Motorcycle is the most economical mode of motorized transport. It normally has two or three wheels. The majority of the motorcycles in the world are found in the developing countries. India and China are the largest users of these bikes. When you consider the global statistics, you will find that for every 1000 people there are 33 motorcycles as against 91 cars per 1000 people. China produces 22 million motorcycles annually. Also, at the moment China has 54 million motorcycles that are in use.
The first motorcycle with an internal combustion engine was manufactured by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885. Since their main objective was to test their new engine, they didn’t make it a good riding machine. However, they go on record as the manufacturers of the first motorcycle. Afterwards, many manufacturers produced such machines but many of them went their own ways without concentrating on motorcycles.
However, the manufacture of motorcycles got streamlined and after the World War II BSA of England became the largest manufacturer. From then onwards better machines were developed and Japan’s Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki became the leaders. Presently it is the Indian companies that dominate the motorcycle manufacture.
There are different varieties of motorcycles. The three main types are the street cycles, the ones used offroad and the dual purpose motorcycles. There are also subtypes within these three types. Sports bikes, cruisers, mopeds and scooters belong to this category. The off roaders are normally not permitted on roads but they are good for participating in events such as motor crosses. Dual purpose ones are designed for both on and offroad use.
When it comes to safety, motorcycles score poorly. Figures in the US explain this amply. In 2005 for 100,000 cars 18.62 fatal accidents have taken place. For the same number of motorcycles the rate was 75.19 more than 4 times the fatality rate for cars. When it comes to vehicle miles, for 100 million there were 1.56 of fatalities with passenger cars but the same for motor cycles was 43.47. It was 28 times more.
Fuel economy of motorcycles varies according to the engine capacity, weight and the size of the motorcycles. A powerful one may do only around 29 miles per gallon. However, one designed to be light in weight and to get better fuel economy may run 129 miles per gallon. There are also some new models that are able to provide still better fuel economy.