Did you know that an Italian company that makes the world’s best superbikes started out making radio parts? Read on to see which company we are talking about and find out some more interesting trivia and facts about some of the most famous bikes and bike manufacturers in the world.
Apart from making bikes today Kawasaki also manufacturers personal watercrafts, ships, electronics, construction equipment tractors, trains, helicopters, jet engines, missiles and space rockets.
Yamaha was started in 1887 as a piano manufacturer. Today, Yamaha makes boats, car engines, swimming pools, industrial robots, wheelchairs, RVs, electronics, and golf carts apart from bikes. And they still produce some of the world’s finest musical instruments.
Suzuki began as a company that manufactured weaving looms for Japan’s growing silk industry in the early 20th century. It’s founder, Michio Suzuki, began an engineering firm in the 1930s to make engines and small cars. The first bike from Suzuki appeared in 1952 and was a moped called Power Free. Today, aside from the production of bikes, Suzuki makes cars, marine engines, wheelchairs and is Japan’s second largest manufacturer of small cars and trucks.
Ducati was founded in 1935 as a family-owned firm that made radio parts in Bologna, Italy. Soon after, they started building the Ducati Cucciolo (Italian for puppy), which was a motorized bicycle fitted with a 48cc engine. Ducati sold 2,00,000 of these by 1950 and two years later the company started making its own motorcycles and engines.
In 1946 Honda began selling pushbikes fitted with two-stroke 50cc engines originally designed for use with army field telephones. 46 years later on it launched arguably the most technically complex production motorcycle ever made with the 1992 Honda NR750. Designed initially as a race bike, Honda made 300 road-going versions of the NR available to the public and at the time it was considered one of the most expensive motorcycles you could buy.
6) Royal Enfield Bullet
The Bullet model manufactured by Royal Enfield has become more famous than the brand itself. Royal Enfield was originally a British brand before it shifted base to India and became one the most popular manufacturers in the country. UK and India RE combined, the Bullet model has been in continuous production since 1948. This is the longest continuation of a motorcycle model in the world.
7) Suzuki Hayabusa
Hayabusa is Japanese for peregrine falcon (the fastest flying bird in the world), which preys on blackbirds. It was also the name of a fighter plane used in World War 2: the Nakajima Ki-43, which was used as a Kamikaze plane towards the end of the war.
The first bike by Harley-Davidson was a bicycle fitted with an engine and was made in 1903 by William Harley and Arthur Davidson in a wooden shed. The first year of “mass” production was 1905, when Harley-Davidson manufactured eight motorcycles.
BMW began in 1916 as an aircraft engine manufacturer that began production before WWI. The Treaty of Versailles banned the German Air Force and the manufacture of aircraft in Germany, so the company turned to making air brakes, industrial engines, agricultural machinery, toolboxes and office furniture and then to motorcycles and cars.
KTM is an Austrian company that was started in 1934 as Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. The prototype of the first bike made by KTM, the R100, was produced in 1951. KTM started mass production of the R100 in 1954 after the company was renamed as Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen when Ersnt Kronreif acquired majority shares of the company.
This article is brought to you by Wheelstreet – India’s first bike rental platform.