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A Beginner's Guide to Motorcycle Styles

There are several styles of motorcycles, which are divided according to their purpose. Motorcycle classification is a controversial matter because various sources distinguish different types of bikes. The situation is even more confusing giving the fact that many bikes can be attributed to several types.

Bikes are classified based on their appearance. Additionally, we take into account whether a bike is intended for use on public roads or off-road. Finally, we considered if a motorbike is serial or custom-built. In this post, we will take a closer look at 30 styles of motorcycles.

Street Bikes

Classic (standard, roadster)

These motorcycles have a classic, the most common design. These bikes are universal and are suitable for almost any rider, even a beginner. Classic motorcycles are used for daily street riding. These are the very first motorcycles in the world.

A motorcycle of this type is convenient for long trips – thanks to upright position a rider doesn’t get tired too fast. The price for classic motorcycles is usually affordable; repairs and overall maintenance won’t cost too much either.

11 features of a classic motorcycle:

  • upright riding position;
  • easy to maintain and operate;
  • reliable;
  • classic design;
  • weight from 150 to 250 kg;
  • round headlight;
  • rear suspension;
  • straight handlebars;
  • soft seat;
  • no windscreens.


Those are modern motorcycles stylized to look like bikes of the past. Neoclassic includes motorcycles made in the spirit of the past as well as bikes that have stopped in development and are still manufactured as many years ago.

Naked bike

Naked Bike

Naked is a motorcycle, on which all plastic parts and elements of lining are completely removed. This term appeared in 1990 as opposed to the growing number of sport bikes. Nakeds are more often used for city riding because the lack of fairings worsens their speed and aerodynamic properties.


This is an American-style motorcycle designed mainly for long journeys. A biker does not get tired because his hands are almost parallel to the ground, alow seat provides a relaxed position of the body, and all the irregularities of the road are softened by the suspension.

Cruiser bikes are not suitable for high-speed driving and riding off-road. You should also avoid sharp turns because the bike can lose balance.

Features of a cruiser:

  • low seat;
  • upright or slightly leaning backward riding position;
  • reliable brakes;
  • reinforced suspension;
  • powerful engine;
  • long and sloping towards the rear handlebars;
  • attractive appearance;
  • high mileage;
  • wheels of the same size.

Power Cruiser

A type of motorcycle with a reinforced design; it has technical characteristics of a sportbike and a cruiser exterior. It has a large-capacity engine, power usually exceeds 100 hp, upgraded brakes, and inverted handlebar (T-bar).

Lux cruiser

This is a type of a cruiser featuring a more comfortable position and special equipment for long trips. Manufacturers produce these motorcycles in small batches and there are a limited number of brands that build lux cruisers. These bikes have a wide plastic fairing with a headlight mounted in it. This fairing serves as a windscreen and foot protection. Since the bike is designed for very long trips, it has roomy trunks. Comfort is created thanks to a large number of additional equipment such as a navigator, stereo, air conditioning, and more.


Touring motorcycles are designed for long distance rides. It may be not easy to steer those, but they offer increased riding comfort. It can be ridden only along good roads.

Touring motorcycles feature:

  • comfortable seating for a driver and passenger;
  • large capacity fuel tanks;
  • engines with low-end horsepower;
  • large size and an outstanding bearing capacity;
  • additional gears: cruise control, speakers, safety equipment, etc.

Lux tourer

These are very expensive motorcycles with a very high level of comfort. Luxury touring motorcycles have good wind protection, spacious rigid trunks, cruise control, heated grips, a built-in navigation system, passenger armrests, air conditioning, and a stereo system. Massiveness gives motorcycles good stability, but they are not convenient for everyday use.

Sport touring

These motorcycles combine the features of sport bikes and touring motorcycles. These powerful bikes are designed for long high-speed trips along highways. The sport tourers have powerful engines, a reliable braking system, a comfortable sitting, as well as a high level of comfort for the driver and passenger. For their high performance, power, and speed they are also called hyperbikes.


Sport bike

Sport motorcycles are considered to be simplified versions bikes. Their engines do not exceed 250 cubic centimeters. These types of motorcycles are often used by beginners due to easy handling.


Supersport bike

Super sport motorcycles are considered the benchmark of power. Their engines can boast of a volume of up to 800 cubic centimeters. Such motorcycles are equipped with ultra-light frames and advanced technologies. They feature high footpegs and leaning forward riding position.

Super sport bikes feature:
  • high-performance engines;
  • windscreens to reduce wind resistance;
  • aerodynamic shape;
  • high fuel consumption;
  • advanced suspension system to add more stability;
  • fairing sometimes fully covers the engine.

Custom-built motorcycles


This is an original-looking type of motorcycles, which is most often build individually in a single copy or small quantities. They are created by altering a certain model of a serial motorcycle or can be assembled from several models. They are built by individual customizers or custom workshops.

All custom bikes are unique in their appearance. They are created accordingly to the owner’s idea of the ideal motorcycle.

Brat Style

It is a new trend in customizing based on the creations of the Japanese workshop "Brat Style". They were the first to make motorcycles in a mixed style of a cafe racer, chopper, and tracker.

Features of Brat Styles:

  • Motorcycles with mid-size engines are taken as a basis;
  • the suspension is shortened;
  • narrow handlebar;
  • narrow tank shifted towards the seat;
  • the rear wing is shortened;
  • look quite simple but always original.


These are heavy American-style bikes for leisurely riding. A chopper sets his owner apart from the crowd, allows him to ride imposingly, and makes the heads turn.

This type of motorcycle is traditionally associated with real bikers and subcultures. The most important thing about choppers is their appearance. Tech specs are not very important. There are mass-produced choppers; however, most often than choppers are custom-built.

Chopper style motorbike features:

  • no plastic parts;
  • sitting with legs extended forward;
  • low-placed seat;
  • many chrome parts;
  • low-speed engine;
  • rake out fork;
  • wide and high handlebars;
  • the rear wheel is usually wide but of small diameter;
  • teardrop-shaped tank.



This is a bike without superfluous parts. It doesn’t feature a front fender, the frame is re-designed, and the rear fender is shortened. The design of a bobber allows reducing weight for a fast ride or and racing.

3 features of the bobber:

  • insignificant fasteners, racks, dashboard, and windshield are removed;
  • the size of the headlight, seat, fuel tank, and battery is reduced;
  • Wheels are of the same size.


This is a motorcycle built in the chopper style, which traditionally has been was intended to take his owner to/from/between bars. Its exterior resembles a bobber but it has a high handlebar. Technical characteristics of a bar-hopper are not important; a spectacular appearance is the only thing that matters. It is designed to turn heads.

Rat Bike

This custom bike looks as if it had just been found at a dump. These motorcycles have a rather gloomy appearance because bright and shiny elements are removed. Along with that, it is also simple and very reliable.

Rat bikes are not produced serially but with ‘proper’ use, virtually any bike can become one over time. However, the most valuable are those that have been purpose-designed in this style.

Rat bikes feature:

  • tarnished parts without gloss;
  • many rusty parts;
  • dents and scratches may be found;
  • dump-looking parts to create a proper look;
  • powerful headlights.

Theme Bike

Those are artisan custom-crafted bikes, the appearance of which is tied to a specific theme. It takes a lot of time, money, and large team of professionals to build a theme bike, so their owners are often large companies and celebrities.

Sport Custom

Cafe racer

Lightweight motorcycle for fast short racing runs. It is distinguished by the reduced number of superfluous parts, a single seat, fairings, clip-ons attached to the fork tubs, and a narrow fuel tank.

5 features of cafe racers:

  • small and light-weight;
  • low-mounted clip-on handles;
  • footpegs shifted backward;
  • shortened muffler;
  • excellent handling.



This bike is designed for fast five-second races along straight public roads (drag racing). Usually, it is a heavy and powerful motorcycle with a highly accelerated engine. A dragster has a long base and stabilizers to protect it against tipping back. Often the dragsters are fueled with nitromethane and nitric oxide, so the fuel tank is made of fire-resistant material.

Dragsters feature:

  • strong fairings;
  • low center of gravity;
  • good stability;
  • massive rear wheel and small front wheel.

Pro Street Bike

It is a low custom-made bike similar to chopper but with the features of a sport bike. It has been originated under the influence of choppers and dragsters, and even a few motorcycle brands have produced stock models.

Flat tracker

This bike is created for racing along a mud track (flattrack racing). The design of the motorcycle is developed to provide a controlled drift. These are bikes with great performance and enhanced handling.

Features of a flat tracker:

  • increased steering angle;
  • a small tank shifted forward;
  • wide handlebar.

Street tracker

This is a flat tracker adjusted for street riding. The design of this custom is adapted to everyday needs. It has a front brake, headlights, and slightly enlarger tank.

5 features of street trackers:

  • single saddle;
  • dashboard features only a speedometer;
  • shortened rear fenders;
  • no trunk;
  • empty space under the seat.

Board tracker

Light-weight bike for board-track racing. Traditionally it has rounded frame with a loop under the engine. Its appearance resembles a bicycle.


Classic-style motorcycles designed for off-road racing and street riding. It features a light weight. There are both custom models of this style and those assembled at factories.

Scramblers’ features:

  • embossed tires;
  • spoke wheels;
  • shortened frame;
  • suspension with increased travel;
  • higher placement of the muffler.


Digger is a lightweight chopper that looks like a dragster. It has been created to instantly pick up speed. They often feature additional turbines and dual carburetors.

A digger features:

  • low riding position;
  • long fork;
  • extended frame;
  • tiny elongated fuel tank;
  • modified powerful engine;
  • wide rear wheel.

Off-road bikes


These are bikes for motocross racing. Normally they are equipped with two-stroke engines. The main features of a cross motorcycle are lightweight, strong frame, reliable long-travel suspension, and a powerful engine. Often, motorcycles of this type are not equipped with headlights and they are started with a kick starter.


This is a small-scale cross motorcycle. Having light weight and small size, it accelerates fairly quickly and is well handled. The hardest thing about a minibike is to keep balance.



Enduro are motorcycles for off-road tourism. They are more powerful and heavier than cross bikes. Enduros are a more comfortable variation of rally bikes. They can be ridden along city streets but off-road driving is their element. With an enduro bike, you won’t be scared of bumps, potholes, curbs, or stairs. The main advantages of enduro motorcycles are light weight, large suspension travel, minimum facing, and maintainability.


This is an enduro motorcycle equipped with 17-inch wheels, road tires, more powerful brakes and suspensions, designed for street riding. This motorcycle is equally suitable for riding on public roads and for overcoming serious obstacles of “urban off-road” (curbs, stairs, etc.).

Supermotard / Supermoto

This is a dual-sport single-cylinder motorcycle made on the basis of a cross motorcycle or enduro. It features sports tires for paved roads. The wheels have a 17-inch diameter since any other diameter significantly reduces the choice of tire modifications.

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