THE FIRST MOTORCYCLE
Who invented the first motorcycle?
It seems like simple questions, but the answer is a bit complicated. Motorcycles are descended from the safety bicycle,, bicycles with front and rear wheels of the same size, with a pedal crank mechanism to drive the rare wheel. Those bicycles, in turn were descended from high-wheel bicycles, the high wheelers were descended from an early type of push-bike, without pedals, propelled by the rider’s feet pushing against the ground. These appeared around 1800, used iron-banded wagon wheels, and were called bone-crushers, both for their; jarring ride, and their tendency to toss their riders.
Gottlieb Daimler (who later teamed Daimler’s wooden-framed bone crusher up with Karl Benz corporation is credited with building the first motorcycle in 1885, one wheel in the front and one in the back, although it had a smaller spring-loaded outrigger wheel on each side. It was constructed mostly of wood, with the wheels being of the iron-banded wooden-spoken wagon-type, definitely a bone crusher chassis.
It was indeed powered by single-cylinder Otto-cycle engines, and may have had a spray – type carburetor. Daimler’s assistant, wit helm may Bach was working on the invention of the spray carburetor at the time.
It one counts two wheels with steam propulsion as being a motorcycle, then the first one may have been American. One such machine was demonstrated at fairs and circuses in the eastern us in 1867, built by one Sylvester Howard roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts. There is an existing example of a roper machine, dated 1869. It’s powered by a charcoal-fired two cylinder engine. Whose connecting rods directly drive a crank on the rear wheel? This machine predates the invention of the safety bicycle by many years. So its classis is also based on the “bone-crusher” bike.
S.H. Roper’s 1869 Steam-Cycle:
Most of the development during this earlier of eras concentrated on three and four-wheeled designs, since it was complex enough to get the machines running without having to worry about them falling over. The next really notable two – wheeler was millet of 1892. It used a 5 cylinder engine built as the hub of its near wheel. The cylinders rotated with the wheel, and its crankshaft constituted the rear axle.
The first really successful production two – wheeler though, was the Hildebrand and wolf Mueller, patented in Munich in 1894. It had a step- through frame, with its fuel tank mounted on the down tube. The engine was a parallel – twin, mounted low on the frame, with its cylinder going fore-and-aft. The connecting rods connected directly to a crank on the rear axle, and instead of using heavy flywheels for energy storage between cylinder-firing, it used a pair of stout elastic bands, one on each side outboard of the cylinders, to help out on the compression strokes. It was water cooled.
The mother of all motorcycle engines – the DeDion-buton Had a water tank/radiator built into the top of the rear fender
The 5 cylinder millet of 1892
In 1895, the French firms of Dedion baton build an engine that was to make the mass production and common use of motorcycles possible. It was a small, light high revving four stroke single. And used better and coil ignition, doing away with the troublesome hot tube. Bore and stroke figures of 50mm by 70 mm gave displacement of 138 cc. a total loss lubrication system was employed to drip oil.
Into the crankcase through a metering valve, which then sloshed around to lubricate and cool components before dumping it on the ground via a breather. DeDion-buton used this ½ horsepower power plant in road going tricks, but the engine was copied and used by everybody, including Indian and Harley Davidson in the U.S.
First American production motorcycle-1898 Orient-Aster:
Although a gentleman named Pennington built some...