Different types of motorcycles offer different riding experiences. Whether you’re picking out your first bike or are adding to your collection, understanding how to evaluate the engine size, the brand, and the riding style of that motorcycle, can help you have the best time possible out on the road.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the most popular motorcycle makes and models, and how you can figure out which is best for you.
A motorcycle-style will typically describe the bike’s body type, engine type, and performance. This is more generic than the make/model of specific bikes but will let you know the typical specifications of a different motorcycle style. Some of the most popular styles are:
- Standard: Also known as naked bikes or roadsters, these versatile motorcycles are typically defined by their upright riding position as well as the easy suspension and all-purpose riding ability. These have simple designs that allow for wide ranges of cc (cubic capacity) engines, which keeps them versatile.
- Cruiser: The classic American machine that Harley-Davidson made famous. These bikes allow the rider to have their feet forward on the bike and their hands up to create the signature lean, certainly making the riding style and persona of a cruiser fitting for all these years.
- Sports Bike: A sports bike is designed for speed, cornering, precision riding, and paved roads. To afford for this, these motorcycles are typically not as comfortable and don’t have the best fuel economy, but they sure move!
- Touring Motorcycle: Touring bikes are sturdy, with wind protection and luggage capacity. These are used for tandem rides, and cross country treks. They have large engines and options for numerous technology implementations.
- Sport Touring Bikes: These combine the large engine, comfort, and technology of touring bikes with the sleek style of sports bikes. Thus, they’re still going to be comfortable and durable motorcycles, but they can get you where you want to go in a reasonable time.
- Scooters/Mopeds/Small Engine: While these could all be listed as their own separate types, these motorcycles are ones that usually are lighter with engines under 150cc of power. These are more utilitarian for getting around town and other short distances.
- Choppers: The American Classic, personified by Harley-Davidson in the 1960s. This style has the rider’s feet forward and arms up at an angle, creating the iconic riding style that is depicted in movies and motorcycle paraphernalia across the ages.
There are definitely many different types of bikes outside of these as well; these are just some of the most popular bike types. If your favorite bike type isn’t on here, that just means you’re well past what we consider common – good job!
While we just described the different body styles of motorcycles, they certainly are much different from brand-to-brand. Below are some of the best bike makers, what they specialize in, and how that can influence your choice in buying and riding.
Harley-Davidson: The classic, and a favorite of team Law Tigers. Most famous for the chopper, which they revolutionized as an industrial choice among American riders, they also are well-known for street bikes, touring bikes, and cruisers. They are popular among both urban and suburban riders, with their durable builds and iconic brand name.
Kawasaki: Great for beginning riders, Kawasaki is known for lightweight and easy to ride bikes. They are affordable, known as one of the safest motorcycle brands, and make a wide variety of styles. This allows riders to learn what best suits them as a rider before upgrading within the brand, or branching out into a more luxurious or technically difficult build.
BMW: BMW Motorrad, as the motorcycle division of the luxury brand is known, is famous for sport and touring bikes. They consider themselves a luxury purveyor of motorcycles as well, and their bikes have the engineering to prove it. These bikes are good for most skill levels, though we would generally recommend BMW for intermediate or advanced riders.
Honda Motorcycles: A versatile brand that makes street, touring, cruiser, and standard bikes. These are popular for hobbyists, technical riders, and riders of all skill levels. Additionally, their motorcycles are well known for being modified safely and being accessible for home repair.
Ducati: Known for their high powered sportbikes, these are motorcycles best for technically sound riders. Ducati is one of the highest-profile racing brands, and have staying power among the racing community.
Triumph: Triumph is an iconic British motorcycle brand known for large engine performance bikes. They have many triple and four-cylinder bikes, and they pride themselves on having some of the most popular Dual-Sport models available.
These brands are not the only choices available, just some of the ones we recommend as you get started. Once you figure out what style of bike you like, you can compare the quality of them between brands. We hope that over time, you are able to experience a great deal of them.
Ride Safe with Law Tigers
There are thousands of different types of motorcycles available, and learning about them is one of the greatest joys of being an avid rider. Even within the bike styles and brands we covered in this piece, it would be a life’s work to try them all. Although now that we think about it, we highly encourage you to take that challenge!
When you do, Law Tigers will be right there to cover you at every turn. We pride ourselves on being a resource and advocate for all riders. With Law Tigers, you never ride alone.