In the world of motorcycles, there is a wide range of different types of bikes you will encounter. From the versatile Dual-Sport type to the iconic Harley Davidson cruisers, they each have their own unique designs. 

But how can you tell the difference between them and what are the advantages of each type?

Beginner riders can find it fairly daunting to familiarise themselves with the wide selection of bikes on the market. This is why we have created this handy beginners guide to different types of motorcycles for you to refer back to. 

We cover the most popular types and have even included recommendations for those of you looking to purchase a brand new bike.

Read on to see what differentiates a Yamaha XSR900 from a Yamaha Tricity - and why you should consider joining the world of motorcycles today!

What are the different types of Motorbikes available?

Whether you are an experienced rider or are new to the motorcycling world, you will want to know the difference between the different types of motorcycle available. Below you will find a guide to some of the most popular types of bikes available. From cruisers to scooters - we have got you covered.

Standard (Street) Motorcycle

The most popular and beginner-friendly motorcycle available, the standard street bike is an extremely versatile and adaptable ride for bikers of all skill levels. Covering a broad range of designs and engine sizes, a standard motorcycle will cover most of your needs.

Most standard bikes are designed around ergonomics, providing you with a good mix of both rearward reclining and forward-leaning. This means new riders can find a riding style that suits them, without the stress of needing to adapt too much to their motorcycle's design.

In terms of seat height, most standard motorcycles will find the perfect balance between high and low arrangements giving you the option to find the riding position that best suits you. If you are just entering the motorcycle world, you would be hard-pressed to find a better choice than your standard type of motorcycle.

If you are after a standard motorcycle, then consider checking out either the Yamaha XSR900 or the Yamaha SR400. These are two exceptional standard bikes designed for a range of motorcycle riders.

Cruiser (Chopper)

When you think of American muscle bikes, your mind will probably instantly jump to the cruiser type motorcycle. Also known as the 'Chopper', a cruiser is an iconic American-style bike that is without a doubt one of the coolest looking motorcycle types on the market.

As its name may suggest, the cruiser motorcycle has a lower seat position than most other riding motorcycles. This makes it ideal for riding around the streets and on smooth roads, as opposed to off-roading.

Although you may expect all cruisers to have fairly powerful engines, this isn't the case as a lot of modern varieties cater to newer motorcycle riders. So whether you are craving high performance, or just a bike to cruise around on, you will easily find the engine displacement to suit you.

Without a doubt the most popular or iconic cruiser style bike is the Harley Davidson, but for those of you seeking an alternative, make sure you check out the Honda Rebel or the V-twin Yamaha Virago.

Sports Bike

Those of you looking for speed and power will instantly fall in love with sport motorcycles. Designed around that rush you feel at high speeds, sport bikes are the perfect option for experienced riders looking to step their riding game up.

Sport motorcycles gain their incredible speeds from their lightweight designs - the lighter they are the faster they tend to be. On top of this, most sport motorcycles will feature a forward-leaning design and  racing style fairings, both providing an aerodynamic model reducing slowdown.

Most sport bikes feature a pretty high seat height, which can make this a tricky bike for smaller riders and beginners. Its lightweight nature also means it turns with minimal effort, which is perfect for experienced riders, but less so for those just entering the world of bikes. 

If money isn't an issue then the Ducati V4S is a contender for the best sports motorcycle available today. If you are looking for a slightly cheaper option, however, then the Yamaha YZF-R1 is an excellent high-performance alternative.


Touring motorcycles can easily be considered the adventure bikes of the motorcycle world. Designed for long-distance travel across a range of terrains, a touring bike is an ideal companion if you enjoy extended motorcycle journeys.

Heavyweight designs and large engine sizes are the names of the game when it comes to these bikes, making them suited for a range of motorcyclists. This is backed up by incredible storage room and weather protection providing you with everything you need to stay on the road.

As touring motorcycles are designed with long journeys in mind, they tend to feature comfortable seats ensuring you don't get sore from extended riding trips. If you are looking for the best type of bike for some cross country treks, you can't do much better than a touring motorcycle.

In terms of the best affordable touring bikes available, you will want to check out either the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT or the fantastic BMW R1250GS. Both offer extreme comfort for long-distance rides as well as large engine sizes for ultimate touring power.

Sports Touring

The perfect cross of a high-performance sport motorcycle and the comfortable touring type. Designed around the idea that you don't have to compromise comfort to gain speed, a sport-touring motorcycle is an ideal choice for those of you who can't decide between the two.

Featuring a slightly lighter build than your usual long-distance touring bike, they feature incredible space for a tank bag and other riding essentials. Much like their sport counterpart, they also have a slightly higher seat height than most, which is perfect for taller bikers.

Fans of large engine sizes will be happy to hear that your typical sport touring motorcycle will feature an incredibly powerful engine. This is to make up for the increased bike weight, without sacrificing the speed of sport bikes. Some sport touring bikes will also feature an off-road mode, which isn't extremely common in the world of two wheels.

There are a wide variety of different sport-touring bikes out there, but without a doubt, the Yamaha 2021 FJR1300ES is a standout. But if you are looking for a high-end sport-touring bike be sure to check out the Kawasaki H2 SX SE+.

Dual Sport

When it comes to sport types of motorcycles you rarely think of incredible off-road performance, however, this is exactly what the dual-sport specialises in. Designed with both your typical trunk road cruising in mind and off-road dirt tracks, dual-sport bikes are an excellent versatile option.

Commonly referred to as 'Adventure Sport Bikes', dual-sport motorcycles feature a high seat height for added comfort when driving off-road. This is backed up with varied engine displacement ensuring you can find the right riding style to suit you.

As they closely resemble your typical dirt bikes, they don't feature the largest storage space so make sure you pack accordingly. Dual sport motorcycles are ideal for riders of all skill levels, so if you are looking for a sporty dirt bike feeling that offers compelling off-road performance, this is the type of motorcycle for you.

One incredible example of dual-sport motorcycles is the Suzuki DR-Z400S dual sport, a powerful Japanese dual-sport motorcycle designed with performance in mind. If you are looking for something traditional, however, you can't go wrong with a Honda XR650L dual sport bike.


Commonly mistaken with scooter types of motorcycles, the Moped will be instantly recognisable to any fan of the fifties to sixties era, and films such as Quadrophenia. Commonly featuring a smaller engine than your usual type of motorcycle, a moped is a perfect choice for an entry-level motorcyclist.

Their lightweight design offers compelling handling - making them ideal for driving around town or drives where straight-up engine power isn't needed. Due to their slightly dated design, they are fairly difficult to find, with most retailers labeling them as 'vintage types of motorcycles'. This makes them ideal for retro fans and collectors.

As they are designed similar to a pedal-bike design, bikers will find that any riding position is comfortable, making mopeds suitable for riders prone to backache. Although they lack the power found in more contemporary types of motorcycles, mopeds are still an excellent purchase - especially for vintage fans.


Constantly compared with Mopeds, scooters are slightly different to your usual types of motorcycles in both design and performance. Their low riding position and heavyweight structure make them suitable for driving through streets and flat roads - off-roaders should probably look elsewhere.

Most scooters will feature a CC rating of anywhere between 50CC to 250CC, but some of the more high-end models will feature an engine size of up to 500CC. This makes them ideal bikes for everyday use, making them an ideal option for the rider seeking reliability over power.

Their heavyweight design and decent storage space makes them the perfect alternative to cruisers. As cruisers tend to lean towards the powerful side, scooters are suited to those of you who want a cruiser type of motorcycle without the added oomph. On top of this, they are ideal beginner bikes. If you are a new rider, don't overlook scooter types of motorcycles.

Scooters tend to be cheaper than other types of bikes, which means there is a wide range of affordable options. The Lexmoto Titan and the unique design of the Yamaha Tricity are just two excellent choices. However, you can't go wrong with a Vespa!

Off-Road (Enduro)

Much like dual-sport motorcycles, off-road bikes - as the name might suggest - are designed for roads less travelled. Due to their lack of safety features such as indicators, they are best used for off-road journeys, so try to consider this before purchasing one.

In terms of design, enduro motorcycles will use high quality suspensions, have great ground clearance and a tall seat height to accommodate for the bumpy terrain often associated with off-road treks and motocross fun. This is extremely similar to dirt bikes you might have ridden in your teens, so if you are familiar with them then off-road motorcycles will be ideal for you.

In terms of engine sizes, off-road bikes will tend to feature a mid-range CC rating to give the bike the boost it needs to pass over hills and bumps. They usually feature extremely lightweight designs, similar to starter dirt bikes ensuring full control across rugged terrain. Off-roader motorcycles are the ideal dirt bike upgrade.

There are thousands of incredible off-roaders available, however, we would instantly recommend checking out the Yamaha Ténéré 700. This budget friendly option is an incredibly popular choice, and for good reason too.

Do different motorcycle types require different riding styles?

As different bike types have different seat heights and weights, you will need to change your rider style to best suit your bike. This can be fairly difficult if you have never ridden a low seated bike or if you aren't used to powerful lightweight sport-bikes.

Ideally, before you take your bike on the open road, if you are unfamiliar with how it handles, it is best to practice riding it on a private road. This will ensure you get the most out of your ride and lower the risk of any accidents occurring.

Which motorcycle is best suited to a beginner rider?

There is a range of different types of bikes that make ideal beginner motorcycles, however, some are more suitable than others. If you are just starting we would recommend checking out either some of the scooters available or a touring motorcycle.

As tempting as it may be to dive into a powerful bike with an engine size greater than 500CC, it just isn't recommended for beginners. The more powerful a bike's engine, the harder it can be to control, so it is best to build up your skills to suit extremely powerful sport-bikes and cruisers.

Also consider finding a motorcycle that features ABS and a decent sized seat height as you want to ensure you have the most comfortable entrance into bikes as possible.

What type of motorcycle insurance would a rider need to purchase?

Much like cars, ensuring you have the right insurance for your motorcycle can save you a lot of money in case anything goes wrong. But what is the right insurance to purchase and what should you consider?

Firstly, if collision coverage is more expensive than the market value of your motorcycle, it might not be worth the cost. If anything goes wrong, it might be cheaper to just buy a new version of your motorcycle or an alternative. If, however, the price of collision insurance is cheaper or around the same, it is without a doubt worth investing in.

You should always try to invest in comprehension coverage if possible - as this will protect you from a wide variety of damage sources. From vandalism to the theft of your bike, comprehension coverage will ensure you don't lose out on a large sum of money due to accidents that weren't your fault. 

Comprehension coverage also tends to be affordable which makes it an ideal insurance choice.

What are the most popular types of motorcycles?

As there are so many types of motorcycle on the market, each with their own unique benefits, handling methods, and speeds, there isn't necessarily one all-round bike to choose from. However, if you are looking for the most popular types, there are a few that you should consider.

Your standard motorcycle could easily be classed as the most popular as it is ideal for both beginners and experienced riders alike. Riders seeking power and speed should check out sport motorcycles, as they offer some of the fastest bikes on the market.

Another popular, but very American choice, are cruiser bikes. Easily one of the most iconic types of motorcycle, made popular by Harley Davidson and films such as Terminator 2, cruiser bikes just ooze power.

What is CC in a motorcycle?

Simply put, the CC of a motorcycle is the 'Cubic Capacity' of its engine, or the size of a motorcycle's engine. 

This means that the larger the CC rating of a motorcycle, the larger, and typically more powerful, the engine will be. If an engine is larger, then it can intake more air which will allow more energy to be produced per engine cycle - leading to more power.

A beginner motorcycle will usually start anywhere between 50CC and 150CC, whereas more advanced types can measure up to 1000CC. If you are just entering the world of motorcycles, we would first recommend checking out bikes on the lower end of the CC spectrum so you can get a feel for how they handle.

Can I ride a 250cc motorcycle on a car licence?

With a car licence, you will be able to ride your 125CC scooter or motorcycle, but you won't be able to take it out on public roads. If you are wanting to drive a motorcycle with an engine greater than 125CC, you will need to pass Compulsory Basic Training, or CBT. Once the CBT test has been completed, you will be able to ride your motorcycle on the road with L plates.

To fully ride your motorcycle on roads and with a passenger, you will need to complete your Full A training. Once this has been done, however, you can take your motorcycle with you wherever you choose!

Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson
Friday 30th April 2021

That's a good idea to make sure that the motorcycle is insured. I like the idea of protecting my purchase. I'll make sure to look into that since I am thinking about getting a motorcycle this summer.

Thursday 04th February 2021

Your terminology is definitely european and not north american im afraid. Here in Canada, a moped MUST have pedals (hence the ped in moped) also a chopper isnt a cruiser. A chopper is a greatly stripped down or (chopped) version of a street bike usually including an extended front fork. If a bike were to be chopped but still incorporate the stock or stock sized front fork it is often referred to as a bobber. A touring bike is a very large motorcycle usually with a fairing as well as paniers (saddle bags ) and what we call a beer box or a top box. That FJ1200 you featured would be concidered a GT bike here but its later version the FJR 1300 would qualify as a sport touring bike as it comes with side paniers (saddle bags).Anyway, thats my 2 cents for what its worth.

Sumo Rubber
Sumo Rubber
Thursday 04th February 2021

Hello Jamie, That's right, there are so many different classifications of the motorcycle types depending on where you are. Thank you for your comment!

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