When motorbikes got into the fast lane

Compiled by Sravanthi Challapalli | Updated on January 20, 2018

Vroom! A Harley Davidson India pavilion at Auto Expo 2012.   -  The Hindu

A Royal Enfield biker   -  The Hindu

India Bike Week kicks off in Goa today. Did you know when the motorcycle was invented? According to Wikipedia, the idea of motorised cycles occurred to many people at the same time. After a series of innovations, the 1880s saw several models emerge, especially in Germany and England, and soon spread to America. The early days of motorcycle development saw many producers of bicycles adapt their designs to accommodate an internal combustion engine. Many motorcycle inventors often moved on to other inventions, such as Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, who went on to develop automobiles.

The famous Harley Davidson began producing motorcycles in 1903. World War I saw incremental output of these machines as they were used for reconnaissance, military policing, and to carry messages, replacing messengers on horses. By the end of the war, Harley Davidson was allotting 50 per cent of its production to war efforts. Royal Enfield started off manufacturing and supplying precision rifle parts. British motorcycle firms BSA, Norton and Triumph dominated the market until the rise of the Japanese brands in the late Sixties and Seventies. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha continue to dominate the market today.

Bikers clubs took root in the years after World War II, when riders looked for a replacement for the excitement, danger and camaraderie that war afforded them. The bike’s image as a cultural icon and lifestyle statement, associated with style and a free spirit, was built in the Sixties and Seventies.

Published on February 18, 2016

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