Motorcycle Evolution [Infographic]
Motorcycle lover or not, most of us can agree that motorcycles are the ultimate “cool guy” ride. But where and when did they come from? And how did they evolve into the symbol of total badassery that they are today? The motorcycle’s origin story, which began in the same decade as the American Civil War, may surprise you.
The first ever motorcycle was built in 1867 by Sylvester Howard Roper (with some debate among historians) and bore only a vague resemblance to the modern day motorcycle. In fact, it wasn’t technically a motorcycle at all but a velocipede. This primitive motorcycle was built with a two-cylinder engine powered by coal—not exactly ideal for cross-country road trips. Roper, who also invented the shotgun choke and one of the earliest steam engine cars, died in 1896 while demonstrating his motorized bike.
Since then, motorcycles have come a long way, from improved safety features like antilock brakes to fuel-efficient hybrid engines. But it didn’t happen overnight (more like one and a half centuries). With this detailed infographic, you’ll be taken on a journey through the evolution of motorcycles and all the advancements that have been made along the way. Plus, you’ll get to see which brands helped shape history.