Arguably one of the most impactful moments in the modern era was the invention of the combustion engine. While Henry Ford was busy perfecting the automobile and assembly line, bicycle makers were transforming their pedal products into motorized machines that would take the world by storm. Few will argue that, aside from the computer, few things have done more to shape the course of modern society.
During the First World War motorcycles, which had been around for years but had yet to achieve a strong presence, were quickly identified as one of the best and easiest modes of transportation. Their low cost and high speeds proved to be an invaluable asset, ideal for communication and message relay, scouting, and policing. During World War II the need for motorcycles was obvious right from the beginning and they were instrumental in helping the war effort.
The frequent use of the two wheeled transports overseas led to an inevitable rise in their popularity back home. In the 50’s movies like “Rebel Without a Cause” showed a life of excitement and adventure that could be achieved by riding a hog and doing whatever you wanted. Since then, the popularity of motorcycles has seen a steady climb, whether it be the traditional biker who’s lived his whole adult life on the back of a custom Harley Davidson, or the college student needing cheap transportation. Recent statistics from MotorcycleRoads.com show some states with almost 1 motorcycle for every 12 people in the state.
With so many bikes on the road, technology has raced to keep up. Most technology today is focused on one of two areas: safety and convenience. Safety is obvious. Along with Share the Road campaigns, safety technology is struggling to overcome the reluctance to wear equipment by many lifelong riders, while endeavoring to get the word out on the importance of helmets and proper clothing to younger riders.
The great new is that many technological breakthroughs have drastically increased both the comfort and effectiveness of safety gear, and also given way to amazing partnerships with electronics and equipment. Companies like Bike Bandit have hundreds of options when selecting a helmet. Custom designed gear can be created to suit your needs, whether you’re looking for a half shell to provide some protection but still allow you to experience the wind in your face, or a modular helmet that can adapt to various weather and temperature variables.
With smart phones and instant communication a necessity in today’s fast-paced world, many companies can offer Bluetooth and wireless options built right into the helmet. Music can be streamed directly into built in speakers and two way communication systems can be integrated, allowing bikers to easily speak with each other as they ride. The future is even more amazing showing the potential for built in heads-up displays and early warning systems.