Buying A Motorcycle? Get Help By Learning About Different Types of Motorcycles

What Are the Different Types of Motorcycles

If you are getting into the world of motorcycles, you may be starting to realize that there are a vast array of styles to choose from. Whether it’s a trials bike meant for a niche sport, a 3-wheel motorcycle, a dirt bike, or a stately cruiser or touring bike, the options seem endless.

Within some of these motorcycle categories, there are further distinctions; but, these are some of the most popular motorcycles on the market and the broad price ranges in which you can expect to see them for sale.

Remember, there are significant variations in price depending on the manufacturer of a motorcycle, the time of year you buy it (February is often a win), the location you purchase from, and the condition of the bike. This article will give you a broad idea of the different styles and the typical range to find the right bike for you.


Sport bikes are one of the most popular on the road, sometimes nicknamed with terms that allude to their “rocket” acceleration. The Kawasaki Ninja is a famous example of this type of bike. Tom Cruise rode one in the film Top Gun, and these bikes have been popular ever since.

They are specifically designed for acceleration, performance, and cornering, and if necessary, quick breaking. Sport bikes are generally lighter in weight than a touring or adventure touring bike. Sport motorcycles range in price from $5,000 to $12,000 but can skyrocket in price with brands such as Ducati. Bikes like these premium models can range from $35,000 up to $235,000.


Standard bikes, sometimes just knowns as racers, are a combination of design between a sport bike and a cruiser, which is known for a more comfortable design. These are also nicknamed “naked” bikes, and these are a growing segment for motorcycles. Standard motorcycles are often a good match for a rider who wants both speed and acceleration as well as a bike they can take on longer journeys.

Standard or naked motorcycles tend to be very affordable in price, ranging from $4,000 to around $7,000 and slightly higher. Not only are the initial prices reasonable, but standard bikes tend to be more affordable when it comes to maintenance than some other types of motorcycles.

Dual Sport

Dual sport motorcycles are names so for their duality of uses. These are perfect for those who want some off-road capabilities. For instance, if you enjoy taking a bike on trails, but also want a motorcycle that can ride on the streets and even commute to work or school.

These are not specifically designed for motorcycle sports such as dirt biking or motocross, but they have a more rugged construction than a standard bike. Dual sport motorcycles tend to be a bit higher in price than standard bikes, and these multi-purpose rides generally cost between $7,000 to $20,000 depending on the model and used motorcycle values.


Often, cruisers are what you might think of when you see a hog on the freeway, for example, a Harley-Davidson. Cruiser motorcycles have longer, lower styling and a superior comfort level compared to something such as a sport bike.

With higher handlebars, riders sit more upright and can take longer trips with more comfortable posture. Cruiser bikes cost, on average, between $7,000 and $18,000 but as with any model, prices of motorcycles can vary significantly depending on the make and condition.


A touring motorcycle is a next level up from a cruiser. They are similar in design, but a touring bike provides more waterproof compartments for snacks, necessities for the road, and luggage.

Touring bikes also have more weather protection and tend to offer more features such as heated handlebars. They are also designed to vibrate less at higher speeds, especially with a six-speed transmission, which makes for less discomfort.

The seats are generally more comfortable making this ideal for those who want to take cross country trips or plan to take very frequent journeys and need more comfort in a bike. Even better, you can purchase some of these for around $5,000, which makes them an affordable option for a long-trip motorcycle.

Sport Touring/Adventure Touring/ADV

A sport touring or adventure-touring bike will sometimes also be referred to as an ADV. An adventure touring motorcycle blends the worlds of larger street bikes with some off-road capabilities. You can think of these as a touring bike combined with some dual sport features, most notably, an excellent suspension.

Adventure touring motorcycles are fantastic for those who take long road trips on their bike and may all also hit some trails or journey via lots of dirt roads. These range in price from around $7,000 used into the $20,000 ballpark for some newer models.

Dirt Bikes

A dirt bike, sometimes known as a scrambler, is a motorcycle specifically designed for riding on trails and dirt tracks. These are not meant for general street riding and are built with suspension for rugged terrain and tires to match those conditions.

Dirt bikes are some of the more reasonably priced versions of a motorcycle, often ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 even for new models. Keep in mind; these are not meant to commuting to work on the highway. If you’re looking for a motorcycle, in particular, to ride off-road and off-road only, this is an excellent option.


Scooters and mopeds are not to be forgotten on the list of motorcycles. While some bikers may want to dismiss these, a scooter or moped is still by design a bike, and these can be brilliant options for those who simply want a commuter bike and something with which they can zip around town.

The fuel economy on a scooter or moped can be unmatched, and many are designed with compartments for small luggage or items you might need to bring to work. Buying a used moped can also be extremely cheap, as low as roughly $1,300 or thereabouts. Even with a newer model, these are an affordable motorbike.

Three Wheeled

A three-wheel bike is also called a motor tricycle. These can be constructed with either two rear wheels and a single front wheel, or the reverse with two front wheels and a single wheel in the rear. You still need an M Class license to drive these motorcycles.

These can offer a little more stability, but you must be sure that all three wheels are in contact with the ground and properly aligned. These motorcycles are gaining in popularity and are surprisingly affordable, with some priced as low as $2,000. Generally, expect to pay between $3,000 to $15,000 depending on the model.

Your Needs for Your Bike Style

Everyone looking into buying a motorcycle will have a different “why” for getting a bike. Maybe you’re retired and want to trek along Route 66, or you are just starting your adult years and want a sport bike for work. Teens who have tried dirt bikes might wish for a new motorcycle for racing in competitions.

Just as the reasons for buying a bike a varied, so are the styles available. Forums can be incredibly helpful when trying to decide not only on a type of motorcycle but also which specific models are most reliable and prevalent.

Comparing different models is also a smart launching place to check on prices, specs, and features. Once you pick a couples bikes you like, always try them out at a dealership or through private sellers before buying. Motorcycle fit and comfort is highly personal and vital for safety.