Thinking of buying a bike? Perhaps you want to upgrade your current model, or maybe this is your first venture into the world of motorcycling. Either way, choosing a new set of wheels is exciting, but it's not as simple as handing over your cash and riding off into the sunset.
There are many bike types on the market, all with varying specs, perks and rider experiences. This can make it tricky finding a bike which best suits your needs, lifestyle and budget.
Types of motorbike
Still not sure which bike would suit you best? Our handy guide to bike types will help you pick your perfect ride.
Sports bikes are renowned for their big, powerful engines, aerodynamic designs and super-sharp handling. Able to accelerate at hair-raising speed, they are the nimblest of all bikes and more suited to riders with extensive experience in the seat.
Limited storage space and poor fuel economy means sports bikes are better for shorter journeys as opposed to long distance trips. Plus, the design of the bikes forces the rider's weight over the tank, which become uncomfortable if clocking up the miles.
If you plan on venturing miles with your trusty metal steed, a tourer will make a perfect companion. With plush seats that put riders in an upright riding position, ample storage space and large fuel tanks, you can ride for miles without needing to fill-up or take a break.
A subcategory of this type of bike is the sports-tourer, which offers the comfort and long-distance competences of a tourer but with the performance of a sports bike.
The ultimate statement bike, cruisers are synonymous with the Harley-Davidson brand but there are other big players in the game, including BMW, Kawasaki and Yamaha. Cruisers are hefty beasts and offer a laid back approach to riding, with low seats and wide handlebars. These machines are ideal for long cruises, though the sheer weight can impede handling.
For a traditional, no-frills approach to riding, it's got to be a naked bike. These bikes are stripped-back to reveal their true beauty, and they ride great too. Offering good rider balance with smooth, modern engines, naked bikes sit somewhere in-between a sports bike and cruiser in terms of performance and capabilities. They also make a great first bike, as they're easy to ride and cheap to repair.
There are loads of benefits of riding to work – it can save you time and money on parking, public transport costs and congestion charges if you live in the capital. The best commuter bikes are agile (enabling riders to easily navigate traffic) and offer good storage space and optimum rider comfort.
Scooters and mopeds
Affordable, reliable and fuel efficient, it's no wonder scooters and mopeds are so popular. Ideal for commuting or zipping around town, these bikes offer a freedom unrivalled by many other modes of transport.
The typical engine size is 125cc and under, though the 'maxi-scooter' is fast emerging as an option for people wanting more oomph from their ride. Mopeds are smaller still, with engines up to 50cc, making them the perfect bike for younger or inexperienced riders.
Trail and enduro bikes
If venturing off the beaten track is your kind of thing, a trail or enduro bike could be just for you. These bikes are designed for on and off-road exploring, fitted with features that enable you to tackle even the toughest of terrain.
If you've no intention of riding on tarmac, then you'll want a bike designed specifically to tackle off-road terrain. A number of bikes fall under this category, including trail, enduro and motocross bikes. Often, riders of enduro bikes make their machines road legal by adding features such as headlights, plates, mufflers and horns.
Motorbike trials are non-speed events testing a rider's balance, throttle and machine control. Trials bikes tend to be light, with small engines and fuel tanks and strong throttle response. Riders stand on footpegs when competing so bikes will only have a small seat or no seat at all.
It's not just the initial cost of your bike you've got to think of, but also running costs once you're out on the road. In terms of insurance, a powerful sports bike is likely to cost a significant sum to insure, while a bike with a small engine (such as a moped) would make a far more economical choice.
Generally speaking, the bigger the engine, the more you pay for insurance. But there are numerous other factors affecting premiums, too, such as the age and cost of the bike, annual mileage, and the rider's age, occupation, experience and claims history.
How you use your bike also matters. For example, if you ride it into the office every day, you'll pay more for insurance than if you dust your bike off every once in a while for a sunny Sunday afternoon cruise.
Whatever option you go for, Hastings Direct can help you find the right bike insurance policy for you.