A motorcycle, motorbike, bike or moped is a two-wheeled vehicle with an engine that provides propulsion. The term has become synonymous with a specific sub-culture of riding and is a major mode of transport worldwide. Motorcycles, whether used for commuting or recreational riding, offer an unparalleled sense of freedom and power. For many people, it’s a life-changing experience. Depending on the type of bike, they can be more affordable to operate than cars, and take up only a fraction of the space for parking. Regardless of their size and power, there are certain safety precautions that must be taken when riding any motorcycle.
A defining characteristic of motorcycles is the leaning ergonomics that allow riders to lower their centre of gravity and reduce friction with the road. This increases side-to-side maneuverability and allows riders to carve turns as they ride. The front and rear suspension systems keep the motorcycle stable, while the tires are designed to grip the road. A plastic or fibreglass shell, known as a fairing, is often added to the frame of some models for aerodynamic efficiency and protection from the elements.
Motorcycles have a rich history dating back to the late 1800s when Daimler invented the petrol powered Reitwagen. There were also steam powered machines such as Michaux-Perreaux’s steam velocipede in Europe and the Roper steam velocipede by Sylvester H. Roper in Boston, Massachusetts. Today’s motorcycles are much more advanced than those early concepts with disc brakes, fuel injection and triple-digit gas mileage. They’re also more affordable and easier to maintain than ever before.