Tuesday, 15 October 2013


The pneumatic tyre was invented by John Boyd Dunlop in 1888 for use on push-bikes. Boyd also invented the word “pneumatic”.

Slick tyres offer more grip in the wet than treaded tyres up to the point at which they aquaplane.

Modern sports bike tyres don’t contain any natural rubber.

Front tyres disperse water at three times the rate of rear tyres.

When cornering, 75 per cent of a bikes grip comes from the front tyre.

The GS in GSX-R denotes four cylinders with overhead valves. The X means four valves per cylinder and the R is for race replica.

Vespa means wasp.

Cucciolo (the name of the first Ducati) means puppy.


Hayabusa is the name of a Japanese falcon that preys on blackbirds (you gotta larf!). It was also the name of a WW2 Kamikaze fighter plane.

Steve McQueen didn’t do the famous 65 ft motorcycle jump in The Great Escape. American Triumph dealer Bud Ekins did it – in one take.

The first Honda motorcycles were pushbikes with generator engines for army field telephones bolted on.

Yamaha makes swimming pools and unmanned helicopters.

Ducati once made radios.

BMW is the only current major manufacturer to reject the use of telescopic forks on its big bikes. Yet BMW was the first to use and patent them, on the R12 in 1935.

Devil, Satan and Lucifer have all been names of motorcycle manufactures.

Suzuki went from GP also-rans to world champions in 1962 after works MZ rider Emst Degner defected to the firm with all the company’s technology.

Yamaha started making bikes in 1954 but didn’t produce a four-stroke motorcycle until 1970, when the firm built the XS2 650 twin.

The Kawasaki motorcycle division was established in 1962 for no other reason than to publicise Kawasaki ’s heavy industries, which was huge but unknown to the general public. 

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