There is a variety of motorcycle styles today. But where did they come from?
Here’s a look at eight of them.
1. The two-stroke motocross bike. MX racing has gone through three distinct stages: the original four-stroke stage, the two-stroke stage and the new four-stroke stage. Husqvarna ushered in the two-stroke era in 1963 with a 250cc model known simply as the “Racer.”
2.The cruiser. Pure American style, the cruiser look evolved out of the streamline designs of the 1920s and 1930s. The prototype may be the 1925 Super X.
3. The full-dress tourer. The 1954 Vincent Black Prince arguably invented the genre. Harley-Davidson adopted the concept in 1969 with the first batwing-fairing equipped Electra Glide. Craig Vetter brought touring comfort to the masses with the Windjammer fairing in 1971. And Honda perfected the full-dress tourer with the 1980 Gold Wing Interstate.
4. The factory custom. Harley’s 1971 Super Glide practically invented the category.
5. The dual-sport. OK, there was a time when all motorcycles were expected to work on and off the pavement. But the idea of a lightweight machine that was street-legal and truly dirt-worthy clicked with Yamaha’s introduction of the 250cc DT1 in 1968.
6. The sport-tourer. Sport performance combined with long-distance capability has long been a goal of athletic motorcycles like the 1929 Indian 101 Scout and the Vincent Black Shadow. But when BMW capitalized on the cafe-racer movement with its 1974 R90S, it defined the class that became known as sport-tourers.
7. The adventure tourer. Yeah, people rode enduros on full-size Harleys in the 1930s, but you have to give BMW credit for inventing the modern adventure tourer with its 1980 R80G/S.
8. The sportbike. The concept of a race replica stretches all the way back to a 1908 Indian with a torpedo tank and a rider’s seat moved over the rear wheel, earning the bike the nickname “Monkey on a Stick.” The creation of the modern sportbike was an evolutionary process, but one landmark is surely the 1984 Kawasaki GPz900, the original Ninja.