Motorcycling: A long, lonely road, a roaring machine between your legs, and a full tank. The unique experience of riding a motorcycle through lovely scenery is a sanctuary for many, and a reason to live. Motorcycling is a pastime full of variation. There is something for everyone, which is just as well, because life generally gives rise to many interesting types. Different characters can become very easy to spot on two wheels, so here’s a light-hearted look at some of the types of motorcycle riders you may encounter in the wilderness.
Bikes for Motorcycling
Optimized for high speeds and acceleration, sport bikes have high-performance engines on a lightweight frame. They feature higher foot pegs and a longer reach to the handlebars, which is beneficial when riding into the wind at higher speeds. At lower speeds, sport bikes can be tiring because they put more weight on a rider’s hands and wrists.
Sport-bikes are expensive. Expect to pay around $6,000 for an entry-level machine or an older one with significant mileage. Next, forget about the comfort or luggage — these machines are built for speed and speed only. That also means a higher fuel expenditure. Special gear is a must here, as you’re on a speedster where streams of wind can freeze you or throw you away from the bike quickly.
Cruisers are modeled after large American machines from the 1930s to 1960s – the most popular being Harley-Davidsons. These bikes have a V-twin engine designed for low-end torque and offer a low riding position, high handlebars and forward foot pegs – causing riders to lean back slightly. This seating may not be ideal for beginners who are anticipating riding at higher speeds for long periods of time, since pulling back on the handlebars to battle wind can be tiring.
Expect a heavy load, average fuel economy, and prices around $4,000 and up for a decent cruiser bike. They aren’t quite as good for a total beginner, so taking a riding class might help significantly. Riding these types of motorcycles suits a traveler’s lifestyle, which can require a lot of gear. Cruisers are reliable, stable, and built for comfort.
Referred to as dual-purpose or on- and off-road motorcycles, dual-sport bikes have high seats and a high center of gravity to better handle rough ground. They’re similar to dirt bikes, except they feature mirrors and lights that make them legal to ride on public streets. Their small engines and lightweight frames make them a good choice for a new rider, as long as they can straddle the bike with both feet planted on the ground.
Most of these bikes have a higher center of gravity and tall seat height. The difference between these bikes and pure off-road machines is in the law regulations — off-road bikes aren’t allowed on the street. The fuel expenditure is pretty high, but you get the good suspension travel of a dirt bike and the power of a touring bike. The simplest explanation of a dual-sport bike would be that it’s an off-roader that’s allowed on the street. Prices go from $3,500 for an entry model.
Designed for long-distance riding, touring motorcycles have large engines and bigger fuel tanks. They give riders a comfortable, upright seating position and more storage, but their size and higher cost may make them more suited for experienced riders.
If you’d love to travel to other countries on your motorcycle, a touring bike is what you’ll need. Touring bikes come fully loaded with large luggage saddlebags, windshields, GPS, and stereos. There are some that are focused on the engine power more, and they are a bit stripped-down in terms of equipment, but one thing is sure: they will come with high seats due to high clearance to allow you more comfortable off-road riding.
These type of bikes usually offer an excellent travel experience, but be aware that they are also a bit pricier and heavier than regular bikes. Because of that, they are not recommended for beginners. With a touring bike, expect a huge fuel compartment, fully equipped saddlebags, ABS, great fuel economy, and prices that start at $10,000 for a basic, several-years-old machine. A lot of equipment is necessary, of course. It’s all about the comfort and tags of states you’ve visited.
A pure off-road bike is an agile performer, jumper, and a powerful dirt bike capable of taking almost any obstacle. These bikes aren’t allowed on the street because of their performance and capabilities. They are very light and take a tremendous effort to ride perfectly, especially if you’re going through rough terrain or performing stunts and tricks.
Last from the category, but not the least, is a standard bike. This type of bike contains a little bit of everything when compared to the previous four types of bikes. A lot of motorcycles that you can see now on the streets can be sorted into the “Standard” group of bikes. Usually, they have more upright riding position when compared to the cruiser type, which requires you to lean back more, or a sport bike, which requires leaning forward. Engine size on standard bikes can differ widely, but usually they are not meant for racing or to be upgraded with some huge and loud engines.
Which bike to choose?
So you’ve decided you’re going to get a motorcycle. The first step is to analyze which type of bike suits you. Deciding which type of bike is for you is almost as hard as choosing a perfect car for your needs — it is not something that you can buy today and decide to swap out tomorrow. Remember, you are choosing your two-wheeled machine for a longer period.
It’s smart to purchase a used bike for your first one, simply to get a hang of it and see which type of ride suits you best. Beginner riders usually don’t have a precise idea which riding style they’ll choose and how and where will they ride their new bike. That’s why it’s good to practice a bit and see what suits you.
A driving license is a must
Be aware that before you even sit to drive on your new machine, you will need a driving license, and getting one is almost as tedious as getting one to drive a car. The only difference is that when you are taking it on the bike, you have more written tests.
Choosing the perfect gear
One of the fascinating things about bike gear is that the very same equipment will keep you fresh when it is hot, warm when it is cold, and dry when it is raining. Motorcycle equipment is some of the the most advanced designed gear in the world. But still, to avoid injuries, you should get yourself some good equipment, and it all starts with a quality motorcycle helmet. Don’t go cheap on gear, especially for the helmet. It will keep you safe if an accident occurs.
Get yourself proper insurance
When you take the fact that motorcycles work on a high level of performance into consideration, getting insurance is a no-brainer. The main reason why you should get insurance is that even the best of the best motorcyclists make mistakes sometimes. Those mistakes can happen to anyone, and even when it’s not our fault, we can still end up suffering damage.
Safety comes first
After getting a driving license, some extra classes, and gear, you are ready to cruise around the country or even the world with your new two-wheeled friend. Always have in mind that safety comes first, no matter what — even if the road is clear and you feel tempt to test out the bike and push it to the max.
No matter the style you prefer, when you start riding a motorcycle, you’re in a club for life. Life itself changes — your thinking, your core values, and your psychology all change. You yearn for freedom, and there is no bigger freedom than a lonely, long road, you, and your bike.
Hit the gas, be safe, and ride on….