There's quite some debate about when the first ever motorcycle was built; while some say it was the coal-fired Roper steam cycle invented Sylvester Howard Roper in 1869, most others insist it was Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach's gas-powered motorbike with its wood frame construction in 1885 that was the forerunner to the present-day motorcycle. Weirdly enough, the term 'motorcycle' was conceived by neither of these inventors, rather by a British inventor Edward Butler when he patented and demonstrated a prototype for his three-wheeled petrol cycle in 1884 and eventually built it in 1887.
Perusing the internet for random information on motorcycles would have you lost in some pretty cool and other not-so-fun motorcycle facts, so we helped you out and came up with a list of some facts we thought were diverse and interesting.
1. The first production motorbike in history was 1488cc, 2.5bhp Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, manufactured in Germany between 1894 and 1897. The original, unrestored machine was sold at an auction in 2010 for about $100,000.
2. The longest distance ever covered on a motorcycle in a day (24 hours) is currently 2,023.5 miles (3256.5 kilometers). The distance was completed in 1297 laps by South African, Matthew ’Bushy’ McKelvey at the Phakisa Freeway, Welkom, SA on October 8, 2014. The Guinness World record was formerly held by an American, L. Russell “Rusty” Vaughn who used his personal limited edition bike, a 2010 Harley- Davidson FLHTK Electra- Glide and completed 238 laps of the Continental Tire Test Track in Texas.
3. Even more remarkable, since he covered this distance on public roads with their limitations, is the longest distance in a single trip record held by Argentinian native Emilio Scotto who traveled 457,000 miles (about 735,000 kilometers). Scotto completed his ride on his Honda 1100 Gold Wing in 10 years.
4. Russian engineer, Oleg Rogov built the world’s lengthiest motorbike in Tver in December 2005. It was measured to be over 31 feet in length. (Talk about going the distance…)
5. The tallest rideable motorbike in the world is the Regio Design XXL Chopper, which stands at 16 feet and 8.78 inches (about 5.1 meters) and is over 32 feet long. It was built and ridden by Italian, Fabio Reggiani and his team of engineers in 2012. This is another recent title steal; the record was formerly held by American, Gregory Dunham whose 2.94-ton motorcycle was just over 11 feet.
6. Tom Wiberg (Sweden) built the 'Smalltoe’ (the world’s smallest motorbike) in 2003 and rode it for more than 10m (32.8ft) in Hökerum, Sweden. The machine has a 3.14-inch wheelbase, a seat that’s only about 2.55 inches from the ground, likely weighs less than your laptop at 2.4lb and is powered up to a top speed of about 1.24 mph with its 0.3hp engine.
7. British ex-serviceman, Billy Baxter who lost his sight after contracting a rare disease whilst serving in 1997, set the world record for the blind solo land speed on a motorbike in August 2003. He did this with a top speed of 164.87mph (263.9 kph).
8. If you’re thinking of doing something daring, you could try to beat this world record for the longest backward ride on a motorcycle. The record is currently 125.52 miles (202 km) and is held by Indian rider, Dipayan Choudry who is part of the 'Dare Devils’ Indian Army Signal Corps team. He set the record recently, in October 2014.
9. Choudry’s Daredevil Team also made history in July 2001 with the longest motorbike pyramid ever built. The display team built the pyramid consisting of 201 men balanced on 10 motorcycles and traveled as a pyramid for over 424 feet (129m).
10. Most motorbike enthusiasts have probably watched the incredible footage of Australian motorcycle stunt rider, Robbie Maddison breaking the record of daredevil Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel in 2008 a few times. Maddison now holds the record for the longest motorbike jump ever with his over a 322-feet jump in Las Vegas in January 2008.
Image credit: Womensmotoexhibit.com