Beginner’s Guide to the Different Types of Motorcycles

As summer gets closer and the weather warms up, you’re probably getting in the mood to hit the open road. And there’s no better way to experience the freedom of the highways of America as on a motorcycle.

If this is your first time shopping for a bike, it’s important to know the different types of motorcycles.

In this article, we take a look at the popular motorcycle styles to help you figure out what’s best for you. Keep reading to learn the facts as you prepare for fun months with the sun in your face and wind in your hair!

The World of Motorcycles

You might be surprised to learn that there are actually several different types of motorcycles. These include the standard body style, the cruiser, the sport bike, the touring bike, sport touring, dual sport, off-road, and the scooter and moped.

Each of these is designed for a different purpose and riding experience.


This is the most common style on the road because it’s suitable for many different purposes. The ergonomics are fairly neutral, thus you won’t have to worry about learning forward of reclining too much, and the seat size fits most anyone comfortably.

This bike is also not too large or small, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced riders. The standard body style is available in a wide range of engine and tank sizes.


When you think of a cruiser, Harley-Davidson is likely the first brand to come to mind. The cruiser is one of the most popular motorcycle body styles. The ride is comfy, and it just looks cool. This bike is perfect for cruising around town or for hitting the open highway in search of adventure.

Like the standard body style, cruisers come in a range of sizes, offering engine displacement machining out around 1,000cc or more, depending on the manufacturer. And it’s perfect for newbies or the most experienced riders.


The touring style of motorcycle is a larger, heavier bike. This motorcycle is designed for maximizing comfort. It’s the bike that you’re most likely to see out on the open road because it’s such a comfy ride, especially when traveling long distances.

A touring motorcycle is ideal for traveling coast to coast. The size and weight make for a smooth, steady ride. Most touring bikes come outfitted with space for bringing along gear and extra clothes, and the type of amenities that allow you to travel in style.

Popular touring models include the Honda Goldwing. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a Goldwing with more than 100,000 miles clocked on the odometer. Goldwing owners typically have some great stories to share about wild adventures on the road.

Touring bikes have fairings for blocking the wind and a variety of other features intended to make the ride as physically pleasant as possible.

Sport Bike

This style of bike is for those who love speed and agility in their machine, yet it’s not for everyone. These bikes are light and fast compared to other motorcycle styles, and yet the forward-leaning ergonomics can make it uncomfortable to ride over longer distances.

Sport bikes are generally manufactured using lighter materials like aluminum and plastic in order to maximize speed, as well as to increase maneuverability in turns and through tight spaces. And the seat is typically positioned higher, helping the rider to lean forward more easily to reduce wind resistance.

Sport Touring

A sport touring bike is typically taller in the seat than a touring bike while offering better luggage and storage options than a sport bike. Thus you get more of the performance of a sport bike with the comfort and stability of a touring model.

This is an interesting body style because it’s not as cumbersome and unwieldy as a touring bike, making it ideal for town and also longer trips you might hesitate to make on a smaller sport bike.

The sport touring bike is great for packing extra gear for a weekend jaunt, and the engine size provides plenty of power needed for the highway, especially in heavy traffic.

If you’re interested in hauling your motorcycle behind your vehicle, here is a great website where you can shop for air tow trailers.

Dual Sport Bike

The dual sport is built to go just about anywhere. These bikes are typically outfitted to accommodate extra gear, have more aggressive suspension for going off-road, and are taller to make it easier to navigate bumpy backroads.

Off-Road Bike

Off-road motorcycles are designed for riders who want to leave paved roads behind and do some real exploring.

These bikes have aggressive suspension that can handle the abuse of rocky and uneven terrain, and isn’t scared of even the bumpiest of trails. They are also lighter than most other types of bikes, so they can handle steeper inclines.

This is the perfect bike for weekend adventures at the lake or deep in the mountains.


Many people would argue that these aren’t real motorcycles. And yet scooters and mopeds have two wheels and are a fun form of transportation for those wanting to ride something a bit less intimidating.

Scooters and mopeds get great gas mileage, are easy to handle, and can be parked almost anywhere. They are simple to operate and have smaller motors, making them safe, yet limiting you to city streets rather than the highway.

Types of Motorcycles

There’s really nothing more fun than having an adventure on two wheels. When it comes to deciding the types of motorcycles that are best for you, it really comes down to where you want to go.

If you’re planning to ride around town, there’s no reason to have a bike that is big and cumbersome. And yet a big touring bike or a cruiser makes the perfect ride for the open spaces between the coasts.

Take your time, pick the style that’s right for you, and have a blast!