I've been thinking about motorcycles a lot lately. Well, it's more that they've come up in conversation a lot lately (even got to hear about a doctor who keeps his in his kitchen the other day while in surgery!), and I've started to wonder about the differences in terms.
There's motorcycles, bikes, crotch-rockets and dozens of other terms for what I thought was all the same thing. Wait! Don't hit me! I know there's some sort of difference, but it just never mattered to me before because I didn't know anyone who used any of these words on a regular basis! It'd be like someone who didn't dance thinking that pointe shoes, character shoes, ballet slippers, jazz shoes, half-soles, jazz sneakers, or teaching shoes were all just 'dance shoes.' I won't get all excited about that if you promise not to beat me for not knowing about motorcycle-y things!
In any case, I decided to go and do some research (because that's what I do when I don't know stuff)...
Wikipedia defines a motorcycle as "a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle powered by an engine. " Okay. It also lists "bike" as a synonym for "motorcycle." But go check out that article - there are three major types of motorcycle! Cruisers, scooters, sportbikes, and mopeds are all types of street bike. Off-road bikes include motocross and dirtbikes, and dual-purpose bikes have a combination of features.
But it turns out that you can also classify motorcycles based on the position of the rider - sport (leaning forward), standard (leaning slightly forward), or cruiser (slightly reclined). Hey! Cruisers! Those are what they build a lot of on American Chopper, right?
I google "crotch rocket" (because that's what the doctor rides), and discovered that it refers to a type of sport bike. I also discovered (looking at the pictures) that what I think of when someone says "motorcycle" is definitely NOT a crotch rocket. I think they look a lot more safe, though, and if I were inclined to try a motorcycle, that's probably what I'd look at. (Don't look at me like that, Mom! I said IF!)
So there you go! I went, I looked, I learned. And now you've learned too! (Unless you already knew. In which case, you got a brief review session.)