THE MOTORCYCLE TIRES


This covers development of motor cycles but all other vehicle developments are taken as one topic.

Looking from present days point of view a motorized two-wheeler may not look a significant achievement. Still whether it is a motor cycle, scooter or moped it has its own place in today’s world. It is not only a common man’s vehicle but also serves as a special purpose vehicle.

A mountain-bike costs more than an ordinary car. That is the kind of interest people have for two wheelers. A motor cycle is used, leave alone for fun, as an effective means of transport particularly in third world country by people. It is also used for the control in cities and in highways over which there is a large amount of motor travel and in the war and in emergency situation by reason of its possible speed, maneuvering power and ease of concealment and also used for army dispatch. In India in cities they are a menace. So, it can be said that in certain lines of work the motorcycle cannot be supplanted by the four-wheeler vehicles.

But our focus is to tire, so we will restrict ourselves to that aspect. We will briefly consider the history of the invention and development of the motorcycle. It will be just brief to the manufacturing practices of this branch of the rubber industry from its inception to now.

Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler was an engineer, industrial designer and industrialist born in Germany. He was a pioneer of internal-combustion engines and automobile- development. He invented the high-speed liquid petroleum fueled engine.

Daimler and his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach were in 1883 designed a horizontal cylinder layout compressed charge liquid petroleum engine that fulfilled Daimler's desire for a high-speed engine which could be throttled, making it useful in transportation applications. This engine was called Daimler's Dream.

In 1885 they designed a vertical cylinder version of this engine which they subsequently fitted to a two-wheeler, the first internal combustion motorcycle which was named the Petroleum Reitwagen (Riding Car) and, in the next year, to a coach, and a boat. Daimler called this engine the grandfather clock engine (Standuhr) because of its resemblance to a large pendulum clock.

So, the first real motorcycle was invented by him was three years before the Dunlop pneumatic tire. However, the locomotion idea paramount in the minds of men was then the thought of a horseless carriage; and Daimler's invention and patents were purchased from him and applied to the

construction of a four-wheel power vehicle. Thus, the motorcycle was lost in the shuffle of automobile experimenting and nothing was heard of a two-wheeled power vehicle until the French machines were introduced in 1898.

The first American motorcycle was manufactured by the Thomas Motor

Co., of Buffalo, New York, in 1900. By attaching a single cylinder gasoline engine

to the transverse bar of an ordinary bicycle and running a flat belt to a concentric pulley on the rear wheel, they succeeded in their endeavor to construct a power bicycle which would at least attain a fair rate of speed when operated under favorable road conditions.

In 1901 the Hendee Manufacturing Company of Spring field, Mass., (makers of the Indian Motorcycle) brought out a machine with the engine suspended in the lower part of a specially designed

heavy frame. Others followed this lead and soon there were several machines in the field, but this first Hendee machine is-so-far as American are concerned marks the real beginning of motorcycle development.

Several manufacturers have participated in the development of the motorcycle. In the years 1902,1903, and 1904 important improvements were made, such as Grip Control, Stronger Frames, more Comfortable Saddles, etc.

In 1905 the first twin cylinder engine made its appearance, and in 1908 magneto ignition made power more constant. Thus, these first improvements increased the speed each year since has witnessed some slight change for the better in its construction and design. This development had, however, up to 1908 been slow on account of the lack of capital and credit among the exponents of this new means of transportation. But the next year (1909) saw the motorcycle industry almost revolutionized.

The Hendee Manufacturing Company

led in this radical movement with a new machine entirely different from any previous model. Direct Trans-mission, Band Brakes, and a new and Heavy Frame Construction were a few of the many changes that took place. Previous to this the motorcycle, like the bicycle, was constructed with its wheels bolted rigidly to the forks, and the rider, therefore, was dependent upon the cushioning properties of the tire, supplemented in a few cases by spring saddles, for comfort in riding. But, during the interim from 1909 to 1915, various kinds of springs were invented and adopted which further popularized this two -wheel power vehicle as a means of transport. Kick starters, electric lights, and in short most of the attachments found on the automobile were also almost directly thereafter, adopted and thus, rapid travel over country roads became more comfortable, safe and convenient.

During this period of development, side cars also came into use for passenger and bundle delivery service and as a consequence the motorcycle became extremely popular not only as a pleasure vehicle for young men, but as a utility vehicle for public service corporations, stores and factories. Its cheapness and dependability as a means of transportation has recommended it to military authorities and today, no great army is without its motorcycle division.

But if we look for a single factor responsible for it gaining importance we can pinpoint it to pneumatic tire. This wonderful machine has only been made possible through the development of the pneumatic tire.

Now let us come to our area of interest which is motorcycle tire evolution.

In the beginning motor cycle was just a bicycle with a motor. Naturally, in the beginning most of the manufacturers used common bicycle materials including tires. For example, the first American machine (Thomas) was equipped with Goodrich 1.625 "999 Tandem" bicycle tires. Later-on, as machines were made heavier and twin cylinder engines developed, it was found that heavier and stronger tires were necessary to withstand the stress and strain of the added load and increased speed. So, we have gradual development of the tire to its present heavy-duty standards. So, they will be part of our write up development of tires.

With the principle of proper tire balance always in mind (correct proportion of tire fabric, tread compound, etc., to the size of the tire) the B. F. Goodrich Company constructed in 1909, a two-ply tire with heavy fabric, heavy tread and sidewalls, the idea being to have resilience and easy riding, plus more strength, and the results were generally satisfactory.

The power and range of the motorcycle had further increased to such an extent by 1911, that it had resulted in the demand for a still more durable tire, and it was found necessary by the use of superior grades of fabric and compounds to construct a three-ply tire which would retain a great measure of the resiliency of the old two-ply tire and at the same time be much stronger and more lasting.

Since motorcycles were constantly being adopted for commercial uses, and the service requirements of the tire became greater, users commenced to equip their machines with 3" automobile tires. But, because their shape and the construction of their beads were not suited to motorcycle service, and consequently a 3" motor cycle tire made identically like an automobile tire, except in shape and bead construction. These tires were introduced in 1912.


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