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Which Bike Is Best For You?

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Selecting a motorcycle is an important decision and you can anticipate spending some time deciding which bike is best for you. What you expect out of your ride, your reasons for getting a bike, level of experience, and your budget all play into which bike you buy.

Five Basic Bike Designs

Motorcycles have a rich history dating back to the first motorized bicycles in 1901. Fortunately, the technology has really improved over the years. Generally speaking, there are five major designs you can look at:

  • Street bikes.
  • Sport bikes.
  • Standard or traditional bikes.
  • Off-road bikes.
  • Dual-purpose bikes.

The bike categories are mostly based on the chassis or frame design. In every category you will find a nice selection of engine capacity and number of cylinders, transmissions, and drive systems.

Street Bikes

If you see yourself cruising down shady paved streets, the wind in your hair and the smell of fresh-cut grass all around, then you will want to consider a street bike. Street bikes are designed for comfort and come in a couple major styles―touring and cruising. Both street bike types can accommodate passengers.

Touring bikes have a lot of plastic fairings to keep the aerodynamics clean for those long trips, saving you on fuel and drag. Saddlebags are included for all your travel gear and the seats are extremely comfortable because touring riders spend hours and hours on the road.

The cruising bikes are also very comfortable, with a laidback look and design. The seat of a cruising bike is low and your feet will ride out in front of you. There are no fancy fairings on the cruising bikes. If you are a Sunday rider who isn't planning on week-long trips, then the cruising bike may be for you.

Sports Bikes

Performance surpasses comfort when it comes to the sports bikes, and if you are after speed then consider looking at the powerful sports bikes. There are many attractive designs available that feature a lightweight aluminum frame, stiff suspension, powerful brakes, and gripping tires.

As a rider, you will lean forward in your seat while riding to handle your multi-cylinder engine. The sport bike styles are numerous and many manufacturers come out with new models each year. There is even a basic design―the naked bike{dash}which doesn't feature any aesthetic add-ons so you can modify it yourself (within legal limits).

Standard or Traditional Bikes

The standard motorcycle is most similar to the original bikes, which were an engine attached to a bicycle. The frame, or chassis, sits upright and the seat is mostly parallel to the ground. Standard bikes are very appealing to first-time riders because the engines tend to be mid-sized and the handling system is basic.

If you are a beginner or just interested in an all-purpose motorcycle, the standard bike may be just what you need. Many motorcycle training courses use standard motorcycles.

Off-road Bikes

Dirt bikes or motorcross bikes are examples of off-road bikes. Do you want to ride on the road? If you are interested in trail or track riding, there are many off-road models to research.

A lightweight frame and advanced suspension system make the off-road bike fun to ride in the dirt. There are no extra mirrors, lights, horns, or even mufflers to get in your way. And if you lay it down―which you probably will―there isn't too much that you can break.

Dual-purpose Bikes

Dual-purpose bikes will take you on the trail but also down the road. A lightweight frame is fun to ride off-road, while the required lights, exhaust, mirrors, and horn are also included.

Driving a dual-purpose bike is fun because you are ready for anything. But you will sacrifice some performance for the versatility. Many beginners prefer the dual-purpose bike because they gain some experience and learn what pleases them most. When you are ready to upgrade, you will have a strong sense of what you expect from your ride.

Let Experience Be Your Guide

Think about your experience level when selecting a bike. If you are a new rider then you would probably not want a brand-new motorcycle because you will be very disappointed when you lay it down. And as a beginning rider, expect to drop it a few times.

Your experience with mechanical equipment in general, and motorcycles specifically, will help you choose the engine size and style. A bigger engine capacity will have more power and the number of cylinders will affect the power as well as the efficiency.

A smaller-sized standard bike will give you great fuel efficiency and a nice, intimate driving experience. A sporty 1352cc engine will send you down the road at top speed for a thrilling ride―know your skills and stay safe.

Motorcycle riders love to drive, whether it's touring, cruising, racing, or trailing. Before you make that purchase, do some research and find the bike that's right for you.

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