Sometimes it is important to see where it all started. To respect the sheer bravery of the early motorcyclist who drove on dirt and cobble stone roads, risking life and limb mostly just for the fun of it.
The 1896 Steam Motor Cycle
Probably the first motorcycle that also caused the first motorcycle fatality: The 1896 Steam Motorcycle. Not something for a quick spin to the supermarket, as it takes up to 45 minutes to get ready to drive. Forget braking, it's a little paddle on the front wheel that may slow you down, but that's about it. Antique motorcycle expert Pete Gagan tells the story of Sylvester Roper's "Steam Powered Motorcycle", and takes it out for a test ride!
The Megola Motor Cycle
Another beauty is the Megola Motor Cycle with the engine in the front wheel and not in the back as we know it from the Honda P50. The Megola was a German motorcycle produced between 1921 and 1925 in Munich. Like Bimota, the name is a portmanteau derived loosely from the names of its designers Meixner, Cockerell, and Landgraf. The Megola had a unique design: it boasted a Monosoupape rotary engine mounted within the front wheel. The engine contained five cylinders with side-mounted valves and it displaced 640 cc (39 cu in), a total size equivalent to many modern bikes. The crankshaft was the front axle, which remained stationary while the cylinders rotated with the wheel.