Motorcycles

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. See more...


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!

A photo of August H Persey my Great Grandfather:)
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Apr 12, 1875 - Jul 15, 1966 1875 - 1966
Added Feb 27, 2015 by: Gracia Persey
Gracia Persey
56 favorites
A photo of David Lee Hudiburgh
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Dec 2, 1938 - Unknown 1938 - ?
Added Jan 16, 2015 by: David Hudiburgh
David Hudiburgh
22 favorites
This photo of my gran Kathleen Cooney and her sister Nell was take when on holidays at Narrabeen. NSW-note the unusual hairdo's and the "'attitude"-they were both very strong willed women. My gran loved bikes and married a mechanic who also loved bikes.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Aug 29, 2014 by: Marie Jones
Marie Jones
65 favorites
Muriel T Pitcox raced Motorcycles
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Jul 14, 1919 - Jan 31, 2000 1919 - 2000
Added Aug 24, 2014 by: JoLeigh Guajardo
JoLeigh Guajardo
8 favorites
A photo of Richard Marsden Hope-we don't know what sort of bike it is-but he loved bikes. This was his private bike. He worked for the NRMA in the 1920-30's as a mechanic in Sydney NSW. Australia. Rode around on their motor bike's helping drivers that had broken down. Later he opened his own mechanic's business in a large shed at back of home in Mortlake. I still remember it was full of machinery, grease and parts soaking in tubs.
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Jul 30, 1905 - Aug 1, 1959 1905 - 1959
Added Aug 12, 2014 by: Marie Jones
Marie Jones
65 favorites
A photo of Dorothy E Malotte
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Jul 4, 1920 - Nov 2, 2005 1920 - 2005
Added Jun 13, 2014 by: Mary Malotte
Mary Malotte
17 favorites
My Mother and My Grandparents. 1944-1946
A photo of Charles Brodie Stirton with his despatch bike.
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1922 - 1945 1922 - 1945
Added Jan 10, 2014 by: Denise Mcmanus
Denise Mcmanus
4 favorites
A photo of Dennis George Rowthorn
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Aug 21, 1923 - Aug 2, 2005 1923 - 2005
Added Aug 28, 2013 by: Dan Rowthorn
Dan Rowthorn
14 favorites
A photo of Itzchak Bergbaum
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added May 24, 2013 by: Dan West
Dan West
18 favorites
A photo of Mabel Edith Cole Paczoch Dawson
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Aug 28, 1892 - Dec 11, 1978 1892 - 1978
A photo of Jesse Darby with an early Indian Motorcycle *Photograph property of Daryl Johnson. Please do not copy without permission.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Dec 28, 2015 by: Daryl Johnson
Daryl Johnson
112 favorites
This is a photo of Eric Lafayette SWARTZ, (1893-1963) on his Indian motorcycle at the Moundbuilder's race track in Newark, Ohio.
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1893 - 1963 1893 - 1963
Added Apr 28, 2001 by: Ty Fink
Ty Fink
46 favorites
A photo of Julian Skelton (1923 - 1984) during his Presidency of the Rome Shrine Club
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Jan 14, 1923 - Oct 13, 1984 1923 - 1984
Added Mar 10, 2015 by: Juli Skelton
Juli Skelton
12 favorites
This is a photo of Calvin Larry Summers added by Sabrina Montoya on February 23, 2021.
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Nov 20, 1944 - Mar 2, 2005 1944 - 2005
Added Feb 23 by: Sabrina Montoya
Sabrina Montoya
27 favorites
Agness Belle Weir 1842-1907
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February 1842 - May 6, 1907 1842 - 1907
A photo of Jerry J Tucker
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c. 1926 - Unknown 1926 - ?
Harley Riders, late 1946. Couple on left is Arthur and Evelyn Truesdale. Couple on right is Herman and Dorothy Roesch. Taken in St. Petersburg, Florida. The sign between them says Open for Business. Notice the men are both touching their motorcycles.
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Jul 6, 1923 - May 13, 2013 1923 - 2013
Added Nov 3, 2014 by: Derrell Truesdale
Derrell Truesdale
19 favorites
This is a photo of Elena Camer added by Amanda S. Stevenson on February 7, 2021.
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Feb 7, 1928 - Jun 7, 2015 1928 - 2015
Added Feb 7 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
12.1k+ favorites
This is a photo of Jessie Hines added by Kathryn Vonlangen on October 20, 2020.
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Dec 28, 1889 - August 1975 1889 - 1975
We think this is a photo of my husband’s grandfather John A Metcalf, likely from the mid-1940s and taken in southern Idaho or northern Utah. This is the only photo we have, he left sometime around the birth of my mother-in-law in 1947.
Added Sep 22, 2020 by: Verena Block
Verena Block
20 favorites
This is a photo of Donald H Vennell added by Marilyn Vennell on May 27, 2020.
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Aug 10, 1954 - Aug 4, 1992 1954 - 1992
Added May 27, 2020 by: Marilyn Vennell
Marilyn Vennell
5 favorites
1955 on his wifes Harley...he used to race Zundaps
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Mar 15, 1934 - Oct 30, 2008 1934 - 2008
Added Feb 19, 2020 by: Lynn Ramage'
Lynn Ramage'
13 favorites
A photo of Vincent D Rhodes (1956 - 2008)
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Jun 22, 1956 - Jun 20, 2008 1956 - 2008
Added Mar 30, 2015 by: Alese Rhodes
Alese Rhodes
13 favorites
My grandma, Mary Landon, rode this motorcycle to her job, teaching at a one room school house, because it was cheaper than feeding a horse.
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c. 1891 - c. 1996 1891 - 1996
Added Sep 2, 2013 by: Nancy Landon-trusty
Nancy Landon-trusty
15 favorites
A photo of Randy Labar.
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Oct 24, 1954 - Dec 13, 1999 1954 - 1999
Added Jun 17, 2013 by: KareLin LaBar
KareLin LaBar
6 favorites
Elsia and Ray Allison's Indian motorcycle with side car - always ready for fun in New Mexico circa 1920.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Sturgis Rally - Celebrating 150 Years Of Motorcycles
Next week, the Sturgis (South Dakota) Motorcycle Rally is holding its 76th annual celebration. People come from all over t...
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