What Type of Motorcycle Should I Get?

Jan 12, 2024

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what type of motorcycle should I get?

Choosing the right type of motorcycle often feels like a mix of excitement and anxiety. We've all heard stories or maybe even experienced that pang of buyer's remorse - the sinking feeling when you realize the bike you chose isn't quite the right fit. It's a common concern, and you're definitely not alone in wanting to make the best decision. 

Let’s hop on this relatable journey through the myriad of choices in the motorcycle world. Whether it's the sleek allure of a sport bike, the laid-back vibe of a cruiser, or the rugged appeal of a dual-sport, each type has its own charm and challenges. We'll speak to what makes each type unique, helping you sidestep that regret and find a motorcycle that's not just a ride but an extension of your lifestyle and personality. 

Also, it’s a pretty in-depth article- so grab a coffee and even take some notes. 

1. Consider your Skill Level

For beginner riders:

For beginners, It's like stepping into a candy store with countless tempting options. But before you get too caught up in the excitement, you should consider a few key factors. First and foremost, think about your riding experience. If you're a complete newbie, starting with a smaller, less powerful bike is a smart move. Cruiser-style motorcycles or standard bikes with manageable engine sizes are excellent choices. Next, ponder your riding style. 

Do you envision leisurely weekend cruises or zipping through city traffic? Your riding environment matters too—think about whether you'll mostly be on highways or tackling off-road adventures. And don't forget comfort and ergonomics; a bike that fits you well is a game-changer. With these considerations in mind, you'll be well on your way to picking the perfect ride for your beginner's journey.

picture of an example of a beginner motorcycle a 2020 Honda Rebel 300 ABS currently for rent with Riders Share in Tennessee

For intermediate riders:

As your riding experience improves over time, your options naturally expand, and it might be time to think about your step-up. You can explore various motorcycle styles, depending on your preferences. If you've honed your skills on a smaller bike, you might consider transitioning to a mid-sized cruiser, sport-touring, or adventure motorcycle. These offer more power and capabilities for longer journeys and different terrains. However, if you start with a standard bike, you can stick with it or move up to a more substantial sport bike or cruiser, depending on whether you prefer speed or comfort. Remember that with greater power comes greater responsibility, so continue to build your skills and confidence, and always ride within your limits.

  • Engine power: 500-900cc, where you get that extra oomph without feeling like you've bitten off more than you can chew.
  • Type of motorcycle: Really, the options are endless. Just pay attention to the model. 
  • Examples: Triumph Street Triple R, Kawasaki Z900, Yamaha MT-09, Harley Iron 883

For experienced riders:

For experienced riders who've already logged countless miles and have mastered the art of motorcycling, it's all about fine-tuning the experience. These riders are ready to embrace the higher displacement bikes, typically in the range of 1000cc to 1300cc or more. With this extra power, you can truly appreciate the adrenaline rush and precision that comes with it. 

These motorcycles are like the thoroughbreds of the two-wheeled world, offering unparalleled performance, advanced suspension systems, and cutting-edge electronics. You might want to push the limits on the track or tackle twisty mountain roads. skills shine. However, you’ll still have to remember that even with all that power, safety should never take a back seat. Responsible riding remains paramount, ensuring that every ride is also a safe one.

  • Engine power: 1000-1300cc +
  • Advanced features
  • Examples: Ducati Panigale V4, BMW S 1000 RR, Aprilia RSV4

2. Think About What Type of Riding You’ll Be Doing

Daily Commuting:

If your bike will be your daily mode of transportation, look for something comfortable, fuel-efficient, and agile in traffic.

  • Examples: Honda CB500F, Kawasaki Z400, Suzuki SV650

Long-Distance Touring: 

For those epic road trips, prioritize comfort, storage, and features like cruise control.

  • Examples: BMW R 1250 GS, Honda Gold Wing, Harley-Davidson Road Glide

Off-Road Adventures: 

If your heart is set on exploring dirt trails and rocky paths, consider a capable off-road motorcycle.

  • Examples: KTM 690 Enduro R, Honda CRF450L, Yamaha Tenere 700

Sport Riding: 

If carving corners on twisty roads is your passion, sport bikes offer precision and speed.

  • Examples: Yamaha YZF-R6, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R750

Cruising in Style: 

If you're all about relaxed cruising with a touch of nostalgia, cruiser bikes are the way to go.

  • Examples: Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe, Indian Chief Vintage, Yamaha Star Venture

Track Days: 

For the ultimate adrenaline rush on the racetrack, consider a dedicated track bike.

  • Examples: Ducati Panigale V4, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, Yamaha YZF-R1M

Adventure Riding: 

If you dream of exploring remote places and tackling various terrains, adventure bikes are versatile and equipped for the job.

  • Examples: Triumph Tiger 900, Honda Africa Twin, KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Custom Builds: 

If you have a vision for a one-of-a-kind bike, custom motorcycles allow you to create a unique ride.

  • Examples: The possibilities are endless, from Bobbers to Café Racers to Choppers.

3. Do You Plan On Two-Up Riding?

When riding with a passenger, comfort and stability become top priorities when choosing what type of motorcycle to get. Look for bikes with spacious seats, supportive suspension, and ample power to handle the extra weight. Touring motorcycles excel in this area, offering plush seats, backrests, and luggage space for longer trips. Some cruisers and adventure bikes also provide comfortable two-up experiences. Prioritize safety by choosing a motorcycle with excellent handling and braking capabilities to ensure a secure and enjoyable ride for both you and your passenger.

4. Consider Your Stature 

Your physical build can influence your motorcycle choice. If you're on the shorter side, opt for bikes with lower seat heights, like cruisers or standard models. Oftentimes, when people search for “best bikes for women,” you’ll get lower seat heights too. Taller riders may prefer adventure or sport-touring motorcycles with more legroom. It's essential to feel comfortable with your feet touching the ground when stopped. Consider adjustable ergonomics and handlebar positions to find the right fit. Ultimately, your stature should complement the bike's design, ensuring a confident and enjoyable riding experience.

  • Shorter Riders or (some) Female Riders: If under 5’5”, aim for a bike with a lower seat height. Cruisers and standard models are normally more accommodating, but lots of other bikes offer customizations, too. 
  • Taller Riders: Consider the footpeg to seat distance and pay attention to ergonomics. 

5. Don’t Forget Your Budget

  • New vs. Used: Decide whether you want a brand-new motorcycle with the latest features and warranties or if a used one fits your budget better. Used motorcycles can offer great value but require careful inspection to ensure they're in good condition.
  • Renting: If you won't be riding frequently, renting a motorcycle for specific trips can be a cost-effective alternative. It allows you to enjoy riding without a long-term financial commitment.
  • Maintenance Costs: Some brands and models like HD, Ducati, or BMW have increased maintenance costs due to parts. Consider this when planning your budget. Some bikes may have higher maintenance expenses due to specialized parts or advanced technology.
  • Fuel Efficiency: While motorcycles are generally more fuel-efficient than cars, fuel consumption can still vary. Factor in gas costs, especially if you plan to use your motorcycle for daily commuting or long-distance travel.
  • Insurance: Don't overlook insurance costs, which can vary depending on the type of motorcycle, your riding experience, and your location. Get insurance quotes to understand the ongoing expenses. Sports bikes, high CC bikes, custom builds, or even some larger cruisers have more expensive insurance premiums. 
  • Resale Value: Think about the resale value of the motorcycle you're considering. Certain brands and models hold their value better than others, which can affect your long-term costs. For example, Harleys hold nearly 84% of their value over a 5-year period

Popular Motorcycle Types: Pros & Cons

Cruisers

Pros: 

  • Classic and stylish design
  • Comfortable for cruising
  • Low seat height
  • Relaxed riding position
  • V-twin engines offer good low-end torque
  • Great for casual and laid-back riding

Cons:

  • Limited cornering ability
  • Heavier and less agile than sport bikes
  • Typically, less advanced technology
  • Not ideal for aggressive riding

Touring 

Pros:

  • Designed for long-distance comfort
  • Spacious seating and storage
  • Advanced features like cruise control
  • Wind protection for highway cruising
  • Ideal for cross-country trips

Cons:

  • Heavier and bulkier than other types
  • Limited agility in city riding
  • Expensive compared to some other categories

Sportbike

Pros:

  • High-performance engines
  • Precise handling and cornering
  • Ideal for spirited riding
  • Lightweight and nimble
  • Sporty ergonomics
  • Aerodynamic design

Cons:

  • Uncomfortable for long rides
  • Limited passenger space
  • Less storage capacity
  • Requires experienced riding skills
  • Higher insurance costs
  • Not ideal for beginners

Adventure

Pros:

  • Versatile for on-road and off-road riding
  • Comfortable for long trips
  • Adventure-style ergonomics
  • Good ground clearance
  • Robust suspension for rough terrain
  • Typically comes with advanced electronics

Cons:

  • Taller seat height can be challenging for shorter riders
  • Heavier than some other types
  • Limited top-end speed compared to sport bikes

Dual Sport

Pros:

  • Capable both on and off-road
  • Lightweight and agile
  • Good ground clearance
  • Suitable for urban and adventure riding
  • Versatile and fun

Cons:

  • Limited highway comfort
  • Less advanced features compared to touring bikes
  • Seat height may be tall for some riders

current adventure motor bike for rent through Riders Share in North Carolina a 2023 Triumph Tiger Rally 900 type of motorcycle

Naked

Pros:

  • Minimalist and stylish design
  • Comfortable upright riding position
  • Great for urban commuting
  • Lightweight and agile
  • Good for riders of various skill levels

Cons:

  • Limited wind protection
  • Less suitable for long highway rides
  • Limited storage options

Scooter/Moped

Pros:

  • Easy to ride and maneuver
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Ideal for city commuting
  • Automatic transmission
  • Affordable and fuel-efficient

Cons:

  • Limited top speed
  • Limited storage space
  • Not suitable for highway riding

picture of a beginner scooter consideration for new riders 2023 Yiben Maximo 50  currently for rent through Riders Share in Florida

Picking the Right Type of Motorcycle for You

Choosing the right ride isn’t always an easy decision, especially if you’ve been toying between a few bikes or haven’t had your eyes set on one in particular. We've all heard tales of buyer's remorse, that nagging feeling when the bike you chose doesn't quite fit your expectations. Or even worse, when you ride it off the lot and, before you even get home, realize that it's the most uncomfortable thing you could’ve picked. So, whether you're a beginner, an intermediate rider, or a seasoned motorcyclist, remember the road is vast, and there's a perfect ride waiting for you. Enjoy the journey, and may your motorcycle be your trusted companion on countless adventures.

example of a Cruiser type of motorcycle one could get - 2020 Harley Davidson Road Glide which is currently for rent in Florida through Riders Share