Whether you are drawn to the raw power of a Harley-Davidson or the rugged beauty of an off-road bike, motorcycles have an undeniable allure that has endured for more than a century. They are associated with speed, thrill and danger, but they can also provide an exhilarating sense of freedom that can’t be replicated in a car or truck.
When you start shopping for a new motorcycle, take some time to consider your lifestyle and the types of riding you plan to do. Once you know what you’ll be using the bike for, it’s easier to navigate which brands have options that meet those needs. Then, once you’ve whittled down your list of potential contenders, visit your local dealership and try them out to find the right fit for you.
Motorcycle engines can have two- or four-stroke-cycle designs with up to four cylinders. Most are air-cooled, but some are water-cooled. Engines can have displacements up to 1,800 cc and are usually powered by gas, diesel or electric motors.
The front suspension on a motorcycle is made up of hydraulic shocks that connect to the fork and cushion impacts under the wheel. A rear suspension also helps keep the body of the motorcycle stable at higher speeds by connecting to the axle and absorbing energy from the engine torque. To move the motorcycle forward, power from the engine is transferred to the drive shaft via a transmission. A clutch is used to engage and disengage the transmission and is activated by a handlebar-mounted lever.