A motorcycle, often called a bike, motorbike, or cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycle design varies greatly to suit a range of different purposes: long distance travel, commuting, cruising, sport including racing, and off-road riding. Motorcycling is riding a motorcycle and related social activity such as joining a motorcycle club and attending motorcycle rallies.
In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle. In 2014, the three top motorcycle producers globally by volume were Honda, Yamaha (both from Japan), and Hero MotoCorp (India).
In developing countries, motorcycles are considered utilitarian due to lower prices and greater fuel economy. Of all the motorcycles in the world, 58% are in the Asia-Pacific and Southern and Eastern Asia regions, excluding car-centric Japan.
According to the US Department of Transportation the number of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled was 37 times higher for motorcycles than for cars.
The term motorcycle has different legal definitions depending on jurisdiction (see #Legal definitions and restrictions).
There are three major types of motorcycle: street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many sub-types of motorcycles for different purposes. There is often a racingcounterpart to each type, such as road racing and street bikes, or motocross and dirt bikes.
Street bikes include cruisers, sportbikes, scooters and mopeds, and many other types. Off-road motorcycles include many types designed for dirt-oriented racing classes such as motocrossand are not street legal in most areas. Dual purpose machines like the dual-sport style are made to go off-road but include features to make them legal and comfortable on the street as well.
Each configuration offers either specialised advantage or broad capability, and each design creates a different riding posture.
In some countries the use of pillions (rear seats) is restricted.