When it comes to the classification of motorcycles in different categories, it is quite a hard job. That is for the reason that it involves two respects. The use of the bike and the intention of the designer. Based on these two factors, there and more than one systems to classify motorcycles. These several classification systems are created and enforced by motorcycle sport sanctioning bodies and legal jurisdictions. Despite of all these complications, there are six different types of motorcycles categories which are widely accepted and recognized by people. Keep it in mind that these six categories are of street motorcycles which exclude mopeds, scooters, underbones and other smaller cousins of motorcycles. Lets start with defining the street motorcycles
This doesnt mean that they are only usable in streets. They are actually designed for paved roads and have specifications of normal bikes such as tires with light tread patterns. They have engines starting from 125cc and above. Their top speeds range from 160 km/h and 300 km/h. Here are some of the widely known categories of the street motorcycles.
This is the type which comes to our mind when we hear the term “heavy bike” or “racing bike”. Well, that is true to some extent. These are specifically designed with racing in mind but are not that heavy to be called as “heavy bikes”. They may be heavier than standard bikes but are lot lighter than cruisers and touring bikes. They emphasize top speed, acceleration, handling, braking and grip. They are not as comfortable as touring bikes but are much faster and better at handling. Their rider position is so adjusted that the rider leans forward placing the center of gravity directly over the fuel tank. Feet of the rider are placed closer to the body to create ground clearance during cornering. Sport bikes are equipped with fairings and windscreens to deflect airflow a high speeds and reduce drag.
These are my favorite type of bikes because of their design and uses. These are based on the design initially produced by American Companies such as Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles. Cruisers have also been seen in old American movies in excess. If we can point a king in this industry, Harley Davidson is sure to beat every other manufacturer. It is not only the pioneer but also the greatest manufacturer of cruisers today. Their engines are comparatively stronger and well built to last long. The thump, vibrations and raspy and extremely loud sounds from the exhaust are the defining characteristics. If we talk about rider position, it is suitable for low to medium speeds but at high speeds, it can cause fatigue in arms and hands because of the drag on the riders chest. Feet are placed forward and lower than sport bikes. Hands are relatively higher so that spine is erect or leaning back slightly. Choppers are a type of cruisers which are “chopped” or cut down to minimize the weight. Choppers usually have raked out forks, smaller fuel tanks and high handle bars.
They are also called naked bikes or roadsters. Their defining characteristics are upright riding position, flexibility, lower costs and medium engine power. They are widely used as beginner motorcycles. They lack fairings and windscreens. Even if they have them, they are comparatively smaller. Sometimes sport bikes are also converted to standard bikes by removing extra body and making them “naked”. This gives them low weight and disproportionately high engine power which is suited to most racing enthusiasts.
Touring bikes are somewhat big brothers to the cruisers. They have larger fuel tanks, strong and large displacement engines, large fairings and windscreens to offer good weather and wind protection. Another defining characteristic of these bikes is the excellent passenger accommodation and expansive luggage space. They are heavier than most types of bikes and can weigh up to 400 kgs. These are ideal for long distance travelling because of large fuel tanks, luggage space and comfortable riding position.
As the name suggests, they are a blend of sport and touring bikes. They are generally lighter than touring bikes (250-350kg) . Rider position is less extreme than a sport bike and suited for long distance travelling. The distinction between touring and sport touring is sometimes difficult. That is because some manufacturers list the same bike in either category in different markets. For example Honda ST 1300 Pan-European was listed by Honda in sport touring category in USA and Australia but as a touring motorcycle in Europe.
Dual sport bikes are actually street legal bikes which also have characteristics of off-road bikes. They are generally based on a dirt-bike chassis which is why they are usable in off-roading adventures. But the addition of lights, mirrors and signals makes them street legal machines. They have a higher center of gravity than other street bikes and thus are less stable. Seat height is tall which allows good ground clearance for off-road tracks.