There are almost 20,000 motorbikes for sale on autoTRADER.ca, and narrowing down your options can be tricky – especially if you are new or recently new to motorcycling. How do you choose your ride?
First, identify what you’re after.
A sports bike is great for petrol heads, but what about those of us who like trails as much as twisties? A dual-purpose might be better for you. Maybe a BMW F6z50GS? More power? How about a KTM 990?
The hardest part is knowing which segment to look in. With a choice that includes; off-road, dual purpose, sport, super sport, street, and touring – how do you identify which category of bike to look for?
Both have fairings, both have a head-down, bum-up riding position, but you can think of sport bikes as “race inspired”. Often with the same inline-four configuration as their supersport cousins, sport bikes pack a serious punch but in a more refined, user-friendly way. They are often not quite as aggressive in riding position, power delivery or handling – but still carry plenty of street cred.
A supersport however, is an all-out race replica. These bikes are highly tuned, highly strung and aggressive in every way.
Off-road bikes that are road registered are a good option for those seeking cheap, fun riding with plenty of trail and dirt work. They are smaller capacity, often single-cylinder and offer a narrow, upright riding position. Look for an off-road bike if you spend more time chasing trails in the woods than riding to work or going on a road trip.
If however, your regular riding includes long highways, inter-city trips and a few mountain trails – a larger, more powerful and more practical Dual Purpose is the way to go.
If they are both naked (no fairings), both relatively upright in their riding positions, and both reasonably comfortable for pillion passengers, then what is the different between a touring bike and a street bike? Again, it comes down to aggression and comfort. A touring bike is for just that – touring. Softer-sprung, with torquey, loping engines, touring bikes are designed to roll away kilometres.
They often come with half-fairings (also known as bikini fairings) and extra features like panniers or top boxes. They may also have comfort features like heated grips.
On first pass, a Street bike might look similar to a touring bike. The seating position is upright, with high bars and your feet directly under you – but a street bike is another step rougher. The engine is punchier, the suspension more firm, and the riding experience more suited to squirting between gaps in traffic then loping along freeways.