Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:16:54 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Gottlieb Daimler was a sensible man, as well as a brilliant engineer. Having invented the motorcycle in 1885 (although as his wooden-framed contraption had stabilizers, it rather raises a question mark over the definition of the first two-wheel machine) he pretty quickly abandoned the project and became famous for producing Sr Daimlers. Not everyone was so sensible, thank goodness, and hundreds of tiny companies went bankrupt in the 1910s and 1920s trying to build motorcycles.
It was the sheer impracticality of the motorcycle that was its chief glory, leading to tremendous diversity around the basic layout. In the first instance this meant putting the engine between the wheels — even that took some time to figure out — and led to the triumph of hope over adversity as well as to an entire motorcycling philosophy that was based upon individuality, rebellion and fun. If you like motorcycles, as you probably do if you are reading this book, you will know that they do not appeal to everyone, which makes them even more appealing, and that they have given rise to so many types of competition — dramatic, dangerous and sometimes not entirely sane — from the TT to ice racing. This information gives details of all of those crazy competitions, and a whole lot more. Written by experts and enthusiasts, the first half of the information guides you not only through the most important examples of the two-wheel product in history, but also gives a rider's eye view, explaining just what motorcycle culture is all about.
The second half follows the history and analyzes the output of just one company — Harley-Davidson. It is the oldest motorcycle marque in the world (Norton used to claim that honour, but no more) so we follow the company's history, and see it rise to every challenge presented to it over the last century, including two world wars, a Depression and competitors who, several times, seemed to have sunk H-D for good. Harley-Davidson also embodies so much of the motorcycle ethos. Not only have people been adding things on and stripping things off their Harleys since the very beginning (representing that all-important individualism) but also the basic layout - the 45-degree V-twin engine — has survived for many decades, representing the continuity and essential simplicity of motorbike culture. The very sound of a Harley is extraordinary. To understand Harley-Davidson is to understand motorcycles.
Bikes are for looking at as well as riding, and what a superb collection of models awaits in this information: the bespoke glamour of the Bimota Test, the world-beating blur of the Yamaha YZR500 and the 170mph (273kph) Turbo Ecomobile. What was the world's first mass-produced four-cylinder bike? What do you know of the Lanying CJ750F? You may know a lot about motorcycles, but there is much here to enlighten and surprise. Put on your leathers and enquire within.
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