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Motorcycles › Articles

Beginning with the Butler Petrol Cycle in the United Kingdom and Indians and Harley-Davidsons in the United States through Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha in the 20th century, photos of men and women enjoying their motorcycles.

While motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than those in automobiles, motorcycles still remain a popular - and fun - mode of transportation.

Consider these facts about motorcycles:

  • The first cycle was built in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach of Germany. It had a wooden frame with a gas engine attached. Called a "Reitwagen" - riding car - it was the first gas powered vehicle and was the precursor to the automobile.

  • The world's smallest motorbike was built in Sweden. With a seat just 2.55 inches from the ground and a wheelbase of 3.14 inches, it could go 1.24 mph.

  • The tallest motorbike was over 11 feet from the ground to the handle bars. The tires were 6 ft tall and the bike weighed 2.94 tons.

  • "TOTO" - a Japanese toilet manufacturer - built a motorcycle powered by livestock waste. It can run 180 miles on one tank of waste.

  • In World War 1, motorcycles played a key role for the Allies. Previously, messengers used horses to carry battlefield messages. Using motorcycles made this easier and safer - especially for horses! Harley-Davidson made over half of the motorcycles for the effort during the latter part of the War. .

Browse these photos of people enjoying their motorcycles in the 19th and 20th centuries and feel the thrill!