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Which Class of Motorcycle Is Best for Your First Bike? 3 Choices to Look At

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If you have just passed your road test and have your motorcycle license, you might be looking to get your own ride. Buying a motorcycle is really fun, but before you go out and buy a bike, you need to consider whether it's going to be right for what you want to do. There are, generally speaking, three different classifications of bikes. You most likely rode only one style when you were taking your motorcycle safety course (normally a small standard). These bikes are simple, and great bikes to learn on, but when it comes time to buy a motorcycle, you might want something a bit more specialized.

Sport Bike

If you got your motorcycle license because you had visions of racing down the road, making tight turns, and even doing tricks such as wheelies, then you will need to get a sport bike. These are designed for speed and maximum control while driving. What they are not good for are long-distance trips or two-up riding. You can carry a passenger, but the ride won't be the most comfortable for the passenger, so it is best to take someone out on the sport bike only to give them a short thrill.

Dual-Sport (Enduro)

If you want to be able to bike off-road but also want to be able to ride on paved roads, then a dual sport is your go-to bike. These bikes have the strong suspension, high clearance, and big tires to allow you to go on dirt roads, but they can also handle highways. The actor Ewan McGregor used a dual-sport motorcycle as part of his documentary that had him biking across the world (and through a wide variety of terrain, including rough roads in Mongolia). So, if you want to hit the trails and also ride your bike on the roads with normal traffic, your choice has to be a dual sport.

You might have to switch out tires, depending on how rough the road is. Some extreme off-roading situations (muddy trails, rutted roads) will require very heavy treads. These are not appropriate for paved roads. So, you should know that while you can go on or off the road, there will be some situations that require special tires. Also, these bikes are not designed for two-up riding.


If you like the idea of taking long, leisurely drives and want to be comfortable, then you should look into a cruiser. These bikes are designed for long rides. They have powerful engines, larger bodies than sport bikes have, and comfortable seats. They are also perfect for riding two up. You can get custom passenger seats installed on cruisers to make them even more comfortable. Take a great cruise such as the Harley Davidson Dyna Glide. It is already a great cruiser for riding two up, but you can get aftermarket seat that has a backrest, which is something you can't get on sport bikes or standards. The backrest is really great if you have a passenger and don't want them to feel super tired on a long ride.