A car driving mate said he wants to buy a scooter.
His car gets broken
into once a year; MOT, insurance, running costs, parking and traffic are driving
He wants a nice comfortable cheap bike. He wants to know how to go about
getting himself a scooter. I said he needs a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training)
certificate and he can ride any bike with an engine not more than 125 cc (cubic
centimeters). I ask him what bike he wants when he shows me a picture of a Honda Goldwing. This is a 1500cc six cylinder 12 valve £14,000 monster. A bit more
than he wants for a first bike.
So for him and all those who say that all bikes look the same, here is
a guide to the different types of bikes available. Some manufacturers and
magazines re-label bikes for their own purposes but I am not far off the mark.
The only types of bikes I can think of are:
Ford Mondeo of bikes. Basic, relatively cheap, comfy resilient, all
weather bikes. Bikes like the Suzuki Bandit 600 can be quite
powerful and fun roadsters. These bikes will not help you pull the
opposite sex, but will get you to work sooner.
They are relatively cheap to insure, capable in the wet and will
even travel long distance if necessary. Two and four cylinder versions
available depending on your preference. Nothing else to say about them
really. Popular with anyone that needs a bike everyday.
Available from 125cc to 750cc. Anything more than 750cc and it will
should actually be classed as a Musclebike.
bikes are like your open top Rolls Royce cars. They are comfortable
and large and designed for long distance riding. Speed is not essential.
The most popular models are American Harley Davidson bikes.
These bikes look good with often no plastic but loads of shiny chrome.
Most have only two cylinder engines which makes them feel lazy but
powerful. You can often buy loads of extra accessories for these
bikes like luggage bags, funny horns, screens, toasters and loads of shiny
bolt-ons. These bike chew up 100's of miles with ease and attitude,
From 125cc to no limit.
bikes are like big Mercedes Benz cars. They are often large, comfy
and fast with lots of weather protection and gadgets. A popular example
would be the Honda Goldwing. These bikes are probably the most
likely to have a reverse gear. Most are equipped with cruise
control, large screens, plenty of plastic protection for rider and
Rider comfort is catered for with high handle bars, plush seat, CD
player, and a dash board that provides more information than a jet
fighter. Most have four cylinder engines which provides loads of silky
smooth power. Suitable for intercontinental commuting.
From 800cc upwards
the word trail - I think! The dune buggy of bikes. Off-road
riding is what the traillie bike and its variants are about. A good
example is the Yamaha DT125. Road going versions take advantage of
the designs close control, high handle bars and seat to make them serious
Taking the bike off-road onto mountain trails, Rambo style, is
also a laugh. Due to the high probability of the bike falling over
off-road, these bikes are light with few none essentials. Less to repair
if you drop it. Most have simple two or one cylinder engines. These bikes
are popular amongst kids, off-roaders, those that fancy crossing the great
desert or circumnavigating the planet.
From 125cc to 1000cc for the road versions but for off road use you
really need the engine as light as possible
are unique in the world of automobile. Anyone can ride one without the
"mine is bigger than yours" attitude that goes with other
bike types from a company chairman to his secretary.
The classic make is the Vespa. They are simple to ride, cheap,
comfortable and trendy, hence are popular with city types to teenagers. They will out accelerate most cars or bikes up to 15 mph. and
can run on a cup of unleaded for a week. However they are not the
best on the M1 motorway.
Most scooters have engines from 50cc to 125cc but due to its
popularity, manufacturers have recently released models with engines with 400
cc and more. The increase engine size makes them capable of long
Sports (race bikes)
of bikes. Fast, very sexy with, loads of kudos but useless when shopping
at Tesco. Comfort is not considered when designing sportsbikes as races do
not last long. Some do not have passenger seat. My favourite is the Yamaha
YZF R1. The competition among manufacturers to producer smaller,
lighter and more powerful bikes is fierce.
Top sports bikes can reach speeds over 170mph (270 kmph) and produce
more power than two average family cars. This, with theft, make them
expensive to insure. More than 45 minutes in the saddle often hurts. But
like they say "Pain is temporary, Glory is forever". Two
cylinder punchy versions to four cylinder power engine types available.
Popular among racers, nutters and hobbyist (part time bikers).
Learner legal 125cc versions up to 1000cc. Bigger engines will make the
bike too heavy to be a true sportsbike. They become
manufacturers build exotic bikes and then try to classify them based on existing
templates. Sometimes the bike is a cross of two or more types of bikes.
The Yamaha TDM 900 is a cross between a Sports
and a Traillie motorbike. Their are also Custom-Cruisers,
Sports Tourers, All-Rounders.
Below are the more established categories.
are capable of doing more than one thing well. For example the Yamaha
Fazer 600 (MCN 1999 Best All Rounder) is equally happy commuting daily
to work as it is traveling to Spain. It is also not slow on the race
Most all rounder bikes are based on commuter, touring and/or sports
bikes. Some have a bit of traillie style thrown in. A good bike if
you want a tool that can do a bit of everything.
with a shit loads of power. The current trend with manufacturers is to put
top sports bike engines in commuter bike frames.
You could have a regular commuter bike with race bike performance. This
makes them a real streetfighters and can upset a few sportsbikes on the
roads. However they are designed for road use and not for the race track.
The Ducati Monster 900 i.e. is a cool model.
bikes are based on designs of the past or future. The Triumph
Thunderbird is a good example. If it is a bike based on an old design
it is called a retro but if it knocked together using modern parts it is
called a custom.
It does not matter if the bike was built by a large manufacturer in
large numbers or a one-off by an enthusiast in his mums' garage. Engine
configuration and style can vary vastly.
the past, as sportsbikes got smaller, older larger model sportsbikes were
reclassified as sport-tourers. These bikes are extremely fast but not
as uncomfortable as sportbikes or as comfortable as tourers.
Winning races is not what these bikes are about. Straight line warp
speed like the 189 miles per hour of the Suzuki GSX 1300 R
Hayabusa, is their forte. Manufacturers use this category of bikes to
produce their fastest and most powerful missiles.
are also other types of bike which may or no may not be road bikes which
are not covered by the above.
Trials bikes, speedway bikes, motorcross bikes, children bikes
etc. because they are either specialists bikes or can fall under one of
the above categories. Example, in my opinion any road version of a
motorcross bike is similar to a Traillie bikes for
the purposes of this guide. Please argue minor differences with your bike
dealer when you are ready to buy a bike.
Picture of a Montesa Cota 315R - Dougie Lampkin (GB) Replica
trials bike (5 times world champion indoors and outdoors and load more
by Sean Onipede