The Motorcycle

A motorcycle is a single-track, engine-powered, two-wheeled motor vehicle. It varies considerably, depending on the purpose for which it is designed, such as sports and racing, long distance travel or off-road conditions. The first motorcycle was invented by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany, in 1885. This first petroleum fueled motorcycle was named after Petroleum Reitwagen. It was designed as an expedient test bed for their new engines. This motorcycle was not practical as a safety bicycle, because its steering was zero degrees axis angle with no fork offset.

The construction of a motorcycle should be done in a way that can maximize performance for the lowest cost. Motorcycles now are usually made of telescopic forks, steel, aluminum frames which hold the front wheels and disc brakes. Power engines typically consist of four cylinders and, less commonly, up to eight cylinders, coupled with a manual five or six speed sequential transmission, which drives the swing arm mounted rear wheel by a chain, driveshaft or belt. You can see the speed meter in the middle of the steering and the main headlight in front of motorcycle. The engine is fixed between both wheels and below the seat of the driver. The silencer is usually fixed on right side. There are three types of motorcycles, dual, street and off-road purpose. Dual-purpose bikes are made to go off road and are comfortable on the street as well. Street bikes are sports bikes and scooter. Off-road motorcycles are used in motor-cross and dirt-oriented racing classes.

Motorcycles are one of the most affordable vehicles for transportation all over the world. There are around two-hundred million motorcycles worldwide, and most are used in Asia and the United States. As fuel prices increasing day-by-day, car owners are now moving themselves to use motorcycles instead, because they consume less fuel as compared to heavy vehicles. Motorcycles are usually two-seated vehicles, with one driver and one person sitting behind the driver. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Bajaj are some of the most famous companies. Motorcycles are available in different powers, 70cc to 250cc. The 125cc to 250cc motorcycles are considered as heavy bikes, which commonly use two silencers, while others have only one.

Motorcycle fuel consumption varies in different models. Which power engine is used on a bike also depends on engine displacement and riding style. In developing countries, 100cc to 200cc motorcycles show a good fuel economy. An Indian company, Bajaj, offers a superior fuel economy model, the XCD125, which consumes one liter of petrol for 100Km. Now, companies have also introduced electric motorcycles, which are nearly silent, zero emission, electric-motor-driven vehicles. However, this technology is under development, because electric motorcycles have less mileage and require a high cost on batteries.

One must use some safety precautions while riding a motorcycle, because it has a high rate of accidents, as compared to automobiles. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed that motorcycles are involved in dangerous accidents four times more often than cars and other heavy vehicles. Proper training must be gained before riding any kind of motorcycle. Every country should create a campaign to raise awareness about motorcycle accidents. In South Africa, the Think Bike Campaign has increased motorcycle safety and the awareness of motorcycle handling on the roads.