Sturgis Motorcycle Museum - Preserving our Motorcycle Hertiage




Hall of Fame Inductee - 2003

Daimler was born in Schorndorf in Germany in 1834. After training as a gunsmith he became an engineer, beginning his own company with an associate, Maybach, in 1882, concentrating on producing the first light-weight, high-speed engine to run on gasoline. They eventually came up with an engine with a surface carburetor that vaporized the petrol and mixed it with air. Their engine reached 900 revolutions per minute. 

After two long years of trial and error, he had built a 264cc engine that would only propel something far lighter than a buggy so he turned his attention to a smaller vehicle.  What he rolled out of his workshop on November 10, 1885, was strange indeed. The two-wheeled wooden device was too tall for the rider to reach the ground once seated upon the saddle, so Daimler constructed a set of wooden training wheels to support it. The primitive engine shook the entire motorcycle so much that the machine rightly earned its early title of the motorized "boneshaker.”  Perhaps anticipating the vibration, he had his son Paul ride the machine and despite a small fire that occurred en route, Gottlieb’s motorcycle ran 7 ½ miles from Cannstatt to Unterturkheim, Germany and back.  Motorcycling was born.

Gottlieb Daimler died in 1900 but will be long remembered for developing practical motorized transport and is considered one of the fathers of the industry that mobilized the world.

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