A motorcycle (or motorbike) is a vehicle used to transport people from one place to another. It does not have 4 wheels like a car. It has 2 wheels like a bicycle. But it has a motor like a car. A motorcycle is normally driven by one person. A passenger can also ride on the back of the motorcycle. Some motorcycles have a sidecar that can carry another passenger.
In 1901, the first successful motorcycle was made by "Indian motorcycles" in Springfield, Massachusetts. Since then, many other companies have made them. Major manufacturers include Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha. A well known American manufacturer of motorcycles is Harley-Davidson.
Since motorcycles can be lighter than cars, they can accelerate more quickly. But it also makes them not as safe as cars, because they do not have a protecting chassis around them like cars. Very often motorcycle riders are injured heavily in accidents. A motorcycle rider can wear a helmet and clothing that has armor. This special clothing may reduce the rider's injuries in an accident. Motorcycles also do not protect riders against wind and rain. That makes it difficult to drive in winter or during bad weather.
In poor countries, motorcycles are used by many as a cheap method of transportation. Many people who do not have the money to buy a car can afford a small motorcycle. In rich countries, large powerful motorcycles are used more as a hobby or sport.
On-road bikes (ones that are allowed on public roads) require the rider to have a special type of driver's license to be ridden legally. Off-road bikes are not allowed to be driven on public roads.
Speed and stunts are the main goals for off-road bike sports. Many on-road bikes are much faster than off-road bikes and can be used in sports such as motorbike racing.
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- Setright, L.J.K. (1979), The Guinness book of motorcycling facts and feats, Guinness Superlatives, pp. 202, 211, ISBN 0-85112-200-0
- "History of Individual Motocross World Championships". fim-live.com. Retrieved 11 October 2011.