During the latter 1800's and in the early 1900's there was quite a lot of experimenting with steam powered motorcycles. Steam was the power of choice for both steamboats and railroads so the natural thing to do was to try and apply this to motorcycles. It had been tried several times with the newly developing automobiles so it was certainly reasonable to adapt it to the motorcycle. Steam trains were a common sight. One difference however is that with the motorcycle, the rider/driver is essentially sitting atop a steam engine. While steam power was the power of choice during the 1800's, it was a technology under constant development. It's first use in the 1800's steamboats changed the way people traveled although there were many disasters with the big steamboat boilers of the mid 1800's. The first motorcycles developed were essentially bicycles with a power source other than your legs. The first known steam powered motorcycles were developed in France. The first was the 1867 Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede. This occurred when when Pierre Michaux son Ernest Michaux added a small steam engine to one of his velocipedes. Adapting steam power to a bicycle did present some challenges although there were advantages over the internal combustion engine. One was that the steam engine was quieter. Also the fuel efficiency was better. It would also fit quite well into today's interest in green technology. The downside is that the rider would have to keep handy a good supply of oil and water.
|Steam Flyer pressure gauge|
(Photos from author's private collection)