Motorcycles

Types of Motorcycles

Motorcycles come in different flavors and it has added to
the popularity of this type of vehicle. Because of its
variety, it is able to cater to a wide range of customers.

Below is a list of the most popular types of motorcycles
and a description of how one is unlike the other.

1. Road bike

- is a type of bike that is designed to run on paved roads.
Under this are several sub-categories which include
cruisers and sport bikes. Cruisers are the ones that are
usually associated with the leather-clad group of bikers
called Hells Angels. Sport bikes meanwhile are those that
are capable of high speeds.

2. Off-road bike

- while road bikes are for paved roads, this type can take
a lot of punishment in rough-road situations. To do this,
they are equipped with smaller engines and with a design
focused on the suspension. They are typically used in
sporting events such as the motocross and enduro racing.

3. Dual-sport

- is a marriage between road and off-road bikes. A
dual-sport can handle rough roads very well and at the same
time has the ability to be used in paved road conditions.

4. Scooter

- is a much simpler type of motorcycle compared to the ones
mentioned above. They usually don’t have a clutch unlike
other motorcycles and have running boards onto where the
riders can rest their feet while riding.

5. Moped

- recalls the early days of the motorcycle by fitting a
small engine to a bicycle. They are popular in Asia where
they are also known as underbone motorcycles.

The History of Motorcycles

Motorcycles have come a long way from the early designs in
the 1800s to the different types available in the market
today. This article takes a look at the history of these
machines to see how much they have changed throughout the
years.

The early motorcycles were essentially motorized versions
of the safety bike, a bicycle which has wheels of the same
size.

Several inventors tried their hands on creating their
version of the motorized safety bike but none would be as
significant as the one invented by German inventors
Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885.

Their bicycle was powered by a petroleum-fed engine. Later
designs by other inventors chose to use the internal
combustion engine which was a relatively new invention at
the time.

But not all early motorcycles were run by
fossil-fuel-powered engines. In 1867, an American inventor
Sylvester Howard Roper created a steam-driven engine.
Another was by a Frenchman, Louis-Guillaume Perreaux
created a motorcycle based on the same concept in 1868.

By the early 20th century, the race was on for the
production of motorcycles. Different companies included
motorcycles into their line of products such as Triumph
which originally produced bicycles.

Several companies were also created that specialized in
motorcycle production such as Harley-Davidson and the
Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company.

The use of motorcycles gained even more popularity after
WWII when veteran soldiers rode these vehicles to give them
the sense of adventure they felt during the war. In the
1950s to the 1960s, a new player came into the market.

Japanese motorcycles went in and later on dominated the
world of motorcycles. Japanese brands still have a large
share in today’s motorcycle production, but American and
European brands like Harley-Davidson and Ducati maintain a
high degree of loyalty among its users.

Motorcycling Gear and Accessories

Motorcycles are unlike any other type of vehicle because of
their design. They typically have two inline wheels which
make them inherently unstable. Aside from that, each type
of motorcycle aims to tackle a particular need or
situation.

Because of that, there are several accessories
that protect the rider and address the demands of his/her
bike. Below is a list of some of them.

1. Crash helmet

- this is by far the most important
accessory that any motorcyclist should have. Since the bike
is unstable, there are more chances of a fatal crash than
any other type of vehicle. For example, there are no
airbags to cushion the impact, not even a seat belt. A
crash helmet is the one which absorbs the impact to the
head in case of an accident. Riding without it could have
fatal consequences.

2. Gloves

- are essential to any rider.
For one, they help keep off cold from the hands when
driving in colder climates. Also, they are tough enough to
protect hands from abrasion in the event of a crash. And
there are specialized varieties that are designed to be
weatherproof.

3. Boots

- more than just adding to a rider’s
cool factor, a pair of motorcycling boots protects the feet
of the rider in the event of a crash. That is why the boots
should be tough enough to protect the feet from abrasion
and impact.

4. Clothing

- motorcycle clothing of old used
to be made of tough leather which does well in protecting
the rider from abrasion during a crash. But more and more
riders now choose clothing that is made of synthetic
materials since they are breathable and addresses some
safety issues associated with riding motorcycles.

Motorcycle Subcultures

One of the roots of the motorcycle’s popularity is its
ability to cater to a wide variety of consumers. Proof of
this is the different subcultures among motorcycle fans and
owners. Below are some of them.

1. One percenters

- are several motorcycling groups that are famous for their
law-breaking activities. Their name is in reference to the
American Motorcyclist Association’s statement that the
troublemakers only comprise one percent of the motorcycling
population.

Some of the notorious groups are the Pagans, Hells Angels,
Outlaws MC and the Bandidos. Known as the ‘Big Four’, they
are labeled by North American intelligence agencies as
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

2. Mods

- short for modernists, this is a subculture that
originated in London, England. It became popular in the
1950s towards the middle of the 1960s. One thing that is
associated with this group is their penchant for riding
motor scooters, especially the Vespa and the Lambrette
which are both Italian brands.

3. Extreme sports

- the thing associated with this group is their love for
adventure. The subgroups that fall under this are the
motocross riders, drag racers, and the stunt and trick
enthusiasts.

4. Groups according to brand

- then there are groups that prefer a particular brand of
motorcycle. They typically go out on weekends or on special
events and hold exhibits of their bikes.

5. Groups by model

- this is a more specific group which prefers a particular
make of a motorcycle made by a particular brand.

There are other biker subcultures all around the globe by
the ones mentioned above are by far the most popular.

Motorcycle Safety

One of the issues that concern motorcycle riders and
manufacturers alike is the safety of riding it. Since
two-wheeled vehicles are less stable than those with three
or more wheels, safety becomes a top priority because of
this.

But there are some ways to keep riders safe when riding
motorcycles. Below are some of them.

1. Wearing protective gear

- this is one of the most basic ways by which riders can
protect themselves while riding their motorcycles.
Protective gear includes a crash helmet, motorcycle
clothing, gloves and boots.

These accessories ensure that the impact of a crash is
lessened. Bright colored clothing is also advised so that
riders will be easily visible to drivers of other vehicles.

2. Checking the bike before riding

- accidents can be prevented by making sure that every
component of the motorcycle works well. This is especially
the case with the brakes and the lights. So before taking
the bike for a ride, they should first be checked.

3. Perform periodic maintenance

- to ensure that the bike is in tip-top condition, owners
should bring it to a certified mechanic to be inspected.
Motorcycles generally need to be maintained more often than
cars, so a regular schedule of trips to the mechanic should
be made and followed by owners.

4. Riding safely

- some motorcycle-riding accidents are caused by
incompetent riders. Observing traffic safety rules like
using signals should therefore be done. By doing this, not
only accidents are prevented but also the hefty fines that
come with traffic violations.

Motorcycle Maintenance

Maintaining the motorcycle is an important part of owning
this type of vehicle, or any vehicle for that matter. Doing
this ensures that the motorcycle is running smoothly and
efficiently.

Also, a well-maintained motorcycle is relatively safe from
accidents and breakdowns compared to those that are not.

Below are some of the things that you should look into when
maintaining your motorcycle.

1. Tires

- this is one part of your motorcycle that you will have to
replace often so you should check it regularly. Before
riding your bike, you should always check the tire pressure
since too much or too little air can have a significant
negative effect on your motorcycle.

So buy a pressure gauge to accurately check your tire
pressure. Also if the tread on the tires are already
shallow (around 1mm) replace them immediately.

2. Oil

- it is essential to keep your motor running smoothly. You
should therefore check it periodically and replace it every
so often (2,000-4,000 km or every 3-6 months).

3. Fuel

- keep your fuel filter clean and replace it after every
two years. Also, if you notice any damage on the filter,
you should change it with a new one immediately.

4. Battery

- is important to run the electronic parts of your vehicle
such as the lights and the horn. If you notice a decrease
in its performance, then it’s probably time to replace your
battery.

Also check it regularly and make sure that the things like
the terminals are clean and that there are no damages in
the cables and clamps.

Motorcycle Engines

Motorcycle engines are the ones that power motorcycles.
Without them, motorcycles won’t go anywhere, unless of
course a rider chooses to push a motorcycle or use a pedal
to move it forward.

But that’s another story. This article will show you some
of the different types of motorcycle engines based on the
number of cylinders that they have.

1. Single

- is the most common engine configuration used in
motorcycles. As its name suggests, this engine has a single
cylinder and a single piston. Single-cylinder engines are
typically used by off-road bikes. It has a lot of torque
but is notorious for vibrating a lot when running.

2. Two-cylinder

- is another common engine configuration. Its popularity
comes with its use in Harley-Davidson’s V-twin engines.
Other two-cylinder engines are called by how they are
positioned like the L-twin and the parallel twin engines.

3. Three-cylinder

- among the group, this type is the least common. Also
known a triple, this engine is used by companies like
Yamaha, Benelli and Triumph in some of their bikes.

4. Four-cylinder

- is essentially a small-scale car engine. They are
normally positioned inline although other configurations
such as the V-four, which is shaped like a V-twin, and the
flat four were also produced.

5. Five-cylinder

- is only used in racing bikes and are not found in
production models.

6. Six-cylinder

- because of its sheer size, it can only be found in bigger
motorcycles. Among the group, the six-cylinder engine has
by far the most power.

Introduction to Motorcycles

You’ve seen them everywhere, from busy streets to
competitions in stadiums. Without doubt, motorcycles are
one of the most popular modes of transport in the world.

But if you need further introduction on this two-wheeled
machine, then you’ve come to the right place.

The motorcycle is a type of a motorized vehicle that has
two wheels. However, they also come in three-wheeled
varieties called trikes although the former is more widely
used.

As mentioned earlier, motorcycles are popular in every part
of the globe. It is due to several reasons. First of all,
it is a simple mode of transport that anybody who knows how
to ride a bike can operate.

Another thing is that motorcycles are more fuel efficient
than other types of vehicles. While cars, for example, are
struggling to reach the 30 miles per gallon mark,
motorcycles can go from 40-70 miles per gallon.

This factor of fuel efficiency is one of the reasons why
people are shifting from buying cars to motorcycles.

Then there are the different subcultures among motorcycle
owners. They are usually grouped among the types of
motorcycles that they ride or sometimes even on particular
models of motorcycle brands.

For example, there are groups that are cruiser enthusiasts
while others prefer a particular cruiser of a particular
year of production.

But since motorcycles are less stable than other types of
vehicles, riders need to wear protective gear to keep them
from harm in case of a crash. The most common protective
gear that riders use is the crash helmet.

How to Ride a Motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle, especially the two-wheeled ones, can
be challenging particularly to those who are not familiar
with riding a bicycle.

But even those who are able to ride bicycles will have to
adjust to the weight of handling a motorcycle. Worry not,
though, if you are just a beginner when it comes to riding
a bike because this article will show you how.

1. Know thy bike

- it is essential for any rider to know what each bike
control does. So a good introduction on where the brakes
are, for example should be done before anything else. It
makes the entire process of learning to ride the bike much
easier.

2. Learn how they work

- so you already know where the brake, throttle and the
clutch are. The next step would be to learn how to use them
to make the bike run.

3. Learn to balance

- those with experience riding bicycles may be surprised of
the challenge of balancing a comparably heavy motorcycle.
The secret here is to sit upright so that you can maintain
your balance. Otherwise, you’d be zigzagging your way to a
crash while trying to balance yourself on the bike.

4. Wear your safety gear

- even experienced riders need to wear protective clothing
that is why there’s no reason why beginners shouldn’t do
the same. When practicing, they should be dressed to the
nines – in protective clothing that is. So every rider
should wear a crash helmet, protective clothing, gloves and
boots.

5. Get an instructor

- a professional motorcycling instructor will provide you
with the right techniques in riding correctly and safely so
make sure to avail of his/her services.

Famous Motorcycle Manufacturers

The motorcycling community has a host of subcultures that
range from the brusque image of the bikers riding cruisers
and choppers to the stylish ones who prefer the smaller
motor scooters.

But aside from the love of a particular type of bike, there
are also those who prefer a specific brand over another.

Here are some of the well-known motorcycle manufacturers
that have gained fame because of their performance, class
and significance in history.

1. Indian

- was the oldest motorcycle brand in the United States
until it ceased production in the 1950s. It was also the
biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world until the
First World War.

At the peak of its production, it was making around 20,000
bikes annually. There is a recent attempt at reviving the
brand in 2006 and the company will now be known as the New
Indian.

2. Harley Davidson

- overtook Indian in being the largest bike manufacturer
some time in the 1920s. Although it has since then lagged
behind Japanese brands, it maintains a high-degree of
popularity mostly due to its rumbling V-twin engines which
are used in the classic models of this brand.

3. Ducati

- is an Italian brand that specializes in high-performance
motorcycles. Their bikes have the patented desmodromic
valve design which allows for a faster operation of the
valves without risking valve-float.

4. Yamaha

- originally a producer of musical instruments, this
company has branched out into motorcycle production. Today,
it is the second-largest producer of motorcycles in the
world.