A Little Motorcycle History

By ldidsbury on


The first known motorcycle in the United States was said to be brought to New York by a French circus performer, in 1895. It weighed around 200 lb and could go up to 40 mph on a level surface. That year, an inventor from the United States E.J. Pennington demonstrated a motorcycle of his own design in Milwaukee. Pennington said his machine was could do up to 58 mph, and is credited with inventing the term “motor cycle” to describe his machine.

By 1901 the craze started and many manufacturing companies started building motorcycles including Harley Davidson, and Indian. Indian’s production was up to over 500 bikes by 1902, and would rise to 32,000, its best ever, in 1913. They remained on top of sales until World War II. Harley DAvidson and Indian battled over the United States market for years until Indian was bought out by Royal Enfield in 1953.

1954 brought us the movie “The Wild One” with Marlon Brando and started to portray a new culture of groups forming called “bikers.”

Over the years bikes and bikers have changed a ton. We have definitely exceeded the 40 mph mark! We have also outlived the image that only “bad boys” ride. Americans are focused more on the freedom, and thrill of riding. The number of motorcycle owners now reaches into the seven millions.

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