Which is better? A Guide to Different Types of Motorcycles

Everywhere around us, we are surrounded by motorcycles. One cannot deny for sure how motorcycles have helped improve the lives of most people, especially in transportation.

Since it is affordable and cheaper (and probably easier to drive) than a car, most people opt to buy motorcycles. When we look at roads and highways, we can see most of the commuters are riding motorcycles.

A Guide to Different Types of Motorcycles

Brief History of Motorcycles

There were different patents and inventions in relation to motorcycles, but the first invented mass-produced motorcycle was invented in Germany.

The Daimler Reitwagen was invented by Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler in 1885. It was the first internal combustion, petroleum fueled motorcycle. The Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first mass-produced motorcycle in 1894.

Ever since then, the need for motorcycle production has ramped up, eventually becoming one of the major modes of transportation.

Now a question comes into mind as to which motorcycle type is better to drive. Let’s dive in to know more about the different types of motorcycles to help you know which one is right for you.

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Types of Motorcycles

Manual Transmission Motorcycles

Along with five or six different gears, manual transmission motorcycles make use of a sequential gearbox to shift using a foot lever. The clutch lever found on the left side of the motorcycle’s handlebar controls the clutch.

WIth a traditional motorcycle, a five-speed configuration would be ‘one-down, four-up’, or ‘one-up, four-down’ depending on the manufacturer’s preferred shifting pattern, all in relation to neutral shifting gear.

In a manual transmission motorcycle, the neutral gear is found ‘half a click’ away from the first and second gears. With this setup, the rider can immediately switch to first and second gears from the neutral gear. However, considered as sequential, the higher gears have to be accessed in order.

Types of Motorcycles

Advantages of Manual Transmission Motorcycle

More fun to ride

As for most riders, manual transmission motorcycles are more fun because this motorcycle gets you more engaged as these motorcycles also give you full control over the vehicle.


Manual transmission motorcycles are better in terms of acceleration. This is because manual gearboxes weigh less, have more gear options to shift from and these motorcycles do not have a torque converter – which eats up some of the overall torque.


Since manual transmission motorcycles have simpler parts and functions, it is easier to maintain and less complicated to fix when broken.


Manual transmission motorcycles are widely available in the market so it is easier to look for a manual motorcycle.

transmission motorcycles

Semi-Automatic Transmission Motorcycles

Semi-automatic transmission or popularly known as Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) motorcycles are the middle ground between manual and automatic transmission motorcycles.

Motorcycles of these types are more similar to manual ones, except that it uses two clutches to synchronize gear change. With a semi-automatic motorcycle, the clutch pedal is no longer needed.

These motorcycles operate via several built-in computers. These eliminate the need for the rider to manually shift gears as the entire process is automated, the same as an automatic transmission motorcycle.

The difference between a DCT and an automatic one is that DCT controls the odd and even gear numbers separately, preventing the engine to disengage from the interrupted power flow when the gears are changed.

Moreover, akin to a manual transmission one, a semi-automatic motorcycle does not use a torque converter.

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Advantages of Semi-Automatic Transmission Motorcycle

Improved Acceleration

In a semi-automatic motorcycle, the gear change is faster, compared to the manual transmission. Therefore, the rider can experience improved acceleration.

Power and Efficiency

A semi-automatic transmission is proven to be 6% more efficient for both fuel and acceleration. If you go for these features, then the semi-automatic motorcycle is the way to go!

Automatic Transmission Motorcycles

Nowadays, automatic transmission engines are mostly found on scooters than motorcycles. But how does an automatic transmission motorcycle work?

Automatic transmission motorcycles, to begin with, are a lot easier to operate. Since the power is directly delivered through an electric motor, the rider just has to twist the throttle and go.

Automatic transmission motorcycles

This also offers a great variety of speeds while allowing the rider and the engine to run in a comfortable range.

As it goes by its name, it means that the rider does not need to shift or adjust gears when riding. If the rider wants to go faster, twisting the throttle more will do. Breaking is also quite different as for most motorcycles, the rear brake is placed on the left handlebar, where the clutch in a manual transmission motorcycle is placed.

There are different type of automatic motorcycles let us go and take a look at them:

No Shift Automatic

No Shift Automatic, also known as Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) is the type where it gives the riders the freedom of fully-automated gear shifting. There is no clutch and shift lever to think about, the throttle is the only thing you need for you to run!

Centrifugal Clutch

In this transmission, the rider is allowed to manually control the gear by pushing/pulling with his leg. However, handlebar-mounted clutch (or auto-clutch) lever, which are commonly found in entry-level dirt bikes, is not present.

Advantages of Automatic Transmission Motorcycle

Easy to Learn

Since there are no gears to shift from in an automatic transmission motorcycle, it is easiest to operate among all the other types.

More Road Concentration

Since the rider does not have to think about changing gears while riding, one can give 100% concentration on the road when riding.

Which is Better and Safer?

The answer to the question of which is better solely depends on the rider. It depends on the need, preference and the skills of the rider. Safety also depends on the one that drives the motorcycles.

So there you go! I hope that by reading this article, you learned more about the various types of motorcycles. But always remember that a ride is much safer when wearing helmets.

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