The Basics of Motorcycles

Motorcycles are a lot more fun than your average car, and they cost less at the outset and require a fraction of the space to park. Their higher engine power outputs can also make them more efficient, especially for highway riding. A major drawback, though, is the fact that they’re far more vulnerable to accidents involving other vehicles.

Motorcycle construction involves the engineering, manufacturing and assembly of components and systems that result in a motorcycle designed for the intended purpose by its designer. Modern mass-produced motorcycles typically use a steel or aluminium frame with telescopic forks holding the front wheel and disc brakes. A petrol-powered engine with between one and eight cylinders (depending on the model) is mounted at the rear of the frame with a manual five- or six-speed sequential transmission driving the wheel through a chain, shaft or belt. Other parts, mainly cosmetic or functional, can be added to customize the appearance and performance of the bike.

The motorcycle is a highly sociable machine, especially for those who ride as a hobby or for pleasure. Group rides allow new riders to quickly make friends with others of similar interest, and help them discover more of the world around them. The 1969 road film Easy Rider, starring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, helped promote the image of biker culture as a symbol of rebellion and independence.

Despite the reputation of being dangerous, motorcycling is a safe pastime when used responsibly. Experienced riders follow local traffic laws, stay within speed limits, leave ample room between them and other vehicles, and use the mirrors on their bikes to check behind them before changing lanes. They also wear protective gear, and take regular maintenance checks to ensure their motorcycles are in working order before heading out on the open road.