10 Common Types of Motorcycles (With Eye Candy)

Bobber\ Cafe racer
Author: 

If you’ve recently passed your test – or even if you’ve had your license for years – you might be in the exciting stage of picking out the best bike for you.

But what are the most common styles of motorcycle, which brands represent them and how much does each type cost?

This handy guide can be your go-to for all your questions about different types of motorcycles, with most types ticking one or two of the all-important ‘speed, comfort, style’ metric.

 

Sport bikes/Super sports


yamaha r6

This is probably what a kid would draw if you asked them to draw a motorcycle. They’re sleek, sexy and for the most part, built for speed.

Despite that, you can get sports bikes that are still practical enough for commuting, giving the best of both worlds.

Our picks: Honda CBR650R, BMW S100RR, Yamaha R6

Best for: Commuters who want to be weekend track warriors

Speed, comfort or style? Speed, style

 

Choppers/Bobbers/Café racers


Bobber\ Cafe racer

The great thing about these bikes is that often, the more beat-up or weathered they look, the more it suits them.

These are brilliant for people who want a really custom bike, as literally everything can be chopped together to make something totally unique.

Our picks: Yamaha Bolt, Honda CMX500 Rebel, Kawasaki Vulcan

Best for: Tinkerers, anyone who doesn’t want to see an identical bike on the roads

Speed, comfort or style? Comfort, style

 

Classics/Retro


retro\naked motorcycle

Have visions of Steve McQueen atop a classic Triumph? Spend just as much time looking at vintage leather jackets as you do bikes? A naked retro-style bike is for you.

The only downside to looking so cool is a general lack of storage, they’re not the fastest and can be unreliable. But that’s all part of the fun of it.

Our picks: Triumph Bonneville, Royal Enfield Continental GT 650, Moto Guzzi V7III

Best for: City riders, summertime commutes or low-speed cruising

Speed, comfort or style? Style

 

Adventure


Adventure type motorcycle

A jack-of-all trade of bikes, these will get you anywhere, with a modicum of style. With space for panniers, topboxes and rails everywhere there’s no limits to where an adventure bike can take you.

They’re generally expensive, but you want quality if you’re halfway up a mountain or somewhere in a remote forest.

Our picks: BMW GS1200, KTM 990 Adventure, Honda Africa Twin

Best for: Long-range trips, people working on their autobiographies who want some interesting anecdotes.

Speed, comfort or style? Comfort

 

Cruisers


Crusier motorbike

So comfortable you might as well be driving a car – cruisers are low, lazy and often very loud, even at low speed.

They can munch miles on the motorway, or you can join a club and go to endless biker meets – to have a cruiser is to be a part of an exclusive club.

Our picks: Yamaha V-Star, Ducati XDiavel, Harley Davidson Softail

Best for: Those who are looking for biking to lead them into a community, people who like leather.

Speed, comfort or style? Comfort

 

Dirtbikes/Dual sport


dirt bike

If your idea of biking is more getting covered head to toe in mud on a Sunday morning than a ride to the local coffee shop, then you’re likely to be an dual-sport enthusiast.

These are fine on the street, but come into their own off-road, where their light weight, responsive engine and knobbly tyres are perfectly suited.

Our picks: Suzuki DR650, Husqvarna FE450, KTM 690 Enduro R

Best for: Adrenaline junkies

Speed, comfort or style? Speed

 

Electric


Via Zero Motorcycles

Motorbikes aren’t really gas-guzzlers in the same way an SUV is – any motorbike is going to have a far smaller footprint than most cars.

However, as with cars, electric bikes are well on their way to being more common now. They’re quiet, stylish and are beginning to match petrol-powered bikes in terms of performance.

Our picks: Zero SR, Harley Davidson Livewire, BMW C-Evolution

Best for: Eco-warriors, tech enthusiasts who want to be early adopters

Speed, comfort or style? Comfort, style

 

Scooters


vespa scooter

Want a convenient, quick way to get around with none of the hassle? Scooter-ownership beckons.

Far from being purely the reserve of Deliveroo drivers, some scooters come with a serious power band and the ‘twist and go’ drive train makes riding a doddle.

Our picks: Vespa GTS, Yamaha TMAX, Suzuki Access

Best for: Commuters not at their best in the mornings, people who have to make lots of short trips

Speed, comfort or style? Comfort

 

Modern retro


via Yamaha

Arguably the most common type of bike you’ll see out and about, these bikes combine retro aesthetics with modern twists to make them timeless classics.

Their do-it-all nature extends to their use – being perfect for commuting, long rides or even, in some cases, a blast around the track.

Our picks: Yamaha XSR700, Ducati Scrambler, Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

Best for: People who’ll be using their bike a lot and want something to love

Speed, comfort or style? Speed, comfort, style

 

Tourers


Honda Goldwing

The clue’s in the name – if you’re hoping to hop on a ferry and explore Europe, Ireland or even further afield you’ll want to do it in comfort.

With sofa-levels of padding in the seat, plenty of storage and relaxed riding position, tackling hundreds of miles in a day is best done astride one of these.

Read more about motorcycle touring.

Our picks: Yamaha FJR1300, Honda Goldwing, Triumph Trophy

Best for: Long-distance riders, people with bad backs

Speed, comfort or style? Speed, comfort