What kind of bike works for me?
Let's take a look at a few of the predominant types or 'classes' of bikes, some of their characteristics, and an example of a representative bike in each class.
Dirt Bike - the dirt bike rider is typically young and athletic. The traits of lightweight and strong framed are valued in this type of bike. This class of bike is typically tall, meaning their frames have allot of ground clearance which necessitates a tall seat height. A good bike with a skilled rider can go just about anywhere, a dense forest or mountain terrain is not prohibitive. Dirt bikes are generally NOT street legal (can't be driven on a public road). Riding a dirt bike over challenging terrain takes considerable skill and is a physically demanding endeavor. As an example Honda makes a full line of dirt bikes. A typical mid sized example would be the CRF230F at around $3800, and can be seen here.
Sports bike - amongst sports bike riders which bike is best is almost a religious question. These riders don't worry much about going long distances or carrying much with them (forget a passenger on a regular basis) ... they want speed and handling. How much the bike weights, how its weight is distributed, it's horsepower, how fast it can race through a turn are of major importance. Typically these bikes are expensive to insure, mostly because of their drivers. They range in engine size from 600 to 1300 cubic centimeters (cc's). A typical sports bike might have 175 horsepower and weigh only 450 pounds (with fuel). Many small cars don't have this much horsepower and may weight 7 times as much. A typical bike in this class is the Yamaha YZF-R1, with a 1000 cc motor, costing about $13,000 new. These bikes are mega quick and mega fast with top speeds around 200 mph.
Cruiser - this is the so called 'yuppy bike'. It comes in many sizes, shapes and colors and dominates market sales at the moment. There is likely a model to fit any ones size, shape and budget. Cruiser riders like style, comfort, looks and sound. Speed is not a real concern, and handling is of secondary importance. Most manufacturers make many models and various sizes within each model. Cruiser owners love to customize their bikes to their own tastes. Popular accessories include sound systems, windshields, custom seats, saddle bags, paint, and pipes. A very popular bike that is representative of this class is the Honda VTX, with 1300 cc's and lots of available options, at about $10,300 new. .
Touring Bike - these riders love to ride ... long distance. Comfort and utility rule the day. These bikes are large and expensive with lots of creature features built-in. Motors range up to 2000 cc and prices up to $25,000. Popular bikes in this class are the Harley UltraGlide, the BMW K1200LT and the Honda Goldwing. To learn more about this class of bike and its amenities please review the page on this site that details the Honda Goldwing.
|• This fully loaded luxury touring machine comes with everything serious riders need, including a four speaker sound system/CB radio/intercom compatible sound system and a powerful and smooth V-four engine.|
|• The Roadliner S gets chrome switchgear, front brake and clutch master cylinders and levers, belt guard, fork and fork covers, handlebar clamps, shifter, front pulley cover, various engine covers, rear fender stay and polished wheels.|
|• The Raider S was inspired by the custom chopper movement, but since it’s a Star, it had to also handle, stop and go. The “S” model gets even more chrome: chrome triple clamps, fork sliders, air box cover, engine covers, headlight housing, handlebar risers, etc.|
|• The V Star 1300 Tourer comes standard with hard leather-wrapped side bags, passenger backrest and windshield. The touring package is designed from the factory so it’s styled consistently with the bike’s fluid lines.|
|• The Stratoliner S gets chrome switchgear, front brake and clutch master cylinders and levers, belt guard, fork and fork covers, handlebar clamps, shifter, front pulley cover, various engine covers, rear fender stay and polished wheels.|