World’s First Motorcycle

German inventors built "riding car" in 1885

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Here at Motorcycle.com, we spend an awful lot of time searching out and covering stories about the motorcycles that will shape the future of the industry. Sometimes it is also a good idea to turn around and look back at just how far we’ve come. The first known motorcycle in existence was constructed back in 1885 by German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach near Stuttgart. Essentially a motorized wooden bicycle, the Reitwagen, (riding car) as it was called, was the first petroleum-powered transportation device.

The “Reitrad” was registered with the patent office on August 29, 1885 creating a whole new way to travel. The first public test ride occurred on November 10 of the same year with Daimler’s younger son, Adolf in the saddle giving birth to the public fascination for motorcycles that still exists today. It may seem like a basic and rudimentary design but just think, if it weren’t for the invention of this gas-powered wooden gadget 124 years ago, we might still be getting around by horse and buggy.

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  • Keith Schiffner

    That would be wrong. Mr. Roper did it FIRST in the US of A with a steam powered motorcycle. Techniclly he was the first moto fatality (single vehicle) death when He died of a heart attack racing at the age of 70+

  • Inspector Gadget

    Check the link :
    http://www.acme.cobblers.org/einspurlrg.html
    Apparently Daimler’s first bike didn’t stay standard for long …

  • http://www.dialademo.co.za Used Bikes

    That is quite the antique motorcycle there. I wonder what riding one must have been like, especially when it came to slowing it down to a standstill….LOL!