The History of the Motorcycle – Part 1

Part 1 – The world’s first motorcycle


Gottlieb Daimler – a surname you may recognize – was the man who started it all, and the man we have to thank for doing so.

In Germany 1885, Daimler invented and built the first motorcycle, it was named; Reitwagen (riding car) – although I have also seen it called the Einspur (single track).

1200px-Daimler_Reitwagen, Wiki
The Reitwagen (Einspur).

The Reitwagen’s frame was made completely from wood and had a 265cc internal combustion engine.

Although Daimler – and build partner Wilhelm Maybach – were not the first to experiment with the idea of the motorcycle, they were the first to have an internal combustion, petroleum fueled motorcycle. Not a steam powered motorcycle, which would kill its inventor Sylvester Howard Roper.

The Reitwagen design with its petroleum fueled engine.

Daimler – clearly being crazy – abandoned the project and began the work he is now more recognized for; making cars.

Luckily for all of us motorcycle lovers, not everyone decided to go the car route, and would attempt to reproduce their own versions of the motorcycle. It was not easy. Many obstacles would need to be overcome just to get the layout right.

In part 2 we will look at the evolution of the motorcycle, from the first few that were produced.



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