Whether it’s built for speed, comfort, commuting or care-free cruising there is a huge variety of machines available to Britain’s wannabe-bikers – but which motorcycle suits you best?
According to the most recent National Travel Survey there were 1.11 million licensed motorcycles in England. And, on average, each biker made 440 trips clocking up almost 5,000 miles.
With that sort of saddle time in prospect you will want to ensure you’ve made the right choice, and that will depend on how experienced you are and when and for how long you plan to ride your machine.
Here the team from free-wheeling motorcycle insurance broker Bikesure provide the lowdown to help you decide which motorcycle suits you best.
Standard motorcycle for starters
Your first bike will probably be a standard, but just because it’s a “standard” it doesn’t mean it won’t be stylish. Modern motorbikes are incredibly well designed with smooth lines and gutsy looks. They are cheap to buy and insure, especially at the 125cc entry level but running costs go up accordingly when you get to the realms of the top end 1,000cc.
Other plus points when deciding which motorcycle to go for are the lightweight frame and good maneuverability which makes it great for commuting. There’s plenty of room for pannier bags and a luggage box too if you fancy a longer trip.
Because of the broad engine range the standard can be as desirable for a learner or newbie biker as it can for an experienced man, or woman, of the road.
The Cruiser class
No prizes for guessing how it gets its name… the Cruiser is a motorcycle built to be ridden, for mile after mile.
Engine sizes vary greatly with the big daddy coming in at 1,000cc. But whatever engine size you go for, there will be plenty of punch. Comfort is a major consideration with a low-slung body and broad, low seat meaning you’ll be able to go the extra mile on that road trip.
And if you’re planning a stop-over there’s rakes of space for boxes, bags and all the luggage you’ll need. Newer models are highly accessorised, everything from satnavs and music systems to Bluetooth and alarms, all designed to ensure your trip is as stress free as possible.
Sports bikes are aimed at experienced riders. They are lightweight and offer a white knuckle ride with speed and agility in spades.
The seat is purposely high so you may struggle if you are a bit on the short side. Sports bikes are great on the straight but really come into their own on a winding road, or, better still on a track. The seat position enables you to lean the bike further without scraping foot pegs or fairings.
The bike’s lightweight design means you don’t have to get the most powerful machine on the market to get the sporty rush. It’s easily adaptable too if you want to crank up comfort levels for longer trips.
The grand Tourer
It’s usually the biggest beast on the road and probably the one that turns the most heads. They are the sort of machines that you see crowds of men and children ogling when they are parked at motorway service stations.
They are high, wide, handsome and heavy, and have a lot of power making motorway cruising a breeze, no matter how far you have to go. With wide fairings to protect you from the elements and a super comfy seat your trip will be doable no matter what the weather.
It’s the machine of choice for the Euro tour or coast to coast trip, and there’s acres of space for your pillion passenger and your luggage. Don’t worry about the mileage. Clock 100,000 and it’ll hardly be run in.
You’ll soon get the hang of this. The Sports Tourer is a hybrid mix between the sports bike and the touring bike.
Typically the sports tourer has a higher seat position than a tourer and it has better luggage options than a sports bike. It’s great for a day trip with friends or a longer weekend excursion when you can make use of that extra storage.
With mid-range engines the sports tourer has good power to weight ratios and will eat up the miles in relative comfort. Maneuverability is good and so are the running costs.
Dual sports bike
The dual sport is a street-legal motorcycle designed for on and off-road use. Also called Adventure bikes, they are equipped with street-legal equipment such as lights, speedometer, mirrors and horn, and can be registered and licensed.
Dual-sports are grouped by weight and usage:
- Lightweights weigh about 250lb and have high fenders and ground clearance with long travel suspension. They usually come with dirt tyres known as “knobbies”.
- Middleweights are about 300 to 350lb and usually have less suspension travel and ground clearance than lightweights, and come with tyres that offer a compromise between dirt and pavement performance.
- Heavyweights weigh over 350lb and are designed primarily for riders who want to travel long distances on tarmac with occasional dirt road forays.
Like all bikes, scooters are built for fun. They are cool to look at and cool to ride, especially when in a convoy. The scooter makes light work of the daily commute because they are light, low to the ground and easy to manoeuvre. Engine sizes range from 50cc to 500cc. You won’t be riding the fastest bike on the block but it’s no slouch either.
The distinctive look with step-through frame and a platform for the rider’s feet makes for a comfortable ride.
Scooters have a very loyal following and there are clubs in abundance so this machine will give you a real community feel and open up the possibilities of countless club ride-outs.
Whether you are in the process of trading up or buying your first motorbike, check the great insurance deals on offer at Bikesure. Our best deals are usually available over the phone: 0808 109 8332.Insurance, Motorbikes