On August 29, 1885, German inventor Gottlieb Daimler patented the first motorcycle. 

Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach are the names of the two German engineers who became fathers of famous automobile brands. But they had created another important thing before that. 


Фото: infourok.ru

1883 was the birth year of combustion engine and the year when the two engineers patented their design. But we are not going to talk about it. We are going to talk about the auxiliary device for engine testing, which “went out of control” and became a separate vehicle for centuries to come. 

The mysterious contraption looked like this: An iron-reinforced wooden bicycle frame with wheels, with a 0.5hp combustion engine installed on it. There was a motor and an exhaust pipe under the seat, and two small wheels attached to the rear wheel for balance. Clearly, it was a motorcycle. The first one in the world, it was made in the Daimler’s shop located in the huge garden of a villa at Bad Cannstatt.




How to start the first motorcycle? 

To start the engine, a gasoline heater was used to heat the copper tube burning hot and ignite gasoline. The engine was started with a starting crank. It took no less than 1 minute to get it started.









Photo: phillymint.com

Although the first motorcycle was primitive, it was the rightful prototype of the modern two-wheeled motor vehicles. Gottlieb Daimler laid the foundations for a new vehicle, although he only wanted to see how the engine worked. 

On August 29, 1885, the inventor received the patent for a “vehicle with a gas or kerosene engine” that would later be called a “riding car.” After that, Daimler and Maybach continued perfecting their two-wheeler with a compact single-cylinder four-stroke engine. Maybach optimized the belt gear system, giving the “riding car” two speeds – 6 or 12 km/h. 

The first test was successful. On November 10, 1885, Daimler’s son Adolf drove 6 km from the shop at Cannstatt to a small town of Untertürkheim and back. 

A special mention is due to the first Soviet motorcycle, which started a series of legendary Russian two-wheeled vehicles. 

It all began in the 1920s. Leningrad engineers made their drawings, inspired by the German DKW Luxus 300 recognized in the early 1930s as the most reliable motorbike. 

The new model was named L-300. 

L-300 technical characteristics. 

Manufactured in: Leningrad

Engine displacement: 300 cm3

Weight: 125 kg

Maximum speed: 80 km/h

Average fuel consumption: around 4 liters per 100 km.










In the fall of 1931, L-300 production became independent from import as USSR learned to make all parts and units for the motorcycle.



L-300 motorcycles were produced till the end of 1939 (till the advent of the legendary Izhevsk motorcycles of the 1940s). About 19,000 vehicles were made during that period. Driver-friendly L-300 motorcycles made in Leningrad were used in the Red Army for reconnaissance and communication. 

But the main thing was that when L-300 became available, thousands of Soviet people got to ride a motorcycle for the first time. The mass production experience with the first Soviet novelty laid the foundation for the models of future generations. They were sports and highway motorcycle L-500 and racing motorbike L-8, followed by the legendary Izh-7 and Izh-8. By the way, the latter did not just become a Soviet legend, but was immortalized on the silver coins of New Zealand.

Photo on the page: Drawing of the first motorcycle, Daimler Reitwagen, TASS

Photo on the homepage: m.fotostrana.ru