Cruisers, Customs, Retros, Bobbers, Trackers, Vintage and more style-friendly motorcycle designs fall into a unique category of cool. They generally have lower seats and a relaxed riding position with outspread legs and arms. Cruiser engines are tuned for more low-end torque, making them less demanding to ride because it’s not necessary to shift as frequently.
Cruisers have a laid-back style. Bars are high and footpegs are forward. Seats are often cushy and stepped for the passenger. Chrome is king or queen in the group.
Customs are like cruisers but modified further to suit the personality of the owner. They can be modified to look retro or retro vintage bikes modified to look new. This is the “to each his/her own” category.
Retros are a popular category. These are new bikes designed to look vintage. They can be Retro Racers, Retro Classics or Retro Customs. Bobbers are like Retros but only have one seat and the back end looks “bobbed off”. Trackers are also a specific Retro style that mimic the look of dirt track racers.
Touring bikes are designed to cover miles in comfort. Not only is the driver comfortable but these bikes have amazing passenger comforts including plush seats. These bikes have the ability to store travelling gear and clothing in their hard lockable luggage. Touring bikes often have cruise control, communication systems, heated grips and seats and even stereos. Touring bikes have the best wind and element protection.
To accommodate the comfy ergonomics the touring bike tends to be big and long. It is the heaviest of all motorcycles. Touring bikes tend to be pretty large displacement in the 1600 cc up category.
Touring bikes can also be more sport or adventure in style. Sport touring bikes are smaller, lighter and more performance designed. The adventure touring bikes are designed to remain stable even when the pavement ends.
Does it get any better than this? Dual sport or on / off-road motorcycles are street-legal machines that are also designed to enter off-road situations. These bikes are typically based on a dirt bike chassis, they have added lights, mirrors, signals, and instruments that allow them to be licensed for public roads. Generally, dual sport bikes are taller than typical street bikes, with higher ground clearance and longer suspension travel to deal with rough terrain. They are lightweight and have nimble handling.
Adventure bikes are also dual-sport motorcycles but typically have larger engines and larger gas tanks and are built to take on more distance. They are often outfitted with all things necessary for adventure – GPS and heated grips, extra lights for visibility, side bags, a top case and a tank bag. Adventure knows no hardship.
You may find that the best bikes off-road are generally smaller (size and displacement), lighter and more nimble. The bikes that are best on-road tend to be larger (size and displacement) and more steady at highway speeds.
The same goes for the tires. Adventure tires are rated by percentage use i.e. a 90/10 tire is designed for 90% pavement with the odd forage into the dirt. A tire with lots of knobs to bite in the dirt means less rubber on the road. Dual sport bikes and tires are a balance in priorities.
On road. Off road. The choice is yours.
Sport bikes are designed first and foremost to deliver performance. They are the two wheeled equivalent of a Ferrari, Corvette or Mustang. In many cases they share their lineage with race bikes. Sport bikes have comparatively high-performance engines with lightweight frames. Riders have a more tucked-in riding position, and a sport bike’s aerodynamic bodywork, or fairings, help shield riders from wind buffeting. Sport bikes also range in size, from 250 ccs up to 1300. For those interested in doing track days, these are the perfect bikes for the purpose
Sport bikes can be sub-classified as super-sport bikes with fully enclosed plastic, carbon or composite fairings. Super-sport bikes tend to have their power higher in the RPM range where racers tend to live.
Sport bikes can also be naked, meaning they have very small upper fairings or no fairings at all. Naked bikes tend to be designed with more attention to mid-range power and torque. This accommodates a lower RPM. Naked bikes tend to have higher handlebars and lower footpegs than their super-sport contemporaries.
Three wheelers may be for you if you don’t want to worry about balancing a motorcycle. Three wheelers are great for stability.
Three wheelers are divided into two categories, leaning and non-leaning.
Bikes like the Piaggio MP3 and the Yamaha Tricity lean just like a motorcycle but have the added stability of a second front wheel and the technology not to have to put your feet down at a stop.
The second category of 3 wheel bike does not lean but and has either two wheels front and one back or one wheel front and two in the back. Examples of this are the Can Am Spyder, Can Am Ryker, Harley Davidson Tri Glide Ultra and HD Freewheeler.
Scooters are a great form of urban transportation. They are quick and nimble plus they get fantastic fuel mileage. Most modern day scooters have continuously variable transmission (CVT) drive systems. This means no gears and no clutch to worry about in traffic.
Even the smallest 50cc scooter is peppy enough to handle downtown traffic. Bigger scooters range up to 650 cc engines, making them suitable for highway speeds. Most scooters have under seat storage and many scooters have grocery bag hooks for that quick stop at the market on the way home.
Many urban centres have free parking for scooters. Scooters may have different licensing requirements than regular motorcycles depending on the province. These requirements are province-specific.
Electric vehicles are the wave of the future. Motorcycles and Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs) are not exempt. Electric motors have many advantages. They are exceptionally economical to operate, have small carbon footprints and offer instantaneous power and torque. Benefits don’t stop there. Firstly, you get to ride past all gas stations. Secondly, you can alter the power delivery with the push of a button. Finally, they are so smooth and quiet you might forget they are running.
Both smaller and large manufacturers are producing electric bikes. Motorcycle super-celebs Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman have recently been spotted in South America on e-powered Harley-Davidsons as they make their way north in the filming of “Long Way Up”.
Expect to see a lot more electric Powered-Two-Wheelers in the near future. Expect E-powered sportbikes, cruisers, tourers, scooters, dirt bikes and more.