Think you know everything there is to know about motorcycles? Think again and check out these 10 weird and wonderful motorcycle facts…
1. A motorbike’s front tyres disperse water at three times the rate of rear tyres. Front tyres provide 75 per cent of the bike’s grip when cornering.
2. Modern sports bike tyres do not contain any rubber. The tread is actually made of synthetic rubber, designed to give the perfect compromise between durability and traction.
3. There’s much dispute about when the first vehicle that could be described as a motorcycle was built. The Butler Petrol Cycle was built in Greenwich in 1888. The Daimler Reitwagen (‘Riding Wagon’) was unveiled 3 years earlier but it technically had 4 wheels, with 2 small ‘outriggers’ acting like stabilisers on a children’s bicycle.
4. The Toilet Bike Neo three-wheeler motortrike built by Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto in 2010 ran on human waste. Phew…
5. The famous motorcycle jump in the film The Great Escape was not done by Steve McQueen but by American Triumph dealer Bud Ekins. He did the stunt in one take.
6. Singer Rob Halford of English heavy metal band Judas Priest often rides a Harley Davidson onstage when the band perform Hell Bent For Leather – a song about biking. He fell off at a show in Toronto, breaking his nose and knocking himself unconscious.
7. Italian manufacturers Ducati managed to keep up production throughout World War 2, despite being a repeated target for Allied bombing raids.
8. Legendary stunt rider Evel Knievel had suffered 433 bone fractures by end of 1975, earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records for Most Broken Bones in a Lifetime. He was seriously injured in 1976 during a televised attempt to jump a tank full of sharks at the Chicago Ampitheater.
9. Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, died after he crashed his Brough Superior SS100 when he swerved to avoid two children on bicycles. One of the doctors attending to him consequently began a long study of what he saw as the unnecessary loss of life by motorcycle riders through head injuries. This research would eventually lead to the routine use of crash helmets.
10. When Suzuki was formed at the turn of the 20th Century it originally made weaving looms for Japan’s then burgeoning silk industry. The first Suzuki motorcycle did not appear until 1952 and was really a motorized bicycle called a Power Free.