200LT and the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, all of which have become quite popular.
A dual-sport, colloquially known as "dualie" or an "on-off road bike" is a type of street legal motorcycle that is designed for both on and off-road use. Popular dual-sport models include the BMW GS series, KTM Adventure series, Kawasaki KLR, SuzukiDRZ and V-Strom, Honda XL, Yamaha XT and many more.
There are several different types of off-road motorcycle, designed and specialized for specific functions. For off road use they typically, when compared to road going motorcycles have light weight, small engines, long suspension travel and high ground clearance. They also feature simple, rugged construction with little bodywork and no fairing, and large wheels with knobby tires.
So, there are different types of motorcycles to choose from. I chose a sport bike for great handling and maneuverability as well as a sporty sexy look, lightweight, and an awesome power to weight ratio. Which type will you choose? In the next article we will discuss all of the aspects of buying a motorcycle, from buying new or used, buying online, private or commercial purchases, and more.