Chains and belts are the most common methods to get power from the engine on a motorcycle to a wheel. Some bikes do use drive shafts, but that is less common. Here's a look at these methods motorcycles use to get a ride down the road.


Belts drove the first motorcycles. Heavy duty leather was mounted to a large pulley. Today, that sounds close to impossible, but early motorcycles were not the power plants we ride today.

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Europe is going to roll out a mandatory Onstar-style system called eCall. Starting in 2018, all cars made and sold in Europe must have this emergency location phone system onboard. Like the American Onstar system, when you crash (like when your airbags deploy), a signal is sent to an operator which includes your exact location. The operator can then talk to you and ask if you are okay and need assistance. This way, help can be provided rapidely.

So far, the America, Onstar system has proven itself to be very useful and will have saved quite a few lives.

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Michigan's rider choice law is now four years old. The Great Lakes state's media, riders and medical people are still looking at the law and its effects.

In 2015, 138 people died in motorcycle wrecks according to one section of the report. Another section says 140 were killed in bike crashes.

The report totals 3,096 reported crashes and 347 were injured. Those are the highest totals in decades.

Some are not convinced, particularly the ABATE lobby. Jim Rhoades, ABATE's legislative director in Michigan, said the rights group would fight every attempt to reinstate the law.

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Riding motorcycle with a helmet is an ongoing debate in the USA; many are for the freedom of being able to choose, while others want it made mandatory.

But in many countries around the globe, it’s not a choice; you must wear a helmet when riding. France has now gone a step further: YOU NOW MUST WEAR GLOVES!

That’s right, France has made it mandatory to not only wear a helmet but also gloves. And of course the gloves must be approved, so you can’t ride with your mother’s garden gloves.

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A motorcycle that won't start is much less of a problem than a motorcycle that won't stop. When you grab the grip and push the pedal to apply brakes to your bike, you stop the bike.


On a motorcycle, the amount of braking power you get per wheel varies. A New Zealand website that offers sample driver's license tests says the front wheel delivers 75-90 percent of the braking power. The braking power varies by bike, it says. "A sport bike will take more braking on the front wheel, whereas a cruiser carries more weight over the rear wheel and will have more braking power in the rear wheel. 

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Until now, all vital motorcycle gear (helmets, boots, gloves and insert impact protectors) needed to be certified (the good old “CE” label - Conformité Européenne or European Conformity) if they were to be sold in Europe. These items undergo strict testing before being certified, so when you buy a helmet certified in Europe, you know that at least it will protect your grey matter in case of an accident.

But now the European Parliament wants to go a major step further: they want ALL gear sold for motorcycles to be certified!

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Change the oil in your ride regularly. You know that, but how much do you know about the oil you put into your steel steed?


Motor oil is commonly sold with a "w" and some numbers. A lot of people say the "w" stands for weight. It means "winter." The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) came up with the numbers and the "w" for motor oil. "The numbers 0, 5, 10, 15, (20) and 25 are (sometimes) suffixed with the letter W, designating they are "winter" (not "weight") or cold-start viscosity, at lower temperature," says the Lard Oil company.

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The giant Dutch GPS manufacturer, TomTom, already had a GPS lineup for motorcycles. Handy, compact, rainproof and with features only bikers would want (like navigating to twisting roads), now TomTom has released a GPS meant for scooters (although I venture to say that many motorcycles could use this very nifty device).

The idea behind the TomTom Vio is very smart, almost a stroke of genius. The Vio is in fact the display of your smartphone’s GPS (iPhone or Android).

You download a (free) application (TomTom Vio – iPhone or Android), hook your Vio device to your scooter’s mirror stems and you are in business.

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So what about Bacon and motorcycles?

First of all, Kevin doesn’t ride motorcycles. Confused?

Of course, we’re talking about actor/musician Kevin Bacon. He is not known for riding motorcycles, neither as a true passion or hobby nor to show that he is a bad dude (like some Hollywood actors). He’s just got a great last name.

So it’s not that Bacon.

How about the “Lady”?

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A federal lawsuit to strip the Devils Disciples MC of their distinctive vest patches is over.

Federal prosecutors dropped the lawsuit Aug. 30.

“These trademark cases are important to the clubs, whose free association has been threatened by the attempts by (prosecutors) to enjoin use of their membership (marks) by non-indicted persons,” attorney Fritz Clapp, a former longtime Sacramento resident, told McClatchy News Service.

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A motorcycle that won't start is a much smaller problem than a motorcycle that won't stop.

So how do we stop our steel steeds? Brakes. Here's a look at brakes and some things you need to know about them.


Motorcycles today use hydraulic braking systems. The brake fluid is a non-compressible fluid. It comes in three types, DOT fluid. It's sold as DOT3, DOT4 and DOT5.

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