A classic Norton motorcycle
1952 Lambretta 125 D scooter

A motorcycle, often called a motorbike, bike, or cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle.[1][2][3] Motorcycle design varies greatly to suit a range of different purposes: long-distance travel, commuting, cruising, sport, including racing, and off-road riding. Motorcycling is riding a motorcycle and being involved in other related social activity such as joining a motorcycle club and attending motorcycle rallies.

The 1885 Daimler Reitwagen made by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany was the first internal combustion, petroleum-fueled motorcycle. In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle.[4][5]

In 2014, the three top motorcycle producers globally by volume were Honda (28%), Yamaha (17%) (both from Japan), and Hero MotoCorp (India).[6] In developing countries, motorcycles are considered utilitarian due to lower prices and greater fuel economy. Of all the motorcycles in the world, 58% are in the Asia-Pacific and Southern and Eastern Asia regions, excluding car-centric Japan.

According to the US Department of Transportation, the number of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled was 37 times higher for motorcycles than for cars.[7]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference definitions was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Motorcycle". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR 571.3 — Definitions". govinfo. 1 October 2010. p. 239. Retrieved 29 August 2020. Motorcycle means a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
  4. ^ "Motorcycle Timeline - Evolution of Motorcycles".
  5. ^ "Hildebrand & Wolfmuller Motorcycle, circa 1894 - The Henry Ford".
  6. ^ "Top Five Global Motorcycle Companies: Performance, Strategies and Competitive Analysis". August 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Traffic safety facts, 2008. Report no. DOT HS-811-159" (PDF). NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis. 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2010.