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Motorbike VS Motorcycle - What's the Difference?

Motorcycles lined up on the footpath outside a shop

Whether you know these two-wheeled vehicles as a motorbike, a motorcycle or you use the two terms interchangeably, is there actually a difference between them or is it just a case of semantics?

Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between motorbikes and motorcycles.

What is a motorbike?

When it comes to motorbikes, some people think this type of two-wheeler refers to the smaller, less powerful, more lightweight version of a motorcycle.

While the term ‘motorbike’ is more commonly used throughout the UK and Australia, it also tends to be used more often in informal settings and is sometimes even thought of as a slang term.

What is a motorcycle?

Motorcycles are thought to be larger, heavier, more powerful equivalent of a motorbike.

The term ‘motorcycle’ is used more prevalently throughout the Americas, both north and south, and is favoured around the rest of the world. Motorcycle is also thought to be the more formal version of the two terms.

Motorbike vs motorcycle - is there really a difference?

Despite all of our digging, we haven’t had much luck uncovering a definitive answer as to whether there is actually a difference between motorbikes and motorcycles or if they’re just two words used to describe the same style of vehicle.

While some believe motorbikes and motorcycles differ based on size and horsepower, the National Transport Commission refers to"motorcyclists", while the Australian Road Rules (which form the basis of road rules of each state and territory) refers to "Motor Bikes". Whether you call it a motorbike or a motorcycle ultimately depends on where you are in the world and the formality of the setting.

At the end of the day, both a motorbike and motorcycle refer to the same type of vehicle - an open-seated, motor-powered machine on two wheels. It’s up to you to decide what you want to call it.

Protecting your bike

Regardless of whether you ride a motorcycle or a motorbike, it’s worth protecting yourself and your two or three wheeled vehicle against damage or loss. Youi offers a range of motorcycle insurance policies that offer differing levels of coverage that could fit your needs. Explore our range of Comprehensive, Third Party Fire and Theft and Third Party Property Only cover options to see which policy suits you and your two-wheeler best.

Whether you call it a motorbike or motorcycle, when it comes down to it these two-wheeled vehicles are much the same. Check out Youi’s range of Motorcycle Insurance that’s intended to protect you and your ride. And to make life even easier, you can even get a quote online.

The information provided in this article contains general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s particular objectives, financial situations or needs. Product issued by Youi Pty Ltd. Consider our motorcycle insurance product disclosure statement and target market determination at when deciding whether our product is appropriate for you.