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Riding a Harley or getting your hands on a vintage Triumph are great goals if you love motorcycles and the open road. Some riders get the itch to do something a little different as time passes.

They start tinkering with the engine to see if its performance can be optimized. Changes to the saddle or accessories might focus on comfort.

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The goal is to create something unique that feels fantastic when revving the engine or taking a long trip. You’re getting ready to build a custom motorcycle when you get that itch.

Although creating something unique is a lot of fun, there are insurance considerations to manage when adjusting your ride.

What Are the Different Types of Custom Motorcycles?

Custom motorcycles are found all over the world. In the United States, a modification culture takes different approaches to this concept. Several different types are out there to buy or create to achieve that personalized look.

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This custom bike has been used since the 1930s and comes from the term “bob job.” These motorcycles were changed to look like the Class C racers from several decades ago. Riders remove excessive parts, including the front fender, while shortening the rear.


Racers on these bikes must compete on three different surfaces. That means the motorcycle must adapt to each style, so you’ll find the characteristics of roads and tracks while handling the stressors of motocross with this option.

Café Racer

These custom bikes started appearing in the 1960s. They resemble Grand Prix racers, providing a smaller displacement and a stripped-down look reminiscent of bobbers. The engines get tuned to the max while modifications focus on upgraded handling experiences. The handlebars are mounted low, while the fuel tank extends to the seat.


You can tell a scrambler by this custom motorcycle’s heavily treaded tires, high pipes, and rugged looks. It looks like a beefy version of a dirt bike and can handle virtually any outdoor condition.

a red chopperChoppers

This popular custom motorcycle in the United States uses extended forks, a larger front wheel, and an increased rake angle to change how the bike rides. Many designs incorporate a longer frame. Local laws may dictate how high the handlebars can be set above the shoulder.

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The goal of this modification is to increase the bike’s power-to-weight ratio. It’s typically seen on scooters, such as the Vespa, but it could be an approach to any model. You’ll find overbore cylinders, performance exhaust setups, and aftermarket hydraulics on most designs. We have an excellent guide on Vespa scooter insurance here.


With wider tires and a racing-style body, this custom design evolved from the Café Racer in the late 1970s. It focuses on appearance and power, removing as much of the fairing as possible, while the exhaust is loud and noticeably short.


A drag bike focuses on putting down power and speed over a 1/4-mile stretch of flat, straight road. The modifications focus on staying on the line, with elongated metal tubes extending beyond the rear fender to prevent the front wheel from rising when you gun the engine.


Rat bikes take a different approach to the customization process. Riders spend the least amount possible to upgrade the motorcycle and keep it operational, often without caring about how it looks. They’re usually rusty, held together by clamps, and look like they’re about ready to fall apart.

How to Choose the Right Custom Motorcycle for Your Needs?

Custom motorcycles come in many different shapes and sizes, so finding one that fits your riding style is essential.

If you plan to use the motorcycle as a commuter, a bobber or café racer will provide the best results. You can find lightweight choices that reduce fuel costs without sacrificing the riding experience.

When you want to turn heads, a chopper is your best choice. The customization options are virtually limitless, so you can choose something that fits your style and personality. Even custom builds are possible.

For me, the streetfighter is the best choice. I love taking aggressive lines and feeling the roar of the wind complement the engine’s production. My 2010 model is a little more compact than the recent versions, but I love its low center of gravity and massive acceleration profile. You can tap into that 155 HP to create speed in seconds.

When custom motorcycles are your preference, you’ll need insurance to match. Depending on the bike’s age, that can mean having an agreed-value policy, an appraisal, or custom parts and equipment add-ons to standard coverage.

Protecting your investment makes sense. You’ve spent good money to get a custom motorcycle you love. It helps to ensure the insurance matches the equipment’s replacement value.

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Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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