Biker or bikie may refer to:
- a rider of a bicycle
- a rider of a motorcycle, i.e., one who participates in motorcycling
- a member of an outlaw motorcycle club
A motorcycle (also called a motorbike, bike, moto or cycle) is a two or three wheeled motor vehicle. 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 related social activity such as joining a motorcycle club and attending motorcycle rallies.
In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle. In 2012, the three top motorcycle producers globally by volume were Honda, Bajaj Auto, and Hero MotoCorp.
Motorcycles are mainly a luxury good in the developed world, where they are used mostly for recreation, as a lifestyle accessory or a symbol of personal identity. In developing countries, motorcycles are overwhelmingly 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.
First motorcycle companies
In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle (German: Motorrad). Excelsior Motor Company, originally a bicycle manufacturing company based in Coventry, England, began production of their first motorcycle model in 1896. The first production motorcycle in the US was the Orient-Aster, built by Charles Metz in 1898 at his factory in Waltham, Massachusetts.
In the early period of motorcycle history, many producers of bicycles adapted their designs to accommodate the new internal combustion engine. As the engines became more powerful and designs outgrew the bicycle origins, the number of motorcycle producers increased. Many of the nineteenth century inventors who worked on early motorcycles often moved on to other inventions. Daimler and Roper, for example, both went on to develop automobiles.
At the turn of the century the first major mass-production firms were set up. In 1898, Triumph Motorcycles in England began producing motorbikes, and by 1903 it was producing over 500 bikes. Other British firms were Royal Enfield, Norton and Birmingham Small Arms Company who began motorbike production in 1899, 1902 and 1910, respectively. Indian began production in 1901 and Harley Davidson was established two years later. By the outbreak of the First World War, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world was Indian, producing over 20,000 bikes per year.
Motorcycle rider postures
The motorcyclist's riding position depends on rider body-geometry (anthropometry) combined with the geometry of the motorcycle itself. These factors create a set of three basic postures.
Sport – the rider leans forwards into the wind and the weight of the upper torso is supported by the rider's core at low speed and air pressure at high speed (e.g., above 50 mph (80 km/h)). The footpegs are below the rider or to the rear. The reduced frontal area cuts wind resistance and allows higher speeds. At low-speed this position throws the weight of the rider onto the arms, which can tire the rider's wrists.
Standard – the rider sits upright or leans forward slightly. The feet are below the rider. These are motorcycles that are not specialised to one task, so they do not excel in any particular area.
The standard posture is used with touring and commuting as well as dirt and dual-sport bikes, and may offer advantages for beginners.
Cruiser – the rider sits at a lower seat height with the upper torso upright or leaning slightly rearward. Legs are extended forwards, sometimes out of reach of the regular controls on cruiser pegs. The low seat height can be a consideration for new or short riders. Handlebars tend to be high and wide. The emphasis is on comfort, while compromising cornering ability because of low ground clearance and the greater likelihood of scraping foot pegs, floor boards, or other parts if turns are taken at the speeds other motorcycles can more readily accomplish.
Factors of a motorcycle's ergonomic geometry that determine the seating posture include the height, angle and location of footpegs, seat and handlebars. Factors in a rider's physical geometry that contribute to seating posture include torso, arm, thigh and leg length, and overall rider height.