Custom bikes, choppers, enduros and athletes – motorcycle is not the same motorcycle. The choice is great. There is the right two-wheeler for every application. Here you will find a small typology.
“There is a trend towards individual, purist motorcycles at the moment. The area of the classic motorcycle type and machines with retro-optics show significant growth,” says Matthias Haasper from the Institute for Two-Wheel Safety (ifz). Sporty motorcycles continue to lead the market, followed by off-road motorcycles, so-called Enduros. But undressed and lighter machines on the basis of the latest technology are in great demand.
But how can we find the right model? “When it comes to motorcycle selection, it is first about the personal preferences as well as the question of the purpose,” says Haasper. Leisure or everyday life, alone or in pairs? Should the bike also be suitable for the terrain or a long holiday trip? In particular, beginners would have to keep in mind the characteristics of the respective model.
“In general, most beginners are lighter with lighter and more compact machines that provide a relatively upright seating position for a wide handlebars,” says Ruprecht Müller of ADAC. Usually these machines are easy to control and forgive even imprecise driving. He calls Enduros, Supermotos, light Tourers and Naked Bikes as examples. Cruiser and chopper appear less suitable, even if their seat heights are low. This may provide a better feel for the road. With today’s traffic with the many off-road vehicles and SUVs, it is safer if the eye point is as high as possible – no matter what machine.
Jürgen Bente of the German Traffic Safety Council also advises on all-rounder motorcycles. “A beginner motorcycle should not necessarily be a high-legged enduro or a heavy machine,” he says. The driver should be able to sit relaxed. “If the drivers do not feel comfortable on the machine, it will not be a good relationship, because the machine can look so great,” says Bente.
“The diversity and choice of different machines has never been as great as it is at present”, says Müller. He categorizes motorcycles into the following types with examples.
All models which do not have a distinctive specialization – Honda CB 500 F.
Naked bike :
machines without panel, possibly a small wind sign at the cockpit. The seat position is between sporty and upright – Ducati Monster.
light, very spartan equipped motorcycle, usually single cylinder engine, uncomplicated handling – KTM 690 SMC.
suitable for journeys on the road or on the terrain, also suitable for tours. Long spring travel, light engine, mostly basic equipment – KTM 690 Enduro R.
large heavy machinery, high seating position, extensive series and accessories – BMW 1200 GS.
compact, fully clogged, sufficiently motorized motorcycle, sporty seating – Honda VFR 800.
Crossover or adventure sports models :
variant derived from road machines with higher and more upright seating position – Ducati Multistrada.
fully clothed, mostly relatively heavy motorcycle with comfort and travel orientation – BMW K 1600 GTL.
Sportsman / Supersportler :
Seat position strongly front-wheel-oriented, usually high to very high performance, conditional everyday and tourability – Ducati 1299 Superleggera.
Classic, retro, custom bikes :
Classic and retro bikes are almost identical: new machines with classic look – Triumph Bonneville Bobber or the Ducati Scrambler. Classic bikes can also be oldtimers, which have been rebuilt again. A custom bike is a modified motorcycle. This can be old or new. The BMW R nineT can be customized with many parts.
Cruiser / Chopper :
long wheelbase, low center of gravity, rear seat adjustment, wide handlebars, often little fahractive – Softail models from Harley-Davidson.
Muscle Bikes :
large displacement, high torque, rear-oriented sitting, powerful appearance, mostly wide rear tire – Triumph Rocket III.
The motorcycle must fit the respective body size and the driver should be able to sit as upright as possible. “If the motorcycle is too big, it can be dangerous for the driver. If the machine is too small, it will quickly become uncomfortable,” says Matthias Haasper from the Institute for Two-Wheel Safety (ifz).
Drivers determine the correct size by placing both feet on the floor in the stand. They should not stray and sit comfortably. A good handiness is given if the weight of the motorcycle is not too high. In addition to a detailed probesess, a test trip should be compulsory. “Basically you should only drive a motorcycle, which one can also act.”