The brand, Suzuki, first appeared on small weaving looms, designed for Japan’s growing cotton industry. However, by 1952, Suzuki had built it’s first motorized bicycle, called the ‘Power Free’. By 1958, the famous Suzuki logo first appeared on Suzuki branded motorcycle. In the next 6 decades, Suzuki has continued to innovate and design popular motorcycles.
In 1958, Charles Fehn designed and produced the first all-wheel-drive motorcycle, dubbed Trailmaker with his patented power transfer system and hollow drum wheels still used in Rokons today. By 1960, Nethercutt Industries purchased Charles Fehn’s designs and rebranded the Trail-Breaker. Production began in Sylmar, California. Flash forward to today- Rokon motorcycles are the world’s original and longest producing manufacturer of all-wheel-drive motorcycles.
The first 10 Pentons, inspired by John Penton, were built by KTM in Austria and powered by 100cc Sachs engines shipped to Ohio in March 1968. Soon, Pentons became the bike to have among enduro riders and motocrossers, and, all told, some 25,000 were sold in the US until currency fluctuations and increasingly better Japanese competition spelled an end for the marque in 1977.
Giovanni Parrilla bought a Norton Manx in 1946, took it apart, measured and studied it, then reassembled it and sold it. This began the Parilla Motorcycles brand. One of his bikes won a local race, and a man attempted to purchase the bike on the spot. While Parrilla denied the man’s offer, he promised the man the next bike he planned on rebuilding. Until 1964, Parilla produced over 150 different models.
The first Matchless motorcycle was made in 1899, and all manufacturing began in 1901. Matchless originated as a bicycle company in London but made the switch to motorcycles as other British bicycle producers did at that time. They were the first motorcycle company to place a heavy emphasis on rider safety, putting R&D specifically into riding gear.
Maicowerk A.G. was a West German motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in 1926 by Ulrich Maisch as Maisch & Co, the company originally manufactured 98 and 123 cc Ilo two-stroke engines. After World War II, they began producing their own unit construction two-stroke engines, selling complete motorcycles.
KTM identifies primarily as a dirt bike maker and a great portion of that identity and success stems from the large product line that is available now and has been, historically. Even though dirt bikes are the norm, street bikes have been part of its lineup since the early years, and the company has offered scooters, mopeds, bicycles, ATVs, a sports car and on the horizon are electric dirt bikes.
JAWA is a motorcycle and moped manufacturer founded in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1929 by František Janeček, who bought the motorcycle division of Wanderer. The name JAWAwas established by concatenating the first letters of Janeček and Wanderer.
Husqvarna was founded near the town of Huskvarna in Sweden in 1689, producing weapons, sewing machines, kitchen appliances, and bicycles in the late 19th century. However, in 1903, they decided to switch to motorcycle manufacturing. Husqvarna still produces dirt bikes, and in 2015, added street bikes to their lineups.
First sold in 1903, Harley Davidson has been a staple of American heritage and tradition. Most widely known for their V-twin engine, by its 50th anniversary, the 50 Years “V” logo is created. Now, Harley is still a top competitor in motorcycle industries, both foreign and domestic.