Motorcycles have come a long way since their inception in the late 19th century. From sidecars to electric motors, motorcycles have changed tremendously. Not to mention, some have formed sporting leagues and circuits focused on these vehicles. Anyone interested in these motorsports must know the different types of motorcycle racing. These range from prestigious road races to ice tracks; motorcycle races come in different forms for each bike and terrain.
The MotoGP races are the premier division in motorcycle racing. This is a road course where riders drive on paved surfaces using industry-standard bikes. These bikes are custom-built purposefully for racing. Since it’s the premier racing class, the MotoGP attracts the best road racers in the world. Aside from the MotoGP class, there is a Moto2, Moto3, and MotoE class that all follow regulations with engine capacity, type of bike, and—with the MotoE class—the use of electric motorcycles.
Superbike is a road race similar to MotoGP, but only allows for production motorcycles with a four-stroke engine between 800 to 1200cc for twin engines, and 750 to 1000cc for four-cylinder engines. Superbike is popular for racing brands, as it allows for manufacturers to sponsor factory-quality products. Ironically, there is a lot of safety and assurance that goes into superbike races today, which is a drastic difference from its dangerous history. Nevertheless, Superbike racing remains one of the most popular forms of motorcycle racing today with circuits in the United States, Canada, Britain, Japan, and Nigeria.
Motocross is the off-road version of road racing. Racers ride on uneven surfaces, usually dirt, sand, mud, or grass, with elevation changes. Bikes range from 0 to 150cc for two-stroke engines and 150 to 250cc for four-stroke. The popularity of motocross has led to many different variations, such as Supermoto and Supercross. Supermoto is a cross-over race between motocross and superbike on a mix of road and off-road surfaces. Likewise, Supercross is an indoor stadium race with steep hills, extreme jumps, and challenging obstacles.
Enduro is another form of off-road racing focused on endurance. There are different stages with a time that racers must meet exactly. Otherwise, reaching those areas early or late will penalize riders. Some stages can be speed stages where racers must go through as fast as possible, while others may allow them time to relax and re-energize.
There are other track racing circuits, as well. Unlike road racing and off-road racing where conditions and paths can vary, track races use an oval track. This can take place on speedway, grass, indoor on concrete or hard-packed dirt, and even ice.