Last month, in our monthly poll, MotorEagles asked you what type of bike you ride. Before we tell you which type of bike won, we’re going to share a little information on each type, just in case some of you are considering buying a bike and wondering what type is right for you.
Cruiser is the term for motorcycles that mimic the design style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson. The market for cruisers has grown to embrace 60% of the U.S. market. The riding position on a cruiser places the feet forward and the hands up, with the spine erect or leaning back slightly. Chopper-style motorcycles are considered cruisers. Many cruising motorcycles have limited performance and turning ability due to a low-slung design.
A sport bike is a motorcycle optimized for speed, acceleration, braking and cornering on paved roads, typically at the expense of comfort and fuel economy. Sport bikes usually have higher foot pegs that move the legs closer to the body and more of a reach to a lower set of hand controls, such as clip-on handlebars, which positions the body and weight forward and over the tank. Sport bikes have comparatively high-performance engines resting inside a lightweight frame. High-tech, expensive materials are often used on sport bikes to reduce weight. Braking systems combine higher performance brake pads and disc brakes with multi-piston calipers that clamp onto over-sized vented rotors. Suspension systems are advanced in terms of adjustments and materials for increased stability and durability. Front and rear tires are larger and wider than tires found on other types of motorcycles to allow higher cornering speeds and greater lean angles.
A touring motorcycle is a type of motorcycle designed for long-distance riding and heavy commuting. Although any motorcycle can be used to tour with, manufacturers have brought specific models designed to address the particular needs of these riders. Common to the touring motorcycle models is usually large displacement fairings and windshields to offer a high degree of weather and wind protection, large capacity fuel tanks, engines offering lots of low-end horsepower, and a more relaxed, more upright seating position than sport bikes.
Sport touring motorcycles combine attributes of sport bikes and touring motorcycles. The rider posture is less extreme than a sport bike, giving greater long-distance comfort. Accommodation for a passenger is superior to a sport bike as well, along with luggage capacity. Since they are lighter than a pure touring bike and often have racier engines, suspensions, and brakes, sport tourers corner better.
There are various types of off-road motorcycles, also known as dirt bikes, specifically designed for off-road events. Compared to road-going motorcycles, off-road machines are simpler and lighter, having long suspension travel, high ground clearance and rugged construction with little bodywork and no fairings for less damage in spills.
Standards are versatile, general purpose street-ready motorcycles. They are recognized primarily by their upright riding position, partway between the reclining posture of the cruisers and the forward leaning sport bikes. Foot pegs are below the rider and handlebars are high enough to not force the rider to reach far forward. Standards are often recommended to beginning motorcyclists due to their flexibility, relatively low cost and moderate engines. Standards usually do not come with fairings or windscreens, or if they have them, they are relatively small.
Dual-sports, sometimes written dual-purpose, are street legal machines that are also designed to enter off-road situations. Usually based on a dirt bike chassis, dual-sports have added lights, mirrors, signals and instruments that let them be licensed for use on public roads. They have a high center of gravity and tall seat height, allowing good suspension travel for rough ground.
So which kind of bike did our poll-takers favor? An overwhelming 46 percent voted for cruisers, followed by touring in second place with 34 percent and sport bike in a distant third place with 9 percent. At least among MotorEagles website visitors, cruisers and touring were by far the two most popular types of bikes.
If you are new to biking and wondering what type is right for you, make sure to do your research and see which one might best fit your needs. Then try out a few types and different models until you find one that works for you.
No matter what kind of bike you ride, have a great summer on the roads.