What Is a Motorcycle?


A motorcycle is a two-wheeled vehicle powered by an internal-combustion engine. It is usually referred to as a motorbike, but there are several other terms that are also used, including scooter, moped and bike. Regardless of the term that is used, all motorcycles have one thing in common: they are fun to ride.

Many people use motorcycles to commute to work, school and other places each day. The process is often less time consuming than driving and can be cheaper as well. Moreover, most motorcycles are small enough to fit in a parking spot that would otherwise be taken up by cars or trucks.

The invention of the gasoline engine provided a major boost to the motorcycle industry. While Sylvester Roper’s steam velocipede and the Michaux-Perreaux velocipede never gained wide acceptance, these machines demonstrated that a bike could be fitted with an engine to increase its speed and power.

After the world survived two massive wars, manufacturers began producing a wide variety of motorcycles again. Some of these were used for military service, and others were sold to civilians looking for a way to get around on tight budgets.

Today, the motorcycle market is more diverse than ever before. Women now make up about 20 percent of riders, a number that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. And there is a growing interest in smaller, retro-styled motorcycles that are designed to be easy to handle for new riders.