Motorcycles in the 19th century
The history of the motorcycle will forever be linked with the development of early bicycles. The bicycle formed the basis for early motorbikes and helped to shape the history of these motorized machines.
In 1867 Sylvester Howard Roper invented the first machine that some would recognise as a motorbike. Roper, an American, created a machine that had two cylinder steam engine. This early bike was powered by coal.
Some experts insist that having the machine powered in such a way suggests that it can't really be compared to modern motorcycles.
Many suggest that the first real motorcycle was invented by Gottlieb Daimler. Daimler was, of course, to eventually find rather more fame through his work on cars.
Daimler had been working for some time with Nicolaus August Otto, who was himself an early expert in designing and building engines. Daimler took one of Otto's engines and attached it to a wooden bicycle frame.
Otto's four stroke internal combustion engine was a remarkable breakthrough and Daimler's use of it ensured that in 1885 he produced what many see as having been the first ever motorcycle.
There is often some confusion, with many believing that these machines were invented by theHarley Davidson company.
That company was founded by William Harley, Arthur Davidson and Walter Davidson. Although they did play a key role in the early development of motorcycles, they didn't start producing the machines until almost twenty years after Daimler had created the first one.
Although Harley Davidsons quickly became known for their speed and performance, the inventors always intended that the bikes should be used for transport purposes.
Today , they remain as one of the great icons of the last century.
It's amazing to think that the developments of more than 100 years ago led to the production of modern day motorbikes.