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Valentine Ignatov
Valentine Ignatov

Motorcycle Safety Foundation: Learn How to Ride a Motorcycle Safely


Motorcycle design varies greatly to suit a range of different purposes: long-distance travel, commuting, cruising, sport (including racing), and off-road riding. Motorcycling is riding a motorcycle and being involved in other related social activities such as joining a motorcycle club and attending motorcycle rallies.




motorcycle


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The 1885 Daimler Reitwagen made by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany was the first internal combustion, petroleum-fueled motorcycle. In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle.[4][5]


Globally, motorcycles are comparably popular to cars as a method of transport. In 2021, approximately 58.6 million new motorcycles were sold around the world,[6] fewer than the 66.7 million cars sold over the same period.[7]


In 2022, the top four motorcycle producers by volume and type were Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki.[8] In developing countries, motorcycles are considered utilitarian due to lower prices and greater fuel economy. Of all the motorcycles in the world, 58% are in the Asia-Pacific and Southern and Eastern Asia regions, excluding car-centric Japan.[citation needed]


There are three major types of motorcycle: street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many sub-types of motorcycles for different purposes. There is often a racing counterpart to each type, such as road racing and street bikes, or motocross including dirt bikes.


Street bikes include cruisers, sportbikes, scooters and mopeds, and many other types. Off-road motorcycles include many types designed for dirt-oriented racing classes such as motocross and are not street legal in most areas. Dual purpose machines like the dual-sport style are made to go off-road but include features to make them legal and comfortable on the street as well.


The first internal combustion, petroleum fueled motorcycle was the Daimler Reitwagen. It was designed and built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Bad Cannstatt, Germany, in 1885.[10] This vehicle was unlike either the safety bicycles or the boneshaker bicycles of the era in that it had zero degrees of steering axis angle and no fork offset, and thus did not use the principles of bicycle and motorcycle dynamics developed nearly 70 years earlier. Instead, it relied on two outrigger wheels to remain upright while turning.[11]


Many authorities have excluded steam powered, electric motorcycles or diesel-powered two-wheelers from the definition of a 'motorcycle', and credit the Daimler Reitwagen as the world's first motorcycle.[17][18][19] Given the rapid rise in use of electric motorcycles worldwide,[20] defining only internal-combustion powered two-wheelers as 'motorcycles' is increasingly problematic. The first (petroleum fueled) internal-combustion motorcycles, like the German Reitwagen, were, however, also the first practical motorcycles.[18][21][22]


If a two-wheeled vehicle with steam propulsion is considered a motorcycle, then the first motorcycles built seem to be the French Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede which patent application was filed in December 1868,[12][13] constructed around the same time as the American Roper steam velocipede, built by Sylvester H. Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts,[12][13]who had been demonstrating his machine at fairs and circuses in the eastern U.S. since 1867.[10] Roper built about 10 steam cars and cycles from the 1860s until his death in 1896.[19]


In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle (German: Motorrad).[12][13][19][23] Excelsior Motor Company, originally a bicycle manufacturing company based in Coventry, England, began production of their first motorcycle model in 1896.


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In the early period of motorcycle history, many producers of bicycles adapted their designs to accommodate the new internal combustion engine. As the engines became more powerful and designs outgrew the bicycle origins, the number of motorcycle producers increased. Many of the nineteenth-century inventors who worked on early motorcycles often moved on to other inventions. Daimler and Roper, for example, both went on to develop automobiles.


At the end of the 19th century the first major mass-production firms were set up. In 1898, Triumph Motorcycles in England began producing motorbikes, and by 1903 it was producing over 500 bikes. Other British firms were Royal Enfield, Norton, Douglas Motorcycles and Birmingham Small Arms Company who began motorbike production in 1899, 1902, 1907 and 1910, respectively.[24] Indian began production in 1901 and Harley-Davidson was established two years later. By the outbreak of World War I, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world was Indian,[25][26]producing over 20,000 bikes per year.[27]


During the First World War, motorbike production was greatly ramped up for the war effort to supply effective communications with front line troops. Messengers on horses were replaced with despatch riders on motorcycles carrying messages, performing reconnaissance and acting as a military police. American company Harley-Davidson was devoting over 50% of its factory output toward military contract by the end of the war. The British company Triumph Motorcycles sold more than 30,000 of its Triumph Type H model to allied forces during the war. With the rear wheel driven by a belt, the Model H was fitted with a 499 cc (30.5 cu in) air-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder engine. It was also the first Triumph without pedals.[28][better source needed]


The Model H in particular, is regarded by many as having been the first "modern motorcycle".[29] Introduced in 1915 it had a 550 cc side-valve four-stroke engine with a three-speed gearbox and belt transmission. It was so popular with its users that it was nicknamed the "Trusty Triumph".[30]


Amongst many British motorcycle manufacturers, Chater-Lea with its twin-cylinder models followed by its large singles in the 1920s stood out. Initially, using converted a Woodmann-designed ohv Blackburne engine it became the first 350 cc to exceed 100 mph (160 km/h), recording 100.81 mph (162.24 km/h) over the flying kilometre during April 1924.[7] Later, Chater-Lea set a world record for the flying kilometre for 350 cc and 500 cc motorcycles at 102.9 mph (165.6 km/h) for the firm. Chater-Lea produced variants of these world-beating sports models and became popular among racers at the Isle of Man TT. Today, the firm is probably best remembered for its long-term contract to manufacture and supply AA Patrol motorcycles and sidecars.[citation needed]


In the 21st century, the motorcycle industry is mainly dominated by Indian and Japanese motorcycle companies. In addition to the large capacity motorcycles, there is a large market in smaller capacity (less than 300 cc) motorcycles, mostly concentrated in Asian and African countries and produced in China and India.[citation needed] A Japanese example is the 1958 Honda Super Cub, which went on to become the biggest selling vehicle of all time, with its 60 millionth unit produced in April 2008.[41]Today, this area is dominated by mostly Indian companies with Hero MotoCorp emerging as the world's largest manufacturer of two wheelers. Its Splendor model has sold more than 8.5 million to date.[42] Other major producers are Bajaj and TVS Motors.[43]


Motorcycle construction is the engineering, manufacturing, and assembly of components and systems for a motorcycle which results in the performance, cost, and aesthetics desired by the designer. With some exceptions, construction of modern mass-produced motorcycles has standardised on a steel or aluminium frame, telescopic forks holding the front wheel, and disc brakes. Some other body parts, designed for either aesthetic or performance reasons may be added. A petrol-powered engine typically consisting of between one and four cylinders (and less commonly, up to eight cylinders) coupled to a manual five- or six-speed sequential transmission drives the swingarm-mounted rear wheel by a chain, driveshaft, or belt. The repair can be done using a Motorcycle lift.


Very high fuel economy equivalents are often derived by electric motorcycles. Electric motorcycles are nearly silent, zero-emission electric motor-driven vehicles. Operating range and top speed are limited by battery technology.[47] Fuel cells and petroleum-electric hybrids are also under development to extend the range and improve performance of the electric drive system.


A 2013 survey of 4,424 readers of the US Consumer Reports magazine collected reliability data on 4,680 motorcycles purchased new from 2009 to 2012.[48] The most common problem areas were accessories, brakes, electrical (including starters, charging, ignition), and fuel systems, and the types of motorcycles with the greatest problems were touring, off-road/dual sport, sport-touring, and cruisers.[48] There were not enough sport bikes in the survey for a statistically significant conclusion, though the data hinted at reliability as good as cruisers.[48] These results may be partially explained by accessories including such equipment as fairings, luggage, and auxiliary lighting, which are frequently added to touring, adventure touring/dual sport and sport touring bikes.[49] Trouble with fuel systems is often the result of improper winter storage, and brake problems may also be due to poor maintenance.[48] Of the five brands with enough data to draw conclusions, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha were statistically tied, with 11 to 14% of those bikes in the survey experiencing major repairs.[48] Harley-Davidsons had a rate of 24%, while BMWs did worse, with 30% of those needing major repairs.[48] There were not enough Triumph and Suzuki motorcycles surveyed for a statistically sound conclusion, though it appeared Suzukis were as reliable as the other three Japanese brands while Triumphs were comparable to Harley-Davidson and BMW.[48] Three-fourths of the repairs in the survey cost less than US$200 and two-thirds of the motorcycles were repaired in less than two days.[48] In spite of their relatively worse reliability in this survey, Harley-Davidson and BMW owners showed the greatest owner satisfaction, and three-fourths of them said they would buy the same bike again, followed by 72% of Honda owners and 60 to 63% of Kawasaki and Yamaha owners.[48]


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