The Cars are an American rock band that emerged from the early New Wave music scene in the late 1970s. The band consisted of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson. The band originated from Boston, Massachusetts, and were signed to Elektra Records by George Daly, then A&R head, in 1977.
The Cars were at the forefront in merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synth-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and which would flower in the early 1980s. The Cars started fresh with their debut album The Cars which went on to go platinum in late 1978, The Cars debut album was called a "genuine rock masterpiece" by allmusic. Probably the most successful and well known song from the album "Just What I Needed", started as a demo in 1977. The song was sent as a mix tape to a local DJ in the Boston area, who played the song in heavy rotation. This soon caught the attention of other DJ's, which led to the signing of the band by Elektra Records in 1977. The Cars have mentioned this numerous times including in their "last" interview in June 2000. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described The Cars' musical style by saying: "they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends-punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the '50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop-and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend."
Allmusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine commented on their style saying "the Cars were nevertheless inspired by proto-punk, garage rock, and bubblegum pop."
The band broke up in 1988, and Ocasek had always discouraged talk of a reunion since then, telling one interviewer in 1997 "I'm saying never and you can count on that." Bassist Benjamin Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. In 2005, Easton and Hawkes joined with Todd Rundgren to form a spin-off band, The New Cars, which performed classic Cars and Rundgren songs alongside new material. The remaining members reunited in 2010 to record a new album, titled Move Like This, which will be released May 10, 2011, and a tour to start on the same day.
A motorcycle (also called a motorbike, bike, or cycle) is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing or off-road conditions.
Motorcycles are one of the most affordable forms of motorised transport in many parts of the world and, for most of the world's population, they are also the most common type of motor vehicle. There are around 200 million motorcycles (including mopeds, motor scooters and other powered two and three-wheelers) in use worldwide, or about 33 motorcycles per 1000 people. This compares to around 590 million cars, or about 91 per 1000 people. Most of the motorcycles, 58% are in the developing countries of Asia-Southern and Eastern Asia, and the Asia Pacific countries, excluding Japan-while 33% of the cars (195 million) are concentrated in the United States and Japan. As of 2002, India with an estimated 37 million motorcycles/mopeds was home to the largest number of motorised two wheelers in the world. China came a close second with 34 million motorcycles/mopeds
The first internal combustion, petroleum fueled motorcycle was the Petroleum Reitwagen. It was designed and built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Bad Cannstatt, Germany in 1885. This vehicle was unlike either the safety bicycles or the boneshaker bicycles of the era in that it had zero degrees of steering axis angle and no fork offset, and thus did not use the principles of bicycle and motorcycle dynamics developed nearly 70 years earlier. Instead, it relied on two outrigger wheels to remain upright while turning. The inventors called their invention the Reitwagen ("riding car"). It was designed as an expedient testbed for their new engine, rather than a true prototype vehicle. Many authorities who exclude steam powered, electric or diesel two-wheelers from the definition of a motorcycle, credit the Daimler Reitwagen as the world's first motorcycle.
If a two-wheeled vehicle with steam propulsion is considered a motorcycle, then the first was the French Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede of 1868. This was followed by the American Roper steam velocipede of 1869, built by Sylvester H. Roper Roxbury, Massachusetts. Roper demonstrated his machine at fairs and circuses in the eastern U.S. in 1867, and built a total of 10 examples. In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle (German: Motorrad). In the early period of motorcycle history, many producers of bicycles adapted their designs to accommodate the new internal combustion engine. As the engines became more powerful and designs outgrew the bicycle origins, the number of motorcycle producers increased.
Until World War I, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world was Indian, producing over 20,000 bikes per year. By 1920, this honour went to Harley-Davidson, with their motorcycles being sold by dealers in 67 countries. By the late 1920s or early 1930s, DKW took over as the largest manufacturer. After World War II, the BSA Group became the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, producing up to 75,000 bikes per year in the 1950s. The German company NSU held the position of largest manufacturer from 1955 until the 1970s. NSU Sportmax streamlined motorcycle, 250cc class winner of the 1955 Grand Prix season
In the 1950s, streamlining began to play an increasing part in the development of racing motorcycles and the "dustbin fairing" held out the possibility of radical changes to motorcycle design. NSU and Moto Guzzi were in the vanguard of this development, both producing very radical designs well ahead of their time. NSU produced the most advanced design, but after the deaths of four NSU riders in the 1954–1956 seasons, they abandoned further development and quit Grand Prix motorcycle racing. Moto Guzzi produced competitive race machines, and by 1957 nearly all the Grand Prix races were being won by streamlined machines. The following year, 1958, full enclosure fairings were banned from racing by the FIM in the light of the safety concerns.
From the 1960s through the 1990s, small two-stroke motorcycles were popular worldwide, partly as a result of East German Walter Kaaden's engine work in the 1950s.
Today, the motorcycle industry is mainly dominated by Japanese companies such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha, although Harley-Davidson and BMW continue to be popular and supply considerable markets. Other major manufacturers include Piaggio group of Italy, KTM, Triumph and Ducati.
In addition to the large capacity motorcycles, there is a large market in smaller capacity (less than 300 cc) motorcycles, mostly concentrated in Asian and African countries. An example is the 1958 Honda Super Cub, which went on to become the biggest selling vehicle of all time, with its 60 millionth unit produced in April 2008. Today, this area is dominated by mostly Indian companies with Hero Honda emerging as the world's largest manufacturer of two wheelers. Other major producers are Bajaj and TVS Motors. For example, its Splendor model has sold more than 8.5 million to date.