What Makes Motorcycles So Special?
The motorcycle is one of the most fascinating vehicles to ever be invented. In a world of cars that are more and more disconnected from the driver, the motorcycle is a true joyride with its own unique sense of freedom and danger. It’s not hard to see why the bike has such an iconic image – its dual characteristics have given it the aura of a bad boy, a machine for those who love to take risks and have a taste for adventure.
It’s the only vehicle with its own culture and language, and it’s even got its own etymology. The word motorcycle is a combination of the words “motor” and “bike,” and it’s used worldwide as an umbrella term for any two-wheeled motorized vehicles. This includes mopeds and scooters, as well as three-wheelers such as the hack (motorcycle with sidecar) and the Roper steam velocipede which was built in the 1860s.
Unlike the boneshaker and safety bicycles of the time, motorcycles have much smaller wheels that create a low center of gravity for better handling. This allows the rider to lean into a turn and feel more connected to the machine. It also makes it easier to use hand-controls and the clutch for quick lane changes. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t make the motorcycle very aerodynamic – the exposed wheels and engine create a lot of drag that increases as the square of the speed.
This doesn’t stop more and more people from getting behind the handlebars, with women now making up a significant percentage of riders in some countries. The biker culture is evolving too, with clubs and organizations contributing to society and erasing the stereotypes that have tarnished it in the past.