Motorcycles are vehicles with two or more wheels, usually powered by a petrol engine. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including commuting and leisure riding.
Construction of modern motorcycles has standardized on a steel or aluminium frame, with telescopic forks holding the front wheel and disc brakes. A petrol-powered engine combines to a manual five- or six-speed sequential transmission and drives the swingarm-mounted rear wheel.
A plastic or fibreglass shell, known as a “fairing,” is placed over the frame on some models to shield the rider from the wind and aid in aerodynamics. Drag is the major factor in limiting motorcycle speed, and most performance motorcycles feature aerodynamic technology to reduce this.
Fairings and fairing frames also help improve a rider’s comfort during long rides, by reducing the effect of the wind and rain on their bodies. They are particularly useful for keeping a rider warm in cold weather, which can reduce hypothermia and fatigue.
Windscreens A windshield is an important safety feature for motorcyclists, and many manufacturers now offer electric windscreens that raise and lower with the push of a button to a customised height. They are not as effective as a fully closed helmet at protecting the rider from airborne debris, but they do provide better visibility than a traditional windshield.
Heated hand grips and seats are a common addition to most motorcycles, helping to improve rider comfort on long trips in winter. Some high-performance bikes include features such as adjustable exhausts and a traction control system that helps the motorcycle stop quickly.