A virtual tour of the classic motorcycle collection on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Ala.
1885 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller
Engine: Horizontal, twin cylinder four stroke
Ignition: Hot tube, heated by gasoline burners
Power Rating: 2.5hp @ 240rpm
Valves: Atmospheric inlet, mechanical exhaust
Fuel System: Vapor from surface carburetor
Transmission: Single speed
Brakes: Wood brake blocks acting on front tire.
The Hildebrand & Wolfmuller was the first mass produced motorcycle; the first time anyone had seen such a vehicle in countries such as Australia and China. The power unit was based on steam engine principles but was powered by gasoline. The long connecting rods are attached to the rear wheel, which is actually the crankshaft, so final drive ratios can be changed by varying rear wheel diameter. The rubber bands are to assist starting; no kickstart or pedals, just a good push.