For well over a century the motorbike has provided the world’s travellers with mobility, fun and a sense of freedom. A motorcycle is much more than merely a form of transport or a showcase for style and technology – it says something about its rider. It is a lifestyle statement, a fashion item and an expression of rebellion rolled into one. The History of the Motorbike traces the development of the motorcycle from the simple motorized bicycles of the late 1800s to the powerful and sophisticated superbikes of today. All the great bikes are featured along the way, as well as some of the marvellous gallery of people who have created and ridden them over the years. Visionary engineers, industry barons, gifted designers, transport-hungry pioneers, rockers, racers, soldiers, outlaw bikers, movie stars – all find a place in these pages. German engineer Gottlieb Daimler’s first ever petrol-powered motorbike, Einspur, took to the roads in 1885. Development in those early years was rapid. Technical advances included kick-starters, gearboxes, lights and suspension. Before long, British marques including BSA and Norton were producing rugged single-cylinder machines. Brough Superior built glamorous, high-quality V-twins, as did US firms including Harley-Davidson and Indian. Then, in the 1940s, Triumph pointed the way ahead with its Speed Twin, whose parallel twin engine format was widely adopted. British manufacturers dominated the 1960s, building great bikes like the Triumph Bonneville and Norton Commando. But a new star was rising in the East. Japanese firms began producing superbly engineered small-capacity machines. The modern era arrived in spectacular fashion in the 1970s. Honda’s fast and sophisticated CB750 was hotly pursued by other outstanding superbikes. The Japanese maintained their lead through the 1980s and performance levels rose. Fairings, liquid-cooled engines and aluminium frames became commonplace. Italian marques produced bikes offering outstanding style and speed, notably Ducati’s 916 and reborn MV Agusta’s F4 750. In recent years Harley-Davidson has enjoyed huge success with traditionally styled V-twins that appeal to motorcycling’s new breed of enthusiast rider. As motorcycle technology has surged ahead, sports machines such as Honda’s FireBlade, Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 and Yamaha’s Rl, have provided levels of performance and excitement that owners of other vehicles can only dream about. In an increasingly regulated world, the motorbike’s ability to provide mobility, fun and freedom remains gloriously undiminished.
|Раздел:||Спорт, Хоби и свободно време, Книги|