FAST FACTS ARCHIVES

A collection of mostly useless but somewhat interesting facts!

The 1954 German Grand Prix at Solitude attracted over 500,000 spectators. A record for any type of Motorsport event that still stands today. Geoff Duke won the 500cc, Ray Amm the 350, Werner Haas the 250 and Rupert Hollaus the 125.

Motorcycle helmets were invented by the neurosurgeon who attended to Lawrence of Arabia after his fatal motorcycle crash.

The machine largely regarded as the world's first motorcycle, built in 1867, and had a twist-grip throttle – an idea that has not been bettered since.

Some police motorcycles in the 1920's had a jail sidecar.

Honda made its first complete motorcycle in 1949. 15 years later it was the world's largest producer of motorcycles.

Indian motorcycles took the first three places in the 1911 Isle of Man TT Races.

It takes just 11 days to sell as many motorcycles in India as Americans buy in a whole year.

When they were operating at their peak, Triumph's Meridin factory used to produce 30,000 Bonnevilles a month.

The first production motorcycle ever was sold in Germany in 1894. It was called the Hildebrand & Wolfmuller. The first motorcycle races were held in France, not long after. Probably just after the second one was made!

It was Geoff Duke who, in conjunction with a local tailor, developed the first set of one-piece racing leathers. The idea was to cut down aerodynamic drag.

According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the earliest internal combustion-engine motorized bicycle was the Daimler Reitwagaen, and was invented in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany. It was named 'Einspur', and was lost in a fire in 1903.

Forbes magazine founder, Malcolm Forbes owned 50 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The longest journey ever made with a motorcycle comes from Emilio Scotto of Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, he covered over 735,000 km (457,000 miles) and 214 countries and territories, from 17 January 1985 to 2 April 1995.

Indian began production in 1901 and Harley-Davidson was established two years later. By the outbreak of the First World War, it was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, producing over 20,000 bikes per year.

The oldest surviving Russian-manufactured motorcycle, the Rossiya, dates from 1902.

Arai Helmets started as a hat-making company in Japan in 1926 making gear for the construction industry. Company founder Hirotake Arai was once a motorcycle stunt rider and the company is still privately owned today and run by the Arai family.

The longest journey ever made on a motorcycle comes from Emilio Scotto of Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, he covered over 735,000 km (457,000 miles) and 214 countries and territories, from 17 January 1985 to 2 April 1995.

The first company that advertised a motorcycle's top speed of over 100mph was Brough Superior. That claim was made for its SS100 in 1924. Considered even today to be innovative and beautifully designed machines, Brough motorcycles were the first to have prop stands, twin headlights, crash bars, interconnected silencers and 1000cc v-twin engines. Every SS100 was road tested on public roads to check that it could reach 100mph. If it didn't, it was returned to the factory for further work until it could reach that feat.

n the earliest days of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, small advertisements were placed in the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal offering bare Harley-Davidson engines to the do-it-yourself trade that could assemble their own motorcycle. By April 1905, complete motorcycles were in production on a very limited basis. That year, the first Harley-Davidson dealer, Carl H. Lang of Chicago, sold three bikes from the five built in the Davidson backyard shed.

Suzuki originally began making weaving looms for Japan's silk industry in the early part of the 1900s. Company founder Michio Suzuki wanted to diversify his company and began an engineering firm that started making small cars and engines during the 1930s. The first Suzuki motorcycle appeared in 1952 and was a motorized bicycle called a Power Free. It had a two-stroke 36cc engine that featured a double-sprocket gear system for the rider to either pedal with engine assistance, pedal without the engine, or simply disconnect the pedals and use the engine. Today, along with motorcycles, Suzuki makes cars, marine engines, wheelchairs and is Japan's second largest manufacturer of small cars and trucks.

Harley Davidson tried unsuccessfully to trademark the sound of their motorcycles. During litigation, a Yamaha spokesman countered, "There's no difference between the sound their engine makes and the sound our engine makes. The pistons go up and down. They all sound the same." There would be more than a few people who would argue that a Yamaha v-twin does not sound the same as a Harley.

IT has been said that in 2000 the major motorcycle companies of the world reached a gentlemen's agreement to end a speed war of one-upmanship to try to make the worlds fastest production bike, as they feared speeds would escalate to extremely dangerous speeds before it would end. A limit of 186 mph was agreed. If that was true, Kawasaki's H2 has certainly blown that out the door!

Ducati was a family owned business that started out in 1935. They opened their business in Bologna, Italy, and was first known for making radio parts before building motorized bicycles.

Engineering genius and owner of Brough Superior, George Brough, also wrote all of his company's advertising copy describing his motorcycles as "atmosphere disturbers". Nice one.

In 1992 Honda launched arguably the most technically complex production motorcycle ever made with the Honda NR750. The NR boasted oval pistons with two con rods and eight valves per cylinder. Designed initially as a race bike, Honda made 300 road-going versions of the NR available to the public and at the time it was considered one of the most expensive motorcycles you could buy at over $100,000.



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