Types of motorbikes had a continuous evolution over time. In the early years bikes were basically of just one category, structurally simple, two wheels, an engine and little else. No fairings, no dashboard, no electronic, in fact a motorized bicycle.

Motorcycle types

Over time manufacturers started to differentiate the models according to some parameters, for example the distances between seat, handlebar and footpeg, engine displacement, engine power, size of fairings, overall dimensions, etc., to meet different user needs. Subsequently, the market came to an ever more precise definition of the categories, which however remain in constant evolution.

In recent years there has been a strong growth of Adventure Sports bikes, which in the past were just a niche. The bikes of the 50s have survived until today by taking the name of classic and gaining absolutely modern technology and reliability. Then came the Modern Classic, naked embellished with elements taken from historical models in order to increase their charm.

Over time some categories have seen ups and downs, such as the Custom bikes that despite a hard core of enthusiasts, have lived through difficult years. Sport Touring bikes are today the category the most in decline, perhaps because of the big growth of Adventure Sport bikes, improved by technology in terms of performance and comfort. Some models are on the border between two categories while others are actually unclassifiable.

In the following list let's consider all types of motorcycles in the worldwide market that have relevant sales numbers. In this classification, mopeds and scooters have not been considered.

Click on types to learn more (this section is under construction).

  • Touring (aka tour, trans touring, tourer)
  • Adventure (aka adventure touring)
  • Adventure sport (aka sport enduro touring, crossover)
  • Custom (aka cruiser, chopper)
  • Naked (aka standard, sport, roadster)
  • Supersport (aka hypersport, superbike)
  • Classic
  • Modern classic (aka sport heritage, retrò, vintage, neo sport cafĂ©...)
  • Dual sport
  • Enduro (aka off-road, cross country)
  • Trial
  • Motocross (MX)
  • Sport touring
  • Supermoto (aka supermotard)

Today the market is dominated by Naked (35,8%) and Adventure Sport (32,3%), then Custom (6,7%), Adventure (6,1%,), Modern Classic (5,2%), Classic (4,1%), Supersport (2,7%), Enduro (2,3%), Touring (2,1%), Supermotard (1,9%), Sport Touring (0,9%) and Dual-Sport (0,8%).

Motorcycle types market share

The market shares shown in the pie chart refer to vehicles registration data in the major European countries in 2019. Motorcycles intended only for racetrack, on-road or off-road use, which do not require vehicle registration, are excluded. The data sources are the declarations of motorcycle trade associations of each country.

Illustrated by Fabio Federici.