An unrestored example (top left) of the very first vehicle to which the name ‘motorcycle’ (motorrad in German) was ever applied is to come up for auction in April. The 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller motorcycle sounds like a modern motorcycle in its specification – twin-cylinder, four-valve, water-cooled, 1488cc engine – but it is indeed as unconventional as it is rare. Check out the diagram and you’ll see the rear wheel doubled as a pseudo flywheel and indeed, the piston connecting rods and the pushrods that actuate the valve gear are also attached to the rear wheel, there’s no clutch, no brakes and there’s a lot of work to be done on a machine that’ll cost you GBP40,000 to 60,000 before you start. At the end of it all though, you’ll have a bonafide centrepeice for any transport museum.
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