Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 16th October 2019

As a motorbike rider you’ll no doubt enjoy embarking on epic journeys and wonderful weekend trips with your two-wheel pride and joy. But every now and again, you’ll you’ll probably also want to meet up with like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts, to share stories and experiences.

So, it stands to reason that when you do want to meet up, you’ll perhaps want to impress your follow riders, by telling them some things they didn’t know about motorcycles. Well we’ve got 20 such things right here for you…

1 – Everyone knows the name Yamaha when it comes to motorcycles, but perhaps you didn’t know that the multinational conglomerate started out as a piano manufacturer in 1887. They still produce musical instruments to this day, along with many other things, such as electronics, swimming pools, car engines and industrial robots.

2 – Believe it or not, there is actually a world record held for the longest ever backwards motorcycle ride. It was set in Jabalpur, India on October 7, 2014 by Dipayan Choudhury. The actual record was 125.52 miles riding completely backwards.

3 – You’ve probably heard of the term “hog” when referring to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but did you know its origin? According to legend, the Wrecking Crew of the Harley racing team in the 1900s used to keep a small pig as a mascot. When a rider won they would do victory laps with the pig sitting on the bike’s fuel tank.

4 – Arai Helmets is one of the most recognised motorcycle helmet manufacturers in the world, and they actually started out as a company that made hats in 1926 Japan. They made gear for the construction industry and the founder Hirotake Arai was actually a stunt rider.

5 – In 2015 the longest ever motorbike was built in Gujarat, India. Bharat Sinh Parmar was responsible for the lengthy motorcycle, which measured at a staggering 26.29 m long.

6 – There’s no natural rubber in any modern sport bike tires. They are actually composed of compounded synthetic rubber, in order to achieve a compromise between durability and traction.

7 – Before 2008, 29 years old or younger was the leading age category for motorbike fatalities. However, that year saw the lead age change dramatically to 50 years or older for fatalities.

8 – The longest running motorcycle race in the world is the Isle of Man TT, a high-speed race which is held on closed public roads. It’s also the deadliest race, with a total number of fatalities over the years coming to around 252 so far.

9 – Kawasaki is a hugely popular motorcycle manufacturer, but they also make a number of other things; including personal watercrafts, tractors, trains, jet engines, missiles and even space rockets.

10 – The worst months of the year for motorcycle theft are July, August and September. With lowest being February, December, and March.

11 – Australian stunt rider Robbie Maddison set the world record for the longest motorcycle ever in Melbourne, in 2008. He jumped an astonishing 106.98m (350.98 feet) into a perfect landing
on his third attempt, riding a modified Honda CR500.

12 – Actor Erik Estrada suffered a serious motorcycle accident, while filming an episode of the 1970s TV police series, CHiPS. During his recovery time, he ended up having to shoot scenes from his bed in hospital.

13 – Motorcyclist Billy Baxter lost his eyesight while serving in Bosnia. He went on to set the first ever blind solo world land speed record on a motorbike in 2003, with a speed of 164.87 mph.

14 – From around the 17th January 1985 to 2 April 1995, Argentinian Emilio Scotto set a world record, for the longest journey ever made with the use of a motorcycle. Covering in excess of 457,000 miles, over 214 countries and territories.

15 – Actor Keanu Reeves, best known for his roles on Bill and Ted and The Matrix trilogy, is so passionate about motorcycles, he started his own company; the Arch Motorcycle. He creates and sells custom built bespoke motorcycles in between his film roles.

16 – Speaking of Keanu Reeves, the actor also kindly used a part of his profits from The Matrix to purchase motorcycles for each of the stuntmen who worked on the film.

17 – The name of the smallest motorcycle ever built is Smalltoe. The diameter of the front wheel measures just 0.62″, and the rear wheel measures 0.86″. It only weighs a total of 1.1 kg, has a seat height of 2.55” and reaches a top speed of about 1.2mph using a 0.3 hp engine. Its creator Tom Wiberg, amazingly managed to ride the tiny motorbike for over 10 meters in Hökerum, Sweden, in 2003.

18 – The Toilet Bike Neo was built in Japan, by high-end toilet manufacturer Toto, and could actually be indirectly powered by human waste. The waste is turned into biofuel and stored inside two compressed gas cylinders which are placed on the motorbike. It can be ridden for a around 186 miles before needing a refill.

19 – The original motorcycle helmet was invented by neurosurgeon Dr Eric Gardner, who attended to Lawrence of Arabia after his fatal motorcycle crash. After consistently treating motorcyclists with head injuries, he presented designs for a helmet to the Auto-Cycle Union. It was soon made compulsory for the 1914 Isle of Man TT races. A rider’s life was actually saved by one of the helmets after taking a glancing head blow from a gate.

20 – The motor vehicle widely recognised as the first motorcycle was built in 1885, and it was called the Daimler Petroleum Reitwagen, or “Riding Car.” It was built by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, with the former often referred to as the “the father of the motorcycle.”