Motorcycles are nimble road warriors that shuttle their drivers from Point A to Point B with speed and precision. They inspire direct connections with the landscape, and are irresistible to both long-haul travelers and everyday commuters. They’re also cheaper to own and operate than cars, take up a fraction of the space and require much less maintenance.
The first motorised bikes hit the pavement over 150 years ago, and the basic design has remained mostly unchanged since. The layout is simple: a gasoline engine converts reciprocating motion of pistons into rotary motion, which drives the rear wheel through a transmission system. The front wheel steers and is held rigidly by a telescopic fork, and the rider controls movement of both with hand levers and foot pedals that control brakes and shift gears.
Modern motorcycles have high engine power outputs for their size, and use lightweight materials such as aluminium alloys, stainless steel and titanium, and magnesium. Their engines are two-stroke or four-stroke, and they typically have one to eight cylinders. The power is transferred to the wheels through a chain, shaft or belt, and the wheels are driven by disc brakes.
When shopping for a motorcycle, it is important to take some time to think about what you intend to do with it. Once you know what you’ll be using it for, navigate the brands and motorcycle sizes, read reviews and ratings from other riders, and find a bike that will fit your needs. Before you take off on your new ride, be sure to conduct a safety inspection and make sure all of the vital components are functioning properly.