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History of the dirtbike...

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Im doing a power point presentation on the history of dirtbikes for school and if you had a good link to information, or just information itself that would be totally awesome.

What I need to know.

*Basicaly the history of dirtbike (like who made the first one/when/what it was like/etc

*How they have changed(obviously there has been some major changes motorized bicyles to modern MX machines so what are some of the biggest changes)

*Last, I need to know how they have effected the environment since their creation and how they have effected people lives.

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Actually the first dirtbike (like all other things) wasn't a dirtbike. It actually was a motorcycle made by Harley Davidson that was raced in the dirt. Harley eventually put suspensions on their motorcycles (i mean like offroad suspension) and called them dirtbikes. I would say that the biggest developments have come in the engine department along with better alloys, metals, etc to lighten the whole bike. I got the harley info from the history channel, perhaps it may be on their website? Hope that helps.

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You've picked an awefully broad topic. The beginning is bad enough. What we now know as dirtbikes evolved from peoples uses of generic motorcycles starting as far back as the 20's and 30's. Clubs have been running hare scrambles and enduros from WAAAYY back. Specialized bikes didn't start happening until the 60's, or so. It might be easier to try and track the development of motocross. Names like Penton, Bultaco, Montessa, Ossa, Maico, KTM, and Can-Am will be some early(60s-70's) specialist manufacturers.

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stk brings up a very good point. Perhaps you will want to focus on one particular model bike or at least one particular company. As i mentioned, harley was racing since the very beginning in the dirt.

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stk brings up a very good point. Perhaps you will want to focus on one particular model bike or at least one particular company. As i mentioned, harley was racing since the very beginning in the dirt.

http://www.off-road.com/dirtbike/feature/2003_06/images/6.jpg

Here's a photo of Harley's Baja 100. Cute, but hopeless "dirt" bike.

It was an Italian motor(Aermacchi) with street bike suspension, etc.

I remember racing them(for fun) on my Hodaka at Saddleback Park

in So Cal back in the earliest of the seventies.

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All early motorcycles were dirtbikes, because all the roads were dirt.

Take a look at an early machine, say from around 1900. Try a search on Cleveland motorcycles, or Indian, Harley, or my favorite: Thor (closely related to early Indians). Typically small light singles, chain drive (or belt), pedal assist for starting or for hills.

Those early machines have more in common with modern dirtbikes than with modern streetbikes. Probably the closest modern m/c to those old ones would be something like a Kawasaki KLR-650, made for everything including "unimproved" roads.

The English companies had dirt models in the 1940s and 50s. Triumph Cub comes to mind. Again, a lightweight single.

BMW and Harley both produced military m/c's during WWII. BMW especially had a very neat model with a sidecar and 2wd, but I don't think that's the direction you're trying to go. They went in the dirt, often even more useful than Jeeps, but they weren't the light machines we think of as dirtbikes today.

Another important model would be the 1960s-1970s Yamaha DT-1. It was probably the first modern dual-purpose bike. Reason it was so important is because it was so popular. It hooked an entire generation on motorcycles, and especially popularized riding around in the dirt. I suspect they are collectible now.

Trying to trace the evolution from Thor to Triumph Cub to modern dirtbike, you'd mostly find it's small changes over time that got us to the modern stuff. Lighter and lighter weight 4-stroke singles, then 2-strokes for even lighter weight, then suspension travel began to increase for more speed and comfort from the 1960s to the 1980s, and then back to 4-strokes.

Hard thing is probably going to be narrowing the topic, and deciding at what point you call a small lightweight single a dirtbike instead of a motorcycle.

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OMG! The 1973 Elsinore had 29 HP and only weight 225lbs! That's just amazing for a 30 year old bike. I'd love to own one of those.

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