Motorcycle Information

Explore the systems and components of motorcycles and see how they’re built. Learn about motorcycles at HowStuffWorks.

The 1988 Laverda SFC 1000 motorcycle featured Laverda's trademark three-cylinder engine. This particular model was not intended for export sales so this motorcycle is very rare in the U.S. See pictures and learn more about the Laverda SFC 1000.

The 1959 Lilac was one of the first upscale Japanese motorcycles to be sold in the United States. The powertrain layout and other features resembled that of other big European models for sale in the U.S. See pictures and learn about the 1959 Lilac.

The 1904 Marsh motorcycle used parts made by the Marsh brothers themselves. It had a single cylinder engine that had an intake valve that opened on the cylinder's down stroke. See pictures and learn about the 1904 Marsh, a pioneering motorbike.

The 1961 Matchless G-12 motorcycle was one of the last models offered bearing the Matchless name. The 1961 model performed poorly which caused low sales against other British competitors Triumph and BSA. See pictures and learn about the Matchless G-12.

The 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport motorcycle from Italy was low slung and sporty. The engine used shaft drive instead of a chain and had a front-mounted alternator which lowered the seat position. See pictures and learn about the 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport.

The 1976 Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert motorcycle performed as if it had an automatic transmission. It featured a torque converter that allowed the rider to come to a complete stop and accelerate without using the clutch. Learn about this big Moto Guzzi.

The 1978 Moto Guzzi LeMans motorcycle was a special mix of V-twin power and Italian style. It had a unique braking system where the foot pedal controlled the front and rear brakes along with the hand brake. See pictures and learn about the Moto Guzzi LeMans.

The 1971 Munch TTS motorcycle is a rarity. Only 250 Munch bikes were made and under 50 came to the U.S. Built from a low-production company, it is often said that no two Munchs are exactly alike. See pictures and learn about the Munch TTS.

The 1977 MV Agusta 750S America motorcycle was one of the last street bikes produced by MV Agusta. The bike was very heavy but the weight paid off at higher speeds by adding a great deal of stability. See pictures and learn about the 750S America.

The 1974 MV Agusta 750 GT motorcycle performed well despite some outdated features. Very few Agustas were sold because they were extremely expensive when compared to Japanese bikes. See pictures and learn about the expensive MV Agusta 750 GT.

The 2000 MV Agusta F4 Strada motorcycle marked the return of the MV Agusta brand after nearly twenty years. The bike featured lightweight materials and a 750-cc four-cylinder fuel-injected engine. Learn about the MV Agusta F4 Strada.

The 1974 MZ TS250 motorcycle had origins in Communist East Germany and was popular as basic transportation. It was powered by a 250-cc two-stroke single cylinder engine that was built for economy rather than speed. See pictures and learn about the MZ TS250.

The 1937 Nimbus Luxus motorcycle was produced in Denmark and had many unusual features. This motorcycle featured many unusual design elements such as a channel-steel frame and odd gear lever placement. See detailed pictures and learn about the 1937 Nimbus Luxus.

The 1970 Norton Commando 750S motorcycle was sporty but dogged by Japanese competition. The most interesting design element of this motorcycle is the high-set exhaust pipes with heat shields. See pictures and learn about the Norton Commando 750S.

The 1976 Norton Commando motorcycle was among the last bikes Norton produced. Outdated design elements caused Norton to slip in sales when compared to its Japanese competitors. See pictures and learn more about the classic Norton Commando.

The 1910 Pierce motorcycle was America's first four-cylinder motorcycle. The bike consisted of a heavy tubular frame that doubled as storage for fuel and oil. See pictures and learn more about the innovative 1910 Pierce motorcycle.

The 1918 Pope L-18 motorcycle boasted innovation and quality engineering but was Pope's last motorcycle. It had a 61-cubic-inch V-twin engine with overhead valves which were innovative for the time. See pictures and learn about the Pope L-18.

The 1913 Reading Standard motorcycle was a great example of an early American motorcycle. Reading Standards is best known as the first American motorcycle company to offer a flathead engine. See pictures and learn about the Reading Standard.

The 1914 Sears Deluxe motorcycle was offered for sale in the Sears and Roebuck catalog. The motorcycle featured a 35-cubic-inch Deluxe ''Big Five'' engine and sold for 197 dollars. See pictures and learn more about the Sears Deluxe.

The 1956 Simplex Automatic motorcycle was a lightweight machine that could return 100 mpg. The main reasons for the high fuel economy were the overall light weight and efficient design of the bike. See pictures and learn about the Simplex Automatic.

The 1966 Suzuki T10 motorcycle with its mild-mannered engine was aimed squarely at commuters. Performance was not on the mind of the designers when this bike was built instead they focused on economy. See pictures and learn about the Suzuki T10.

The water-cooled engine of the 1975 Suzuki GT 750 motorcycle earned the bike the nickname the 'Water Buffalo.' The bike had a large radiator bolted to the front of the frame and the engine had a water jacket to keep it cool. Learn about the Suzuki GT 750.

The 1993 Harley-Davidson FLSTN Heritage Softail motorcycle was dubbed the Cow Glide. See pictures and learn about the Harley FLSTN Heritage Softail.

The 1984 Harley-Davidson XR-1000 Sportster motorcycle was powerful buy too pricey. See pictures and learn about the Harley-Davidson XR-1000 Sportster.

The 1904 Indian was one of the few motorcycles of its time to use a direct-drive chain. The direct-drive chain was far more reliable than the more common tensioned leather belt which turned the rear wheel. Get information and see pictures of the 1904 Indian.