Ruckus Scooter Love

Ruckus Scooter Love
Scootin' For A Slower Pace of Life...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Scooter Quiz # 2

*See if you know the answer to the quiz question and post your response. I will post the answer in a few days...

This machine is loosely deemed to be the most early predecessor of the modern scooter.

Can you identify the name of this machine, the year it was sold, or the names of it's developers?

Answered correctly by a reader!:

"Scooter-like traits began to develop in motorcycle designs around the 1900s. In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfm├╝ller produced the first motorcycle that was available for purchase. Their motorcycle had a step-through frame, with its fuel tank mounted on the down tube, its parallel two-cylinder engine mounted low on the frame, and its cylinders mounted in line with the frame. It was water-cooled and had a radiator built into the top of the rear fender. It became the first mass-produced and publicly sold powered two-wheel vehicle, and among the first powered mainly by its engine rather than foot pedals. Maximum speed was 40 km/h (25 mph). The rear wheel was driven directly by rods from the pistons in a manner similar to the drive wheels of steam locomotives. Only a few hundred such bikes were built, and the high price and technical difficulties made the venture a financial failure for both Wolfm├╝ller and his financial backer, Hildebrand.[9]" (from Wikipedia)


  1. I have no idea, but it looks really neat.

  2. Absolutely no idea but I'll venture a guess as to French origins? Rather than bowing to temptation and searching, I'll wait for your answer.

    I've a book of old scooters and am surprised at how many were created there.

  3. It's probably the Hildebrand and Wolfmuller scooter (it is called one of the first motorcycles, but that is a misnomer; it really is a scooter). It dates to 1894, well before Harley-Davidson or Indian motorcycles had anything on the road. I believe there is one in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

    1. Deb,

      You might enjoy an account by Clement Salvadori, one of the pre-eminent motorcycle writers today. The following is an excerpt from an article he wrote for Rider magazine in February 2010:

      "The Hildebrand & Wolfmueller was the first production motorcycle built. The engine was a parallel twin, laid flat, facing forward, with a 360-degree firing order, and the two connecting rods were all the way back to the rear wheel and connected on each side of the axle. No clutch, no neutral--when the rider came to a stop, the engine stalled. However, back in 1895 there were no traffic lights, no stop signs, no highway patrol, and so when you wanted to go from Northampton to Southampton the rider push-started the H&W, jumped on the saddle, and kept going until he got to his girlfriend's house."

      My only quibble with Salvadori's account is his assumption that only men were riding the Hildebrand & Wolfmueller motorcycle (actually, it still looks like a scooter to me).

      Because as documented in the magnificent tome "The American Motorcycle Girls 1900 to 1950, A Photographic History of Early Women Motorcyclists," written by Cristine Sommer Simmons and published in 2009, there were huge numbers of women riders in the early days of two-wheeled transportation.

      My bet is that there were also women riding the Hildebrand & Wolfmueller. I can picture a young man riding to his girlfriend's house where, upon arrival, she says, "Hey, that looks like fun! Let me ride that thing."

      But who knows? Perhaps the very first rider of the Hildebrand & Wolfmueller was a woman. Why not?

      David Reese

    2. Awesome and fun article! Thanks for sharing that!

      I especially loved that part about no stop lights and cruising on through.

      How wonderful that would be!