A motorcycle, or bike, is a two-wheeled motorized vehicle with an engine, steering and brakes. It’s easy to think that there are only a few types of motorcycles and that all bikes are the same but in reality the options are enormous. Even within these main categories there are many choices based on engine size and overall motorcycle sizes, so it’s important to understand what you want to do with your bike before buying.
A modern motorcycle is typically powered by an internal combustion, petroleum fueled engine with some of its earliest designs using steam or other forms of energy. The first internal combustion, gasoline powered motorcycle was designed and built by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885, and was unlike either the safety bicycles or boneshaker bicycles of that era.
The rider sits on the motorcycle with their feet forward, usually with the back erect or leaning slightly to allow for longer distance comfort and easier control. These are often referred to as Cruisers and Choppers, originating from the riding style of Western cowboys.
A motorcycle can be ridden on almost all types of roadways, but is especially popular in warm climates and with people who are less interested in the environmental impact of driving a car. Many motorcycle riders enjoy the freedom and sense of adventure that comes with a road trip or touring. However, motorcycles are not for the faint of heart as they can be very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced rider or a driver who is distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In fact, the number one cause of automobile accidents involving motorcycles is that other drivers simply did not see them.