In some ways, a motorcycle is like a power tool. There are dozens of manufacturers making motorcycles, too numerous to even list, but each one is designed to be best suited for a specific task. But unlike power tools, motorcycles can touch your soul and take you on adventures you’ll never forget.
However, if you are new to the world of two-wheelers, or are looking to enter the world of two-wheelers, the myriad of types of bikes on the market can be confusing. It helps to understand the difference between sport and sport touring, cafe racer and scrambler, and how the term “naked” can take on a whole new meaning in some contexts.
A standard bike is the most common type of bike on the road. Its popularity is due to its simple ergonomics. A fairly upright riding position with half-forward footpegs means riders don’t have to ride with their legs outstretched or arms cramped like other types of bikes.
Cafe Racers and Scramblers can also be registered under the “Standard” banner. Cafe racers tend to adopt a more aggressive, forward-leaning riding position. Scramblers are similar to dirt bikes, but at their core both are specialized standard bikes.
The Cafe Racer can be thought of as a hot rod, or an old-school race bike with a fair bit of racing flair. Conversely, the Scrambler has acquired an off-road spirit. The Scrambler is still recognized as a standard motorcycle, but with longer mileage, wire wheels and dirt bike-like handlebars, it shows a dirt-loving personality.
Adventure Touring (aka “ADV”) bikes are among the most capable bikes, both on and off-road. Equally comfortable on the highway and on fire trails. Long-travel suspension, a high seat height and a high handlebar position keep you comfortable all day long and give you more control in the saddle over rough terrain.
Whereas café racers begin lifestyles as popular bikes and are then modded for performance, recreation bikes (additionally called “recreation motorcycles” or “sportbikes”) are purpose-built, with speed, agility and cornering at the front of thoughts from the primary idea sketch. Higher seats, decrease handlebars and rear-set footpegs represent recreation motorcycles as a number of the maximum competitive motorcycles to roll off manufacturing unit floors. They can include engines of any length or configuration, however the simple concept of a recreation motormotorcycle is to convey technology, studies and improvement from the music to the street.
Sport motorcycles additionally generally tend to boast better horsepower and torque numbers than maximum bikes, and typically comprise light-weight substances like aluminum and carbon fiber — all withinside the pursuit of performance. Smaller-engined recreation motorcycles may be new-rider-friendly, however to get the maximum out of better-quit halo motorcycles, it takes a mountain of ability honed over years of riding.
Touring bikes are some of the biggest bikes on the road, but they don’t carry extra weight just because of their size. The combination of rearward handlebars, forward footpegs and a relaxed riding position behind a large front fairing to keep the wind out provides a comfortable ride perfect for long hauls.
The luxury of modern touring bikes doesn’t stop at ergonomics like the La-Z-Boy. Bikes like the Honda Gold Wing have heated seats and handlebars, satellite radio, GPS and Apple CarPlay. Luggage space is also one of the features of touring bikes. You may not always be able to pack the whole family, but you should have enough luggage space for you and your passengers.
By name alone, sport-touring style bikes seem like the perfect balance between the previous two categories, but this category is more sport-oriented. Sports touring bikes are often influenced by sports bikes. It features tighter fairings and more aggressive performance than your average bike, but is much softer than sportier bikes and is tuned to withstand the long haul.
Sport touring bikes look like sport bikes at first glance, but taller handlebars, forward-facing footpegs, sculpted fairings, and larger windshields and panniers add to the durability factor. If you’re looking for comfort on long rides, but still want to be on your knees on your favorite canyon roads, a sport touring bike is the compromise.
Most of what you need to know about a cruiser bike is in its name. It’s made for cruising around town and on the highway. Traditionally, cruisers have been placed with low seats, semi-forward steps and handlebars for rider comfort. However, cruiser-style bikes offer all sorts of realms of their own.
From relaxed riding positions with high handlebars and low seats to forward footpegs and handlebars that extend the rider for a more aggressive stance, cruisers come in countless variations. But overall the silhouette is unmistakable.
Enduro and Dual-Sport Motorcycles
As far as street bikes go, dual-sport and enduro bikes are the closest thing to a street-legal dirt bike you use every day. The ADV’s size limits its ability to traverse tight trails and makes it difficult to stand up if it falls, but dual-sport and enduro bikes don’t weigh as much as dirt bikes. In the hands of a good rider, dual-sport and enduro bikes can easily compete with dirt bikes on twisty, long, bumpy singletrack.
The off-road and on-road styling of this bike lends itself well to rough riding, but the narrow seats typical of these bikes are terrible for long-distance riding. With no fairing or windshield and low weight, these sleek off-roaders can be a headache on the highway, unless they have more powerful engines.