India has always been a country of scooters and motorcycles, mainly used for daily commuting. But over the last few years, the motorcycling scene has evolved a lot, with many bikers taking up riding as a hobby and as a lifestyle statement. This evolution of course has been supported by a variety of different types of motorcycles available in the market today. Team HNP has put together a ‘Motorcycles 101’ for those new to this exciting world, so that you can make the right choice for yourself -
1. Adventure - Tourers:
Adventure-tourers are typically larger displacement multi-cylinder motorcycles developed for on-and-off-road travel. These bikes are made for long-distance travel, are extremely comfortable and steady to ride on and off the road. High in engine capacity, they are good to carry your complete luggage comfortably. A mix of smooth highways and roads covered with potholes in India makes adventure motorcycles the best choice amongst all. These bikes also tend to give a better average speed in difficult terrains such as Ladakh and Spiti when compared to other bikes. Motorcycles such as the Triumph Tiger and the Royal Enfield Himalayan are good examples of Adventure-tourers available in India.
2. Sports Motorcycles:
Sports motorcycles are perhaps the most popular and sought after type of motorcycles in India. Despite lack of proper infrastructure to ride such bikes, they are a common sight in metro cities across the country. Sports motorcycles are designed specifically for speed, acceleration and braking. These attributes are however optimized by compromising on comfort and fuel economy. Despite the drawbacks, they continue to win the hearts of many motorcyclists due to their sheer raw power. Motorcycles like the Kawasaki Ninja, Suzuki Hayabusa and the Ducati Panigale are good examples of sports bikes available in India.
3. Naked Motorcycles:
Naked motorcycles or roadsters are motorcycles designed for general riding purposes, making them the most favored by commuter bikers. These motorcycles are street-legal and lack farings, exposing the engine while reducing the weight and volume of the motorcycle. These bikes have a seating posture that is mostly upright, somewhere between the forward leaning posture of a sports motorcycle and the laid back posture of a chopper. These bikes are best suited for intra-city travel and are most fuel-economic. The general engine capacity of this type is variable which makes it easy for anyone to get a motorcycle with just the right amount of power they desire. Motorcycles such as the BMW G310 and the KTM Duke 390 are good examples available in the Indian market.
4. Motocross/ Enduro Motorcycles:
Motocross motorcycles are typically used for events that are off-road, in closed or outdoor arenas. Riders perform extreme acrobatics on these motorcycles, hence these bikes are stripped of all unnecessary parts and are constructed to be light. Motocross bikes are not vey popular in India yet, as these bikes can’t be used for regular street riding. Also most of them are not street legal due to the lack of headlights and other parts necessary for city roads.
Enduro bikes are heavier versions of motocross bikes that are meant for Enduro races, and as the name suggests, these races are meant to test the endurance of the bike through some really tough terrains. While these bikes need to be light to cover speed on dirt, they also need certain parts such as headlight-taillights for night-time riding, and can be outfitted with timers and roll chart reading devices that aid riders with the sport's navigation and timekeeping requirements.
Cruisers are American styled bikes made popular by global leader Harley Davidson. These bikes have been stylized and glorified in many Hollywood movies and are part of the American stereotype. Cruisers are extremely comfortable with a lean-back riding posture, and are well suited for long distance travelling on smooth highways at a comfortable speed. Hence the name Cruisers. While these motorcycles are chunkier and heavier than the others, they do provide the ultimate comfort and are guaranteed to make you feel as badass as the terminator. Royal Enfield is one of the top Cruiser bike manufacturers in India, and in fact most of their models fall under this classification.
Choppers are basically cruiser type motorcycles modified to have taller forks and longer distance between two wheels. These bikes are not extremely comfortable and sometimes a pain to ride in cities.