The motorcycle is one of the most powerful machines in the world, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. When riding, you must be completely focused and calmly, even coldly, devoted to the task at hand. Otherwise you are putting yourself in danger of serious injury or death. But it’s not just the danger of crashing that scares people away from motorcycles—it’s the perception that motorcyclists are reckless and erratic on the road. And that’s not entirely unfounded.
A biker’s body is a massive source of wind resistance, and a major contributor to the vehicle’s overall aerodynamic performance. To combat this effect, many early models of motorcycles included a windshield or fairing. Later models were designed to eliminate this problem altogether with a cabin cycle, which features a hull that wraps around the basic bicycle frame and effectively isolates the driver from the surrounding air.
In the mid-1940s, American soldiers who fought in WWII came back home with a love for two-wheeled vehicles, and a desire to own their own bikes. The popularity of these “cruiser” models brought new riders into the industry and established the basis for motorcycle brotherhoods and clubs.
In 1969, the road movie Easy Rider starring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda created a fervor for motorcycle culture that would endure well into this century. It fueled the image of motorcycles as vehicles for freedom and independence, and created an aura of rebellion against authority and conformity. The biker lifestyle is still alive and well today, and it isn’t for everyone.