Conquering roads with a two-wheeled vehicle with an engine is very fast and interesting. But there are so many types of motorcycles that your eyes are spinning. They are designed for different types of roadways and even off-road, a big role is played by the maximum speed of the motorbike, the number of passengers, its weight, fuel consumption and stability. All these characteristics divide the motorcycles into four main categories, each of which has its own purpose and price niche. The article provides clear definitions of the four main types and information to help calculate what type of ride they are suitable for. This will help you choose a model that is fully tailored to your specific road conditions and helps you to achieve your goals.
Which company’s motorcycle to choose
Traditionally, Asian and European companies struggle for leadership in the production of motorcycles. The following concerns are successful in this:
The first company appeared back in 1896 and had two main offices in the capital of Japan and Kobe. Today, it is the largest concern in the world producing ATVs, sports and racing motorbikes. In addition to technology, the company produces clothing and equipment for riding in open transport.
Viper brand belongs to a direct competitor from the neighboring country — China, where many plants for the production of motorcycles and bicycles were built. Italian studio Italdesign helps them to create the design of two-wheeled vehicles.
Suzuki has been conquering the automotive and motorcycle market for more than 100 years, and has a reputation as a reliable manufacturer not only in Japan but also worldwide. It employs over 50,000 people who specialise in vehicle design, construction and testing.
Yamaha focuses on motorcycle products with light weight and high speed. Japanese engineers monitor the quality of their units and are constantly experimenting with design.
Best sports motorcycles
Sports motorcycles are very popular among young people, whose main feature is high speed on the track. This is achieved by a 2- or 4-cylinder engine, which has high power and a fully streamlined body made of durable plastic to reduce air resistance.
The encapsulated trim has a bright design that attracts the attention of others. The technology has good controllability at high speed, but makes a loud sound from the power unit. Here are the best models of this type according to the feedback of their owners.
The Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace is a soft «plane»
This model of Japanese concern has a one-liter engine and a maximum speed of 260 km/h. The design is equipped with a clever frame with a very comfortable fit for the driver. The side trim is branched off in the engine area and creates pockets for air cooling. Control is achieved by gearless turning of the front wheel.
The bike is equipped with disc brakes and one silencer on the right. There is a small seat for the passenger without a stopper. It will require 6.5 litres of gasoline to cover 100 km of track. The driver’s arsenal has five speeds. The total mass of the unit is 200 kg. One full tank is enough for 300 km when driving on the track. Power has a limit of 145 hp. The model belongs to the professional category and is not suitable for beginner motorists.
smooth acceleration dynamics;
easy to handle;
not too much roar;
comfortable steering wheel.
rolls the rear wheel;
the rubber abrasions quite quickly;
some models have higher fuel consumption;
picks up speed and scores the front wheel.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R — fast samurai
The Japanese model has expressive features and a very sharp front view. Its name «Ninja» fully corresponds to the speed and design of the motorbike. The unit is equipped with a four-cylinder motor with a total volume of 998 square centimeters. This engine is capable of producing 200 hp. The motorcycle is equipped with six speeds, which are switched thanks to a multi-disc clutch in an oil bath.
The frame of the construction is made of a strong aluminum alloy. This allowed to reduce the weight, which is 198 kg. But the motorbike got a reduced fuel tank of 17 liters. The telescopic suspension can move 120 mm, reducing jumps on rough roads. Despite the reduced shape of the tank, the second seat is very short, but allows you to drive the passenger. The speedometer is designed up to 300 km, when reached, the electronics disconnects the engine from the transmission.
easy to control at speed;
long service life of components;
high quality plastic linings.
reduced gas tank;
high fuel consumption;
lower than other models;
the windscreen is ineffective after 230 km/h.
Aprilia RS 125 — Italian minimalism
Competing Asian models is an Italian sports-class motorcycle. The plastic body trim has almost no holes and is solid. There is a clear step separator between the driver’s and passenger seats. It is an economical option for sports bike enthusiasts. It takes 7 seconds to reach a speed of 100 km. Thus the volume of the power unit is only 124.8 «cubes». All this makes it possible to ride at a speed of 175 km/h.
In the engine is hidden only one cylinder, working in two tact. The engine has only one cylinder, working in two cycles. Contrary to popular injectors, this motorcycle has a carburetor. There are six speeds and disc brakes for the rider. On the other hand, the weight of the machine is only 130 kg. The front fork with a diameter of 40 mm gives excellent control on the road. Rear mono-shock absorber smoothes unevenness of the track and is adjustable depending on the load.
well suited for beginners;
easy shifting of the transmission;
looks much more expensive than it really is;
the engine sounds like a scooter;
expensive spare parts;
high consumption, despite the volume of the power unit.
Best Tourist Motorcycles
This type of motorcycle equipment is designed for country routes to travel distances with comfort. Tourist models are equipped with large luggage compartments, and the seats have wide shapes, backrests and even passenger armrests. In terms of functionality, such bikes are comparable to cars and have a large mass. They differ in high cost and number of options. Here are their best representatives by user feedback.
Harley-Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail — expensive tourism in the American way.
This American motorcycle stands out among the representatives of the tourist section of motorcycle equipment. It combines the features of classic transport of the same type of this brand with the functionality necessary for long journeys. The driver has a low landing, luggage compartments are very spacious, and the frame has a lot of chrome and rivets. The seat and bags are made of genuine leather. The windscreen is unscrewed to make it more comfortable to drive around town.
The engine has a volume of 1.5 square decimeters, and the consumption on the track is 4.5 liters. In the city this figure will be 6.7 l/100 km. The motorcycle has six speeds and air cooling. The weight of the complete vehicle is 345 kg. The tank is designed for 19 liters. The brakes are equipped with ABS system to prevent the rear wheel locking.
internationally acclaimed style;
comfortable driver and passenger seats;
brakes with ABS;
concealed rear suspension;
comfortable handling thanks to the high steering wheel.
lack of spare parts in CIS mills.
Honda GL 1500 Gold Wing — «car» on two wheels
This Japanese model is considered one of the most prestigious in the section of tourist vehicles. It has 2600 mm in length and weighs 372 kg. The motorcycle is designed for long distance comfortable rides and has separate seats for driver and passenger. The latter, in addition to a comfortable backrest, has folding armrests. On the sides of the bike there are two luggage lockable compartments. At the rear there is another large trunk and a frame for attaching hand luggage.
The motorcycle consumes 8 liters per 100 km. This is due to a six-cylinder power unit with 100 hp. But it takes only 4.5 seconds to get to a hundred. The model has 5 highway speeds and one rear speed. The fuel tank can hold 23 liters of gasoline.
high level of comfort;
liquid cooling system;
spacious luggage racks;
rear speed availability;
additional lighting at foot level;
high speed on the highway (up to 180 km);
bad maneuverability in the city;
very low driver’s landing;
BMW K1600 GT — the most expensive tourist
The German concern produces one of the most expensive motorcycles of this class. The model successfully combines the characteristics of tourist motor transport and sports bike. If you detach the rear trunk with backrest and side storage tanks, you get a lightweight version, suitable for urban riding. The complete unit weighs 348 kg and has an output of 160 hp.
The engine has a large size, and all six cylinders form a volume of 1649 cubic centimeters. The carburetor is equipped with electronic injection. The ignition system is controlled by a board with digital signals. The transmission has six gears, with a helical gear shape. The tank can be immediately filled with 26.5 liters. The travel model is moderately compact and is 2490 mm long.
The base is shorter than analogues, which increases maneuverability in the city;
a stylish image with a high hooded plastic;
trunk removal transforms the model into a sports bike;
a large fuel tank;
cast aluminium wheels;
low divider between seats;
Best classic motorcycles
This mode of transport is designed to move around the city and short trips on the highway to neighboring settlements. It is designed for everyday use and is characterized by its simple design and convenient maintenance (no need to remove a lot of coverings and frames to get to the parts being repaired). Driver’s seat on it does not require a steering wheel rest and implies an upright position. These are the best of these models from users.
The Suzuki Boulevard C50 is a powerful Japanese classic
The designers have endowed this device with simple, but streamlined forms, with the ability to remove the windshield. The model has a powerful engine for four cylinders, and the chrome exhaust pipes are located on one side of the body. The volume of the engine is 805 cubic centimeters.
Rear suspension is created on an oil shock absorber and reinforced by a spring. The front brake is disk, and on the rear wheel there are pads inside the drum itself. The saddle is 700 mm from the floor, which is very convenient for long sitting. Weight of the construction is 277 kg. The tank is designed for 15.5 liters. The driver has five speeds and an output of 53 hp. At a speed of 130 km five liters of fuel will be spent.
low fuel consumption;
thanks to ergonomics, it’s quite compact;
fast engine revolutions;
high cross-country ability;
the PTO shaft is easy to maintain;
good light from the headlight.
Increased oil consumption when riding inside the city;
a steep up road, speed drops and you have to switch;
large size, forcing to stand in traffic jams;
when it’s raining, the rear wheel starts to move.
Yamaha XJR 1200 SP — classic with a sporty touch
This bike belongs to the classic line, but because of the slightly rear seat, it looks a little like a sports bike. The unit is equipped with a four-cylinder engine with exhaust pipes on two sides of the body. Japanese engineers equipped it with a volume of the engine of 1188 cubic centimeters. All the brakes on it are disk-type.
The vehicle has a weight of 230 kg, and the driver’s seat is located at a height of 790 mm, which is suitable for tall people. The fuel tank has a capacity of 21 liters. The motorcycle has five speeds, which use the full power of the unit at 98 hp. This model is well suited for beginners, due to ease of operation and easy maintenance. The optics are equipped with a bright reflector and allow you to see clearly in the dark.
economical in terms of consumption;
it moves smoothly;
gas-oil shock absorbers;
fast acceleration up to 100 km/h;
easy to find spare parts;
convenient for tall people.
a lot of uncovered space between the seat and the rear wheel;
Racer Magnum RC200-C5B — available alternative
This motorcycle is a modern reflection of Java, which is very similar in form and characteristics. The round headlight, speedometer and tachometer on the handlebars, thin hydraulic shock absorbers on the fork and a solid flat seat are its classic features. The model is distinguished by disc brakes and aluminum wheel rims.
Power of the power unit is 13.6 hp, which is enough for acceleration up to 110 km/h. The small volume of the engine in 197 «cubes» provides an economical fuel consumption of 2.2 liters. Despite the simple assembly, a kick-starter, an electronic starter system and a Japanese carburetor were introduced in the bike. Weight of the model is 126 kg and it can carry two people with a total weight of 150 kg. The tank size is classic for this type of tank — 18 liters.
comfortable driver’s seat;
high stroke at the front shock absorbers;
inconvenient handles at the back for the passenger;
the tread is not suitable for driving on a dirt road;
wire breaks may occur;
plastic canopies bounce off quickly.
Best off-road motorcycles
This vehicle features deep treads and large diameter wheels for high cross-country ability. It is designed to ride on the ground, sand and crushed stone. The frame has an elongated shape and the height of the ground clearance is quite large. These are the best models of this type, according to the drivers.
The KTM 690 Enduro R — it’s going to go everywhere
The bike from Austrian engineers has good shock absorbers to overcome bumps and jumps. The rear wheel is traditionally wider than the front wheel. The design is made as light as possible by a small tank of 12 liters, narrow fenders, a spatial steel frame and wheels with spokes. The total weight is 140 kg.
The driver’s seat is located at a height of 935 mm. The engine has a capacity of 690 cubic centimeters and on this indicator received a number in the name. Power of the power unit is 66 hp. But, despite such data, the engine has only one cylinder. But the system is equipped with liquid cooling and copes well with overloads. Transmission is designed for six gears.
It’s very powerful for this class;
high cross-country ability;
gears never come off;
easy transition to neutral speed;
the chain is not stretched.
fragile steel frame;
lack of rpm sharpness;
expensive spare parts.
Lifan LF200 gy-5 — budget off-road vehicle
This model is in wide demand because of its cheap cost relative to imported motorcycles. In Lifan was placed the most necessary minimum for this class. The power unit was equipped with a single cylinder with a volume of 197 cubic centimeters. Maximum power reaches 16.3 hp. But the engine is cooled only by air currents, so it can overheat under long loads.
The weight of the whole machine is only 122 kg, which is very good for off-road vehicles. The small, narrow tank holds 10 litres of fuel. The pendulum rear suspension ensures gentle jumping on ski jumps. Maximum bike speed is 100 km/h. In a mixed cycle, the engine consumes 2.3 litres of gasoline.
very light in its class;
good hull assembly;
high cross-country ability;
easy to maintain;
holds the track well.
lack of power;
more suitable for single person transportation.
Kayo CRF801-7L Basic 17/14 — flutters like a butterfly
This unit accommodates a four-stroke motor for one cylinder. Its operation is cooled by air flow and oil lubrication in a pallet. Four gears, all forward. The brakes are controlled by a hydraulic system that compresses the rims on the wheels with pads. The frame is made of tubular steel elements. The total weight of the motorcycle is 69 kg.
The high ground clearance is 370 mm and the height from ground to saddle is 885 mm. The wheel spacing is 1225 mm, which makes it convenient for tall, lean drivers. Rear lights are planted deep under the seat. The steering is almost straight.
very light and maneuverable;
easy to repair;
power 11 h.p.
weak headlamp light;
the steering wheel flexes when it falls;
the chain stretches;
no electric starter.
Which motorcycle to buy
Choosing from this variety of two-wheeled vehicles should be based on how and how much it will be used. Other parameters, such as power, maximum speed and frame size, depend on personal preferences.
The following approach should therefore be taken:
- For everyday trips within the city, whether on the way to work or to visit relatives, a classic motorcycle model, compact, to avoid downtime in traffic, and not very catchy, a la mode «invisible» for parking thieves. Among the types of such bikes is worth buying a Yamaha XJR 1200 SP or Racer Magnum RC200-C5B.
- If motorcycles are a lifestyle, and you need speed and reliability from them, there is no better than sports models. They’re perfect for fast driving around town, but on the track they’re second to none. Pay attention to the Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace or Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.
- The KTM 690 Enduro R or Kayo CRF801-7L Basic 17/14 off-road units are well suited for competition on the ground, slide jumping and other obstacles. It is an excellent hobby for motorbike enthusiasts.
- If you want to conquer hundreds of kilometers on a two-wheeled vehicle and sit on it alone without inconvenience, you will need a tourist version of the motorcycle, with its large base, luggage compartments and wide seats. It is worth buying a Honda GL 1500 Gold Wing or BMW K1600 GT.