Main article: Types of motorcycles
The term motorcycle has different legal definitions depending on jurisdiction (see #Legal definitions and restrictions).
There are three major types of motorcycle: street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many sub-types of motorcycles for different purposes. There is often a racing counterpart to each type, such as road racing and street bikes, or motocross and dirt bikes.
Street bikes include cruisers, sportbikes, scooters and mopeds, and many other types. Off-road motorcycles include many types designed for dirt-oriented racing classes such as motocross and are not street legal in most areas. Dual purpose machines like the dual-sport style are made to go off-road but include features to make them legal and comfortable on the street as well.
Each configuration offers either specialised advantage or broad capability, and each design creates a different riding posture.
In some countries the use of pillions (rear seats) is restricted.