The Harley Sportster is considered by many to
be America's first Musclebike. Light and fast the Sportster was America's answer to the narrow and lithe British sports
bikes of the time. Available now as Sportster 1200 and Sportster
883 rubber mounted models, the Harley Sporster was launched in 1957 as the replacement for Harley K flathead motorcycle. The
1957 Harley Sportster featured a solid mount 55 cubic inch Ironhead engine.
Hang onto your hats; we're going for a ride. The Superbike
sector which was created during the seventies, would allow mere mortals such as you and I to ride something akin to the
machines that our heroes use on the track. Of course we all ride sensibly, but to have that spare capacity in hand is something
wonderful. Nobody's had this much power between their legs since Marilyn Monroe died. You can make up your own mind.
Although most motorcyclists are safe and law-abiding, the stereotype of the reckless drifter on two
wheels has thrived in modern pop culture. Maybe this is why motorcyclists tend to band together. Motorcycle owners also tend
to be extremely loyal, both to the lifestyle itself and to the brand of motorcycle they ride. Nowhere is this more evident
than with motorcycle gangs.
Motorcycle gangs first became popular after World War II, when they emerged as a symbol of youthful
rebellion. Some of the best-known gangs, such as the Cafe racers of the 1950s and the Mods and Rockers of the 1960s, formed in England. But the Hells Angels is the gang that most people think of when they think "biker gang."
The Hells Angels began in California in 1948, but it wasn't until Hollywood glamorized the gang lifestyle in two seminal
movies -- "The Wild Ones" in 1954 and "Easy Rider" in 1969 -- that mainstream America took notice. By
the 1970s, nearly 900 outlaw biker gangs operated inside the United States.
Today, gangs are highly sophisticated and highly
organized. Members of biker gangs often advertise their affiliation by wearing gang colors, gang tattoos or articles of clothing
with gang insignia. They often ride Harley-Davidsons and may or may not be involved in illegal activities, such as drug trafficking,
prostitution or money laundering. Hells Angels have more than 3,000 members, with 228 chapters in 25 countries.
Unlike a piston valve system on the 2-stroke engine,
where the opening and closing of the intake port depends on the movement of the piston, the rotary disc valve system employs
a disc shaped rotary valve to control the intake timing. This system is still used today on high performance racers and a
number of smallsized utility models.The Yamaha 125YA-5 became the first production model in the world to feature a rotary
disc valve system, which until that time had only been used on factory racers.
The rotary disc valve system differs from a standard piston valve system in that the intake port is positioned not
on the cylinder wall but rather on the crankcase side. A disc plate (rotary valve) which rotates as one part of the crank,
opens and closes the passage to the cylinder to control the intake timing. In brief, the rotary valve rotates with the crankshaft,
thus opening and closing the intake port; the intake stroke takes place when the cutaway part of the disc passes through the
intake port. In addition, one more transfer port can be provided
on the spot that should be occupied by the intake port on a standard piston valve type cylinder. This results in more effective
Unlike a piston valve system, where
the intake of air-fuel mixture depends directly on the position of the intake port on the cylinder, the rotary disc valve
system makes it possible to change the intake timing by changing the cutaway angle of the disc, resulting in a big boost in
performance. In short, the intake port of this system opens sooner than a standard one, thus ensuring a more effective intake
action. In addition, the intake port closes more quickly, so that the amount of “blow-back” is decreased and primary compression is improved.
Motor-assisted bicycles already existed
by the turn of the 19th century, almost certainly as a result of early cyclists’ unwillingness to overexert themselves;
in this they were aided and abetted by enthusiastic engineers whose fascination with the internal combustion engine led them
up many new avenues. In the case of powered bicycles, it was the quest for more speed than was possible from human legs that
excited these men. Gottleib Daimler built a prototype motor cycle in 1885; by 1890 Messrs Hildebrand & Wolfmuller from
Munich were offering the first series-produced machine to an eager public. Cycling began originally as something of a fashionable occupation
amongst the monied classes; few others were able to afford or could see the use of such a device. Many early purchasers had
not indulged in much physical effort (except for riding a horse) before needing to disport themselves on the latest fad in
order to keep up appearances with their peers. Fatter, unfit and wealthier cyclists of the day probably mulled over the prospects
offered by Nikolaus August Otto's four-stroke internal combustion engine as a possible source of motive power to assist
or even supplant pedal-power. Unfortunately, Mr Otto’s internal combustion engine at that time was less than reliable
or controllable. It weighed a lot, vibrated uncomfortably, had injurious rotating parts as well as becoming very hot and was
in the habit of spraying the surroundings with oil, fuel and unpleasant gaseous emanations. An early motor cycle was a fearsome
device, the courageous rider was in intimate physical contact with all the above and, more often than not, likely to be maimed
by his mount without warning.
In common with every great enthusiast, Carlo Guzzi was
unable to find the ideal motorcycle, so he decided to build it himself. At the time, the panorama in the sector was little
more than pioneering. Even starting up one of the early bikes was a feat. Riders lubricated the engine with a manual pump
with devastating results for clothing and also damaging the uncovered chain drive. Riding a motorcycle was an act of heroism
and the list of spare parts to take with you on a trip included practically all the components. The first motorcycle prototype
was produced in 1919 in the Mandello del Lario workshop with the help of blacksmith Giorgio Ripamonti. Known as the G.P. (Guzzi-Parodi)
from the initials of the two partners, it was a 500 cc single cylinder with four valve cylinder head and overheard camshaft.
It delivered 12 hp and had a maximum speed of 100 km/h. The model drew heavily on aircraft engine technology, well known by
the designer. Already revolutionary and well ahead of its time, the G.P. was modified several times, mainly due to the excessive
production costs, before arriving at the definitive version. The name G.P. was abandoned as it could have been confused with
Giorgio Parodi's initials and so the name "Moto Guzzi" was born, together with a contemporary icon, the eagle
with outspread wings, chosen as the logo to commemorate the rider Giovanni Ravelli, who was to have been the third partner
before being killed in a flying accident. In 1921, the Normale was born. This was the first model marketed, with 8 hp, a maximum
speed of 80 km/h and consumption of 30 km per liter. The Normale was the first bike in the world to be fitted with a centre
stand, a feature which would later be adopted by all other constructors. At the beginning of the century, the sophisticated
publicity campaigns of today did not exist and the only way to make the performance of a motorcycle known was to enter it
in a race. And indeed, it was its racing debut, another historic date, which eventually brought the Mandello del Lario company
into the international limelight. The race was the tough Milan-Naples rally. Two Moto Guzzis took part and the final classification
was not exactly thrilling as they ended up coming 20th and 22nd. But victory was just round the corner. Just 30 days later,
on 25 September 1921, Moto Guzzi had its first win in the Targa Florio with Gino Finzi. This was the start of an extraordinary
series of riding successes which continued without a break until 1957.
The Triumph Bonneville is an undisputed modern classic,
synonymous with British motorcycling and a byword for simple, original style. Today, it stands as the perfect blend of British
heritage, design and glamour, backed by modern technology. Named in recognition of Johnny Allen’s 1950’s record
breaking feats on a Triumph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the very first Bonneville, the T120, was showcased at the
Earls Court Bike Show in 1958, with the machines available for sale to the general public the following year. An instant hit
in both the UK and America, essentially the T120 was a high performance, twin carburettor version of Triumph’s T110
Tiger model. The combination of extra performance with a fine-handling, light weight chassis and attractive design proved
a winning combination and the bike went on to become one of the most successful models of the era.
The history of the motorcycle goes back over 100 years, when an American gentleman made a steam powered
motor that would be small enough to fit onto his bicycle. Howard Roper from Roxbury, Massachusetts, got tired of pedaling
his bicycle over long distances. Taking months and months to draw diagrams and thinking just how he could make a steam engine
that would be small enough to relieve the pressure from his legs and feet as he traveled from place to place on dirt roads
and paths. Finally in 1867, Roper succeeded; it was powered by burning coal to create the steam. This bike has been displayed
in many fairs and circuses over the years. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach (later to be the
founders of the Mercedes, the forerunner of the Mercedes Benz), produced the first petroleum powered motor bicycle. However,
not until 1894 was a motorized two wheeled vehicle (Hildebrand & Wolfmuller) made available for the transportation market. As
engines became too powerful for just a bicycle, and the designs changed very quickly, the leading manufacturer of motorcycles,
(the Indian brand), had already produced well over 20,000 motorcycles a year until World War I.
By the 1920’s,
Harley Davidson took this lead away from the Indian Company as the Harley Davidson Company had acquired many dealers in as
many as 67 countries throughout the world. By the end of World War II, BSA bikes took the title away from Harley Davidson,
and until the 1950’s had produced 75,000 bikes a year. Through the 1990’s, there had been extensive work done on two stroke bike
engines due to Walter Kaaden’s work in the 50’s in East Germany. Although Harley Davidson is still the leading bike
manufacturer for the motorcycle market, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are also doing very well with their developments
of a durable and elegant looking street bike.
The National Motorcycle Museum is a British institution
and one of the most vital venues in the British Isles today for a whole number of reasons. It has extensive conference venues
/ rooms and facilities for businesses, but it offers excellent facilities for the average person as well. In fact, it is fair
to say that it is one of the most fascinating UK historical venues that you could choose to visit!
The National Motorcycle Museum is the biggest and the best motorcycle museum
not only in Europe but also in the world today. There is no other to rival it anywhere else, which may be why people travel
from all over the world to see the displays in all their glory year after year. The artefacts on display have been collected
over a number of years and so this is easily the most comprehensive collection of motorcycles and accessories in the world
today. As a result of continuing contributions, it will undoubtedly get bigger and better in the future. This is why it is
a must for all fans of both history and of the motorcycle.
In actual fact, the focus of The National Motorcycle Museum has not changed in all the years since it has
been open. It was initially designed to draw the attention of the public to the great British motorcycle industry that dominated the world between the 1930s and 1960s.
At that point in time, no other country could rival the motorcycles that were made there. As such, the vast collection that
was originally displayed paid homage to the makers of the motorcycle. It still does that to this day. In fact, it does it
better than any other institution or museum. Although the displays have been updated and the works of other countries are
now on display, no other collection can rival the British golden era of motorcycles.
The National Motorcycle Museum is a place where nostalgia can run riot for the older generations
whilst the displays can capture the imagination of younger visitors. The chronology of the motorcycle is here for all to come
and see. This is why The National Motorcycle Museum is a place that you can spend all day in. With a restaurant and gift shop
available to visitors during opening hours, you can take your time looking at what is on offer and take a piece of history
home with you. There is much to be learned and much to see so spend your time marvelling at the wonders of technology and
transport in just one place!
is a British motorcycle marque, originally from Birmingham, founded in 1898 as a manufacturer of fittings and parts for the
two-wheel trade. By 1902, they had begun manufacturing motorcycles with bought in engines. In 1908, a Norton-built engine
was added to the range. This began a long series of production of single and eventually twin-cylinder motorcycles.
When major shareholders started to leave Norton in 1953, the company went
bankrupt and Associated Motor Cycles bought the shares. In late 2008, Stuart Garner, a UK businessman, bought the rights to
Norton and relaunched Norton in its Midlands home at Donington Park where it will develop the NRV588 racer, a machine styled
after the Norton Commando, and a new range of Norton motorcycles, with options including 1200 cc Superbike, and 750 cc Supersport
Designed by Walter Moore, the Norton CS1 engine appeared
in 1927, based closely on the ES2 pushrod engine and using many of its parts. On his departure to NSU in 1930, an entirely
new OHC engine was designed by Arthur Carroll, which was the basis for all later OHC and DOHC Norton singles. That decade
spawned the Norton racing legend. Of the nine Isle of Man Senior TTs (500 cc) between 1931 and 1939 Norton won seven. Until
1934, Norton bought Sturmey-Archer gearboxes and clutches. When Sturmey discontinued production Norton bought the design rights
and had them made by Burman, a manufacturer of proprietary gearboxes. Nortons also appealed to ordinary motorcyclists who
enjoyed the reliability and performance offered by single-cylinder engines with separate gearboxes. The marque withdrew their
teams from racing in 1938, but between 1937 and 1945 nearly a quarter (over 100,000) of all British military motorcycles were
Nortons, basically the WD 16H (solo) and WD Big Four outfit with driven sidecar wheel.
Norton struggled to reclaim its pre-WWII racing dominance, since the single cylinder machine was
facing fierce competition from the multi-cylinder Italians, and AJS at home. In the 1949 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season,
the first year of the world championship, Norton only made fifth place, and AJS won. That was before the Featherbed frame
appeared, developed for Norton by the McCandless brothers of Belfast in January, 1950, used in the legendary Manx Norton,
and raced by riders including Geoff Duke, John Surtees and Derek Minter. Overnight the featherbed frame was the benchmark
by which all other frames were judged. Nortons were winners again.
Norton also experimented with engine placement, and discovered
that moving the engine slightly up/down, forward/back, or even right/left, could deliver a "sweet spot" in terms
of handling. In the The Victory: The Making of the New American Motorcycle (1999, Motorbooks International), the designers
of the Victory motorcycle cited Norton in experimenting with various engine placements and finding one that was noticeably
better than the others.
Started in 1946 by Soichiro Honda who wanted to produce cheap transportation for
the people after the second world war. Today Honda has become the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.Honda started
by using old army engines but later developed their own 50cc engine. The first real Honda bike was produced in 1949 called
the Model D (Dream) which was followed due to the success of the ‘D’ by model J Benly.Honda started to make an
international name for itself with the introduction of the CB models. Started by a CB72 (250cc) and the CB77 (305cc). However
the first series used the old press steel frames and the better road handling came with the introduction of the steel tubular
frames in the CB92. The CB77 (super hawk) was excellent reliable motorcycle which out preformed many similar English models.
introduced in 1958 the C100 Super Club motorcycle as a sports, leisure, easy going, convenient and reliable bike with a great
marketing campaign (you meet nice people on a Honda) that blasted the C100 to a best selling bike of all times. And it was
only a humble scooter styled motorcycle.Honda started building bigger engine bikes with the first model CB450 in 1965. The
black bomber / black hawk was an attack to the dominating English bikes in this area. Although the CB450 didn’t match
the British motorcycles (yet) the competition had begun.One step up from the 450 was the introduction of the CB750 in 1969.
Which was beyond it’s class at the time. A smooth operating mass produced 4 cylinder bike with excellent handling. It
dominated the market at the time and sold very well world wide. Honda didn’t upgrade the CB750 over the years so despite
is success it started to loose popularity towards the end 70’s.Honda did change the model line of the CB750 to include
smaller models like the CB500 (1971) and the CB400 (1975). Both bikes were very successful mainly due to the fact of weight
reduction of the big brother CB750 which gave them huge maneuverability advantage.As the modern day cruiser the Honda Gold
Wing (Interstate – usa, de luxe – Europe) was introduced in 1980 and has stayed in production ever since. You
actually like or hate the Wing but fact of the matter is that world wide no other model has such a high fan base. The full
fairing Gold Wing was developed on the GL1000 Gold Wing of 1975.Two years later in 1982 the new model Gold Wing was released
called the Aspencade. Also a big hit with improved luxury features including backrest, music system, adjustment computer and
much more). In 1988 the GL1500 Gold Wing was launched and was the biggest most complex bike of its time. Only to be surpassed
by the GL1800 Gold Wing. Honda developed a really cool looking street bike called the CBX1000 in 1978. It was a pure big bike
with a streetlook and chrome pipes. The looks, power and even effortless drive didn’t make this model to be a success.
Honda adjusted it to a modest sports tour bike called the CBX-B. Honda produced a series of specialized bikes for racing and
engineering goals. A few examples being the CB1100R making a most powerful four cylinder unit yet. And the turbo charged CX500
– CX650 turbo. Or the NR500 a super expensive, beautiful designed superbike.
The cafe racer is a motorcycle that has been modified for speed and good handling rather than comfort.
Cafe racers' bodywork and control layout typically mimicked the style of contemporary Grand Prix roadracers, featuring
an elongated fuel tank and small, rearward mounted, humped seat. A signature trait were low, narrow handlebars that provided
more precise control at high speeds and allowed the rider to "tuck in" to lessen wind resistance. These are referred
to as either "clip-ons" (two-piece bars that bolt directly to each fork tube) or "clubmans" (one piece
bars that attach to the stock mounting location but drop down and forward). The ergonomics resulting from low bars and the
rearward seat often required "rearsets," or rear-set footrests and foot controls, again typical of racing motorcycles
of the era. Distinctive half or full race-style fairings were sometimes mounted to the forks or frame.
The bikes had a raw, utilitarian
and stripped-down appearance while the engines were tuned for maximum speed. These motorcycles were lean, light and handled
road surfaces well. The most defining machine of its heyday was the homemade Norton Featherbed framed and Triumph Bonneville
engined machine called "The Triton". It used the most common and fastest racing engine combined with the best handling
frame of its day, the Featherbed frame by Norton Motorcycles. Those with less money could opt for a "Tribsa" - the
Triumph engine in a BSA frame.
Grand Prix motorcycle racing is the premier championship of motorcycle road racing, which has been
divided into three classes since 1990; 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP. Former classes that are now discontinued include 350cc, 50cc
and sidecars. The premier class is MotoGP, which was formerly known as the 500cc class. The Grand Prix Road-Racing World Championship
was established in 1949 by the sport's governing body the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM),
and is the oldest motorsport World Championship in existence. The motorcycles used in MotoGP are purpose built for the sport,
and are unavailable for purchase by the general public: they cannot be legally ridden on public roads.
MotoGP, the premier class
of GP motorcycle racing, has changed dramatically in recent years. From the mid-1970s until 2002 the top class of GP racing
allowed 500cc with a maximum of four cylinders, regardless of whether the engine was a two-stroke or four-stroke. In 2002,
rule changes were introduced to facilitate the phasing out of two-stroke engines.
Giacomo Agostini has won the most titles,
he won eight during his career, which included a record seven titles in a from 1966 to 1972. Freddie Spencer is the youngest
champion, he was 21 years and 258 days old when he won the championship in 1983. Italian riders have won the most titles,
with 19 titles between six drivers. Great Britain is second; six riders have won a total of 17 championships. The United States
is third with 15 titles won by seven drivers. Valentino Rossi of the Yamaha Motor Racing team is the current champion.
Giacomo Agostini made his motorcycle racing debut in 1961 at the age of nineteen and dominated the
motorcycle racing World Championship from 1966 to 1975. This book's title refers to the 15 World Championship titles
won by "Ago", including eight 500cc titles and seven in the 350cc class.
Thirteen of those titles were won on MV Agusta
motorcycles and two with Yamaha. He won a total of 122 Grand Prix races and 18 Italian Championship titles. No
one, including Valentino Rossi, has done more and this isn't fully realized by many fans of modern MotoGP racing.
Factors setting Indian Motorcycle apart are the legends
and stories embedded in its past. For example, its first corporate sale was to the New York City Department of Police. Police
in New York had a recurring need to capture horses that had gotten away from their owners; Indian motorcycles provided the
solution with motorcycles that were quick enough to round up the horses. As the U.S. entered World War I, the military had
a dire need for reliable and agile transportation. Indian Motorcycle agreed to suspend its production of consumer motorcycles
to supply the defense department with over 41,000 motorcycles to meet the need. This sparked the firm’s reputation as
a company committed to patriotism and sacrifice (even though they profited greatly from the military contract). Indian Motorcycle
again received a Department of Defense contract in World War II, further reinforcing this image. A competency Indian Motorcycle
gained during World War I was the ability to make extremely nimble and responsive cycles despite the reputation it later gained
as a heavy, lethargic cruising motorcycle. Among its early models, however, the Indian Scout was noted for excellent handling.
Stunt riders frequently chose the Scout as the preferred model for wall-of-death stunts where riders would ride horizontally
in a large enclosed wooden cylinder. This wall-of-death stunt is still performed today at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in
South Dakota, the largest annual motorcycle rally in the U.S.
Motorcycle was the first company to mass produce motorcycles in the United States beginning in 1901, two years before current
market leader Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Two bicycle racers, George Hendee and Oscar Hedström, founded the firm and
in just three years Indian Motorcycle received the Gold Medal for Mechanical Excellence just as Harley-Davidson was getting
off the ground. This was the same year Indian Motorcycle came out as the leader of Great Britain’s Reliability Trial,
a 1,000-mile endurance race. By 1914, the firm had 3,000 employees producing over 32,000 motorcycles annually at its Massachusetts
seven-mile long assembly plant commonly referred to as “the wigwam.” Although the original name of the firm was
the Hendee Manufacturing Company, as model lines were expanded and eventually included motorcycles such as the Indian Chief,
the Scout, the Warrior, and the Arrow, the firm took on the Indian Motorcycle name. While the firm had no direct connection
to American Indian tribes, each new model name was an effort to be emblematic of U.S. heritage. In 1938, Hap Alzina, owner of an Indian Motorcycle distributor, narrowly missed beating Harley-Davidson’s land
speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah by only 1 mph (although Burt Munro set the record on an Indian in 1967).
This slight miss in 1938 became prescient of Indian Motorcycle’s future. The firm’s profitability and liquidity
began to unravel as competition from Harley-Davidson and other motorcycle manufacturers, together with the substitution threat
from Henry Ford’s Model T automobile, resulted in pricing pressure within the industry. In addition, the Great Depression
followed later by World War II hurt American consumers’ discretionary income reducing sales of nonessential consumer
purchases. This combination of competition, substitute products, and reduction in consumer discretionary income magnified
Indian Motorcycle’s liquidity and profitability problems.
The history of the Hells Angels is
shrouded in mystery and controversy, due in part to the fact that various individuals have been solely attributed
to its founding, and also due in part to a very strict code of secrecy and what can be construed as a practice of
deliberate mythologizing by some members of the club. Members don't use last names, even with one another. They
just use a first name, and, more often than not, a nickname. Due to its colorful history and the confirmed links
of some of its members to organized crime, speculation and rumor about both the club's history and activities
you have a memory of a local motorcyclist and his motorcycle, and how you wished you could be the owner of that fine metal
steed? Many of us look back with fond memories of motorcycles of days gone by, and remember how cool they looked, and
how we wished we could own one at the time. Now we're older the bikes have moved on, but that doesn't mean we should
forget all about those old motorbikes. In fact the opposite is true, now those bikes we looked at with awe and envy all
those years gone by are becoming classics, and as such are worth saving from the scrapheap. Classic motorcycle restoration isn't all about locking yourself
away in a garage and becoming an expert on which grade of chrome was used to plate the headlamp retaining bolt. Motorcycle
restoration is a fun hobby for everyone, from the DIY mechanic to those who just want to ride a motorcycle they never could
afford when they were younger. You don't even need to have a lot of spare money as some classic motorbikes can be picked
up quite cheaply in various states of repair. Some motorbikes can, with a little attention, be ridden almost immediately
and yet still not hit your wallet too hard.
Another thing worth thinking about is the investment factor of classic motorcycle restoration.
You can pick up a cheap bike, do some small repairs and cosmetic tidying, and already it's started to increase in value.
It doesn't need to be a complete nuts and bolts restoration to increase the value, with some extra care even as you enjoy
riding it over a few years, a classic bikes value can increase greatly, and could mean you can make a tidy profit if you
decide to sell it later. It
may take some time to restore a classic motorcycle, but it doesn't need to be done all at once. Some vintage motorcycles
are ridden when possible, and worked on between rides. My own motorcycle is always left in a usable state between work being
carried out. All it means is you don't have a perfect bike straight away. You don't even need to be riding the bike
to take your time over the resoration, a lot of classic motorcycles are left in bits for a long while as the owners can't
afford to buy the parts they need all at once. There are plenty of classic motorcycles out there still to choose from, and your own teenage favorites
could well be just waiting for you to pick them up and give them a home. Imagine living out that teenage fantasy of owning
the motorcycle of your dreams, it doesn't matter that it's 20 years on you can still enjoy owning that dream motorbike.
Only now instead of being called a teenage hoodlum, you'd be a respected classic motorcycle owner.
Engineering ingenuity being what it
was in the late Victorian era, refinements to motors came not a moment too soon for the pioneers of motor cycling. Engines
gradually became more compact, less leaky (though incontinent machinery would remain a great British tradition well into the
1960’s) and power output per pound weight rose dramatically. Cycle frames and wheels had to become stronger and heavier
in order to cope with the violence visited upon them by ever-more powerful engines. Drive to the rear wheel often entailed
a long, flapping and incredibly dangerous leather belt arrangement, almost guaranteeing the removal of any clothing coming
into contact with it whilst in motion. Chains became an alternative, dirtier and slightly more positive means of power transmission,
so now the motor-cycle rider had a choice of injuries; friction burns, abrasions and divestment from a broken belt or cuts
and bruises from errant chains. Brakes were at best of little use, being simply a direct development of the cycle wheel rim-brake,
but then there was little traffic around in those days and at worst a rider could get kicked by the horse he had just run
1970. BMW introduced the “slash five” which
was probably the most overall upgrade improvement of the BMW bike to date, including the boxer twin engine. These included
the 500, 600 and 750 displacement R50/5, R60/5, R75/5. All engines had the same stroke, with different bores resulting in
differing displacements. All had point ignitions. The 500 and 600 had Bing slide type carbs similar to the /2 models. The
750 had a new style Constant Velocity (CV) Bing which was a big technology step for its day. All had 4 speed transmissions,
telescopic forks with a mechanical friction steering damper fitted, swing arm rear suspension, and drum brakes front and rear.
All models had exactly the same chassis, gear boxes and rear drive units except the rear drives had different ratios.
The excellence of Japanese motorcycles caused similar
effects in all "Western" markets: many Italian bike firms either went bust or only just managed to survive. As a
result BMW's worldwide sales sagged in the 1960s, but came back strongly with the introduction of a completely redesigned
"slash-5" series for model year 1970.
From the 1960s
through the 1990s, small two-stroke motorcycles were popular worldwide, partly as a result of the East German Walter Kaaden's
engine work in the 1950s, later acquired by Suzuki via stolen plans supplied by MZ rider Ernst Degner, who defected to the
West on 13th September 1961 after retiring from the 125cc Swedish Grand Prix at Kristianstad.
Harley-Davidson (HD) in the U.S. at the time suffered from the same problems as the European firms, but its unique
product range, American tariff laws and nationalism-driven customer loyalty allowed it to survive. One alleged flaw, however,
was retaining the characteristic HD 45 engine vee-angle, which causes excess vibration as well as the loping HD sound.
A factory full fairing was introduced by BMW motorcycles in the R100RS of 1977,
the first factory fairing produced in quantity. In 1980, BMW stimulated the "adventure touring" category of motorcycling
with its R80G/S. In 1988, BMW was the first motorcycle manufacturer to introduce anti-lock-brakes (ABS) on its sporting K100RS-SE
and K1 models.
Today the Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Kawasaki,
Suzuki, and Yamaha dominate the large motorcycle industry, although Harley-Davidson still maintains a high degree of popularity,
particularly in the United States.
Recent years have seen a
resurgence in the popularity around the world of many other motorcycle brands, including BMW, Triumph and Ducati, and the
emergence of Victory as a second successful mass-builder of big-twin American cruisers.
In November 2006, the Dutch company E.V.A. Products BV Holland announced that the first commercially available diesel-powered
motorcycle, its Track T-800CDI, achieved production status. The Track T-800CDI uses a 800 cc three-cylinder Daimler Chrysler
diesel engine. However, other manufacturers, including Royal Enfield, had been producing diesel-powered bikes since at least
When it comes to the motorcycle, the Harley Davidson is the gold standard. It is the royalty of this two-cycled motor
vehicle industry. But its prominence and position at the top was not achieved overnight. It took a lot of hard work and patience
to reach the position in the industry that they have now. And it took decades to earn the respect of both consumers and friends
in the industry.
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is based in Wisconsin. Along with Victory Motors, it is one of the two remaining mass producers of motorcycles in the United
States. But what sets apart the Harley from other motorcycles that are being manufactured is its design and its sound, which
made it an overnight sensation way back. Although neighborhood watchmen and people who love a nice and quiet night will not
agree to this, the sheer loudness of the sound of a Harley Motorcycle is what consumers love about it.
The company began in 1903
when a 21 year old enterprising young man dreamed of a small engine that will eventually replace the 7.07 cubic and four-inch
flywheels. Its small size is actually meant to be put in a regular bicycle to make it faster.
For two years, William Harley and his friend
Arthur Davidson worked on the idea. With the help of Arthur's brother Walter, they finished their first prototype but
when they tested it, they found that it was not strong enough to be used in climbing hills without the aid of pedals. So they
worked on again and made some adjustments and improvements.
Their next prototype has a bigger engine. This time, 24.74 with
about 10 inch flywheels. The loop frame was actually quite similar to the very first real Harley motorcycle. Creating the
model was a joint effort of the three along with outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude.
By 1904, they completed the prototype and
entered in a motorcycle race and by 1905, they introduced the engine to the market through a do it yourself trade. That year,
more than a dozen harley-davidson motorcycles were made.
With big dreams, Harley and the Davidsons built their first factory in Chestnut Street, which will
later be Juneeau Avenue, where a special tribute to Harley-Davidson now stands. The first factory was not so big and it was
made of wood. Yet, it managed to produce about 50 motorcycles that year alone. When William graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a
degree in mechanical engineering, he used his knowledge to build the business. In 1907, they expanded their factory and began
producing about 150 units. They even began selling wholesale to police departments and other government units. In September
of that same year, the company became an 'incorporated.
It was also in 1907 when another prototype was built. This time,
the engine had dual cylinders called the V-Twin model. This model produces 7 horsepower, doubling the strength especially
in climbing mountains. Speed was also increased to about 60 mph. The model was an instant hit, putting their production to
about 450 motorcycles in 1908 and to a whopping 1200 in 1909. In 1911, a mechanically operated intake valves was introduced
in the engine. Although the engine is actually smaller, the motor gave better performance.
By 1913, the business grew, prompting the
owners to build a new 5 story factory over the already built structure. By 1914, the company is leading the competition in
the manufacturing of motorcycles all over the world.
most recent film starring the American icon, the Harley Davidson motorcycle, was called 'Wild Hogs'. Named after the
nickname given to its riders in the 1970's, this family comedy with an all star cast including John Travolta didn't
quite meet its hyped expectations. Falling flat in plot and more importantly, script, the movie was a disappointing attempt
at capturing the lure of the Harley and the thrill of the open road. It should have been no surprise. Putting Disney together
with Harley Davidson was a little like asking John Carpenter to do a remake of Bambi. " Nice death scene, but it didn't
quite capture the mood of the original!"
Hollywood however, has had a love hate relationship with this most unlikely of stars for more than half a century.
It unwittingly threw the spotlight on what had been an American standard of industry, only to demonize the name to the extent
that The Harley Davidson Motor Company nearly went bankrupt. As with most relationships though, time heals all. It would be
the elevation into cult status of the very same movies that nearly destroyed the company, that would raise the phoenix of
Harley Davidson from the fire, and turn it into the iconic symbol that it is today.
As with the careers of most movie stars, early appearances and bit parts are mostly
forgotten. You may catch a glimpse of a Harley in WWII movies. (The motorcycles were supplied to the army as utility transport
during both World Wars until the Jeep took over as the main utility vehicle in 1942). The big break for the Harley Davidson
came in 1953 when it was cast alongside, or should I say under, Marlon Brando in The Wild One. The movie, which told the story
of Jonny, the bike gang rebel, reflected the tone of rebellion sweeping America at the time amongst the nations teenage youth.
Unlike today however, 1950's society was
not one driven by youth culture. The impact of the openly anti-establishment images that the genre portrayed did not spark
a boom in sales for Harley Davidson as it would later achieve for such products as Ray-Ban sunglasses following the 1982 movie
Top Gun. The effect in fact, was the opposite, leading the motorbike manufacturer into a period of declining sales. Conservative,
middle America in the 50's was not willing to support what Harley Davidson had become and the youth generation that idolized
the films and their stars were not yet in charge of the finances to supplement their dreams.
Whilst commercially Harley Davidson was in trouble, its portrayal
in movies continued to flourish. The notable peak in came in 1969 with themovie 'Easy Rider'. Once again cast as the
bad boys favourite mode of transportation, the Harley Davidson Chopper cruising the open highway, will always epitomize
freedom and rebellion. Maybe it is this dichotomy of emotions, so fundamental to American history and the 'American Dream'
that has been the backbone of the Harleys endurance.
The nineties saw Mickey Rourke and Don Jonson take up the gauntlet, although in this film it was Mickey Rourke's
character that bestowed the Name Harley Davidson to the title of the film. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man once again
cast the character of the rough neck to, yes you guessed it, Harley Davidson.
As the nineties progressed, the teenagers that had idolized Marlon Brando and those
early biker movies in the 50's were maturing into the wealth of America. Like an old friendship lost but never forgotten,
it was these middle aged rebels of yester-year that would rekindle the corporate fortunes of Harley Davidson. they customized
their bikes to stand out in a crowd and create for themselves a separate identity apart from the rest of the corporate clones.
They were rebels that may have succumbed to the corporate ladder but now had the finances to relive the youth they could never
So, it is with somewhat of
a saddened heart, that the movie that was to portray the story of this revival and tell the story of those 50's youth
reborn, should have turn out to be such a damp squib. Maybe Harleys executives still feel the pinch of the bad boy image and
this is why they turned to Disney to tell the story. Personally, I think they should have gone with Tarrentino, the guts and
the glory, the true Harley Davidson.
Motorcycles are cheap to run, exciting to ride and a quick way to travel through traffic. Styles
of motorcycles vary depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested
urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.
In many parts of the world, motorcycles are among the least expensive
and most widespread forms of motorised transport. After the Second World War, the BSA Group became the largest producer of
motorcycles in the world, producing up to 75,000 bikes a year in the 1950s.
Almost all commercially available motorcycles are
driven by conventional gasoline internal combustion engines, but some small scooter-type models use an electric motor , and a very small
number of diesel models exist. Liquid-cooled motorcycles have a radiator (exactly like the radiator on a car) which is the
primary way their heat is dispersed. Liquid cooled motorcycles have the potential for greater power at a given displacement,
tighter tolerances, and longer operating life, whereas air cooled motorcycles are potentially cheaper to purchase, less mechanically
complex and lighter weight.
Only the largest touring motorcycles and a few models that are routinely used with a sidecar or converted
to tricycle configuration are fitted with a reverse gear. At one time, motorcycles all used spoke wheels built up from separate
components , but, except for dirtbikes, one-piece wheels are more common now. Brakes can either be drum or disc based, with
disc brakes being more common on large, modern or more expensive motorcycles for their far superior stopping power, particularly
in wet conditions.
Modern designs have the two wheels of a motorcycle connected to the chassis by a suspension arrangement, however
'chopper' style motorcycles often elect to forgo rear suspension, using a rigid frame. As can be seen from the streamlined
appearance of new performance motorcycles, there is much aerodynamic technology included in the design. Modern fairings on
touring and sport-touring motorcycles dramatically improve a rider's comfort and attention on long rides by reducing the
effect of the wind and rain on the body.
BSA was founded in 1861 in the Gun Quarter, Birmingham, England by fourteen gunsmiths of the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association,
who had together supplied arms to the British government during the Crimean War. The company branched out as the gun trade
declined; in the 1870s they manufactured the Otto Dicycle, in the 1880s the company began to manufacture bicycles and in 1903
the company's first experimental motorcycle was constructed. Their first prototype automobile was produced in 1907 and
the next year the company sold 150 automobiles. By 1909 they were offering a number of motorcycles for sale and in 1910 BSA
purchased the British Daimler Company for its automobile engines.
Edward Turner conceived the Square Four engine in 1928. Turner would later go on to design the Triumph
twin and become the the head of the Triumph Company, but at this time he was looking for work, taking drawings of his revolutionary
engine around the motorcycle industry. The idea for the engine, which was comprised of a pair of 'across frame' parallel
twins linked by a pair of gears, was adopted by Ariel, then very much a force in the British motorcycle industry. The engine
had its problems but in theory was almost a perfect motor, compact and well balanced.
The prototype was a 500 cc capacity engine,
so well contained that it fit into the frame of the Ariel 250. The basic design was worked on and a modified version was released
in 1930. It caused a massive stir, and as it was ideal for sidecar riders, an upgraded 600 cc version was released in 1932
specifically for this purpose.
In 1937 the Square Four went through ac complete redesign. The old engine had been fitted with an
overhead camshaft that had led to the engine's major weakness - a tendency to overheat around the cylinder head. The 1937
engine replaced the camshafts with pushrods and the crank and crankcase were completely changed. A 1000 cc option was added
to the standard 600 cc for the first time. Production ceased during the war and afterwards only the 1000 cc model was built
and offered with telescopic forks. In 1949 the engine became all alloy and the overall handling and acceleration improved.
Scooters are two-wheeled vehicles powered by a small engine. Although it’s similar in concept
to motorcycles, it has some important differences. The wheels of a scooter are fastened to the end of a short axle, rather
than being mounted between a “fork” in the frame. The engine is usually concealed in a cowling of some kind, making
them quieter and less likely to get oil or grease on the rider’s clothes. Scooters generally have less horsepower than
motorcycles. The overall effect is a more “civilized” vehicle meant for practical daily use. Today, a scooter
can be defined as a two-wheeled vehicle built on a monocoque frame with a 250 cubic centimeter (cc) engine or smaller. There
are scooters with larger engines, but they essentially represent a subclass of vehicles in between scooters and motorcycles.
Many jurisdictions legally consider them motorcycles.
Oscar Hedstrom had mounted a single-cylinder De Dion engine on
a tandem bicycle for the purpose of pacing then-popular bicycle races. George Hendee, a bicycle manufacturer from Springfield, Massachusetts, saw the contraption at an
event and proposed a cooperative effort to produce motorized bicycles commercially, hedstrom agreed, and in 1901 the Indian Motorcycle Company was born. Most pre-1910 motorcycles look
as though the manufacturer simply bolted an engine and its accessories onto a common bicycle frame -- which indeed was usually
the case. ut early Indians used the engine
as a stressed frame member, effectively replacing the downtube beneath the seat. As with most motorcycles of the era, suspension was non- existent (save for the spring-mounted seat),
and pedals were used to start the engine. However, Indian used a direct-drive chain rather than the more common tensioned leather belt to turn
the rear wheel, the chain being more positive in operation -- and more reliable. This 1904 'humpback' is little different than the first 1901 models. Producing just over
two horsepower, the 13-cubic-inch single provided a top speed of around 25 mph. Both the lubrication and ignition system were of the 'total loss' variety. Braking was accomplished
by backpedaling, which activated a rear coaster brake.
Dark blue was the color of choice until 1904, when black and vermillion became optional. The vermillion
would later be known as 'Indian Red.'
In 1946 Jawa introduced a 250cc two stroke single with dual exhausts which became a widespread utility
motorcycle around the world, especially in countries allied to the communist block. Replicas of this original are produced
in Chang Jiang Motorworks in China in the 21st century. A 350cc twin cylinder two stroke motorcycle was exported around the
world and sold under numerous other brand names as well, including the Eaton's brand of Eaton's Road King, and a large
single cylinder flathead motorcycle was sold in the 1960s by Sears of Canada. The CZ brand of motorcycle was merged with Jawa
by the socialist economic planners after the Communist victory in 1948. CZ also made street motorcycles but was more well
known for their motocross and enduro models. ISDT models for trials and enduro were produced under the Jawa and CZ nameplates.
In 1926 three brothers, Adriano, Marcello and Bruno Ducati, founded Societa Scientifica Radio Brevetti
Ducati in Bologna to produce tubes, condensers and other radio components, becoming successful enough by 1935 to construct
a new factory in the Borgo Panigale area of the city. During the war, although the Ducati factory was a repeated target for
Allied bombing, production was maintained.
Meanwhile, at the small Turinese firm SIATA (Societa Italiana per Applicazioni Tecniche Auto-Aviatorie),
Aldo Farinelli began developing a small pushrod engine for mounting on bicycles. Barely a month after the official liberation
of Italy in 1944, SIATA announced its intention to sell this engine, called the "Cucciolo" (Italian for "puppy,"
in reference to the distinctive exhaust sound) to the public. The first Cucciolos were available alone, to be mounted on standard
bicycles, by the buyer; however, businessmen soon bought the little engines in quantity, and offered complete motorized-bicycle
units for sale.
1950 (after more than 200,000 Cucciolos had been sold), in collaboration with SIATA, the Ducati firm finally offered its own
Cucciolo-based motorcycle. This first Ducati motorcycle was a 60 cc bike weighing 98 pounds with a top speed of 40 mph (64
km/h) had a 15 mm carburetor giving just under 200 mpg (85 km/L). Ducati soon dropped the "Cucciolo" name in favor
of "55M" and "65TL".
Todays motorcycles are everywhere and there are lots
of different classes or kinds of motorcycles as well. But the motorcycle, like the automobile, is a relative newcomer to the
world stage. he first motorcycle ever assembled was built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in
1885 in Bad Cannstatt in Germany. They were actually focusing more on the motor that was installed to power the two-wheeled
contraption and not so much on creating a new kind of vehicle, but the resulting impact on motorized travel would be tremendous.
There were earlier versions of steam powered bicycles, but this was the first petroleum powered motorcycle. Not long
afterward in 1894 the very first production motorcycle went on sale as the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller motorcycle. It
wasn't long after that before several of the bicycle companies of that time got into the act and started selling versions
of what was essentially motorized bicycles. However, as horsepower increased, the engines started to outgrow the bicycle frames
that were used as their carriage. The most popular motorcycle company before World War 1 was Indian motorcycle. After
the war, Harley Davidson took over the number one spot until 1928 when DKW became the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the
world. For a few years after World War 2 BSA took over as the largest motorcycle producer until 1955 when NSU Motorworks who
had started out as a knitting machine company in 1884 became the dominant manufacturer for the next couple of decades. Then
in the 1970s the Japanese companies Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki made their entrance into this field, changed the face
of the industry, and quickly became the dominant motorcycle suppliers to the world from then on. Since the 70s Honda has held
the title of the world's largest motorcycle maker. Today, the big four motorcycle makers have penetrated practically every
motorcycle market in the world, and they are highly regarded as makers of high quality motorcycle products.
Many of us look back with fond memories
of motorcycles of days gone by, and remember how cool they looked, and how we wished we could own one at the time. Now we're
older the bikes have moved on, but that doesn't mean we should forget all about those old motor bikes. In fact the opposite
is true, now those bikes we looked at with awe and envy all those years gone by are becoming classics, and as such are worth
saving from the scrapheap.
Classic motorcycle restoration isn't all about locking yourself away in a garage and becoming an expert on which grade
of chrome was used to plate the headlamp retaining bolt. Motorcycle restoration is a fun hobby for everyone, from the DIY
mechanic to those who just want to ride a motorcycle they never could afford when they were younger. You don't even need
to have a lot of spare money as some classic motorbikes can be picked up quite cheaply in various states of repair. Some motorbikes
can, with a little attention, be ridden almost immediately and yet still not hit your wallet too hard. Another thing worth thinking about is the investment factor of classic motorcycle restoration.
You can pick up a cheap bike, do
some small repairs and cosmetic tidying, and already it's started to increase in value. It doesn't need to be a complete
nuts and bolts restoration to increase the value, with some extra care even as you enjoy riding it over a few years, a classic
bikes value can increase greatly, and could mean you can make a tidy profit if you decide to sell it later.
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