A Visual Guide to Types of Motorcycles

From scooters to supermotos, here's a visual rundown of the basic types of motorcycles currently on the market. 

Adventure Touring Bikes / Dual Sports

Buell's XB12 in action. © Buell

Adventure touring bikes and dual sports are designed to be ready for anything—be it tarmac, gravel, or trail riding.

Choppers

Big Dog's Chopper. © Big Dog

Epitomized by the Harley-Davidson Panhead in the film Easy Rider, choppers tend to have extremely raked forks, reclined seats, and lots of showy chrome.

Looking for a stylish, raked out ride? Take a look at these choppers:

Chopper concepts:
Intel/Orange County Choppers Concept Bike (Price: N/A); Click here for a photo gallery

Choppers under $20,000:
2010 Honda Fury (price TBD, estimated to be $13,000); Click here for a photo gallery


2008 Darwin Motorcycles Brass Balls Retro Chopper ($19,495)

Choppers under $30,000:
2008 Guilty Customs Errant ($23,000)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Screamin Demon Base ($24,900)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Merc Rigid ($25,900)
2008 Guilty Customs La Primera ($26,757)
2008 Guilty Customs Lucille ($27,000)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Merc Softail ($27,400)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Reaper Chopper ($27,900)
2008 Big Dog Ridgeback™ Base ($28,400)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Venom ProStreet ($28,900)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Venom Chopper ($28,900)
2008 Orange County Choppers Redwhite Oldschool ($29,000)
2008 Guilty Customs Dais'd ($29,835)
2008 Big Dog K-9 Base ($29,900)

Choppers under $35,000:
2008 Big Bear Choppers The Sled ProStreet ($30,900)
2008 Big Bear Choppers The Sled Chopper ($30,900)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Devil's Advocate ProStreet ($31,900)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Devil's Advocate Chopper ($31,900)
2008 Orange County Choppers Silver Senior Series ($32,000)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Athena ProStreet ($33,400)
2008 Big Bear Choppers Athena Chopper ($33,400)

Cruisers

Harley-Davidson's Dyna Super Glide Custom. © Harley-Davidson

Cruisers are like sedate choppers; their fork rake is less extreme, and they're designed for laid-back riding.

Cruisers have come to exemplify a typically American image, and exude an air of cool style.

Dirt Bikes

The Husqvarna TC510's engine. © Husqvarna

Dirt bikes generally refer to motorcycles designed for offroad riding, and typically feature knobby tires, long suspension travel, and minimalistic frames and bodywork. Variants of dirt bike designs compete in Enduro, Motocross, and Trials events, among others.

Cruisers have come to exemplify a typically American image, and exude an air of cool style.Dirt bikes typically feature minimal bodywork that allows free access to the engine.

Enduro Bikes

Kawasaki's KLX450 R. © Kawasaki

Designed for long distance offroad competitions, Enduro bikes are usually equipped with headlights and taillights for nighttime riding, and can be outfitted with timers and roll chart reading devices that aid riders with the sport's navigation and timekeeping requirements.

Enduro bikes are not only expected to traverse difficult terrain, they are required to stand up to the rigors of hours of abuse.

Motocross Bikes

Honda's CRF450 R. © Honda

Motocross bikes are dirtbikes designed to compete in outdoor motocross events, which feature terrain that includes tight turns and jumps.

These bikes typically run outdoor courses, while supermotos are designed for a mixture of offroad and road surfaces, and supercross compete in indoor arenas.

Naked Bikes

Triumph's Speed Triple. © Triumph

Naked bikes recall British motorcycles of the sixties, and lack bodywork or fairings that would normally hide their engines and inner workings.

Naked bikes are essentially sport bikes without bodywork.

Power Cruisers

Suzuki's Boulevard M109R. © Suzuki

Power cruisers are variants of cruisers which feature more power, and a more aggressive riding experience.

Power cruisers often inherit high performance characteristics from their sport bike stablemates, and boast thick rear tires, large exhaust pipes, and low ground clearances.

Power Scooters

Power scooters are a relatively new phenomenon in which a large motor is incorporated into the chassis of a seemingly innocuous scooter. They are typically used for commuting, and their step-through bodies and enclosed mechanical parts prevent riders from staining or excessively wrinkling their clothes.

If basic scooters don't pack enough oomph (or storage space) for your needs, here's a selection of power scooters:

Power scooters under $6,000:
2008 Yamaha Majesty 400 ($5,899); click here for photos
2008 Suzuki Burgman 400 ($5,949)
2008 KYMCO Xciting 500 ($5,999)

Power scooters under $7,000:
2009 Vespa GTS 300 Super
2008 Aprilia Scarabeo 500 I.E. ($6,299)
2008 Piaggio BV 500 ($6,299)
2009 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ($6,299)
2009 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS ($6,799)

Power scooters under $8,000:
2008 Suzuki Burgman 650 ($7,899)
2009 Yamaha TMAX ($7,999, in Deep Blue)
2008 Honda Silver Wing ($8,099)
2008 Honda Silver Wing ABS ($8,599); click here for a review
2008 Honda Silver Wing ABS; click here for a photo gallery


Power scooters over $8,000:
2009 Yamaha TMAX ($8,099, in Cadmium Yellow); click here for a photo gallery
2008 Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive ($8,999)

Scooters

Aprilia's SR50 scooter. © Aprilia

Scooters are small, lightweight bikes powered by engines that typically range from 50cc to 250cc in displacement. They feature step-through designs, and bodywork that shields riders from messy engine parts.

If you're looking for an easy, economical way to get around town or commute, check out this selection of scooters:

Scooters under $2,000:
2008 Honda Metropolitan ($1,899)
2008 Yamaha Vino Classic ($1,949); click here for photos
2009 KYMCO Super 8 50 ($1,999)
2008 KYMCO Agility 125 ($1,999)
2008 Yamaha C3 Base ($1,999); click here for photos

Scooters under $3,000
2008 Honda Ruckus ($2,049)
2008 Yamaha Zuma ($2,099); click here for photos
2009 KYMCO Sting 50 ($2,099)
2009 KYMCO Super 8 150 ($2,299)
2007 Honda Elite 80 ($2,399)
2008 KYMCO People S 50 4T ($2,449)
2008 KYMCO People 50 ($2,449)
2008 KYMCO Super 9 50 ($2,449)
2008 Yamaha Vino 125 ($2,649); click here for photos
2008 Aprilia Scarabeo 100 ($2,699)
2008 Piaggio Fly 150 ($2,899)
2008 KYMCO People S 125 ($2,999)
2008 Aprilia SR 50 R Factory ($2,999)
2009 Yamaha Zuma 125 ($2,999)

Scooters under $4,000
2008 Vespa LX 50 ($3,199)
2008 KYMCO People 150 ($3,199)
2008 KYMCO People S 200 ($3,299)
2008 Aprilia Scarabeo 200 ($3,399)

Scooters under $5,000
2008 Vespa S 150 ($4,199)
2008 Vespa S 150 ($4,199)
2008 Vespa LX 150 ($4,299)
2008 Hyosung MS3 250 ($4,299)
2008 KYMCO Grand Vista 250 ($4,399)
2008 KYMCO People S 250 ($4,499)
2008 Aprilia SportCity 250 ($4,599); click here for a full review
2008 Aprilia SportCity 250 ($4,599)
2008 KYMCO Xciting 250 ($4,899)
2008 Piaggio BV 250 ($4,899)

Scooters under $6,000
2008 Vespa LXV 150 $5,199)
2009 KYMCO Xciting 250 I ($5,199)
2008 Vespa Granturismo 200 ($5,299)
2008 Yamaha Morphous Base ($5,299)
2007 Honda Reflex Sport ($5,549)
2008 Vespa GTS 250 ($5,999)

Scooters under $7,000
2007 Honda Reflex ABS ($6,049)
2007 Honda Reflex Sport ABS ($6,049)
2008 Vespa GTV 250 ($6,899)

Sport Bikes

The Ducati 1098S corners on a track. © Ducati

Most sport bikes are intended to be ready for high-performance track duty, as well as street riding.

Here's a selection of sportbikes, in ascending price order:

Sportbikes under $5,000:
2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R; click here for a full review
2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R; 
2007 Hyosung Comet GT250R ($3,699)​

Sportbikes under $10,000:
2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500R ($5,049)
2007 Suzuki GS 500F ($5,199)
2007 Hyosung Comet GT650R ($5,899)
2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R ($6,399)
2008 Suzuki GSX 650F ($6,999)
2008 Yamaha FZ6 ($6,999); click for photos
2007 Kawasaki ZZR 600 ($7,299)
2008 Triumph Street Triple ($7,999)
2008 Yamaha YZF R6S ($8,299); click for photos
2008 Ducati Monster 696 ($8,775); 
2007 Suzuki GSX-R 600 ($8,899)
2007 Triumph Daytona 675 ($8,999)
2007 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R ($8,999)
2008 Yamaha FZ1 ($9,299); click for photos
2007 Honda CBR 600RR ($9,499)
2008 Yamaha YZF R6 ($9,799)
2007 Triumph Speed Triple ($9,999)

Sportbikes under $15,000
2007 Suzuki GSX-R 750 ($10,199)
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 ($11,399); click here for a full review
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 ($11,399)
2007 Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000 Biposto ($11,495)
2008 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 ($11,495)
2008 Honda CBR1000RR ($11,599); click here for a full review
2008 Honda CBR 1000RR ($11,599); 
2008 Suzuki Ninja ZX-10R ($11,549)
2008 Yamaha YZF R1 ($11,699)
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 ($11,699)
2008 Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 ($11,999)
2008 Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 ($11,999
2008 Buell 1125R ($11,995); click here for a full review
2008 Buell 1125R ($11,995)
2007 Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000 S ($12,495)
2008 Ducati 848 ($13,495); 
2008 Ducati 848 ($13,495)
2007 KTM Super Duke 990 ($13,998)
2007 BMW R 1200 S ($14,300)
2007 BMW K 1200 R Sport ($14,450)

Sportbikes under $20,000:
2007 BMW K 1200 S ($15,400)
2008 Ducati 1098 ($15,995)

Sportbikes over $20,000:
2008 Ducati 1098S ($20,995); click here for a full review
2008 Ducati 1098S ($20,995)
2007 MV Agusta F4 1000R ($22,995)
2007 Ducati 1098 S Tricolore, pictured above ($24,995)
2008 BMW HP2 Sport ($25,375)
2007 MV Agusta F4 Senna ($29,995)
2007 MV Agusta F4CC ($120,000)

Sportbikes, price TBD:
2008 KTM 1190 RC8; click here for photos

Supermoto Bikes

KTM's 690 Supermoto. © KTM

Based on race machines that compete on a combination of paved and unpaved surfaces, supermoto bikes possess both offroad characteristics such as deep suspension travel and on-road features such as road tires and bodywork reminiscent of so-called "street fighter" bikes.

Supermotos require a unique riding style, which involves sliding the bike and using the rider's boots to leverage balance and traction.

Touring Bikes

Honda's Gold Wing being ridden two-up. © Honda

Touring bikes often feature long cruising distances and features that rival many automobiles, including electronically adjustable suspension, heated grips, and intercom systems.

Built for long-distance comfort, touring bikes often feature backrests, large windscreens, and creature comforts such as satellite radios and navigation systems.

Trials Bikes

Montesa is one of a handful of trials bike manufacturers. © Montesa

These specialized competition bikes are tailor made for trials events in which motorcycles are maneuvered around natural or man-made obstacles. Extremely lightweight, trials bikes lack seats and feature stiffer suspension than most dirt bikes.

Trials competitions require highly skilled riding, and riders are penalized if their feet touch the ground.

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Wasef, Basem. "A Visual Guide to Types of Motorcycles." ThoughtCo, Oct. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/definitions-of-different-types-of-motorcycles-4122761. Wasef, Basem. (2017, October 24). A Visual Guide to Types of Motorcycles. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definitions-of-different-types-of-motorcycles-4122761 Wasef, Basem. "A Visual Guide to Types of Motorcycles." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definitions-of-different-types-of-motorcycles-4122761 (accessed December 11, 2017).