A large portion of the beginnings in the motorcycling industry seems to be very uncertain and there isn’t a lot of hard evidence for what exactly happened, but one thing is for sure – it definitely changed the way people look at the swift, two-wheeled mode of transportation. The difference between the modern day superbike and the once steam-powered velocipede (an early form of the bicycle that had pedals attached to the front of the wheel) is mostly technical and design-related, but the initial idea of the motorcycle has stayed the same – to provide a fast and unique experience without the bulk of a car and the speed of a bicycle. So, to further explain what I mean by this, let’s start with a rundown of all the main events that went down in history.
To kick things off here, I’ll start as early as 1867 when the first two-cylinder, steam-powered, coal running velocipede was invented by Sylvester Roper that spiked a new line of motorcycles to be introduced over the decade. The motorcycling industry was advancing slowly because there weren’t any moto parts and accessories available until 1885 when two gentlemen, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, created the first ever gasoline-powered combustion engine, with the help of Nicolaus Otto who made a similar four-stroke engine in 1876.
Then, exactly at the start of the 19th century, the first-ever patent for a motorcycle was submitted by the Werner brothers, which led to the opening of several big industrial plants that started the production of motorcycles mostly in the US and the UK. It was during that time that the first organized motorcycle races were held, so this drastically increased the demand for motorcycles, moto parts and accessories. In the late ’20s between the first and the second world war, German DKW became the largest motorcycle maker in the world surpassing the leading brands such as Harley Davidson and Indian, while in the UK there were over 30 different models of motorcycles before the start of World War II. After the war ended, a new wave of motorcycle enthusiasts started to shape – veterans. This was a result of the use of motorcycles in the army, which then led to veterans wanting to have a motorcycle of their own.
Halfway through the twentieth century, during the 50s and the 60s, the Japanese motorcycle dominance began with companies like Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha starting to mass produce advanced motorcycles, further continuing their presence with the introduction of the 4 cylinder superbike in 1969. The phase when Japan’s top manufacturers dominated the market lasted right up to the 90s when it was finally rivaled by several Amercian and Italian brands. They adopted the electronic fuel injection system that was made by the Japanese in the 80s making it the norm for the next generation of motorcycles. When it comes to the technology of today, some manufacturers have gone so far and made water cooled engines and some of them have even announced that they have electric powered bikes in the process of making.