Turbo Tuesday: Motorcycles | Lifestyle | KenyaBuzz

Turbo Tuesday: Motorcycles

12 Apr 2016 | By Rowland K. Ng'eno


Motorcycles are increasingly becoming popular especially in Nairobi, thanks to the maddening city traffic. Don’t you get a bit ticked off when some guy in a motor bike just casually breezes past you when the traffic in front of you has grinded to a complete halt? But that’s the convenience that comes with owning a two-wheeler.

Unlike Kenya, motorcycles are in some countries the vehicle of choice for regular motorists. Here, most are used for purposes of public transportation. Those who own motorbikes of their own have a reputation and general perception of being bad ass or care free. Others see it as being selfish, since you cannot accommodate other passengers. Most people I talk to would love to buy a motorbike but many do not have the guts to do so.


It is also common to see motorcycles involved in accidents. Just this past weekend a bus was razed by angry motorcyclists for hitting one of their own. Compared to a car, a motorcycle does not have a body to protect it. You are the body. Accidents involving motorcycles are so prevalent in Kenya that there is a specific ward for motorcycle related accidents at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

In the first world, motorcycles are a luxury with most using it for entertainment or leisure. In the third world they are loved for their fuel economy and being cheap to maintain and purchase.

So what’s the true definition of a motorcycle?
A motorcycle is a two or three-wheeled motor vehicle. It is practically as old as cars, dating back its history from the bicycle. It dates back to 1894 when Hilderbrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle. And the first to get the name “motorcycle”. But the first motorbike was officially built in Germany in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. It was called a Reitwagen (riding car) and it was the first gas powered vehicle, a precursor to the current day automobile.

There are three major types of motorcycles: street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many sub-types of motorcycles for different purposes. 

Street bikes include cruisers, sport bikes, scooters and mopeds, and many other types. Off-road motorcycles include many types designed for dirt-oriented racing classes such as motocross. These are not street legal in most areas. Dual purpose machines like the dual-sport style are made to go off-road but include features to make them legal and comfortable on the street as well.


The most popular motorcycle manufacturers are Harley Davidson, Triumph, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati. Some notable carmakers have ventured into the motorcycle industry like BMW, Honda and Suzuki.

In Kenya motorcycles can range from Ksh 20,000 to about Ksh 2 million. For most, a good bike can cost similar to a car so they would rather get a vehicle. Mali is the biggest motorcycle market in the continent. Most of its citizens prefer it for personal use; similar to Asia Pacific and Southern & Eastern Asia regions, excluding car-centric Japan.

GALLERY: 2015 CBA Africa Concours d'Elegance

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