Sunday, November 11, 2007
A common theory is that the first motorcyclist in history took his maiden voyage November 10, 1885 (I know I missed posting it yesterday, I was on a charity ride).
Who was the first motorcyclist?
(insert brief history jaunt...it is claimed I never have a short answer)
Gottlieb Daimler(born March 17, 1834) Daimler worked in a steam engine plant for several years before going to work with N. A. Otto to perfect the Otto oil engine at Gasmotoren-Fabrik in Deutz.
Daimler and Otto began to have their differences and in 1882, he left the company and teamed up with a friend, Wilhelm Mayback. They opened their own factory to develop a lightweight gasoline powered engine. By 1885 they had created the carburetor, a "dependable" ignition system, and a gasoline engine that was considerably faster than Otto's creation. There is a bit of controversy in who created the first motorcycle - Otto or Daimler. If you believe the claim that Daimler did, it is reported that this took place in November 1885 when he mounted the lightweight "banjo" shaped engine to a bicycle they name the "Reitwagen". The engine was 264cc, produced 0.5 horsepower at 700 rpms and produced a speed of 7.4 mph.
Some report this was on November 10th but no one can produce any real proof of the date. Some even claim November 1st. In any event, Daimler is reported to have commissioned his oldest son, Paul to try the pairing out. (Either he thought his son was a skilled bicyclist or he thought he could spare him as he had several other sons??) Paul Daimler was reported to have made several trips (some say that several equated to five trips) on the Reitwagen. It had been built soley for purpose of proving the reliability of Daimler's gasoline engine.
In 1890 Gottlieb Daimler founded Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, which produced the 1889 Mercedes and later merged to form The Daimler-Benz & Co. in 1926. Then after a few more spins of the earth became Daimler-Chrysler.
and now you know, the rest of the story...