How Motorcycles Work

Motorcycle Future
The B91 Wraith
The B91 Wraith
Photo courtesy Confederate Motor Company

­­­Although the basic design of the motorcycle remains the same, motorcycle engineering continues to enjoy innovation and gradual evolution. Consider the two vehicles shown below. The B91 Wraith from Confederate Motor Company is a $50,000 motorcycle with a carbon-fiber frame and a molded carbon-fiber fuel container placed under the engine. The Dodge's Tomahawk is not even a motorcycle in the strictest definition. To handle the massive V10 Viper engine, Tomahawk designers had to add two more wheels. They also had to move the gas tank to the front fender to shield it from the engine's heat.

The Tomahawk is essentially a concept vehicle, but it demonstrates America's fascination with two-wheeled transportation and underscores why people ride motorcycles in the first place -- speed, power and the thrill of the ride.

Motorcycle accessories are becoming more high-tech as well. For example, BMW's K1200 LT Elite offers a built-in navigation system that dictates turn-by-turn directions through speakers in the helmet. The prototype Blue Eye Helmet features the world's first head-up display -- a 320- by 240-pixel color LCD positioned two inches from the eye.

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