There is no doubt that humans like to personalize their things. We want to leave our mark. Be it our initials carved into a tree, the bumper stickers on our car, or the look we project as we cruise the boulevard.
For some reason, anyone who gets into riding will feel especially needful of selecting JUST the right motorcycle to fit his/her personality. This is normal, go with the flow.
On a motorcycle, it seems that the engine and its characteristics rule. A twin, even without “loud pipes”, will have a very recognizable sound. Catch the vibes of a Ducati passing by; somewhat like a Harley, but somehow not the same, probably due to the firing sequences being different. The Honda ST1100 has a subtle whine above the V4 low frequencies that is recognizable to an experienced rider. The sound and feel of the engine dominate the riding experience. And something deep in our psyche responds – differently from person to person!
Looks versus function
Be aware that looks and function are two different animals. Twin engines generally have more low-RPM torque. In-line fours typically have higher red-lines on the tach, but less torque at low speeds. RPM at cruising speed will differ. And of course the seat and the windshield and the hand and foot control reach will be unique to every model of motorcycle.
Which motorcycle should I buy?
If you are wondering about all this in buying your first bike, don’t. It will likely not be your last. Just find a friend who has ridden awhile and discuss these issues. If you are meant to be a rider, your first bike will be memorable and you will probably love it, no matter what you wind up with!