1885 DAIMLER PETROLEUM REITWAGEN / THE FIRST MOTORCYCLE
An invention from both the minds of Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, their original intent was to just test out their groundbreaking “grandfather clock” engine, coincidentally they created a motorcycle.
Considered the first motorcycle within the definition of a motorcycle having an internal combustion engine. At the time there were multiple steam engine motorcycles being tested, however Daimler and Maybach were the first with a petrol internal combustion engine.
In 1872 Daimler left the Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz, before known as N. A. Otto & Cie, and took Maybach with him. They would begin their work on creating a small high rpm and throttle capable engine that could be outfitted into a wide range of transportation uses. In 1885 they would perfect the “grandfather clock engine” and create the Daimler Petroleum Reitwagen (aka riding car). The single cylinder engine reached 600rpm which they would later improve to 900rpm.
The “grandfather clock” was air-cooled, used intake valves opened by the suction of the piston’s intake stroke, incorporated a float metered carburetor, and used a hot tube ignition which was a platinum tube within into the combustion chamber heated by an exterior open flame. The hot tube ignition would later catch the seat on fire while on the Reitwagen’s inaugural ride driven by Daimler’s 17 year old son.
Coined “the father of the motorcycle”, Gottlieb Daimler had a far reaching view of where his engine would take him and for what uses it be employed. The Daimler Petroleum Reitwagen was a ground breaking beginning for the future of internal combustion engine motorcycles. A true visionary of his time, Daimler’s breakthrough inventions continue to influence in the modern day motorcycle and car arenas.
The Bad Blonde aka Caitlin Shook has grown up in the mechanic shop world. Shook Enterprises is a south Texas automotive repair shop that focuses on the antique, classic, rare, awesome, and sometimes just plain hard to fix vehicles.
An avid fan of travel and adventure, she’s popped into every car MUSEUM and car SHOW + AUCTION she can along the way.
She began an arduous car restoration of a 1976 Porsche 912e at the age of 14 and she’s not stopped loving difficult cars since. Enjoy the journey with The Bad Blonde!