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The origins of the motorcycle can be traced back to steam-powered bicycles developed almost simultaneously in America and France around 1867. Experimentation with mainly three- and four-wheeled contraptions continued throughout the nineteenth century until innovations in frame and, more importantly, engine design (the 1895 DeDion-Buton) allowed the first genuine production two-wheelers to take to the roads at the dawn of the twentieth century. An exemplary Modernist object, dependent upon the perfect balance of man and machine, motorcycle design advanced rapidly in the first years of the century. After its deployment in WWI, it became recognised as a cheap, useful form of transport, yet at the same time, the quest for speed led to a growing perception of the rider as the embodiment of heroism and danger. By the 1950s, the emergence of a biker subculture, exemplified by demobbed fighter pilots looking to carry the thrill, danger and companionship of wartime skies onto peacetime roads, reinforced the perception of the motorcycle as a subversive vehicle. As the motorbike pushed beyond the boundaries of practicality and conformity (gaining a strong association in America with the idea and landscapes of the Wild West), so the scooter (the Vespa) and the moped (the Honda C90) took on aspects of its old utilitarian role, developing its own special relationship with the European city, as well as becoming the vehicle of everyday life in Asia. In this fascinating account of the motorcycle, Steven Alford and Suzanne Ferriss explore its iconic significance as a symbol of rebellion, in literature, film and the arts, and looks at the culture and the subculture of the motorbike and scooter in places as diverse as India, Central America and the USA.
Steven Alford and Suzanne Ferris
Recording label: Reaktion Books Manufacturer: Reaktion BooksEAN: 9781861893451Binding: PaperbackISBN: 1861893450Number of items: 1Number of pages: 240Publication date: 2008-10-01Release date: 2008-10-01Language: English (Published)
Language: English (Original Language)
Language: English (Unknown)
Brand: Reaktion Books