Motorcycles evoke a sense of romance, power and adventure. The sport bikes, dirt bikes, and cruisers have stood the test of time and continue to be popular with riders from all over the world.
The most common motorcycles feature a steel or aluminum frame, with either spoked or cast wheels. The engine is a two-stroke or four-stroke, air-cooled inline-twin with one to six cylinders (or less for small bikes). Power is transferred from the engine through a transmission system that drives the rear wheel through a chain, shaft, or belt. Various body parts can be added for aesthetic or performance purposes, but all modern motorcycles have the same basic construction.
Most motorcycles aren’t very aerodynamic, with the rider sitting out in the breeze and the exposed wheels, engine, and wires creating a lot of drag compared to a smooth, streamlined car. This isn’t so much of a problem at lower speeds, but as speed increases, the amount of energy it takes to maintain the same velocity rises proportionally with the square of the speed.
As a result, it’s essential for every motorcyclist to know and obey all state and local traffic laws. Always check the weather and road conditions before heading out, and never drive if you are tired or intoxicated. It’s also important to wear a helmet, eye protection, and appropriate riding gear for the conditions. Be aware that most motorcycle crashes happen because other drivers didn’t see the biker, so be vigilant and use defensive driving techniques at all times.