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 bikes are designed to be ready for anything—be it tarmac, gravel, or trail riding. Their look is a cross between a traditional touring bike and a dirt bike.

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. Famous choppers include the , the , and just about every custom bike by and .

Cruisers

Harley-Davidson's Dyna Super Glide Custom

Harley-Davidson

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.

Power Cruisers

Suzuki's Boulevard M109R.

Suzuki

A variant of regular cruisers, power cruisers feature more power and offer a more aggressive riding experience. Power cruisers often inherit high performance characteristics from their sport bike stablemates, and they boast thick rear tires, large exhaust pipes, and low ground clearances.

Dirt Bikes

The Husqvarna TC510's engine.

Husqvarna

Dirt bikes generally refer to motorcycles designed for off-road riding. They 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.

Enduro Bikes

Kawasaki's KLX450 R.

Kawasaki

Designed for long distance off-road 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 off-road and road surfaces. Supercross riders 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.

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 the following scooters:

Honda Metropolitan

Yamaha Vino Classic
KYMCO Super 8 50
KYMCO Agility 125
Yamaha C3 Base
Honda Ruckus
Yamaha Zuma
KYMCO Sting 50
KYMCO Super 8 150
Honda Elite 80
KYMCO People S 50 4T
KYMCO People 50
KYMCO Super 9 50
Yamaha Vino 125
Aprilia Scarabeo 100
Piaggio Fly 150
KYMCO People S 125
Aprilia SR 50 R Factory
Yamaha Zuma 125
Vespa LX 50
KYMCO People 150
KYMCO People S 200
Aprilia Scarabeo 200
Vespa S 150
Vespa S 150
Vespa LX 150
Hyosung MS3 250
KYMCO Grand Vista 250
KYMCO People S 250
Aprilia SportCity 250 
Aprilia SportCity 250
KYMCO Xciting 250
Piaggio BV 250
Vespa LXV 150
KYMCO Xciting 250 I
Vespa Granturismo 200
Yamaha Morphous Base
Honda Reflex Sport
Vespa GTS 250
Honda Reflex ABS
Honda Reflex Sport ABS
Vespa GTS 300

Power Scooters

Suzuki Burgman 650

 Suzuki

Power scooters are a relatively new category of motorbike, 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. They pack just a little more oomph than regular scooters. Here is a good selection of options:
Yamaha Majesty 400
Suzuki Burgman 400
KYMCO Xciting 50
Vespa GTS 300 Super
Aprilia Scarabeo 500 I.E.
Piaggio BV 500
KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri
KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
Suzuki Burgman 650

Yamaha TMAX
Honda Silver Wing ABS
Yamaha TMAX
Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive

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 is a selection of popular sport bikes:

Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Hyosung Comet GT250R
Kawasaki Ninja 500R
Suzuki GS 500F
Hyosung Comet GT650R
Kawasaki Ninja 650R
Suzuki GSX 650F
Yamaha FZ6
Kawasaki ZZR 600
2008 Triumph Street Triple
Yamaha YZF R6S
Ducati Monster 696
Suzuki GSX-R 600
Triumph Daytona 675
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
Yamaha FZ1

Honda CBR 600RR
Yamaha YZF R6
Triumph Speed Triple
Suzuki GSX-R 750
Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki GSX-R1000
Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000 Biposto
Ducati Hypermotard 1100
Honda CBR1000RR
Honda CBR 1000RR
Suzuki Ninja ZX-10R
Yamaha YZF R1
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
Suzuki Hayabusa 1300
Suzuki Hayabusa 1300
Buell 1125R
Buell 1125R
Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000 S
Ducati 848
Ducati 848
KTM Super Duke 990
BMW R 1200 S
BMW K 1200 R Sport
BMW K 1200 S
Ducati 1098
Ducati 1098S
Ducati 1098S
MV Agusta F4 1000R
Ducati 1098 S Tricolore (pictured above)
BMW HP2 Sport
MV Agusta F4 Senna
MV Agusta F4CC
KTM 1190 RC8

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 off-road 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

Touring bikes are made for long-distance riding, and include features that rival those of many automobiles, including electronically adjustable suspension, heated grips, intercom systems, 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.