A motorcycle, also known as a motorbike, has two wheels and is powered by an internal combustion engine. It may be driven by one or more persons, and can carry a passenger. It is normally connected to a sidecar which can carry additional passengers. The term motorcycle derives from the combination of “motor” and “bicycle.” Motorcycles have been in use for over a century, with some of the first examples being produced around the turn of the 20th century.
As the 20th century progressed, factories started to produce motorcycles in greater numbers, especially after WWII ended and GI’s returned home eager to own their own personal transportation that could offer them speed and excitement comparable to fighter planes they’d just fought in. Bike sales boomed as a result, and the ‘cruiser’ style bike was born.
By the 1970s, motorcycle manufacturing had reached a new level of sophistication in Japan. As a result, motorcycles from different manufacturers began to look very similar in terms of riding position, equipment, frame design and other features. This period is sometimes referred to as the “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” era.
Today, there are many different motorcycles to choose from ranging from small, entry-level models designed specifically for beginners and those seeking maximum fuel efficiency (such as the Honda Grom), up to high-performance sports bikes that can easily match or exceed the top speeds of many cars. Regardless of the type of motorcycle chosen, it’s important to remember that motorcyclists must obey all traffic laws and ride defensively. Wearing protective gear is strongly recommended, and alcohol and drugs should never be consumed prior to or during riding. These substances negatively impact the rider’s judgment, balance, throttle control and ability to shift gears.