Motorcycles are not the quietest vehicles on the block; even those bikes not modified to make lots of roaring when on the road can be noisy. But new noises are never nice, and if one starts up, you really should get it checked out sooner rather than later. Some sounds require immediate attention, too, and knowing what to listen for can help you decide whether to not worry or pull over and switch off the engine.
One thing to note first is that if any sound starts getting louder, especially as you ride, that's a sign to pull over and start looking at what's going on with the bike. Some sounds can get temporarily louder and be OK -- think of the burst of energy from an engine when you rev it -- but if the sound gets louder and louder and does not show signs of becoming quieter, get to a safe place and stop riding.
While it's not abnormal for a vehicle to backfire once in a while, you do want to inspect the exhaust and fuel systems. Usually there is a leak in the exhaust or a surge or deficit of fuel (known as running rich and running lean), causing the bike's engine to misfire; the combustion that's supposed to happen in a certain part of the engine happens elsewhere, creating the signature noise. There may also be problems in the fuel system that are helping to create the excess or deficit of fuel. A backfire now and then means get the bike looked at; constant backfiring means turn the bike off and get it towed to a repair shop.
Two Types of Ticking
Ticking sounds are incredible common in motorcycles. That doesn't mean they're good, but that does mean the causes are usually straightforward. One such cause has to do with the engine; check the valve train (loose or misadjusted tappets are common) and the cam timing. The other cause is less alarming but more frustrating to find: a loose, rattling part somewhere else on the bike. If you can, get your hands on a motorcycle stethoscope to help you better locate the source of the sound, or take it into a repair shop. The vibrations from the motorcycle going over the road will only make the sound worse over time.
Grinding Brakes and Engine Parts
Grinding may be the most unpleasant sound of all, but in some cases it's not too much of a worry. It is a worry if you hear it coming from the engine; pull over and call a repair shop. If you hear grinding temporarily from the brakes -- intermittent and happening only when you engage the brake, it's a sign to get the brakes replaced. Very short periods of grinding on damp mornings when the engine is cold (with the grinding going away quickly) are likely just the effect of the ambient moisture on the brakes, though it's still a good idea to get the brakes inspected.
A good repair shop will know what to look for based on your description of the sound and a test run to see how the engine is performing. Don't wait to get sounds checked out at a motorcycle repair shop like Monarch Honda; take care of them now so you can continue to enjoy your bike.