The world’s principal motorcycle manufacturers were Japanese automotive Corporations. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. was the worldwide market leader, with Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. and Suzuki Motor Corporation also being major producers. There were many other manufacturers as well, including some high-end manufacturers based in Europe and the United States and some low-cost producers based in Asia, but they had very small market shares.
Many different types of motorcycles were in production and they served different purposes, Common types included mopeds, which were small, light and ideal for commuting; and sport bikes, which were powerful, fast and suitable for racing.
Motorcycles could be classified by their engine type and size. Motorcycles with 2-stroke engines were lighter, mechanically simpler and more powerful when in peak operation. In comparison, 4-stroke engines were cleaner, more reliable and more powerful over a broader range of engine speeds. The engine size, or displacement, was measured in cubic centimeters (cc). Engine sizes began with 50 cc (commonly found in small scooters) and range upward.
Motorcycles could also be classified by their engine transmission. Manual transmission required the rider to shift through a range of forward-moving gears (normally four to six) using a lever on the handlebar. Automatic transmission essentially shifted for the offered better fuel efficiency than automatic transmission. Also, manual transmission generally required less maintenance. However, automatic transmission was easier to learn and operate. Automatic motorcycles were more popular in developed countries while the opposite was usually true in developing countries.