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Motorcycle glossaryMotorcycle dictionary explaining words and terms

This motorcycle dictionary explains words and terms used in the automotive world. Both bike and car terminology is included. You can scroll down this long page or click the first letter in the term you want to know more about.

If an explaination can be improved, please suggest a description. Use the link below each term.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
AdlySee Adly in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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AermacchiSee Aermacchi in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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AerodynamicsIn motorcycle context, good aerodynamics means that the motorcycle is designed to have as little resistance from the air as possible. This is essential to archieve great speeds. The manufacturers often make use of wind tunnels during the development of a new motorcycle.
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AJPSee AJP in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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AlferSee Alfer in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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AmazonasSee Amazonas in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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ApriliaSee Aprilia in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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ATKSee ATK in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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B
BajajSee Bajaj in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BcomBluetooth Intercom headset for bike helmets.
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Belt (belt drive)An alternative to chain or shaft drive to transfer power to the rear wheel. The rubber belt appears more smooth than either, but might cause a small lag in throttle response.
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BenelliSee Benelli in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BetaSee Beta in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BHPSee horsepower.
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BimotaSee Bimota in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BMWSee BMW in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BoreThe diameter of the cylinder in an engine.
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BorileSee Borile in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Boss HossSee Boss Hoss in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Brake Horse PowerSee horsepower.
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Brake shoesSee expanding brake.
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BSASee BSA in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BuellSee Buell in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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BullneckWhen Harley Davidson 1200 Duo Glide came in 1957 it came with a new feature, the "Bullneck" is a headlightcover that streches from the headlight to the steeringhandle. The "Bullneck" followed the Duo Glide until the end in 1964, when the Electra Glide continued with it for some years. "Bullneck" is selfexplainatory.
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BultacoSee Bultaco in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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C
CagivaSee Cagiva in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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CarbAbbreviation for carburettor.
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CarburettorThe part of the bike that mixes air and fuel in correct proportions before it is entered into the engine cylinder(s).
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CardanSee shaft drive.
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CCMSee displacement.
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CCM (the brand)See CCM in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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ChainThe word chain usually refers to primary drive, in which sense it means the chain transferring power to the rear wheel. As opposed to the two alternatives, shaft or belt drive, the chain is a light-weight solution and does not cause lag in throttle response or elevation effects. On the other hand it is a solution that needs a lot of maintenance.
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Chang-JiangSee Chang-Jiang in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Chu LanSee Starway/Chu Lan in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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ClutchFunction of clutch is to disengage the drive from engine or crankshaft to the rear wheel. It is operated by a handle.
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Combustion chamberThe part of the cylinder in which the fuel is compressed and explodes.
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CompressionA condition in which the volume of fuel and air in an engine cylinder is reduced as a result of increased pressure by a piston. The compression ratio of an engine is the ratio of the volume above the piston at the bottom of its compression stroke to the volume above the piston at the top of its stroke.
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Compression ratioThe compression ratio specifies how much the fuel is compressed when the engine's piston is at its highest point.
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CPISee CPI in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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CrossExtreme motorcycles designed for driving in rough terrain or on cross tracks.
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CylinderThe cylinder shaped space (obviously) in an engine where the piston moves up and down to compress and explode fuel, which generates the engine's power.
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Cylinder headThe engine piece that closes off the top end of a cylinder.
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CZSee CZ in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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D
DaelimSee Daelim in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DandySee Dandy in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DerbiSee Derbi in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Di BlasiSee Di Blasi in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DisplacementThe volume through which the piston travels during a single stroke of an engine. This term is sometimes also used for the total volume displaced by all engine pistons. The displacement is measured inn cubic centimeteres (ccm).
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DKWSee DKW in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DneprSee Dnepr in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DodgeSee Dodge in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DOHCDouble OverHead Cam.
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DonghaiSee Donghai in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Drum brakeSee expanding brake.
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DucatiSee Ducati in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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DynamoA device that generates electric power from the engine's activity.
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E
EnduroTypically this category includes cross bikes which are tuned and equipped for driving on the roads. These bikes are often heavier than, and not as extreme as cross motorcycles, though not as heavy and well-equipped as the larger off-roaders.
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EnfieldSee Enfield in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Expanding brakeDevice operated by a handle or pedal to slow down or stop the bike. A cylinder is attached to the relevant wheel. Inside there are two so-called brake shoes, which are pushed outwards against the inner walls of the cylinder, thus slowing the bike down.
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F
Factory BikeSee Factory Bike in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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FanticSee Fantic in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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FarkleAn accessory item that enhances not only the functionality of a motorcycle, but also contributes to the pride in ownership that comes from a motorcycle.
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FarklectomyThe purchasing of a brand new motorcycle with the opportunity to add many more accessories and ´necessities.´
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FarklitisThe irrepresible feeling of needing a new accessory and continuing to purchase them even as the functionality of various accessories becomes less and less.
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FostiSee Fosti in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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G
G&GSee G&G in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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GAS GASSee GAS GAS in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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GearThe set of toothed parts, such as wheels, disks and chains, that mesh with the teeths in similar, but different-sized parts in order to transmitt force and motion between rotating shafts. Gears control the number of revolutions per minute and hence the force.
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Gear ratioA gearbox contains several toothed wheels that are connected and disconnected to eachother in order to switch into the intended gear. The gear ratio is the ratio between the number of teeth of the two wheels that are connected at a given time. If one wheel has 25 teeth and the attached one has 50, there is a 2:1 ratio.
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Ghezzi-BrianSee Ghezzi-Brian in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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GileraSee Gilera in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Ground clearanceThe distance between the ground and the lowest part of the motorcycle (apart from the wheels).
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H
Harley-DavidsonSee Harley-Davidson in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HartfordSee Hartford in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HDSee Harley-Davidson.
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HerculesSee Hercules in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HighlandSee Highland in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HogSlang for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
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HondaSee Honda in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HorexSee Horex in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HorsepowerThe power of the motorcycle engine. The higher, the better. Although with an engine tuned for power, it might be at the expense of power at low RPM. Horsepower is a unit of engine power equal to 0,746 kilowatt (kW). Originally developed by James Watt to compare the power of steam engines to the work done by a horse.
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HPSee Horsepower.
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HusabergSee Husaberg in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HusqvarnaSee Husqvarna in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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HyosungSee Hyosung in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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I
IgnitionThe way the fuel is ignited inside the engine. This is normally archieved by a spark from a spark-plug.
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IndianSee Indian in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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ItaljetSee Italjet in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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IZHSee IZH in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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J
JawaSee Jawa in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Jawa-CZSee Jawa-CZ in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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JinchengSee Jincheng in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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JinlunSee Jinlun in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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K
KangdaSee Kangda in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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KanuniSee Kanuni in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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KawasakiSee Kawasaki in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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KilowattA unit of power equal to 1000 watt. 0,746 kW equals one horsepower. A kW is equal to one kilojoule per second.
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KramitSee Kramit in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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KreidlerSee Kreidler in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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KTMSee KTM in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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kWSee kilowatt.
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KymcoSee Kymco in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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L
LaverdaSee Laverda in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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LinhaiSee Linhai in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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M
MacborSee Macbor in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MagniSee Magni in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MaicoSee Maico in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MalagutiSee Malaguti in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MalancaSee Malanca in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Marine Turbine TechnologiesSee Marine Turbine Technologies in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MatchlessSee Matchless in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MBKSee MBK in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MBSSee MBS in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MGBSee MGB in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MidualSee Midual in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MinskSee Minsk in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Mixing chamberThe part of the carburettor where air and fuel mix.
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MMSee MM in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MondialSee Mondial in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MontesaSee Montesa in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Moto GuzziSee Moto Guzzi in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Moto MoriniSee Moto Morini in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Moto UnionSee Moto Union/OMV in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MotobiSee Motobi in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MotolevoSee Motolevo in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MotorhispaniaSee Motorhispania in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MototransSee Mototrans in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MuZSee MuZ in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MV AgustaSee MV Agusta in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MünchSee Münch in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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MZSee MZ in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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N
NortonSee Norton in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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O
OdometerDevice that stores the mileage (distance driven).
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OHCOverhead camshaft.
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OHVOverhead valve.
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OMVSee Moto Union/OMV in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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OSSASee OSSA in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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P
PannoniaSee Pannonia in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PeugeotSee Peugeot in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PGOSee PGO in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PiaggioSee Piaggio in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PillionA pad or cushion for an extra rider behind the saddle on a horse or motorcycle. Also name for anyone who rides on the back of a motorcycle.
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Polaris Industries Inc.See Victory (Polaris Industries Inc.) in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PoliniSee Polini in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PragaSee Praga in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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PuchSee Puch in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Q
R
RakeRake, measured in degrees, describes the angle of the front fork or the steering axis from the horizontal or vertical plane.
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ReboundRebound defines the return stroke of the suspension.
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Reduced effectIn some countries certain motorcycle models are sold with less horse power to comply with legal or insurance regulations in that country. For instance, a country might allow 16-year-olds to drive 125 ccm bikes with no more than 15 hp. The bike would then have to be modified to output no more than 15 hp. In another example insurance companies may not want to insure bikes with more than 100 hp, or may increase insurance rates for these bikes to the extent that most people would want to buy a reduced-effect version of their bike instead.
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RevSee revolutions per minute.
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Revolutions per minuteThe number of revolutions the engine makes in a minute. Abbreviated RPM and often referred to as "rev".
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RiejuSee Rieju in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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RPMSee revolutions per minute.
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S
SachsSee Sachs in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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SanglasSee Sanglas in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Shaft driveAs an alternative to chain or belt drive to transfer power to the rear wheel, shaft drive is the solution that requires least maintenance, but is also possibly the heaviest solution. On some bikes there is a notable elevation effect when accelerating.
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ShercoSee Sherco in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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SiamotoSee Siamoto in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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SimsonSee Simson in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Spark-plugA device that lights an electric spark within the combustion chamber to burn the fuel in the cylinder.
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SpokeA rod that connects the hub and rim on a wheel.
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Sport-touringMotorcycles that go under this category are a compromise between powerful sports bikes and touring bikes. These bikes often have good aerodynamics and lots of power, making the top models of this category the fastest bikes around.
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StarwaySee Starway/Chu Lan in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Steering damperA steering damper is mounted to a motorcycle's frame and fork to prevent situations like a wobble.
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Steering headThe place where the fork is connected to the frame and which specifies the steering angle.
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Steering lockA lock that enables one to lock the fork at an extreme right or left to prevent or hinder theft.
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Stroke (as in bore/stroke)The distance traveled in either direction of by an piston or rod in an engine. Do not mix up with stroke as in 4-stroke.
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SundiroSee Sundiro in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Super-motardA motorcycle category which defines urbanly designed cross or enduro bikes.
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SuspensionThe system of springs, shock absorbers, or similar devices connection the axels to the frame of a motor cycle. Designed to reduced unwanted motion transmitted from the riding surface.
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SuzukiSee Suzuki in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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SVMSee SVM in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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SymSee Sym in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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T
TachoSee tachometer.
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TachometerAn instrument that displays revolutions per minute.
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ThrottleThe throttle controls the engine's power by restricting the substance that enters the engine.
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TitanSee Titan in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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TM racingSee TM racing in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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TomosSee Tomos in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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TorqueThe tendency of a force to cause an object to rotate. In an engine, the torque is expressed as the force applied multiplied by the distance from the center of rotation. It is the basic measure of the propulsive effect of a powered wheel. Or, said in other words: The measure of the force applied to produce rotational motion usually measured in foot-pounds or Nm. Torque is determined by multiplying the applied force by the distance from the pivot point to the point where the force is applied.
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TransmissionThe system of gears and chains by which power is transmitted from the engine to the driving wheel.
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Trial (motorcycle category)Trial is the sport of riding specifically designed bikes to overcome obstacles that often require difficult stunts like jumping from a stand-still without touching feet to the ground. A trial bike is very light-weight and is easily distinguished from other off-road bikes by the appearance that the rider will have a hard time finding a seat on it.
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TriumphSee Triumph in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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TrollSee Troll in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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TrumpetSlang for a Triumph motorcycle. Can also mean a trumpet-shaped exhaust pipe.
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U
UralSee Ural in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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V
ValveA device that regulates the passage of fuel through into an engine cylinder. More specifically, a valve is a mechanical device that controls the entry of fuel/air mixture into a combustion chamber, as well as the exit of spent combustion gases from the same.
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Van VeenSee Van Veen in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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VertematiSee Vertemati in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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VespaSee Vespa in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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VictorySee Victory in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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VORSee VOR in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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VoskhodSee Voskhod in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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VoxanSee Voxan in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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W
WheelbaseThe distance between the center of the wheel hubs on the motorcycle.
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Wind tunnelEquipment used by motorcycle manufacturers to archieve as good aerodynamics as possible. During development of a new motorcycle, the bike is placed inside a wind tunnel to determine air currents, thus enabling manufacturers to optimize the aerodynamics.
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X
XingfuSee Xingfu in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Y
YamahaSee Yamaha in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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YangtzeSee Yangtze in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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Z
Zweirad-UnionSee Zweirad-Union in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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ZündappSee Zündapp in the Motorcycle Encyclopaedia.
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