Until World War One the largest manufacturer of motorcycles was Indian who produced over 20,000 bikes per year. By 1920 this honour went to Harley Davidson. Today, the Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha dominate the motorcycle industry, although Harley-Davidson still maintains a high degree of popularity in the United States.
Motorcycles have historically been associated with subcultures i.e. Cafe Racers of the 1950's and the Mod's and Rockers of the 1960's. In the times we live in today motorcycle events are annually held at places across the globe in which money is raised for charity. Motorcycle rallies are also held internationally, which attract riders from all over the UK.
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled vehicle which is powered by an engine. Styles of motorcycles vary depending on the task for which they were designed, such as long distance travel, 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.
The construction of motorcycles, with just a few exceptions involves using steel or aluminium frames, telescopic forks holding the front wheel, and disc brakes. A one- to eight-cylinder gasoline powered engine coupled to a manual, five- or six-speed sequential transmission drives the swingarm-mounted rear wheel by a chain, driveshaft or belt.
Since motorcycles have been around they have constantly been modified and up-dated and new accessories are constantly being produced to better them such as you can now get heated handle bars and heated seats to make your motorcycle journey more comfortable in cold weather and when riding late at night. With the advancements within the motorcycle industry there are now a wide range of motorcycle types that are available to you such as the Cruiser. This motorcycle is mainly produced in the Harley Davidson range and is designed for comfort/looks as it has a relaxed upright reclined seating position.
The mini bike can't really be called a proper motorcycle as it is extremely small in size and is designed to be used by both adults and children. It also doesn't have a hand operated clutch or gearbox. These bikes are prohibited to be drove on the roads in certain countries and are mainly used for off-road for racing. Another smaller version of a motorcycle is a moped. This small and inexpensive bike is very popular across the UK amongst younger riders especially. This is because they are small, light and inexpensive. The engine of a moped is mounted to its frame with a chain supplying the driving force.
Another highly popular form of motorcycle is the scooter. These have a step through frame and generally smaller wheels than a traditional motorcycle with an engine mounted near the rear wheel on the swingarm. These scooters are available in various varieties such as sport, commuter and touring models with a wide variety of engine sizes from the standard 50cc to 850cc. The main scooters that still remain highly popular are the Vespa scooter and the Piaggio.
If you are thinking about getting a motorcycle make sure that you feel comfortable with riding one as motorcycles are more likely to become involved in road traffic accidents than any other vehicle. If you feel unsure or have a lack of confidence then it is advised that you take a few extra lessons to get your experience and confidence back up.
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