Motorcycles are a unique mode of transportation that encapsulate the spirit of adventure and freedom. Their slim, maneuverable frames allow riders to quickly gain speed and avoid obstacles in traffic. They also burn fewer calories than cars and emit less pollution, making them an environmentally friendly option for commuting.
Motorcycle manufacturers began to emerge around the turn of the 20th century, but it was Harley-Davidson who changed the game with their iconic brand. Their founder, William Harley and the Davidson brothers, started the company out of a wooden shack in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They soon gained popularity for their high-quality engines and specialized riding dynamics.
The first motorcycles were essentially bicycle-style vehicles with internal combustion gasoline engines. The first true motorcycle was the Daimler Reitwagen, designed by Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Nicolaus Otto in 1885. It was unlike the safety bicycles or boneshaker bicycles of the day and had no auxiliary wheels, steering axis tilt or fork offset.
While many early inventors of motorcycles went on to work on other types of motor vehicles, some like Sylvester Roper continued to focus on their motorcycles. Unfortunately, his steam velocipede did not gain much traction and he died in a motorcycle crash in 1896.
Today, there are many different types of motorcycles, each with their own set of benefits and features. Some are geared toward urban riding and tarmac roads, while others are built for off-road or long-distance travel. There are even bikes that combine both on and off-road capability, such as dual sport models. Motorcycle technology continues to evolve, with riders now able to use hands-free mesh communication technology to stay connected with friends and family while driving. They can also listen to their favorite music via motorcycle helmet speakers.