Search This Blog

Saturday, 16 July 2016


Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler and his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach developed in 1885 a high-speed internal combustion engine.They were granted a German patent for their engine design on April 3, 1885.

Daimler and Maybach subsequently fitted their engine to a bicycle to create the first internal combustion motorcycle. The design was patented on August 29, 1885.

Replica of the Daimler-Maybach Reitwagen. Wikipedia Commons
The inventors called their invention the Reitwagen ("riding car"). It was designed as an expedient testbed for their new engine, rather than a true prototype vehicle.

Daimler's 17-year-old son, Paul,  was the first to ride the Reitwagen taking it 5–12 kilometres (3.1–7.5 mi), from Cannstatt to Untert├╝rkheim in Stuttgart, Germany on November 18, 1885. The seat caught fire during that journey, due to the engine's hot tube ignition being located directly underneath.

The first commercial design for a self-propelled cycle was a three-wheel design called the Butler Petrol Cycle, conceived of Edward Butler in England in 1884. He exhibited his plans for the vehicle at the Stanley Cycle Show in London in 1884. The vehicle was built by the Merryweather Fire Engine company in Greenwich four years later.

Butler's Patent Velocycle

In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfm├╝ller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle (German: Motorrad)

The first production motorcycle in the US was the Orient-Aster, built by Charles Metz in 1898 at his factory in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Motorcycle racing began in 1897 on a track in Richmond, Surrey, England. Although many early events were informal road races or city-to-city, most racing today is closed circuit--it takes place on confined tracks.

In 1903 Walter Davidson gives up his job on the railways to join his brother Arthur in a little venture Arthur had started with his school friend William Harley. They'd been fitting motors to cycles, to take the strain out of pedalling, so they stuck a "Harley-Davidson" sign on the roof of the shed they were working in and found they were in business.

George Wyman became the first person to cross the U.S. on a motorcycle when he arrived in New York in 1903.

The first Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motor cycle races were held on May 28, 1907. They took over the Short Course, consisting of a circuit progressing from St John's → Ballacraine → Kirk Michael → Peel → St John's. The race was ten laps of the 15 mile 1,430 yards course, a total race distance of 158.125 miles. The single-cylinder class race was won by Charles R. Collier riding a Matchless in 4 hours, 8 minutes and 8 seconds at an average race speed of 38.21 mph.  The twin-cylinder class was won by Rem Fowler riding a the Peugeot-engined Norton in 4 hours, 21 minutes and 8 seconds at an average race speed of 36.21 mph.

Rem Fowler on the Norton, winner of the twin-cylinder race

During the First World War, motorbike production was enlarged for the war effort in order 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.

Military dispatch riders Adeline and Augusta Van Buren became the first women to travel across the U.S. on two solo motorcycles during World War One.

Harley-Davidson was devoting over 50% of its factory output toward military contract by the end of the war.

The British company Triumph Motorcycles s introduced its Triumph Type H model in 1915. Regarded by many as having been the first "modern motorcycle", 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.” The company sold more than 30,000 of its Triumph Type H model to allied forces during the war.

Triumph Motorcycles Model H, By Yesterdays Antique Motorcycles en Classic Motorcycle Archive, Wikipedia
A Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle that belonged to Lawrence of Arabia sold for £315,000 at auction in 2014. The World War I hero owned eight of the Nottingham-made bikes and died in a road crash on one of them in Dorset in 1935.

The Hell's Angels motorcycle gang started out as a World War II veterans group.

In June 1963 Honda began the 12-year-long advertising campaign "You meet the nicest people on a Honda", in the US media. The campaign established Honda's brand image in the US and helped the Super Cub become the top-selling vehicle of all time, with its 60 millionth unit produced in April 2008

Wikipedia Commons

In a 1973 London Evening Standard interview to promote Chicago, the actor Richard Gere claimed to have brought a 750cc Triumph T140V Bonneville from the Triumph's Meriden factory with his first pay check whilst touring with the stage production of Grease.

Elspeth Beard was the first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world. She began her round the world journey in 1982, after the third year of her architect training course, using a BMW R60/6 motorcycle. She arrived back in the United Kingdom in 1984, having traveled 48,000 miles (77,000 km).

Motorcyclist Billy Baxter of the UK reached 164.87 mph riding a 1200cc Kawasaki Ninja with his eyes covered on August 2, 2003. In doing so he broke the record for the fastest speed for a motorcycle ridden blindfolded.

After blessing motorcyclists in Rome in 2013, Pope Francis was given a Harley Davidson which he later auctioned for charity. The bike raised 210,000 euros (£175,000) for a soup kitchen and hostel. It is not thought the pontiff had ever actually ridden the 1,585cc Dyna Super Glide but he had hand-signed the fuel tank.

A motocycle is not a two-wheeled bicycle with an engine, but a two-wheeled automobile.

A 1954 Triumph T110 motorcycle. By Yesterdays Antique Motorcycles - Wikipedia

In 2014, the three top motorcycle producers globally by volume were Honda, Yamaha (both from Japan), and Hero MotoCorp (India).

Per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles is 27 times the number in cars.

Sources Compton Encyclopedia, Daily Mail

No comments:

Post a Comment