After 122 Years, The Motorcycle Is Finally Growing In Popularity In The Usa

First developed by Gottlieb Daimler in 1885, the motorcycle has been an important element in the transportation infrastructure around the world. In countries where population numbers are high, such as Japan, China and India, the motorcycle and motorized scooter are the personal transportation vehicle of choice.

Until World War I, India sported the largest motorcycle manufacturing company in the world. By 1920, the legendary Harley Davidson took the reigns as the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles, and they held the title for seven years, until 1927 when the German manufacturer DKW took the lead.

In the aftermath of World War II, DKW lost their lead to the English company BSA Group. As part of the post-war reparations by Germany, DKW turned over its designs to the BSA Group and Harley Davidson motorcycles. BSA Group purchased the Triumph Motorcycles brand, during their decade as the leader in motorcycle manufacturing.

From 1955 to the 1970′s, German motorcycle manufacturers dominated the marketplace, and then the lead passed to Japan’s hierarchy of top brands, including Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki.

From Easy Rider to American Choppers

In 1969, when Easy Rider was first released to American audiences, motorcycle enthusiasts were considered outcasts and outlaws. When American Choppers debuted on the Discovery Channel in 2002, the Teutul family’s Orange County Choppers introduced the world to the beauty and love for custom-built motorcycles.

The Teutul’s have built custom bikes for major organizations and corporations, enabling the world to begin to view motorcycles and their riders in a more positive light. U.S. Air Force recruiters commissioned a $150,000 custom motorcycle from OCC that is being used as a public outreach tool. OCC has even built custom motorcycles for the New York Jets, the Miami Heat, Snap-On Tools, NAPA Auto Parts, Learjet, Bass Pro Shops, and the 7/11 convenience store chain.

Major corporations have invested nice sums of money to have custom-built motorcycles made just for them, and that has given the motorcycle community something positive to cheer. After more than 125 years, motorcycles have become mainstream.

Motorcycles For The Average Guy

While OCC choppers are beautiful to look at, the average guy simply cannot afford to spend better than $100,000 for a custom-built machine. That is why we average people drive models like: Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory or Yamaha. Other models frequently seen on American roads include Ducati and Echelon, although both require a little bigger budget to own.

Americans have long been spoiled by gasoline that costs less than two dollars per gallon, but those days seem to be long gone. As Americans contemplate higher fuel costs and their current driving habits, the motorcycle continues to grow in popularity among the population. As people begin to digest the high cost of filling the tank on their SUV, many are making the decision to sell their SUV and to use a motorcycle (and in some cases, a motorized scooter) to take them to and from work.

Once they have made the switch from automobile to motorcycle, these new motorcycle owners begin to realize the freedom that they have missed through their adult life.

Buying Used Or New Motorcycles

The question of new or used is often a question of budget, although the costs of new motorcycles are generally fairly low when compared to the cost of a new compact car. Simply put, if you can afford to buy a compact car new, then you can afford to buy your next motorcycle new as well.

The newest American-made motorcycle is the Victory, made by Polaris, based in Minnesota. Polaris has been involved in vehicle manufacturing for better than 50 years, getting their start with snowmobiles. Polaris is also one of the largest manufacturers or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). In 1998, they introduced the new Victory motorcycle to great accolades and reviews. According to the 2006 J.D. Power report, the Victory motorcycle had the highest overall rating of all of the motorcycle manufacturers.

The Harley Davidson still remains popular among Harley enthusiasts. BMW motorcycles are popular among the yuppies with a need for speed; and the Japanese models of Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha have retained their popularity over large cross-sections of the population.

Regular Maintenance

As with any vehicle, regular maintenance is essential to ensure the long-life of the equipment and the safety of the rider.

With motorcycles, maintaining good tires is even more important than it is to keep good tires on a car. With only two wheels to the ground, a blowout on the road could lead to a major accident for the rider, so it is imperative to keep two good tires on the ground at all times.

Other parts to be mindful of include the braking system, and the brake and accelerator cables, the drive chain, and its sprockets. Although a motorcycle is not as complex as an automobile, it still retains essential parts that must be cared for in a responsible manner.

At one point or another, all vehicles will need to have parts replaced or repaired. One of the most fortunate aspects of a motorcycle is the ease of which to find replacement parts for the vehicle. Whereas owning a new car might put you in the uncomfortable situation of always having to order parts, which no one has on hand, the motorcycle owner does not have the same problem.

Making Good Choices

Whatever new or used motorcycle you choose to go with, you will find that the continuing maintenance and operation of that vehicle will be much less than that of a car. And in these days of high gasoline prices, the choice of a motorcycle or scooter to help in your transportation needs can be considered as nothing short of a godsend.

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