from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A motorcycle is typically a single-track , two-wheeled motor vehicle with one or two seats. Motorcycles are characterized by a lower power-to-weight ratio compared to a car . The engine power has to accelerate less mass and the vehicle has a lower rolling resistance , so that powerful production motorcycles can accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in 2.7  seconds . The drag coefficientof motorcycles, on the other hand, is relatively high, so that only aerodynamically perfected models can reach speeds of over 300 km / h. On January 1, 2018, a total of 4.4 million motorcycles were registered in Germany, and 720,381 motorcycles in Switzerland (as of September 30, 2016).

In Germany, motorcycles belong to the motorcycle category (short form: Krad), in Switzerland the corresponding designation is motorcycle, unless they are motorcycles , i.e. H. Mopeds , acts ( Art. 14 VTS ). A historical designation in Germany is motor bike or motorized bicycle (colloquially in Switzerland also known as " Töffli ").

Technology history

Reitwagen of Daimler (1885)
First series motorcycle by Hildebrand and Wolfmüller (1894)
FN four-cylinder with cardan shaft (1905)
BMW R 32 (1923)

The history of the motorcycle is first of all the history of the bicycle . It began in 1817 with Karl Drais' “walking machine” . The crank was invented in the 1860s . Pierre Michaux developed the steam wheel in 1869 , which is considered the forerunner of the motorcycle; Steam wheels were manufactured in the United States until the 1890s .

In 1885 Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach designed the riding car , a test vehicle for the high-speed petrol-powered petrol engine. This vehicle is - despite its side, non-springy support wheels - the first motorcycle. The first motorcycle with a gasoline engine that could actually be driven like a motorcycle and was also produced in series is the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller from 1894. This manufacturer first used the word "motorcycle" and had it patented. In 1897 the De Dion Bouton motor tricycle went into production, the most successful motor vehicle before the turn of the century. In the same year, the Werner brothers in France developed a front-wheel drive motorcycle. With the technical innovation of the spray nozzle carburetor , a patent from Wilhelm Maybach from 1893, and the magneto ignition , a patent from Robert Bosch from 1901, the motorcycle became much easier to use.

1900 to 1918

Until the First World War, the development of motorcycle technology was only shaped by European and American manufacturers: in 1902 Griffon manufactured a motorcycle with a V-engine . In 1904 FN built the first motorcycles with four-cylinder engines and cardan shafts , while Indian introduced the throttle grip. In 1905 the first motorcycles with sprung front suspension appeared , from 1909 Scott made two-stroke engines and kick starters . In 1913 Adalberto Garelli developed the double-piston engine, a special type of two-stroke engine. In 1914 Indian offered an electric starter and electric lighting as standard .

The military was also interested in the motorcycle. Motorcycles were used as a means of transport as early as the Boer War and later in the Balkan War . The motorcycle was used in large numbers in the First World War. Wanderer and NSU were the main suppliers to the imperial military. Triumph , Douglas and Phelon & Moore were responsible for military production on the British, Indian and Harley-Davidson on the American side. The main use was the transmission of messages by report drivers and ambulance transports with sidecars. The first company to manufacture motorcycles on an industrial scale in the United States was Indian - the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world from 1913 to 1917.

1918 to 1945

In the period after the First World War , Harley-Davidson developed into the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world; Numerous companies in Germany started to manufacture motorcycles; including well-known names such as DKW (1922) and BMW (1923). In the 1920s, the non-military spread of motorcycles with sidecars began . In 1928 DKW became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world due to the changed tax laws and the introduction of reverse scavenging for two-stroke engines. The two-stroke boom ensured that more small motorcycles than motorcycles were registered in Germany as early as 1932. In 1934 Gilera first used a transversely installed four-cylinder four-stroke engine in the “Rondine” racing machine. In 1935 BMW introduced the telescopic fork , and in the same year the Japanese manufacturer Koto Trading Company, a subsidiary of Sankyo , built the Harley-Davidson Flathead under license for the first time . Koto Trading was the first Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. Honda (1948), Suzuki (1952), Yamaha (1954) and Kawasaki (1961) only built motorcycles after the Second World War.

In 1920 Ernest Walker set the first FICM- recognized world speed record on an Indian in Daytona with 167.67 km / h . By 1937 the speed record was u. a. increased to over 279.5 km / h (by Ernst Jakob Henne ) by charging the engine . Also, two-stroke engines were on the piston loading pump an increase in output, so any of these DKW .

The motorcycle was used extensively during World War II . All warring nations switched their production to military two-wheelers. The American motorcycle industry, represented by Harley-Davidson and Indian, produced over 300,000 motorcycles, the British industry 425,000 motorcycles for the Allies . On the German side, special sidecar motorcycles such as the Zündapp KS 750 and the BMW R 75 were developed.

1945 to 1969

The most copied motorcycle in the world: a DKW RT 125 , 1939–1965; in the picture model 1949/50

In the post-war period, the motorcycle served as an “affordable car replacement”. The motorcycles should be as robust, reliable and simply constructed as possible. The journalist Ernst Leverkus called corresponding models “Westerwald motorcycles” and cited the Ardi B 250, BMW R 24 , NSU 251 OSL, Triumph BDG, Victoria KR 25 and Zündapp dB 201 as examples . In the GDR, the MZ machines corresponded to this profile of a functional motorcycle until 1990. The displacement class of 125 cm³ introduced by DKW in 1938 quickly established itself as the standard for smaller motorcycles. In the post-war period, machines of this class were often overloaded due to the limited possibilities, used for heavy transports or longer vacation trips. In Germany, after 1945, Maico first brought out a 150 cm³ machine in 1949, and other manufacturers such as Riedel , Adler , Ilo , Fichtel & Sachs and Dürkopp followed suit . With increasing prosperity, motorcycles with even larger displacement became affordable; the NSU Max , built from 1952, became one of the most popular motorcycles of the 250cc class. At the same time the profiled moped as a small motorcycle with 50 cc. In 1955, with an annual production of 70,214 motorcycles, 228,369 mopeds and 45,747 bicycles , NSU became the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturer at the time.

Up until 1957 ( Federal Republic of Germany ) and 1989 ( GDR ) there were more motorcycles than cars in Germany. In this preference, the situation in Germany differed significantly from those in the USA and neighboring Western European countries. In 1958, Ducati introduced a variant of the desmodromic valve control . This automatic control, which is still in production today, was designed by the Italian Fabio Taglioni .

In the 1960s, motorcycle demand and production fell steadily in the era of the economic miracle ; the motorcycle as a pure means of transport had largely been replaced by the now affordable full-fledged car. Around 1969 the lowest production and registration numbers of motorcycles were recorded. The German motorcycle industry was on the ground, many manufacturers no longer existed. Only BMW still made large-displacement motorcycles - with four-digit production figures.

In the GDR, the motorcycle sector developed differently. As a result of an inadequate supply of cars and, at the same time, quite attractive and more readily available two-wheeled models, this sector continued to grow; MZ grew into the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer, and Simson the largest manufacturer of small motorcycles in Germany. The market conditions of 50, 125/150 and 250 cubic capacity classes that dominated the early 1950s were retained until 1990. The production of four-stroke machines, which could have been upgraded for larger displacement, was ended in 1961 for political reasons.

1969 until today

The Japanese motorcycle industry produced over 3.5 million motorcycles annually in 1972, while in the same year Germany had a low of only 198,221 registered motorcycles. Honda became world market leader; the Honda Super Cub small motorcycle was the most popular motor vehicle in the world. The Japanese manufacturers succeeded in giving the two-wheeler a new meaning as "sports, hobby and leisure equipment".

In 1969, Honda introduced the CB750 Four, a trend-setting motorcycle with a transversely installed four-cylinder four-stroke engine and hydraulically operated disc brake on the front wheel, followed in 1972 by the Kawasaki 900 as the first modern superbike .

In 1976 Van Veen delivered the first electronic ignition for the OCR 1000 .

1980 Kawasaki offered the Z1000 Fuel Injection, the first electronically controlled intake manifold injection on a production motorcycle.

In the same year Harley-Davidson introduced the first toothed belt drive on the primary and secondary side .

In 1981, Honda presented the CX 500 Turbo , the first production motorcycle with an exhaust gas turbocharger .

In 1985, Suzuki introduced the GSX-R 750, the first uncompromising production motorcycle derived from racing , thereby defining the super sports class .

In 1988 BMW offered the first anti-lock braking system for motorcycles as an option, and in 1992 traction control was introduced for the first time on the Honda Pan European .

In 1999 the first series motorcycle with a top speed of over 300 km / h appeared, the Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 , and in 2006 the first tricycle with a swivel mechanism (Leaning Multi Wheeler), the Piaggio MP3 . In 2007 Honda brought a motorcycle airbag to its Gold Wing and in 2014 KTM AG brought the Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC), an electronic stability control from Bosch, to its 1190 Adventure .

Development of types

In the early days of motorcycle development, there was only one category, the motorcycle . In 1902 the first motorcycles built for a specific purpose, the racing motorcycles, and in 1903 the motorcycles with sidecars were created . The first off-road motorcycles appeared in 1909, and the first trial machines around 1914. Over the years, street motorcycles have undergone technical changes, so that specific names have emerged. Special designs repeatedly emerged in the course of the 20th century.

Small motorcycles

Mopeds (motor bicycle) , mopeds (motor vehicle pedal) , Mokicks and mopeds are motorized two-wheelers, which have a low power and a lower driving condition. Mopeds and mopeds are equipped with pedals, just like bicycles with an auxiliary motor . One of the most important manufacturers was Kreidler , who holds the still valid world record for small motorcycles up to 50 cm³. In 1977 the Dutchman Henk van Kessel was measured on a Kreidler Black Arrow with an average of 221.586 km / h on the A50 near Apeldoorn . Very small motorcycles, so-called pocket bikes , are not permitted for road traffic.

Motorcycle team

DKW team from 1956 in the museum mobile in Ingolstadt

Motorcycle combinations consist of a motorcycle and a sidecar attached to the side, also known as a sidecar. They usually have three wheels, typically in an asymmetrical arrangement.


Quads do not count as motorcycles, even if engines and controls are similar and manufacturers come from the motorcycle industry. In Germany they can be driven with a car driving license, in contrast to trikes , for which a motorcycle driving license has been required since January 19, 2013.

Types of motorized two-wheelers

Traffic law

Legal noticePlease note the information on legal issues!


European Union

According to Directive 2002/24 / EC of March 18, 2002 and the Ordinance on the Approval of Vehicles for Road Traffic ( Vehicle Admission Ordinance ) of February 3, 2011, two-wheel or three-wheel motor vehicles are divided into the following EC vehicle classes:

  • Motorcycles: two-wheeled motor vehicles with or without a sidecar, with a displacement of more than 50 cm³ in the case of internal combustion engines, and / or with a maximum design speed of more than 45 km / h.
  • Light motorcycles : motorcycles with a nominal power of not more than 11 kW and in the case of internal combustion engines with a displacement of more than 50 cm³ but not more than 125 cm³.
  • Small motorcycles : two-wheeled motor vehicles or three-wheeled motor vehicles with a maximum design speed of not more than 45 km / h and the following characteristics:
    a) two-wheeled small motorcycles: with a combustion engine with a displacement of not more than 50 cm³, or with an electric motor with a maximum rated continuous power not more than 4 kW.
    b) three-wheel mopeds: with positive-ignition engines with a displacement of not more than 50 cm³, with another internal combustion engine with a maximum net power not exceeding 4 kW, or with an electric motor with a maximum rated continuous power not exceeding 4 kW.

The country-specific old driving license classes remain valid until January 19, 2033. In Germany these are the old classes 1, 1a or 1b or 3 (must have been issued before April 1, 1980) and class A (for the GDR driving license).


The old DIN 70010 of April 1978 described motorcycles as “single-track motor vehicles with two wheels. Carrying a sidecar does not affect the status of a motorcycle ”. And "Motorcycles are motorcycles that are ridden with the knee locked and have no cranks". There is no knee joint on scooters . "If the cubic capacity is below a size stipulated by law, they are called mopeds."


This article deals with the special provisions for the driver's license and the motorcycles documented with this are, according to Art. 14 VTS, single-track motor vehicles with two wheels, with or without a sidecar. This includes small motorcycles (two or three-wheelers with a design-related top speed of 45 km / h and electric rickshaws ) and snowmobiles , but not motorbikes such as mopeds .

Holders of a category A driver's license are entitled to drive motorcycles ( Art. 3 Para. 1 VZV). The driving authorization can be restricted to those with a cubic capacity of no more than 125 cm³ and an engine output of at most 11 kW (driver's license category A1, Art. 3 Para. 2 VZV). If they have not reached the age of 25, new drivers are restricted to category A ( Art. 15 Para. 2 VZV), the engine output must not exceed 35 kW and the ratio of engine output and curb weight must not be 0.20 kW / kg exceed.

Driving license or driving authorization

Sufficient driving license (depending on engine power) is required to ride a motorcycle on public roads, squares and paths . In the EU, EEA and Switzerland it is the classes

  • A - unlimited, from the age of 24 (D) or 25 (CH) or after two years of possession of class A2 (D, A) or A limited (CH)
  • A2 - from the age of 18; Max. 35 kW and max. 0.2 kW / kg empty weight.
Designation in Switzerland: "A (restricted)" - restricted, from the age of 18; Max. 35 kW and not more than 0.2 kW / kg empty weight (since April 1, 2016); After two years of ownership, assuming that you have no complaint, you can take a practical test and move up to the unlimited class A.
  • A1 - from the age of 16; Max. 11 kW, max. Power-to-weight ratio 0.1 kW / kg empty weight
Germany: According to the driver's license regulation of January 19, 2013, the speed limit to 80 km / h is no longer applicable
Switzerland: 16 and 17-year-old drivers: the motorcycle may have a maximum of 50 cm³ for positive-ignition engines or 4 kW for other engines.

Open three-wheeled vehicles (with a symmetrical wheel arrangement, i.e. no combination) are generally referred to as trikes :

  • The following applies in the EU: Up to 15 kW a class A1 driving license is required, over 15 kW class A, but with a minimum age of 21 years.
  • In Switzerland, a trike is a three-wheeled motor vehicle, so category B drivers are entitled to drive trikes.

Behavior in traffic jams

In Germany, motorcyclists are not allowed to use the emergency lane or the hard shoulder when congestion forms.

In Germany, it is forbidden to meander between vehicles that are stationary or moving in a queue. On motorways, overtaking is not permitted in the left shoulder area, nor are hard shoulders or emergency lanes used. In contrast to cyclists and moped drivers, who are allowed to overtake on the right in front of red lights at moderate speed ( Section 5, Paragraph 8 of the StVO), there are no privileges for motorcyclists in traffic jams. Like any other vehicle, they must remain in their position.

However, violations of this are rarely prosecuted in practice. The police only tolerate driving through traffic jams because of practical constraints, because it is the complete exception for a police officer to drive behind on the motorcycle to determine the identity of the perpetrator, and the identification of the owner via the license plate is not sufficient because there are none in Germany Owner liability. According to a survey by the Institute for Two-Wheeler Safety in 2009, 75% of the motorcyclists surveyed stated that they drove through traffic jams. As a justification, reference is made to the special situation of the motorcyclist, whose protective functional clothing can cause heat to build up in traffic jams in midsummer. Added to this is the heat from the engine, which rises when the vehicle is stationary and is usually located directly under the driver. Constantly balancing the single-lane vehicle in traffic jams during stop-and-go trips is very strenuous and tiring. Motorcyclists who are stuck in a traffic jam are exposed to the exhaust gases from the vehicles around them, especially from trucks driving on the right, which emit their exhaust gases to the left.

If an accident occurs as a result of forbidden winding, the motorcyclist is regularly complicit under civil law.

A petition submitted to the petition committee of the German Bundestag to legalize traffic jams was unsuccessful. On March 17, 2016, the Petitions Committee announced that the problem had been discussed in the Federal / State Technical Committee StVO / Administrative Offenses in 2009 with state representatives who had rejected the proposal by a large majority. In the first minutes after an accident, the emergency lane and hard shoulder for the rescue services to rescue and care for injured people would have to remain free. There would be no reason for an abstract, general release of non-drivable areas. If it is foreseeable that the traffic situation will not ease, the local police can release the emergency lane and hard shoulder for use in individual cases. In the event of long traffic jams, it would also be possible to turn off the engine and hold the motorcycle with the stand.

The few studies on the road safety of "wanderers" do not paint a clear picture. It is true that the University of Berkeley, California , came to the conclusion in March 2015 after a comprehensive analysis of accident data that driving slowly through traffic jams, known in the US as "lane splitting", is six times safer for motorcyclists than queuing in the back. However, earlier studies from the USA and Europe found almost no differences in terms of accident risk.

The ADAC continues to advocate a change in the road traffic regulations. He favors the opening of the hard shoulder for two-wheelers instead of using the emergency lane. According to the proposal, motorcyclists are only allowed to drive past stationary vehicles, not even in slow-moving traffic, at low speed (20 km / h) and with due caution, and should leave the motorway at the next junction if there is a traffic jam. Sufficient side clearance is essential to avoid critical situations with other road users.

In most other countries (e.g. France, the Netherlands and Italy ) winding through traffic jams is also not allowed, but, as in Germany, is usually not prosecuted. In Switzerland , motorcyclists have to maintain their place in the vehicle column when traffic is stopped ( Art. 47, Paragraph 2 of the Road Traffic Act [SVG]).

According to information from the ADAC, it is now allowed to meander past stationary or slowly moving vehicle columns in Belgium with motorcycles . However, a maximum speed of 50 km / h should not be exceeded. The speed difference between the motorcycle and the slowly moving vehicle to be overtaken must not be more than 20 km / h.

In the UK , filtering is legal.

In Austria , since the 20th amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations came into force on July 22, 1998, motorcyclists have been allowed to drive up next to or between vehicles that have already been stopped in order to position their vehicles further forward when traffic is in front of crossings, narrow streets, level crossings and the like Stop came. You may then drive up next to or between the vehicles that have already stopped if there is enough space for the drive up and the drivers of vehicles that have indicated their intention to turn are not hindered when turning ( Section 12 (5) Austrian Road Traffic Regulations). . 1.40 m is considered a sufficient minimum distance. It is possible to move forward on the left or on the right. Edge lines may be crossed, but blocking lines and blocking strips are not. The prerequisite is always that the traffic comes to a standstill; Driving past cars that move at walking pace is prohibited.

While German sources assume that this regulation also applies to motorways, Austrian sources consider the regulation to be inapplicable to motorway traffic jams. It is only intended for relatively short, manageable distances of a few hundred meters; a traffic jam on the motorway could drag on. Systematically speaking in favor of this view is that the motorcyclist does not intend to stand in front of the standing column , as expected by the law; he wants to get out of the traffic jam and not wait at the top of the traffic jam.


Distribution of cars and two-wheelers worldwide (as of 2002)
Distribution of cars and two-wheelers in selected countries


The proportion of motorcycles and scooters is distributed differently: 65 percent of the over 200 million motorized two-wheelers worldwide (as of 2006) are registered in Asia. In Asia, the motorcycle has a higher penetration rate than the car. Malaysia has the highest per capita share per 1,000 inhabitants with 238, followed by Greece with 220 and Thailand with 174.


The total number of 4,161,779 two-wheel motorcycles in Germany as of January 1, 2017 by manufacturer:

Manufacturer units proportion of Production facilities
JapanJapan Honda 691.069 16.6% JapanJapan 427,275 ≈ 61.8%

ItalyItaly137,016 ≈ 19.8% 48,620 ≈ 7.0% 38,654 ≈ 5.6% 19,792 ≈ 2.9% 7,407 ≈ 1.1% 7,047 ≈ 1.0% 5,258 ≈ 0.8%
SpainSpain 00
ThailandThailand 00
United StatesUnited States 00
TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) 000
IndiaIndia 000
BrazilBrazil 000

JapanJapan Yamaha 564.508 13.6% JapanJapan 514,791 ≈ 91.2%

TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) 023,822 ≈ 04.2% 18,235 ≈ 3.2% 4,572 ≈ 0.8% 1,835 ≈ 0.3% 1,253 ≈ 0.2%
SpainSpain 00
ItalyItaly 000
IndonesiaIndonesia 000
ThailandThailand 000

GermanyGermany BMW 537.890 12.9%
JapanJapan Suzuki 514.311 12.4% JapanJapan 501,141 ≈ 97.4%

SpainSpain 012,049 ≈ 02.3% 1,121 ≈ 0.2%
IndiaIndia 000

JapanJapan Kawasaki 353.731 8.5%
ItalyItaly Piaggio 328.401 7.9% ItalyItaly 320,098 ≈ 97.5%

TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) 005,655 ≈ 01.7% 2,648 ≈ 0.8%
VietnamVietnam 000

United StatesUnited States Harley-Davidson 209.198 5.0%
AustriaAustria KTM 117,660 2.8%
GermanyGermany MZ 86,914 2.1%
ItalyItaly Ducati 79,794 1.9%
United KingdomUnited Kingdom triumph 74.197 1.8% EnglandEngland 071,993 ≈ 97.0%

GermanyGermany 002,204 ≈ 03.0%

TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Kymco 43,373 1.0%
ItalyItaly Aprilia 41,149 1.0% has been part of the Piaggio Group since 2004
ItalyItaly Moto Guzzi 36,180 0.9% has been part of the Piaggio Group since 2004
Korea SouthSouth Korea Daelim 33,014 0.8% belongs to Hyosung S&T Motors
FranceFrance Peugeot 28,239 0.7%
Korea SouthSouth Korea Hyosung 18,225 0.4%
Others 404.326 9.7%
All in all 4,161,779 100.00%

This means that more than half of the motorcycles registered in Germany come from Japanese manufacturers.


A motorcycle essentially consists of the motorcycle frame , engine , gearbox , drive , rear suspension with rear wheel, front suspension with front wheel, brake system , handlebars , tank and seat . The compact dimensions of a motorcycle usually mean that the engine and transmission are combined in a common housing. Motorcycle engines are differentiated according to their working principle and type.

Internal combustion engine

BMW R 52, 1928 with 2-cylinder boxer engine
Indian Chief, built in 1947 with a 2-cylinder V-engine
BMW K100 Flying Brick
Ducati 750 S from 1975, with L-twin engine
Moto Guzzi 850-3T with 2-cylinder V-engine along the direction of travel

Gasoline engine

Almost all currently approved motorcycles of reciprocating - combustion engines according to the Otto principle ( gasoline engine driven). They can be differentiated according to cycle type (two or four cycle), number and arrangement of cylinders, number and arrangement of valves and their control.

In the early days, motorcycles (after the steam engine) only had four-stroke engines as a drive source. It was not until 1908 that Scott introduced the two-stroke engine in motorcycles. In the 1930s, the two-stroke engine was most common in motorized two-wheeled vehicles. In the 1970s, two-stroke engines were also found in larger-displacement street motorcycles, including the Kawasaki 750 H2 and Suzuki GT 750 . With the gradual increase in emissions regulations , the proportion of two-stroke engines has steadily decreased. The last two-stroke motorcycle for sale until 2002 was the Aprilia RS 250 with the engine of the Suzuki RGV 250 Gamma , the last light motorcycle was the Aprilia RS 125 in 2012 .

Today, the emission regulations cannot be met by two-stroke engines with an economically justifiable expense. The two-stroke engine is no longer used in newly registered motorcycles and light motorcycles .

The following cylinder types are and have been used in motorcycles:

Slide motor

After the First World War, the Scottish manufacturer Barr & Stroud developed a single-cylinder valve engine based on the Burt-McCollum system with a displacement of 350 cm³. The engine was installed in motorcycles by Rex-Acme (1922) and Beardmore Precision (1923), among others . A two-cylinder V-engine with 990 cm³ displacement followed and was used briefly in motorcycles of the Grindlay-Peerless (1924) and Brough Superior (Mark I) brands .

Diesel engine

The diesel engine is rarely offered. In more recent times, motorcycles with diesel engines could also be converted (mostly Enfield India with built-in engines from southern German and Italian manufacturers) until EU approval regulations with regard to emissions caused approval problems. The Taurus 325 / Centaurus 851, Sommer- Hatz -Diesel models were created with diesel engines , until the Indian manufacturer of the basic motorcycle finally offered an Enfield Diesel itself . Sommer currently offers the single-cylinder diesel with a displacement of 516 cm³ and an output of 8.5 kW and Euro 4 .

Rotary engine

The Wankel engine was first used in 1974 in the Hercules W 2000 . The Suzuki RE 5 , Norton TT and Van Veen OCR 1000 followed in the late 1970s to early 1980s . Since then there have been no more serial rotary motorcycles.

Shaft turbine

The shaft turbine has so far only been found in a single piece, see Y2K Turbine Superbike .

Electric motor

The number of electric motorcycles (motorcycles with electric motors ) that are supplied with energy by compact accumulators is now increasing . In 2009 the first street race with electric motorcycles took place on the Isle of Man . This annual event has separated from the original organizer TTXGP and is now known as TT Zero .

Shortly after the first competition on the Isle of Man, the world motorcycle sport association Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) announced that it would launch an electric racing series in 2010. In addition to the FIM e-Power International Championship , TTXGP also runs racing series for electric motorcycles in Australia, Europe and North America .

Hybrid electric drive

Hybrid electric drives are currently only available for scooters. The world's first vehicle of this type was the Piaggio MP3 Hybrid 125. At present, only the first design studies exist from motorcycle manufacturers .

Gearbox and clutch

Scheme change gear

In most modern motorcycles, the gearbox and motor are designed in a common housing so that there is only one oil circuit. The disadvantage of this design is mainly the higher wear of the gear wheels due to the soot residue in the engine oil. The engine oil in a motorcycle must therefore be changed at shorter intervals than in motor vehicles in which the engine and transmission are separate, as otherwise excessive transmission wear can occur.

Manual transmission

Usually, motorcycles with manual transmissions have multi-disc clutches. Production motorcycles are usually equipped with wet clutches that run in an oil bath. A few manufacturers, such as Ducati , use dry clutches, which enable better power transmission and finer metering. They also produce a distinctive, clattering sound. However, they are sensitive with respect to damage due to the excessive loop Let the clutch. Dry clutches quickly become hot due to the lack of cooling from an oil bath , which leads to the clutch burning up if there is insufficient air cooling (for example in stop-and-go traffic ).

Because of their compact design, motorcycle gearboxes are designed as sequential transmissions . It is only possible to shift to the next higher or next lower gear. A direct skipping of gears as with the H-shift of the car transmission is not possible.

Double clutch

As an automated manual transmission , a double clutch transmission is occasionally used on motorcycles . A dual clutch transmission enables a fully automatic gear change without interruption of tractive power. Gear selection can be done manually or automatically, depending on the presetting. From 2010, Honda was the first manufacturer to offer the Honda VFR 1200 F model with a dual-clutch transmission; the technology is now also available in the NC700S, NC700X , Crosstourer and CFR1000L (Africa Twin) models for an extra charge of 1000 euros . It is part of the standard equipment of the large Integra scooter, which is related to the NC700 series.

automatic transmission

While motor scooters are mostly equipped with a continuously variable CVT transmission , the automatic transmission is rare in motorcycles. Aprilia has been offering an automatic transmission, the 850 Mana / Mana GT, since 2008, which does not control the gear ratio via centrifugal weights, but offers the driver seven gear ratios via servomotors.


The drive of a motorcycle is differentiated according to the construction in front-wheel drive , rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive .

Motorcycles are usually powered by the rear wheel. The front-wheel drive was rarely installed - especially only in light motorcycles, see: Two-wheeled vehicles with front-wheel drive . The 1897 Werner was the first front-wheel drive motorcycle. Under license, these "motorcycles" and. a. built by the Eisenach vehicle factory , the Cyklon machine factory and the British Motor Syndicate . NSU built the Motosulm from 1931 to 1935 with a 63 cm³ motor on the fork and roller chain drive on the front wheel. In 1946 the French manufacturer Solex took up the original idea of ​​the Werner brothers with a friction roller drive with the Vélosolex . The two-stroke version of the Solex was built until 2012, an electric version is still available today. The Megola of the 1920s was a motorcycle with a rotary engine in the front wheel, similar to the one-off Killinger & Freund motorcycle from 1938.

A special case is the all-wheel drive, which has so far been used in series-production bikes from 1963 onwards in the Rokon Trail-Breaker , in test bikes (Savard, Suzuki XF4) and competition bikes, for example in the Yamaha WR 450 F 2-Trac in the 2004 Dakar Rally .

A distinction is made between chain, toothed belt and cardan drive. In the early days of the motorcycle , the leather drive belt was the state of the art. As early as 1901 Indian presented a motorcycle with chain drive, in 1904 FN introduced the cardan drive . The first modern toothed belt drive was made in 1980 by Harley-Davidson .


A roller chain is usually used for the chain drive of a motorcycle . The driving element is called the chain pinion (often just a pinion ), the driven chain wheel or the ring gear. Chain drives are maintenance-intensive (relubrication with chain grease or oil and regular adjustment of the chain slack). The advantages of the chain drive lie in its simple design and the associated cost savings as well as the ability to easily adapt the translation. Disadvantages, in addition to the maintenance effort, are the contamination of the machine from the thrown off lubricant and the decreasing efficiency. The efficiency in the new condition is 92 percent, with expired chains in extreme cases 80 percent. Encapsulation (chain case) or automatic lubrication systems (chain oiler) can significantly reduce the maintenance effort of chain drives.

Timing belt

The toothed belt drive runs more quietly than the chain drive and is largely maintenance-free. The service life is about twice that of the chain. A disadvantage is the larger rear pulley - compared to the chain - and the wider construction. The efficiency is about that of a new chain drive. Currently only the manufacturers Harley-Davidson , Victory and Zero deliver the timing belt on all models.

propeller shaft

Reaction forces and moments on the cardan
Cardan shaft with sliding joint

On motorcycles with a longitudinally installed engine and a longitudinally positioned crankshaft (e.g. in boxer and V-engines), a longitudinally positioned shaft is the simplest means of transmitting the torque to the rear. Only at the rear wheel is the axis of rotation deflected from longitudinal to transverse with a bevel gear. The corresponding shaft on the motorcycle is a cardan shaft (shaft with cardan joint ). The length compensation (among other things due to the suspension) is made possible with a sliding joint in the middle of the cardan shaft. With two joints, the efficiency is reduced to less than 90 percent.

Motorcycles with a transverse crankshaft require two sets of bevel gears for a cardan drive: in addition to the one on the rear wheel, another set on the transmission output. Examples are models from Yamaha (XS750, XS850, XS1100, XJ650, XJ750, XJ900 and V-Max ) and Kawasaki (Z1000ST and Z1300 ).

Currently only Moto Guzzi offers the cardan drive on all models - in the past it was also BMW and MV Agusta . In 1974, Honda was the first Japanese manufacturer to build a secondary drive with a cardan shaft for Gold Wing . The cardan drive has proven itself particularly in touring models.


The advantages of a cardan shaft compared to a drive chain or a toothed belt are that it is maintenance-free and wear-free, high operational reliability and low-noise operation.


Disadvantages of the cardan shaft are z. B. the higher weight and set-up moments caused by load changes. The built-in torque support as a countermeasure increases the weight of the cardan drive, but makes the motorcycle easier to drive. To minimize the erection torque , both BMW with the Paralever and Moto Guzzi with CARC (Cardano Reattivo Compatto) rely on one-sided torque support for the swing arm . For the 1400 GTR model, Kawasaki has introduced a cardan drive with a torque support on both sides known as a tetralever , which also greatly reduces the erection torque. With older BMW motorcycles ( rubber cow ) , the righting moment can be used as an additional driving technique. It is important to stay on the gas a little while cornering in order to avoid the cylinder head on the inside of the curve touching down too early.

While a gear ratio change is relatively easy to implement with chain drives by replacing the pinion and / or chainring, with cardan drives this is associated with significantly more effort (assembly of bevel and crown gears).

A cardan drive is more expensive to produce than a chain drive.


A distinction is made between three systems for steering a motorcycle:

Steering head

With steering head steering , a rotatable front wheel guide on the steering head takes over the steering movement on the wheel. Usually the wheel is guided in a fork, which takes over the suspension and damping. In the early days, motorcycle forks were unsprung, it was not until 1907 that various spring-loaded designs became established. Until the 1940s, leaf spring and trapezoidal forks were the most popular designs, and in the 1950s the Earles fork was also a well-known design. The telescopic fork has been the predominant type since the 1960s.

Wheel hub steering

Wheel hub steering of the Bimota Tesi 3D

The wheel hub steering is an unusual and rarely used design. With her, the steering or rotation axis is in the center of the wheel. The biggest advantage of this construction compared to the telescopic fork is the much larger brake buckling compensation. However, older versions had disadvantages in terms of driving stability. With current models such as B. the Bimota Tesi 3D, the trade press no longer complains about these disadvantages. The wheel hub steering can be counted in the broadest sense of the group of the kingpin steering .

Stub axle steering

The stub axle steering is also an unusual and rarely used type of front wheel control. The first stub axle steering in series was installed on the Yamaha GTS 1000 (1993–1997) model . Design-related problems have hitherto prevented this type of construction from spreading further in motorcycles; However, due to the higher torsional stiffness and because the distances and angles can be individually adjusted, the stub axle steering has proven to be a good solution for motorcycle combinations.

Rear suspension

Since the introduction of the rear suspension, the drawn swing arm has become established for the rear suspension of the motorcycle . The NSU Motor Works used for the first time in 1911 standard on the model NSU 2 1/2 a rear swing arm with central suspension. Indian offered rear suspension on request in 1913, but this did not catch on with buyers. In the 1920s, rear suspension was rare on motorcycles; in the late 1930s, straight-line suspension came into fashion with various manufacturers. At the end of the 1950s, the drawn swing arm with two spring struts became standard. In 1974, Yamaha first developed a central spring strut for the swing arm on the Yamaha OW23 racing machine, and this was adopted for series production in the 1980s.

The rear swing arm is usually designed with two arms. The first motorcycle with a single-arm rear swing arm was the Riedel Imme in 1947 . Already in 1946 it had with the scooter Vespa by Piaggio given a single-sided swingarm. In both types of vehicle, the engine was mounted on the swing arm. This type of construction is called a drive train swing arm . BMW introduced in 1980 with the BMW R 80 G / S back on production motorcycle with a one-armed rocker ago. Today, various manufacturers of sports motorcycles offer single-sided swing arms with a central spring strut.


Today's motorcycle tires are usually radial tires because of the driving dynamics . Diagonal tires can still be found on light motorcycles , mopeds and scooters . The tire size on motorcycles usually varies between 110 and 120/70 on the front wheel and between 150/70 to 200/50 on the rear wheel, each on 17 inch wheels. In the early 1950s, 19-inch wheels were still the standard on motorcycles, and in the 1980s, 16-inch wheels on the front wheel became fashionable. Diagonal radial tires (bias belted) still have 16-inch choppers on the rear wheel, while enduros have 19 to 21-inch tires on the front wheel. The tire development went from the diagonal tire via the diagonal belt (1984) to the radial tire or 0 ° belt (1986).

As of December 4, 2010, motorcycles in Germany were required to have winter tires for black ice, slippery snow, slush, ice or slippery frost, like cars . However, approved winter tires for motorcycles are not available in stores. With the 52nd ordinance amending road traffic regulations, this prompted the legislator to abolish the winter tire requirement for single-lane vehicles with effect from June 1, 2017 by means of Section 2 (3) a, sentence 2, no.2 of the Road Traffic Regulations. The reason given was:

“Even today, winter tires (i.e. tires with M + S markings or a corresponding coarse tread) are not available for the majority of single-track motor vehicles. According to ECE regulation No. 117, only winter tires of classes C1, C2 and C3 (tires for cars and trucks) may be marked with the Alpine symbol after they have passed a defined test. So far, this has not been possible for motorcycle tires. If single-track vehicles are still subject to the situational winter tire requirement, this would amount to a driving ban on black ice, slippery snow, slush, ice or slippery frost, as there are no corresponding winter tires for motorcycles, e-bikes, scooters or mopeds. With the present regulation, single-track vehicles (motorcycles, e-bikes etc.) are exempted from the winter tire requirement. In this sense, single-track vehicles are also motorcycles with a double wheel in accordance with Article 3 number 72 of Regulation No. 168/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approval and market surveillance of two-, three-wheel and four-wheel vehicles or similar motorcycles, provided they are not with Class C1 tires (car tires) are equipped. According to a study by the Federal Statistical Office of two-wheeler accidents in road traffic in 2012 (published on September 3, 2013, item number: 5462408127004), road participation and thus also the accident frequency of two-wheelers depends largely on seasonal influencing factors. Bad road and weather conditions, as they often exist in winter, keep many of the unprotected two-wheelers away from the roads anyway. An analysis of accidents with motorcycles carried out by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in 2014, which was carried out with special consideration of the prevailing weather and road conditions, reveals an increased accident frequency with motorcycles do not recognize wintry roads. In addition, there are no signs of traffic obstruction from motorbikes that have “broken down” due to the weather. In addition, there are no findings as to whether winter tires can significantly improve the driving characteristics of single-track vehicles on snow- or ice-covered roads. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will commission the Federal Highway Research Institute to investigate the influence of winter tires on the road safety of single-track vehicles. If the research results provide information on how winter tires can significantly improve the driving characteristics of single-track vehicles on snow, ice or slush, the BMVI will examine the inclusion of requirements for winter tires for these vehicles. "

Braking system

The first motorcycles were not yet equipped with a brake; the Hildebrand and Wolfmüller (1894) had a spur as a brake anchor . At the end of the 1895s, pad and rim brakes were adopted from bicycle development for the first motorcycles; the power transmission by means of a Bowden cable (1898) also made it possible to dispense with the brake linkage. The first outer band brakes on the rear wheel appeared in the 1910s, after the pedals and thus the coaster brake disappeared on larger-displacement motorcycles. The outer band brake was replaced by the drum brake in the 1920s . Since 1926, motorcycles had to be equipped with two independent braking devices; From this date onwards, all manufacturers also installed drum brakes on the front wheel.

In 1965 the first racing motorcycles with hydraulically operated disc brakes appeared, for example in test drives on the Benelli four-cylinder and in races on Tom Philips' Norton Manx . In 1966, the hydraulically operated double disc brake developed by Colin Lyster was available from Dunstall as a retrofit kit . The first production motorcycle with a cable-operated disc brake , the MV Agusta 600 , came onto the market in 1966. Ray Pickrell won the Isle of Man TT Production 750 class in 1968 on a Dunstall Norton with hydraulic double disc brakes. In 1969 Honda introduced hydraulic disc brakes on a production motorcycle with the 750 Four .

Current motorcycles are almost exclusively offered with disc brakes . Drum brakes are due to poorer efficiency today only for mopeds and mopeds and as a rear brake for light motorcycles delivered. Motorcycles have hydraulically operated two or multi-circuit disc brake systems , new vehicles are equipped with anti-lock braking systems for motorcycles (ABS). Since 2016, this system has been mandatory for new motorcycles from 125 cm³ displacement within the European Union. The modern brake systems are mostly designed as multi-piston brakes with floating brake calipers . The front brake usually consists of two brake discs; the rear brake has a brake disc opposite the drive.

Electrics and electronics

Up until the early 1990s, production motorcycles and passenger cars were predominantly equipped with analog electronic circuits. In the course of digitization , the control of the components was increasingly taken over by digital control units that are connected to one another via various system buses ( CAN , LIN , MOST , FlexRay , Ethernet ).

Modern motorcycles have engine control , information and driver assistance systems such as B. Anti-lock braking system and traction control . In the future, Riding Assist should ensure that the motorcycle drives independently without tipping over. Studies from Honda and BMW have already been presented.

Display and operating elements


Cockpit of a light motorcycle with reserve indicator, speedometer (with odometer), indicator lights for indicators, idling (N) and high beam, tachometer (with clock) and coolant temperature display. The two pressure switches in the lower middle are used to reset the trip meter and to set the clock.
Handlebar switch on the right of a Kawasaki 1400GTR

A motorcycle must have an illuminated speedometer. With new models, it is usually digital. The speed display is often carried out with round instruments or as a digital bar display. The same applies to the temperature of the coolant or the oil. There are indicator lights for idling, indicators, high beam, oil pressure, reserve. With expensive motorcycles, many parameters such as temperatures, electronic suspension settings and tire pressure can be accessed using multifunctional instruments. Often there is also a clock in digital displays for mileage and daily mileage.

The displays are usually in front of the handlebars. On large and long motorcycles, however, they can also or exclusively be installed in the tank directly in front of the driver. On large tourers, other trim parts are also provided with large switches that can be easily operated with gloves even while driving. A motorcycle is operated with hands and feet, but the arrangement of the controls is different from, for example, a car . Steering is done with the handlebar, which has a large number of controls that can be operated with the hands. Further controls are operated with the feet.

The most common combination of controls on modern motorcycles:


In addition to the usual arrangement of the handlebar controls, there are other variants: On some, especially older motorcycles, the switch for the lighting is located on the right. The turn signal switches on some motorcycles (e.g. on some BMW models) are also located separately on the left and right.

Depending on the equipment, there are additional controls on the handlebar switches, for example for adjusting the windshield, setting an electronic chassis, adjusting the traction control and ABS, controlling the functions of the instrument cluster or operating the heated grips and seats .

A development from road racing is the thumb brake , which is attached to the left side of the handlebar. The thumb brake is not permitted for production motorcycles (as of February 2015).

Modern standard footshift on motorcycles, using the example of a six-speed gearshift
Harley-Davidson with manual transmission on the left of the tank and foot clutch; the handbrake lever on the left on the handlebar

Gear shift

Different operating variants can be found in particular in the gear shift. On modern European and Japanese motorcycles, first gear (starting from neutral) is engaged by pressing the left foot shift lever from above; the other gears are reached by gradually pulling up the gear lever. The shift lever springs back to the central position after each shift. In Italian and English motorcycles - until the 1970s - the gearshift was on the right-hand side, the first gear was up, and all other gears were down. Such a shift pattern can still be found occasionally on racing motorcycles today.

The idle is in the middle as a “half step” between first and second gear. On Kawasaki motorcycles, it is possible to shift from first gear to neutral when stationary, but not directly to second gear. In earlier Kawasaki models, there were modifications in which the idle, actually logically, is “below” first gear.

Some motorcycles have shift paddles for shifting gears. Shift paddles were used on historic motorcycles in order to be able to more easily transfer the high forces required for changing gears in contemporary transmissions. However, they can also be found on modern motorcycles with a backward-sloping seating position, where they enable more comfortable operation.

Manual switching on the tank was widespread until the 1940s. The foot control with ratchet mechanism, invented in 1928, was mostly reserved for sporty motorcycles. In the 1920s to the end of the 1930s, various manufacturers combined the manual transmission with a foot clutch, etc. a. Harley-Davidson , Henderson , Nimbus and NSU (two models, combined with hand clutch).

The twist grip shifting system , which is rare in motorcycles and only found in connection with small engines, was introduced in mopeds and scooters from 1946 . The gear is operated via a cable, the cable is wound or unwound on the left rotating handlebar grip. Well-known motorcycle models with this type of gearshift were the NSU Quick with two-speed gearbox in its latest version, the Victoria KS 125 Bi-Fix (123 cm³ engine) and the Maico M 151 (148 cm³ engine), both with three-speed gearbox. Magura , Gustav Magenwirth KG, in Bad Urach was the manufacturer of twist shifter and other control elements on motorcycle handlebars and entire handlebars .

Many racing motorcycles and sporty street motorcycles recently have a so-called automatic gearshift (standard or as a retrofit). When the shift lever is actuated, a signal is sent to the control unit, which briefly interrupts the ignition. This takes the load off the transmission gears and enables gear changes without clutching.

Lighting equipment and mirrors

Section 4 (2) of the Ordinance on Motor Vehicle Traffic of December 5, 1925 prescribed a “brightly burning lantern with a colorless or slightly yellowish light” for motorcycles to the front. With Section 20 of the Reich Road Traffic Act of May 28, 1934, a lighting device was prescribed for motorcycles with a maximum speed of more than 30 km / h, which "illuminates the lane at least 100 m in the dark". When there was oncoming traffic, the light had to be reduced to 25 m or dimmed. With this regulation the end of the carbide lamp was introduced and electrical lighting became standard. A reflector could be used instead of a tail light for motorcycles up to 200 cm³ displacement. Section 53 (1) and (4) of the 1938 StVZO made the tail light and reflector mandatory on all motorcycles. The type approval requirement for vehicle parts, in particular the lighting equipment, took place on January 1, 1954. Direction indicators , u. a. Ox eyes became compulsory from the first registration on January 1st, 1962. Since January 1, 1988, brake lights have also been mandatory on motorcycles with a top speed of more than 50 km / h. Furthermore , a rear fog light , a fog light and an auxiliary light may be attached to the motorcycle . A hazard warning system is not specifically required 4 StVZO for motorcycles according to § 53a paragraph, but is fitted as standard since 2003 on many models.

On November 1, 1956, a rearview mirror was prescribed for motorcycles through the amendment to Section 56 of the StVZO . From the first registration on January 1, 1990, a second rear-view mirror is required on the right-hand side if the design-related maximum speed is greater than 100 km / h, from the first registration on June 17, 2003 for motorcycles with a maximum speed of 45 km / h. The size of the mirror must exceed an area of ​​69 cm².


Motorcycling is practiced as a leisure activity, as a sport or for getting around in everyday life. Very different driving styles can be observed. In agriculture, the motorcycle is sometimes a work tool and in businesses or in the postal service it is used as a means of transport.

Motorcycling is primarily a matter of physics . The physical basics must be observed. This is particularly important when cornering and because stability problems can occur when riding a motorcycle, such as: handlebar flutter (shimmy), handlebar flapping (kickback), weaving (weave) and chattering. There are numerous driving errors that can be avoided (e.g. dynamic front wheel overbrake, lowsider and highsider). Finally, riding with a pillion passenger has a considerable influence on driving behavior.

The following sections on motorcycling mainly deal with driving single-track motorcycles. When driving multi-track motorcycles such as motorcycles with sidecars or trikes and quads , other aspects of driving dynamics must be observed.

Driving styles

Since the 1930s, the cornering style “push” has been described in addition to the upright sitting position. With the driving style "push" (or English cornering technique) the motorcycle is leaned more strongly into the curve than the driver. With the "upright" (or French) cornering technique, the rider forms a plane with the motorcycle, even in an inclined position. In the 1960s, another driving style, “hanging-off”, was added, in which the driver leans more strongly into the curve than the motorcycle. While “pushing” is mainly used in off-road sports, “hanging-off” is practiced in racing to increase the effective cornering speed. Measurements by the magazine PS showed different cornering speeds on the circular path, depending on the cornering style, at a given lean angle.

Ducati Diavel BMW S 1000 R.
Vehicle lean 41 ° 47 °
To press 47 km / h 54 km / h
Upright 50 km / h 56 km / h (at 46 °)
Hanging-off 53 km / h 59 km / h

Physical basics

The motorcycle is stabilized by the gyroscopic forces of the rotating wheels ; In the speed range below about 30 km / h the gyro torques are not sufficient for stabilization. As a single-track vehicle, the motorcycle thus represents an inherently unstable system with the driver around the longitudinal axis .

In the lower speed range, a (slow) tipping of the vehicle is prevented by compensating steering movements. On the one hand, the tire contact point of the front wheel is moved out of the plane of symmetry of the vehicle ( XZ plane ) due to the caster , which means that the system's center of gravity can be kept above the tire contact line in order to avoid rolling movements. In addition, centrifugal forces act on the motorcycle as a result of the cornering , which also counteract the rolling movement of the motorcycle into the inside of the curve. For ideally narrow tires, the driver does not feel any lateral force on the motorcycle level. A rotation around the X-axis by the angle is called rolling .

From the equations for the gyroscopic torques it can be deduced that a roll movement to the left in the direction of travel causes a steering torque in the same direction. This supports the necessary steering correction by the driver. The centrifugal force resulting from this steering movement counteracts its cause (the rolling movement) (to the right) and straightens the motorcycle up again.

Equations of the gyroscopic moments on the motorcycle:


 : Mass moment of inertia of the impeller around the wheel axis;
 : Roll angular velocity ;
 : Wheel rotation speed;
 : Steering speed perpendicular to the driving plane

It can be seen from this that a steering speed to the left causes a rolling moment to the right.


The cornering of a single-lane vehicle differs from that of two-lane vehicles. While a car always strives to roll towards the outside of the curve, a motorcycle must be inclined to the contrary (through the effect of centripetal force ) for a stable driving condition. Motorcycles therefore tend to the inside of the curve when cornering, whereby the angle between the lane perpendicular and the motorcycle symmetry plane ( ) can be up to 62 ° in racing. Typically, the deviation from the normal of the road is in the range of 20 to 30 ° in normal road traffic , but with sporty drivers it can also be 50 °.

It is important that the limit of the Kamm circle is not reached. In fact, one would have to speak of a “comb oval”, as the tires can transmit forces of different strengths in the transverse and longitudinal directions.

  • Stationary:
    Ideal line when cornering

In unaccelerated cornering with a constant curve radius, the driver has to apply a steering torque after he has already completed the turning process in order to keep the motorcycle in an inclined position and on course. This depends, among other things, on the following factors:

  1. Weight moment of the steering system around the steering axis (acts when turning into curves)
  2. the moment that the rolling resistance generates around the steering axis (also turning in)
  3. the moment of the wheel load around the steering axis (also turning in)
  4. the moment created by the caster and the tire lateral forces (turning out)
  5. Centrifugal moments on the steering system (turning out)

The steering torques to be applied are relatively small and are typically in the order of 25 Nm, but depend on the speed and type of motorcycle.

For the inclined position compared to the earth's gravitational field, i.e. without taking into account the inclination of the road, neglecting the gyroscopic effects and the tire width results:

in which

: Speed ​​driven
: Gravitational acceleration
: Radius to the instantaneous pole of the curve movement
: Radial acceleration in the earth's fixed coordinate system.

Due to the roll angle , the resultant of all forces acting on the center of gravity leads through the intersection of the tire contact area . The weight force and centrifugal force have a particular influence here.

Due to the fact that the tires are not ideally narrow, the tire contact point moves out of the vehicle's plane of symmetry due to the lean position, which reduces the real roll angle. The plane of symmetry of the motorcycle always has a larger roll angle than the angle between the resulting forces and the earth's gravity field. There is thus a physically effective roll angle which is less than the geometric roll angle. With wider tires, the tire contact point drifts more than with narrow tires, which means that you need more lean angle for the same curve radius at the same speed with wide tires than with narrow tires. However, the proportion of this additional roll angle is only about 10% of the total roll angle.

The theoretically possible inclination is limited by the friction . For example, if the coefficient of adhesion is 1, it is not possible to achieve a physically greater roll angle than 45 °.

In the borderline case, the law of friction reads:


: Normal force (weight force)
: maximum transmissible transverse force ( centripetal force )
: Coefficient of adhesion

The ratio of the forces gives information about the coefficient of static friction , which can also be expressed in percent. If the coefficient of static friction is less than one, the maximum transverse force that can be transmitted and thus also the maximum roll angle is lower. On racetracks with suitable racing tires, the coefficient of static friction can be 1.9, with very good road surfaces 1.2 and with ice it is less than 0.1.

  • Unsteady: With unsteady cornering (when accelerating in a corner or initiating cornering), further effects occur, which can have a strong influence on the driving condition.

If a motorcycle moves in a curve, it drives on a flat tire outside of the plane of symmetry. Both the tire contact point of the front wheel and that of the rear wheel are therefore not centered. If forces act at the tire contact points in the direction of travel, moments arise around the plane of symmetry. Braking on the front wheel causes a turning moment about the steering axis. If the driver does not manage to compensate for this moment, the handlebars turn to the inside of the curve. As a result, the motorcycle straightens up and makes a larger curve radius.

It is known from behavioral research that, in panic situations , drivers tend to tilt the motorcycle upright by braking in a curve; this is reflected in the accident statistics.

This effect is less noticeable on the rear wheel, since braking the rear wheel generates a yaw moment that turns into a curve. Overbraking the rear wheel in an inclined position is easier to control than overbraking the front wheel. Overbraking the front wheel for a period of a few tenths of a second in an inclined position can generally no longer be controlled by humans.

Stability problems

As a single-track vehicle, the motorcycle is inherently unstable. In addition to the vehicle tipping over, there are three stability disorders known in series motorcycles, which are known as fluttering, banging the handlebars and swinging.

  • Handlebar flutter (shimmy): Handlebar flutter describes a natural oscillation of the steering system around the steering axis and is typically in the range between 5 and 10  Hz . A well-known excitation of the steering system is tire imbalance on the front wheel, which can lead to handlebar flutter between 40 and 80 km / h. Another cause of handlebar flutter can be a tensioned, twisted or jammed motorcycle fork . The natural frequencies of the steering system can be easily estimated during the design and can be influenced, among other things, by weights on the handlebar ends. If a motorcycle starts to wobble, you can influence the moment of inertia of the steering system by gripping the handlebars more firmly or less firmly and thus detuning the natural frequency. Changing the driving speed outside the critical range also reduces the flutter vibration. In general, the flutter is not considered critical.
  • Handlebar kicks (kickback): A handlebar kink is a vibration of the steering system with a few, very large steering angle deflections around the steering axis. In extreme cases, these steering movements are possible from steering stop to steering stop, so that the driver can no longer hold the handlebar and he can fall. "To stimulate the handlebar flapping, the front wheel must be lifted [...] and then put back on at an angle." This occurs particularly when driving over bumps or short bumps on modern, high-performance sports motorcycles. Handlebar slap can only be effectively prevented by a steering damper .
  • Pendulum (weave): A complex oscillation of the entire motorcycle system in the frequency range between 3 and 4 Hertz , which occurs above a speed of 100 km / h, is called pendulum motion  . The motorcycle performs a coupled oscillation around the yaw , roll and pitch axes . With increasing speed, the self-damping of the motorcycle decreases, so that in extreme cases swinging can lead to a fall. The only sensible means of leaving this critical driving condition is to reduce the driving speed. In addition to the driver's steering movements, commuting is also stimulated by uneven road surfaces and cross winds. Unsuitable tires, imbalances on the wheels, worn out wheel and swing arm bearings , steering head play or too tightly adjusted steering head bearings are also known factors for oscillation. Vehicle manufacturers test the tendency of the motorcycle to oscillate in steps from 10 km / h up to maximum speed.
  • Chattering: Chattering refers to a vibration of the front and rear in the range from 17 to 22 Hz, which occurs exclusively on racing motorcycles. During heavy braking, the unsprung masses of the front and rear wheels can swing back and forth.

Driving error

  • Dynamic front wheel overbrake

When braking, the vehicle's wheel load is shifted towards the front wheel. A common driving mistake, which often leads to serious accidents, is suddenly pulling the brake lever on the front wheel, which leads to dynamic front wheel overbraking. The full wheel load shift (full compression of the front wheel) is only achieved after about 0.6 seconds with a high braking deceleration. Only then can the front wheel transmit the full (and expected by the driver) braking force. If the braking force is higher than the maximum transferable braking force, the wheel “locks” within 0.2 seconds - a dangerous and fall-relevant situation that can hardly be corrected. An anti-lock braking system prevents dynamic front wheel overbraking while at the same time providing greater deceleration power.

  • A lowsider describes the fall of a motorcyclist after the tires slip due to insufficient static friction with the road surface and exceeding the limit of adhesion . A lowsider is a typical fall on wet, sandy or oil-smeared roads. The low-sider is seen as the cause of motorcycle accidents at around 4 to 8 percent. An attempt is made to reduce this driving accident with driving stability programs.
  • A highsider is a dynamic process when riding a motorcycle that can arise when the rear wheel of the motorcycle regains grip after a slipping phase (slip angle of more than 5 degrees) in an inclined position . The subsequent rolling movement , especially in conjunction with releasing the accelerator, leads to the motorcycle suddenly straightening up.

If the rear wheel exceeds the grip limit when accelerating out of a curve, its cornering force is lower and the slip angle is greater. If the tire now regains grip, for example through another road surface or even taking away the accelerator, the slip angle is reduced and the motorcycle is pressed into the rear wheel suspension by the inertia when straightening up. As soon as it is straightened up, the compressive force ends and the suddenly relaxing spring can, in the worst case, catapult the driver out of the seat, which increases the risk of injury compared to the lowsider. The highsider occurs more often in motorcycle racing towards the end of the race, when the tire grip is severely reduced.

Riding with a pillion passenger

Most production motorcycles have two seats. The passenger seat, also known as pillion seat (Latin socius "companion, comrade, participant"), is located behind the driver's seat. The additional weight of a passenger changes the driving behavior considerably by changing the center of gravity. The rear wheel becomes stronger, the front wheel is less stressed and can therefore take off more easily when accelerating strongly. The changed chassis geometry due to differently loaded spring elements can be partially counteracted by readjusting the spring preload (available on almost all motorcycles at the rear).

The passenger (female passenger) is a road user. He must either hold on to the rider sitting in front of him or to grips attached to the motorcycle. In addition, he must understand the side tilt of the motorcycle, otherwise the unwanted shift in weight will have a negative impact on driving behavior.


Motorcyclists have a significantly higher statistical risk of accidents or death compared to car users, although the number of motorcyclists killed in traffic in Germany is steadily falling. In 2016, the number of 536 people killed (out of a total of 3,155 road deaths) was the lowest level in 30 years.

Since around eleven times as many cars are registered in Germany as motorcycles (Jan. 2017: approx. 4.3 million motorcycles, 45.8 million cars), the risk of death for motorcyclists is around four times higher than for car Driver. In view of the lower annual mileage - motorcycle: approx. 2,300 km / year, car: approx. 13,000 km / year - the risk related to mileage was about twenty times higher.


Motorcycle noise

Motorcycles with internal combustion engines develop more traffic noise than cars, depending on the driving style, in which the rolling noise is predominantly perceived as annoying, while the engine and intake noises of the exposed drive unit are more likely to be perceived in motorcycles. The frequency ranges are partly higher as a result of the speeds and are more uncomfortable for the human ear. However, due to their small number, motorcycles contribute little to the total noise emissions from road traffic, but motorcycles are often perceived as “too loud”. This is aggravated by defects or manipulation of the intake or exhaust silencers. In measurements at bikers' get-togethers, taking into account a tolerance of 5 dB (A), only about a third of the motorized two-wheelers were not objectionable in terms of stationary noise. The average noise emission of a motorcycle is significantly higher than that of a car, especially in the range up to 60 km / h.

A map first published by the daily newspaper taz on August 4, 2018 showed around 170 places in Germany where complaints about motorcycle noise are piling up. On August 16, 2018, it contained around 200 locations due to further reports from those affected. Many were located in scenic areas that are particularly popular with motorcyclists, for example because of the winding routes.

Many motorcycles have flaps in the exhaust , without which, according to BMW, they would not comply with the noise limits of the EU regulations for type approval. The flaps would be "used for targeted sound design". All BMW models with boxer engines as well as the S 1000 RR, S. 1000 R and the S 1000 XR are affected, including Germany's best-selling type in 2017, the BMW R 1200 GS. Kawasaki, Yamaha and KTM confirmed that they also used exhaust valves. When the flaps open, the noise gets louder. For example, they can be closed when noise emissions are measured for the type approval test. Only a certain speed range is checked here (see section "Noise limit values"). According to BMW, the flaps do not affect engine performance.

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) therefore demanded in February 2018 that the EU tighten the noise test for type approval of motorcycles and passenger cars. "We also need noise limits for speeds over 80 kilometers per hour and for all engine speeds," says UBA President Maria Krautzberger. In addition, the responsible Federal Motor Transport Authority must check the manufacturer's information on volume. In March 2018, environmental politicians from the two largest groups in the EU Parliament, the European People's Party / Christian Democrats and the social democratic S&D, joined in.

Pollutant content

The pollutant content of the exhaust gases from motorcycles is on average higher than that from cars. While the investigation of the engine management and emission control system has been carried out in the car sector since July 1, 1969, this has only been mandatory for motorcycles since January 1, 1989. Measures for exhaust gas purification such as a regulated catalytic converter , which has been standard in the passenger car sector since 1989, has only been mandatory in the two-wheeler sector since 2006 through the Euro 3 standard. Until 2016, the emission standards allowed the limit values ​​for motorcycles to be around twice as high as for cars. Currently, the tolerated values ​​for motorcycles are still slightly higher than for cars.

Line closures

Sign 255, prohibition for motorcycles

In Germany, some streets and areas are closed to motorcycle traffic for various reasons. The measures range from night driving bans (usually between 8 pm and 10 pm to 6 am) to closures on Sundays and public holidays (including Schauinsland ) to full closures . The reasons for this are the high number of accidents among motorcyclists as well as noise protection reasons and the like. a. for residential areas. Mountain stretches are particularly popular with motorcyclists because of their curves; Especially in the mountains, particularly large areas are affected by noise due to the spread of sound .

Noise limits

The first noise limit values ​​for reducing road traffic noise from motorcycles were laid down in the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO) of January 1, 1938. 85 Phon as stationary and driving noise were considered the limit value for all motorized vehicles. The driving noise was measured at a speed of 40 km / h at a distance of 7 meters from the road. Since 1966 it has been measured in decibels , abbreviated to dB (A). Directive 70/157 / EEC of February 6, 1970 set limit values ​​across Europe for the first time (without expressly mentioning motorcycles) and linked them to technical progress.

Directive 78/1015 / EEC of November 23, 1978 set the Europe-wide limit value of 86 dB (A) for motorcycles with a displacement of more than 500 cm³. The measurements were now carried out at a speed of 50 km / h and 7.5 m away from the sound source. In 1980, however, national law for Germany set the limit at 84 dB (A) . As a result of the amendment to Directive 78/1015 of December 18, 1986, the limits for motorcycles over 175 cm³ were reduced to 82 dB (A) on October 1, 1988 and to 80 dB (A) on October 1, 1993.

Since January 1, 2016, new vehicle types have been subject to stricter measurement conditions and, in some cases, stricter limit values. For larger motorcycles, it has remained at a limit of 80 dB (A). For motorcycles with a displacement of up to 80 cm³, 75 dB (A) are permitted, for motorcycles between 80 cm³ and 175 cm³ displacement, 77 dB (A) are permitted. The new EU measurement procedure according to ECE R 41 prohibits test cycle detection. Compliance with the noise regulations has been tightened, especially in the range from 20 to 80 km / h (compliance with limit values ​​in all operating modes). However, compliance does not have to be certified by an authority, but only by the manufacturers themselves. The tests don't actually have to be performed either; a written assurance that the models comply with the standard is sufficient. Above 80 km / h is still not tested. Not degradable, but welded dB-Eaters as well as the external labeling of the noise values ​​are mandatory. As part of a measurement program commissioned by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Transport, TÜV Süd measured over 100 dB (A) on individual, series-produced motorcycles if the new test conditions were slightly adapted to make them more practical.

Voluntary self-restraint by the manufacturer

Motorcycles have a higher drag coefficient than passenger cars , but a smaller frontal area and thus enable high speeds with lower engine power. Some motorcycles such as B. BMW S 1000 RR , Kawasaki ZZR 1400 and Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 speeds over 300 km / h. Compared to cars, there are a third more motorcycles than cars that are faster than 250 km / h. In order to counteract possible legal regulations, the motorcycle manufacturers submitted to a voluntary self-commitment in 2000.

  • Since model year 2001, production motorcycles worldwide have kept a speed limit of 299 km / h, and the speedometer display ends at 300 km / h.

As early as 1978, the manufacturers made a voluntary commitment not to offer any motorcycles with more than 74  kW / 100  PS in Germany. However, this arrangement was terminated in 1999.

Motorcycles in the film

In early Hollywood film productions, when motorcycles are seen it is mostly American motorcycles. For example, only Indian motorcycles can be recognized in productions from the 1930s , and Harley-Davidson in the film State Trooper (1933). In the 1950s and 1960s, motorcycles were a central motif in many Hollywood films, including those starring James Garner , Steve McQueen and James Stewart .

  • 1953 During the cinematic reworking of the Hollister Bash by the film The Wild One , the leading actor Marlon Brando drives a Triumph Thunderbird
  • In 1963, US Captain Virgil Hilts (Steve McQueen) flees on a stolen Triumph T60 in the Hollywood classic "The Great Escape" in a long, spectacular and mostly undoubled scene (also on motorcycles) persecuting Nazis.
  • 1969 Through the film Easy Rider with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper , Harley-Davidson achieved cult status through the model Captain America
  • 1973 Clint Eastwood drives a Moto Guzzi V750 as police inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan in the film "Magnum Force" (unusual in a US production at the time, especially since the film is set in San Francisco, where the SFPD has never driven Moto Guzzi to this day ).
  • 1981 In the James Bond film "In a deadly mission" there is a spectacular chase (shot by Willy Bogner) with two Yamaha XT500s on a snow slope, over a ski jump and through a bobsled run.
  • 1982 In the film An Officer and a Gentleman , the leading actor Zack Mayo ( Richard Gere ) drives a Triumph Bonneville
  • 1986 In the US blockbuster Top Gun, Tom Cruise drives a Kawasaki GPZ 900R Ninja, at that time one of the fastest production motorcycles in the world. The scene in which the film hero keeps up with his Kawasaki next to a jet fighter taking off became famous.

In numerous current films, too, motorcycles are used as a sign of insubordination and non-conformity. These include, for example:

Colloquial terms

In the vernacular motorcycles hot in Switzerland motorbike . Other, also colloquial terms, are: Bike , Bock, Planer, Ofen, Karre, Moppett (as a trivialization even with great weight - in contrast to the moped but with two p), Möp. In Switzerland, depending on the canton, the following terms are also used: Pupf, Hödi, Schnäppi (based on Schnäpperli for mopeds), Altise (High German → Alteisen ).

See also

Portal: Cars and Motorcycles  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of cars and motorcycles


The motorcycle - literature is grouped by importance and by relevance, newest first.

Teaching aids

As a teaching tool literature for training understood that one usually Lehrmittelverlag out there.


  • Alfred Böge, Rainer Ahrberg, Klaus-Dieter Arndt, Werner Bahmann, Lutz Barfels, Jürgen Bauer, Ulrich Borutzki, Gert Böge, Wolfgang Böge, Berthold Heinrich, Arnfried Kemnitz, Peter Kurzweil, Susanna Labisch, Petra Linke, Manfred Ristau, Werner Roddeck, Johannes Sebulke, Dominik Surek, Werner Thrun, Jürgen Voss, Frank Weidermann, Wolfgang Weißbach, Heinz Wittig: Mechanical engineering manual: Fundamentals and applications of mechanical engineering . 21st edition. Springer Vieweg, 2012, ISBN 978-3-8348-2478-3 , p. 1500 .
  • Peter Witt: Motorcycles . 1st edition. Verlag Technik, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-341-00657-5 .


  • Rüdiger Bellersheim (uA): Expertise in motorcycle technology . Ed .: Haan-Gruiten. 2nd Edition. Europa-Lehrmittel, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8085-2232-5 .
  • Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology . Basics and concepts of engine, drive and chassis. 8th edition. Vieweg Verlag, Braunschweig 2012, ISBN 978-3-8348-1716-7 .
  • Vittore Cossalter: Motorcycle Dynamics . (Second Edition). 2nd Edition. Lulu Verlag, 2006, ISBN 1-4303-0861-3 . (Technical and textbook on motorcycle physics in English)
  • Hans Trzebiatowsky (Ed.): Motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and their maintenance . Reprint: Bulldog Press, Limburg / Lahn 1955. Fachbuchverlag Pfanneberg, Gießen 1994, ISBN 3-9803332-4-8 .

Lexicons and monographs

  • S. Ewald, G. Murrer: Encyclopedia of the motorcycle . Novara 1996. (German edition: Weltbild Verlag, 1999, ISBN 3-86047-142-2 ) (Comprehensive presentation of brands and models)
  • Jerry Hatfield: Standard Catalog of American Motorcycles 1898-1981. Krause Publications, 2006, ISBN 0-89689-949-7 . (Standard work on American motorcycles)
  • Ulrich Hoffmann: The great lexicon of motorcycle technology . Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2009, ISBN 978-3-86852-090-3 . (Lexicon based on the latest technology)
  • Stefan Knittel: Motorcycle Lexicon. BLV Verlag, Munich 1981, ISBN 3-405-12226-0 . (Lexicon of the 1980s)
  • Thomas Krens, Matthew Drutt (Eds.): The Art of the Motorcycle. 2003, ISBN 0-8109-9106-3 . (Compendium of motorcycle history, culture, technology and design)
  • Erwin Tragatsch: Motorcycles - Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia 1894–1971. 2nd Edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1971, ISBN 3-87943-213-9 . (The book presents almost all models that were built in the countries mentioned)
  • Hugo Wilson: The Lexicon of the Motorcycle. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-613-01719-9 . (Reference work)
  • Stephen Wright: The American Motorcycle. Volume 1: 1896-1914. Megden Publishing Company, 2001, ISBN 0-9603676-2-4 . (Standard work on American motorcycle history up to 1914)

Further literature

Motorbuch Verlag

  • Bernt Spiegel : Motorcycle training every day. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-613-02501-9 (practical volume on The Upper Half of the Motorcycle. Less theory, but easy to understand even without the main work)
  • Bernt Spiegel : The upper half of the motorcycle. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-613-02268-0 (important for the mental background - here a behavior researcher, motorcyclist and instructor explains the basics, aids and techniques of driving)
  • Gaetano Cocco: Pure motorcycle technology: Function - construction - chassis. 1st edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-613-02127-7 (driving physics clearly explained)
  • Erwin Tragatsch: Famous Motorcycles. 1st edition. Motorbuch Verlag. Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-613-02038-6 . (Description of individual manufacturers and brands)
  • Helmut Werner Bönsch: Progressive motorcycle technology: an analysis of motorcycle development . Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-613-01054-2 .
  • Erwin Tragatsch : All motorcycles - 1894 until today. 4th edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-87943-410-7 . (The book introduces 2500 brands that were built in the countries mentioned)
  • Helmut Werner Bönsch: Introduction to motorcycle technology. 3. Edition. Motorbuch Verlag Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-87943-571-5 .
  • Harry Niemann: "The trick with the knee. Riding a motorcycle in a sporty and safe manner." 1st edition. Motorbuch Verlag Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-613-04179-0 .

Other publishers

  • Willi Thoelz, Joachim Fischer: Motorcycles and scooters - construction, construction and operation, maintenance and repair, driving technique and competitions. 4th edition. Richard Carl Schmidt Verlag, Braunschweig / Berlin 1957. (Reprint of this edition: Verlag Kleine Vennekate, Lemgo 2013, ISBN 978-3-935517-66-9 )
  • Frank Steinbeck: The motorcycle. A German special path into the automotive society. Franz Steiner Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-515-10074-8 .
  • Kurt Mair: The motorcycle: technology - care - repairs. Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2010, ISBN 978-3-86852-307-2 . Reprint of the 2nd edition 1937 (reference book from the 1930s)
  • Willi Thoelz among others: The motorcycle - construction and operation, maintenance and repair, driving technique and competitions . Edited by W. Haeder. Richard Carl Schmidt & Co., Berlin 1939. (2nd edition: 1943, revised by Joachim Fischer)
  • Udo Janneck, Bernd L. Nepomuck: The screwdriver manual. 14th edition. Moby Dick Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7688-5230-X . (A layman's understanding of technology, maintenance and repairs)
  • Christian Bartsch (ed.): A century of motorcycle technology. VDI Verlag, Düsseldorf 1987, ISBN 3-18-400757-X . (History of technology and monographs)
  • Keith Code: The right twist. Volume II: The Basics of Fast Motorcycling. 1st edition. California Superbike Verlag, Cologne 1995, ISBN 3-924662-01-0 . (Basics of motorcycling, popular science presentation) (American original edition: A Twist of the Wrist II. Acrobat Books, Venice 1993, ISBN 0-918226-31-7 )
  • Martin Limpf: The motorcycle . Deutsches Museum, VDI-Verlag Düsseldorf 1983, ISBN 3-486-27571-2 (Treatises and reports. Issue 1).

Web links

Commons : Motorcycle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Motorcycle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Motorcycle Wiki at Wikia
  • - Institute for Bicycle Safety e. V., u. a. with a database of all motorcycle safety training courses offered throughout Germany.
  • - Organization for more safety in road traffic and for the introduction of underrun protection
  • Technical article "Chassis phenomena under the microscope - The great flutter" on the website of MOTORRAD magazine


  1. ↑ In 1919 the English manufacturer Wooler offered straight-line suspension on the front and rear wheels. See
  2. There were seldom in- band brakes like in the Riedel Imme . See 100 years of MOTORRAD: Immenstadt: Kesse Biene.

Individual evidence

  1. From zero to 100 km / h - record chase. In: motorcycle . March 31, 2011, accessed February 23, 2014 .
  2. Wind wheel. In: motorcycle . August 1, 2000, accessed October 22, 2014 .
  3. Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt - Vehicle inventory - Press release No. 6/2018 - The vehicle inventory on January 1, 2018. Accessed on June 18, 2018 .
  4. Road vehicles - inventory, degree of motorization. (No longer available online.) Federal Statistical Office (Switzerland), May 2015, archived from the original on August 20, 2016 ; accessed on October 13, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. see Dinglers Polytechnisches Journal , available online at:
  6. ^ Peter Witt: Motorcycles. 1st edition. Verlag Technik, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-341-00657-5 , p. 7.
  7. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle . (= Deutsches Museum, Treatises and Reports. Issue 1). 1983, ISBN 3-486-27571-2 , p. 8.
  8. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, p. 12.
  9. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, p. 23.
  10. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, pp. 30 and 78
  11. Mick Walker: Gilera. The Complete Story. Crowood Press, 2000, ISBN 1-86126-333-3 , p. 8.
  12. ^ LJK Setright: The Guinness Book of Motorcycling. Facts and Feats. 2nd Edition. 1982, ISBN 0-85112-255-8 , p. 238.
  13. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, p. 36.
  14. Oldtimer practice. 2/1994, p. 55.
  15. Ernst Leverkus: The great motorcycles of the 50s. 8th edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-87943-849-8 , p. 26 u. 27.
  16. German motorcycle engines with 150 cm³. In: Automobiltechnische Zeitschrift . 2/1952, pp. 35-38.
  17. ^ Peter Schneider: The NSU story . Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-613-03397-9 , p. 179.
  18. ^ Frank Steinbeck: The motorcycle. A German special path into the automotive society. (= Supplements to the quarterly journal for social and economic history. Volume 216). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-515-10074-8 . - the review by Dorothee Hochstetter on this page from H-Soz-u-Kult
  19. ^ The arrival of Fabio Taglioni. Official Ducati Website, accessed January 31, 2014 .
  20. ^ Stefan Knittel: Motorcycle Lexicon. 1981, p. 47.
  21. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, pp. 37 and 78.
  22. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, p. 63.
  23. 27 years of GSX-R 750. (No longer available online.) Motor Presse Stuttgart, MOTORRAD (online), archived from the original on January 14, 2014 ; accessed on January 13, 2014 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. ^ Christian Christophe: Sport with motorcycles. 3. Edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-87943-105-1 , pp. 9, 49.
  25. ^ LJK Setright: The Guinness Book of Motorcycling. Facts and Feats. 1982, ISBN 0-85112-255-8 , p. 237.
  26. Directive 2002/24 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of March 18, 2002 on the type approval for two-wheel or three-wheel motor vehicles and on the repeal of Directive 92/61 / EEC of the Council .
  27. FZV  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on May 22, 2013).@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  28. ( Memento of the original from September 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Driving license 2013 (accessed September 23, 2014) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  29. FeV § 6 (accessed on May 22, 2013).
  30. FeV § 10 (accessed on May 22, 2013).
  31. Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, juris ruling of April 30, 1990 - 5 Ss (OWi) 151/90 - (OWi) 77/90 : A motorcyclist who drives on the motorway in a traffic jam between two slowly moving and temporarily stationary columns of vehicles, overtakes illegal right; OLG Stuttgart, decision of June 6, 1979 - 3 Ss (8) 60/79: If a motorcyclist in a traffic jam drives forward between the columns of vehicles waiting to continue, he will overtake illegally; OLG Stuttgart, decision of April 26, 1979 - 1 Ss (6) 1047/78: It is forbidden for motorcyclists to overtake on the right between slowly moving or waiting columns of vehicles on motorways. A motorcyclist who drives through a traffic jam between stationary or still moving vehicles on a federal freeway must expect careless behavior from stationary road users.
  32. Jumped past the traffic jam , online from August 31, 2016, accessed on August 15, 2017; Current legal situation: Motorcycles are not allowed to overtake in traffic jams , motorrad online from February 26, 2015, accessed on August 16, 2017
  33. a b Motorcycles: Winding through in traffic jams can be expensive , HUK-Coburg from May 27, 2016, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  34. a b Zack through the traffic jam , zeit online from March 11, 2015, p. 2: The use of the breakdown lane is not permitted, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  35. a b Position paper of the Federal Motorcycle Working Group (BAGMO) : Overtaking standing columns of vehicles by motorized two-wheelers on highways. July 2009, (PDF; 31 kB), accessed on August 16, 2017.
  36. In a traffic jam: overtaking allowed by motorcycle? , German lawyer information from February 26, 2015, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  37. Legalize traffic jams for motorcycles by changing the law , petition of November 8, 2014 (beginning).
  38. Recommendation of the Petitions Committee ( Memento of the original from August 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , (PDF; 1.7 MB), accessed on August 15, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  39. Bundestag rejects traffic jams for motorbikes , comment by Diana Runge from April 15, 2016 on the outcome of the petition procedure, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  40. a b c Motorbikes safely past traffic jams , ADAC recommendations from February 2015, (PDF; 37 kB), accessed on August 15, 2017.
  41. Motorcycles abroad, bullet point Belgium / driving by , compilation of the rules for motorcyclists in other European countries, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  42. Filtering on your motorbike: What's the law? In: Biker & Bike. August 10, 2016, accessed on March 16, 2019 .
  43. a b Grundtner, Herbert, on the revision of Section 12, Paragraph 5 of the Road Traffic Act in the Zeitschrift für Verkehrsrecht (ZVR), quoted in “Snaking past standing columns is legal for single-lane people! : The regulation does not apply to traffic jams as a result of traffic congestion, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  44. Snaking past, the unloved right , from April 18, 2017, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  45. Two-wheeler: meandering through the traffic jam correctly , report from Hitradio-Ö3 from April 5, 2014, accessed on August 15, 2017: meandering is only permitted if it is a few hundred meters. Overtaking a long column on the autobahn in the emergency lane is not permitted.
  46. ÖAMTC: Single-lane people are only allowed to meander past columns in front of crossings from July 3, 2003: The frequent cheating in a traffic jam on the motorway is prohibited, accessed on August 15, 2017.
  47. ^ Adachi Shuhei: Journal of the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan. ( Memento from February 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) 2006.
  48. ( Memento of the original from September 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on February 7, 2014) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  49. FZ 17 (accessed on May 7, 2017)
  50. Martin Limpf: The motorcycle. 1983, p. 78.
  51. Motorcycle catalog 2014.
  52. ^ Hugo Wilson: The Lexicon from the motorcycle. 2001, p. 51.
  53. ( Memento of the original from May 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Grindlay-Peerless 1000cc V-Twin (accessed December 3, 2014) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  55. Isle of Man Government Responds to TT Zero speculation , access on 20 November 2011th
  56. TTXGP - The eGrandPrix "About Us. ( Memento of July 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Accessed November 20, 2011.
  57. dpa: Motorcycles of the future: Hybrid still the exception . In: n-tv . August 17, 2010, accessed November 20, 2011.
  58. Motorcycles with automatic transmissions. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. August 20, 2013, accessed November 5, 2014.
  59. Jochen Vorfelder: Aprilia 850 Mana: Automatic motorcycle seeks target group. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved January 20, 2014 .
  60. Motorcycle catalog 2008. p. 18.
  61. motorcycle Kalalog. 2012/2013/2014.
  62. Yamaha WR 450 F 2-Trac (accessed on January 29, 2014)
  63. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology: Basics and concepts of engine, drive and chassis. 7th edition. Vieweg Verlag, Braunschweig 2010, ISBN 978-3-8348-0698-7 , p. 235.
  64. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 233.
  65. Motorcycle catalog 2016. P. 146, 147, 156, 210.
  66. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 234.
  67. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 232.
  68. Moto Guzzi Breva V1100 and Griso 1100., accessed on February 7, 2014 .
  69. a b Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, pp. 330–331.
  70. Driving report Bimota Tesi 3D. In: motorcycle. June 5, 2007, accessed February 9, 2014 .
  71. ^ Peter Schneider: NSU in the picture - motorcycles since 1900. 1st edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-613-02063-7 , pp. 28 and 199.
  72. ^ Axel Koenigsbeck, Hans J. Schneider, Peter Abelmann: Yamaha. All models from 1955 to today. Schneider Text Editions, 2004, ISBN 0-9541746-0-7 , pp. 98, 371.
  73. Motorcycle catalog 2017, pp. 140 to 155.
  74. ^ Witt: Motorcycles p. 41.
  75. Rüdiger Bellersheim among other things: specialist knowledge of motorcycle technology. P. 242.
  76. Helmut Dähne : ( Memento of the original dated December 30, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  77. ^ From May 18, 2017 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1282 ).
  78. Official justification in printed matter 771/16 (PDF) of the German Federal Council , p. 17/18.
  79. bicycles. In: Polytechnisches Journal . 296, 1895, pp. 154-159.
  80. Patent drawing Bodwenzug (accessed on February 1, 2014)
  81. See Harley-Davidson (1911) and Indian (1912).
  82. ^ Ordinance on motor vehicle traffic of December 5, 1925, § 4 (1) No. 2. Cf. RGBl. I, p. 439.
  83. Colin Lyster disc brake (1966)
  84. Classic motorcycle. 4/2016, p. 47.
  85. Motorcycle catalog 2016. pp. 144–156.
  86. German press agency : Safety in road traffic: ABS for motorcycles is mandatory from 2016. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved January 13, 2014 .
  87. concept study Riding Assist (as of March 4, 2017)
  88. Riding Assist at the CES (as of March 4, 2017)
  89. ( Memento of the original from March 5, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Vision Next 100 (as of March 4, 2017) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  90. BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 (sand March 4, 2017)
  91. ^ Stefan Knittel: Motorcycle Lexicon. 1981, p. 66.
  92. ^ Peter Witt: Motorcycles. P. 112.
  93. ^ Stefan Knittel: Motorcycle Lexicon. 1981, p. 50.
  94. NSU sales prospectus ext. 1068 200 101 29
  95. Victoria sales prospectus 3790 10.51.75m
  96. Catalog 100 motorcycles in words and pictures. Verlag für Handel und Wirtschaft - Müller & Co., Munich 1952, p. 47.
  97. Product test: Automatic switching devices ( Memento of the original from November 5, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in PS of October 18, 2011, retrieved on November 6, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  98. RStVO 1934, § 20
  99. ^ Road traffic law. Beck Verlag, Munich / Berlin 1941, p. 116.
  100. TÜV Rheinland Handbook Oldtimer: Registration - Purchase - Trends - Value Retention. Kirschbaum Verlag, Bonn, 2016, ISBN 978-3-7812-1943-4 , pp. 94, 95.
  101. a b ( Memento of the original from September 29, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Transitional provisions for motorcycles . Retrieved September 20, 2016. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  102. § 53 (2) No. 1 StVZO.
  103. See § 53 d (2) StVZO
  104. See § 52 (1) StVZO
  105. See § 50 (4) StVZO
  106. BGBl. I 1956, p. 203.
  107. ( Memento of the original from September 24, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Motorcycle registration (accessed September 24, 2016) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  108. ^ Thomas Ihle: Motorcycling. 2nd Edition. BoD, 2013, ISBN 978-3-7322-4166-8 , p. 15.
  109. PS 02/2016, p. 46.
  110. In MotoGP , cf. PS 02/2016, pp. 47, 48.
  111. Bernt Spiegel: The upper half of the motorcycle . Motorbuch, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-613-03064-0 .
  112. For example, Sporner finds ( Memento of the original from April 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in accident databases often the combination of the accident features “leaving the lane to the right”, “solo accident” and “driving accident”. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  113. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 353.
  114. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 354.
  115. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 360.
  116. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 357.
  117. Jürgen Stoffregen: Motorcycle technology. 2010, p. 359.
  118. Vittore Cossalter: Motorcycle Dynamics. 2nd Edition. Lulu Verlag, 2006, ISBN 1-4303-0861-3 , p. 329.
  119. Joachim Funke: Stress and strain on motorcyclists when braking with different braking systems. TU Darmstadt, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2006, pp. IX ff., 24ff. , accessed September 1, 2015 .
  120. P. Seiniger, H. Winner, J. Gail: Future Vehicle Stability Control Systems for Motorcycles With Focus on Accident Prevention.
  121. Vittore Cossalter: Motorcycle Dynamics. 2006, p. 326.
  122. ^ Ulrich Hoffmann : The great lexicon of motorcycle technology. Heel Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-86852-090-3 , p. 141.
  123. Markus Biebricher: Driving with a pillion passenger - Precious freight. In: motorcycle . May 22, 2009, accessed February 23, 2014 .
  124. BGH : VRS 18 (1960) 415., OLG Stuttgart VM 1960 40.
  125. Road fatalities 2010–2013 according to the type of traffic involved
  126. Press release of the Federal Highway Research Institute . In:
  127. Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development: Traffic in Figures 2008/2009. 37th edition. DVV Media Group, 2008.
  128. Federal Highway Research Institute : stationary noise measurement on motorcycles in traffic and during the general inspection according to § 29 StVZO. Vehicle technology booklet F 48.Bergisch Gladbach 2004, ISBN 3-86509-143-1 , pp. 25, 36.
  129. TÜV Nord Mobility: Determination of the noise emissions from vehicles in road traffic. Retrieved July 9, 2009 (PDF file; 4.2 MB)
  130. Jost Maurin: Motorcycle noise in Germany: Where the crackling annoys . In: The daily newspaper: taz . August 4, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed August 18, 2018]).
  131. Jost Maurin: Unnecessarily loud motorcycles and cars: cheat flaps in the exhaust . In: The daily newspaper: taz . February 11, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed May 15, 2018]).
  132. Jost Maurin: Noise caused by too loud engines: Stricter rules against motorcycle noise. In: . February 25, 2018, accessed June 26, 2018 .
  133. Jost Maurin: Extension of the noise limit values: EU politicians against motorcycle noise. In: . March 25, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018 .
  134. Pollutant emissions from motorized two-wheelers
  135. Blockings. In: , accessed on January 13, 2017.
  136. Norbert Löns: Blocking of the punching route for motorcycles  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: motorcycle. May 30, 2008.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  137. ^ Burkhard Straßmann: The route closure . In: The time . 33/1996, August 9, 1996.
  138. See § 49 StVZO, i. d. V. of November 13, 1937.
  139. Directive 70/157 / EEC . In: EUR-Lex .
  140. Directive 78/1015 / EEC
  141. Noise limit values for motorcycles (accessed on April 18, 2016)
  142. Directive 87/56 / EEC of the Council of December 18, 1986 amending Directive 78/1015 / EEC on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States on the permissible noise level and the exhaust system of motorcycles . In: EUR-Lex .
  143. The limit value of 74 dB (A) has been in force for cars since 1995.
  144. Regulation (EU) No. 168/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of January 15, 2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two-, three-wheel and four-wheel vehicles , accessed on April 16, 2016 . Annex VI - D. In:
  145. Jost Maurin: Motorcycle noise in Germany: Where the crackling annoys . In: The daily newspaper: taz . August 4, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed on August 8, 2018]).
  146. Regulation No. 41 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN / ECE) - Uniform conditions for the approval of motorcycles with regard to their noise development , accessed on August 17, 2018 . In: EUR-Lex .
  147. Jost Maurin: Motorcycle noise in Germany: Where the crackling annoys . In: The daily newspaper: taz . August 4, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed August 17, 2018]).
  148. Regulation (EU) No. 540/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 16, 2014 on the noise level of motor vehicles and replacement exhaust systems as well as amending Directive 2007/46 / EC and repealing Directive 70/157 / EEC , accessed on March 6, 2018
  149. Motorcycles. In: , accessed on April 18, 2016.
  151. ACE criticizes motorcycle manufacturers: "Impetuous PS fanatics". (PDF) ACE , October 4, 2010, accessed February 23, 2014 .
  152. ↑ Reduced speed. (No longer available online.) In: Motorrad . December 27, 2000, archived from the original on January 18, 2015 ; accessed on August 31, 2015 .
  153. 100 HP limit lifted. (No longer available online.) In: Motorrad . January 5, 1999, archived from the original on December 16, 2014 ; accessed on August 31, 2015 .
  154. Schimanski turns 70 . In: motorcycle .
  155. Norbert Sorg: The motorcycles of the television heroes. In: motorcycle . 3/2008.
  156. Real bike from the cyber world. In: Spiegel Online. October 14, 2010, accessed April 19, 2018.