Origins of ordinary things: Motorcycles

A motorcycle is fascinating for the simple reason that it is nearly as swift as a car and almost as portable as a bicycle. The making of the motorcycle was not the implementation of a ground-breaking idea. It was a bridge between bicycles and motor vehicles. In fact, according to Quora a knowledge-sharing platform, motorcycles were first known as riding vehicles.

A motorcycle is fascinating for the simple reason that it is nearly as swift as a car and almost as portable as a bicycle. The making of the motorcycle was not the implementation of a ground-breaking idea. It was a bridge between bicycles and motor vehicles. In fact, according to Quora a knowledge-sharing platform, motorcycles were first known as riding vehicles.

As with other inventions, the modern motorcycle came to be in gradual stages. According to ThoughtCo, an education platform, the first versions were introduced in Europe in the second half of the 19th century.

According to Encyclopedia, an education platform, the first version of a motorcycle was a velocipede. The velocipede was simply a bicycle with cranks and pedals. It was made by French carriage maker Pierre Michaux and his sons in 1861. It became instantly popular.

Seven years later, Michaux and his sons partnered with French engineer Luis-Guillaume Perreaux and made a steam-powered motorcycle engine motorcycle.

At around the same time, American inventor Howard Roper also made a velocipede which was fired by coal steam engine and whose pedals were attached to the front wheel. According to Wikipedia the online encyclopedia, Roper didn’t make further developments to his velocipede because he died in 1896 while he was trying to demonstrate the working of one of his machines.

In 1884, Edward Butler an English inventor made the first attempt at making motorcycles. It had three wheels. According to Idea Finder a knowledge platform, people were so scared of Butler’s invention that one the apparent suggestions was that a man with a red flag should run ahead of the tricycle warning people to get out of the way. It inevitably didn’t take.

Steam engine was replaced by the internal combustion engine which was built by German inventor Nikolaus August Otto in 1876. Basing on the engine made by Otto, German engineer Gottlieb Daimler made a lighter version to be used on bicycles. According Motorspot, an organisation of cyclists, this was the first internal combustion motorcycle.

All this while, motorcycles still hadn’t acquired that name. According to ThoughtCo, they motorized tricycles were called motorcycles in 1894 when a German vehicle production company Hildebrand & Wolfmüller started making them.

When World War I started in 1914, motorcycles were very instrumental for communication, investigation and in fighting battles. According to How Stuff Works, an educational website about inventions, motorcycles gained a lot of market during this time. They were also marketable for the same reason in World War II.

Once World War II was over, motorcycles became increasingly popular among civilians. Motorcycle-making companies have since increased in number and they now make innovations and improvements and price cuts in a bid to increase their market share.

In modern rural settings, motorcycles are a popular means of transport because they are more convenient than bicycles and cheaper than cars.

 

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