Motorcycles

The first commercial design for a self-propelled cycle was a three-wheel design called the Butler Petrol Cycle, conceived of Edward Butler in England in 1884. He exhibited his plans for the vehicle at the Stanley Cycle Show in London in 1884. The vehicle was built by the Merryweather Fire Engine company in Greenwich, in 1888. The Butler Petrol Cycle was a three-wheeled vehicle, with the rear wheel directly driven by a 5/8hp (466W) 600 cc (40 in3; 2¼×5-inch {57×127-mm}) flat twin four stroke engine with magneto ignition replaced by coil and battery, equipped with rotary valves and a float-fed carburettor, five years before Maybach, and Ackermann steering, all of which were state of the art at the time. Starting was by compressed air. The engine was liquid-cooled, with a radiator over the rear driving wheel. Speed was controlled by means of a throttle valve lever. No braking system was fitted; the vehicle was stopped by raising and lowering the rear driving wheel using a foot-operated lever; the weight of the machine was then borne by two small castor wheels. The driver was seated between the front wheels. It wasn't, however, a success, as Butler failed to find sufficient financial backing. Replica of the Daimler-Maybach Reitwagen. Another early internal combustion, petroleum fueled motorcycle was the Daimler Reitwagen. It was designed and built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Bad Cannstatt, Germany in 1885. This vehicle was unlike either the safety bicycles or the boneshaker bicycles of the era in that it had zero degrees of steering axis angle and no fork offset, and thus did not use the principles of bicycle and motorcycle dynamics developed nearly 70 years earlier. Instead, it relied on two outrigger wheels to remain upright while turning. The inventors called their invention the Reitwagen, simply meaning riding car. It was designed as an expedient test bed for their new engine, rather than a true prototype vehicle. Many authorities have excluded steam powered, electric motorcycles or diesel-powered two-wheelers from the definition of a 'motorcycle', and credit the Daimler Reitwagen as the world's first motorcycle. Given the rapid rise in use of electric motorcycles worldwide, defining only internal-combustion powered two-wheelers as 'motorcycles' is increasingly problematic. If a two-wheeled vehicle with steam propulsion is considered a motorcycle, then the first motorcycles built seem to be the French Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede which patent application was filled in December 1868, constructed around the same time as the American Roper steam velocipede, built by Sylvester H. Roper Roxbury, Massachusetts,who demonstrated his machine at fairs and circuses in the eastern U.S. in 1867 and built a total of 10 examples
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