Talk:Hildebrand & Wolfmüller

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Daimler Reitwagen and bicycles[edit]

I deleted the claim that the Daimler Reitwagen was somehow based on a bicycle frame or was a retro-fitted bicycle from Motorcycle, only to see it pop up here, uncited. Where is this coming from?

The biggest problem with this is that the Reitwagen used no fork offset and had a 0 deg. rake, meaning that Daimler either didn't know or didn't care about the development of modern two-wheel dynamics, even though it had been developed 30 years earlier. (See: Lienhard, John H. (2005), Inventing Modern: Growing Up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins, Oxford University Press US, pp. 120–121, ISBN 0195189515 )

Generally, it is assumed that since it was only a test bed for the engine, and not a prototype for a planned two-wheeled vehicle, Daimler simply didn't bother to reasearch the subject too deeply. See: Setright, L.J.K. (1979), The Guinness book of motorcycling facts and feats, Guinness Superlatives, pp. 8–18, ISBN 0851122000, 9780851122007 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help)  and Falco, Charles M.; Guggenheim Museum Staff (1998), "Issues in the Evolution of the Motorcycle", in Krens, Thomas; Drutt, Matthew, The Art of the Motorcycle, Harry N. Abrams, pp. 24–31, ISBN 0892072075 

The Michaux-Perreaux steam bicycle was a bicycle with an engine adapted to it, but the Daimler was something entirely different. But I would love to see sources that take a different view of the Daimler Reitwagen. --Dbratland (talk) 22:33, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

There may be faults in what I did because I've basically only copy-edited it. However, I don't think you've picked up on any. I forget where I originally saw that the Reitwagen was a modified bicycle, but the same thing is claimed at Gottlieb Daimler: "In November 1885, Daimler installed a smaller version of this engine in a wooden bicycle, creating the first motorcycle (Patent 36-423impff & Sohn "Vehicle with gas or petroleum drive machine"). It was named the "riding car" (Reitwagen). Maybach rode it for three kilometers (two miles) alongside the river Neckar, from Cannstatt to Untertürkheim, reaching 12 kilometres per hour (7 mph)."
One of the references I included[24] claims that Daimler is known as "Father of the Motorcycle" but was not the first to make a production motorcycle whereas H & M was. The source is not an SPS that I can tell, I see no reason to tag any of it. MalcolmMcDonald (talk) 15:57, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Referring to the supporters of the H&M without saying who they are is a classic case of WP:Weasel. Asserting that the Reitwagen was a bicycle frame with an engine attached, while citing no source, is exactly the kind of thing the {{Citation needed}} tag was made for. The World of Motorcycles is an attractive web site -- after all, it's a company that makes illustrations -- it doesn't satisfy the basic criteria of WP:RS. Citing Gottlieb Daimler is no help either -- Wikipedia, or any other wiki, is not a reliable source.

And then you have notable historian-engineers like John H. Lienhard John H. Lienhard, who explain why the Daimler Reitwagan was not really an ancestor of the motorcycle. It was a step backwards in several critical ways, other than the engine. The engine was a very important development in the history of motor vehicles in general, but in the lineage of motorcycles, it was a dead end. Charles M. Falco and L. J. K. Setright make essentially the same point, as does C. F. Caunter in Motor cycles: a historical survey [25]. Mick Walker is a little more generous, giving credit for things like belt drive, but still makes clear that even Daimler himself saw no point in trying to make his invention in to a practical two-wheeler, and instead shifted to 4 wheels.

In terms of basic common sense, simply compare the Reitwagen with the bicycles of the same era, which are vastly more sophisticated.

I have no problem at all if you want to mention points of view that contradict the established authorities on these questions, but the minimum standard is still that you have to cite a source. --Dbratland (talk) 18:55, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

I think it would be best to lard all these articles with weasel words. Why? Because so many of the important events sound very badly reported. How could Siegfried Marcus, builder of at least 2 cars (1870 and 1890) have been saying that motoring was "a senseless waste of time and effort" (Lienhard) in 1898? It's the year Marcus died - nobody heard of dementia? What actual German words did he use, is that the sense of them or was it more like "motoring is a hole you pour money into" ie a kindly warning based on some kind of bitter experience? Perhaps the phrase refers to the Austrian Motor Club, he could very easily have refused their invitation to be a guest of honour because they were anti-semitic yahoos, wealthy boy-racers and rapists. This supposed disillusion is not mentioned at the WP Siegfried Marcus nor can I see it in any of the references. (I can find it in 6 other places on the web, but none of them are convincing - one seems to date the phrase 30 years earlier, 1870 in reference to the first car which ran once). The Nazis tried (and mostly succeeded) in erasing Marcus's memory, perhaps Lienhard picked up on their invention. If he's not recycling the myths of murderous German nationalism, I would suspect cuddly English-language nationalism.
In Lienhard on the same page there is an example of the poor logic that besets the literature of the so-called RSs - the fact that Gottlieb Daimler put stabilisers on his primitive bicycle-based "motorcycle" does not make it a four-wheeler. Maybe his engine didn't put down the power he hoped and he was moving too slowly to balance. Maybe his engine required constant attention and looking down. Exclude it from the title of "first motorcycle" because it's "bicycle-based" if that's what the RS intend, but don't let anyone claim it's not a two-wheeler, or that Daimler didn't intend it to be a two-wheeler. MalcolmMcDonald (talk) 10:12, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
If you wish you can try to put in weasel words, but some other editor will just come along and tag them or delete them. You could go to Wikipedia talk:Avoid weasel words advocate for a change in the guidelines, but to me that is a daunting prospect. Perhaps you could try but I wouldn't know how to go about it successfully. I know that many Wikipedians are experienced in winning support for changes in guidelines and policies so if I were going to attempt that I would try to get help from someone like that. The same can be said for Wikipedia:Reliable sources; I have my own quibbles with how that policy is applied, but personally I don't feel it is a good use of my time to lobby to change it. And boldly violating guidelines in an article is a waste of effort. It might stick for a few weeks, perhaps if nobody is reading the article. But before long, another editor will change it, so why bother? I try to just follow current policy as best I can and focus on the low hanging fruit. --Dbratland (talk) 20:18, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem is not policy, the problem is that we want to treat the likes of Lienhard's book as a proper RS. When it's not an RS, in fact it's probably worse than the likes of http://www.khulsey.com/motorcycles/vintage_motorcycle_hildebrand_wolfmueller.html and I'm not very sure I trust the latter either. I don't trust Leinhard and neither should you. MalcolmMcDonald (talk) 23:55, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
If you have convincing reasons why Lienhard is not trustworthy, I'd be interested. You can disagree with something he said, but from what I can see, he is generally supported and not contradicted by Setright, Canet, Falco, etc. And I know of no authority who has denounced Lienhard. But if you do that would change things. --Dbratland (talk) 01:11, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Lienhard makes a huge error in claiming that Rochas built an automobile in 1862. He never even built so much as an engine. He says. "But Benz was not first. The French inventor De Rochas built an auto and an engine to drive it in 1862." The vehicle built in France in 1862 was none other than the car built by Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, the inventor of the atmospheric engine which Otto had based his atmospheric engine on. Lenoir actually gave up on his inventions although he did sell some of the huge stationary engines.
Lienhard also makes a jump of illogic when he talks about Benz as if he founded Mercedes-Benz. The fact is the founders of MB was Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach who left Otto and Cie in 1882 to produce the first high speed IC engine. Benz concentrated on two cycle engines because of Otto's patents (the machines of which were built by Daimler and Maybach). Daimler resisted forming a company for many years for very good reasons. He was eventually talked into it, and soon afterward he and Maybach were both thrown out of the company. Daimler died in 1900 long before DMG merged with Karl Benz and Cie. Note: Most English sources misspell Karl The company's original name was Daimler-Benz, and is still often addressed as such.
Lienhard does get it right that the Reitwagen is the first Motorcar, but he gets the dates wrong. The Reitwagen was driven in November 1885 while Benz three wheeler (also a motorcycle by modern definition) was driven in January 1886. Lienhard has the dates reversed, and does not mention the actual dates. He claimed that Benz 3 wheeler preceded DM's 2/4 wheeler. Daimler and Maybach eventually formed a company Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG)
Maybach, by the way built the world's first V-Twin for the upcoming four wheel Daimler car since the GC engine lacked the power that was desired.
The dating of Roper's steam velocipede is being altered. The Smithsonian institute puts the date of that machine at 1871, not 1868. The first steam powered bicycle was the Michaux_Perreaux of 1868. The Roper dates are being altered to try to claim Roper was first. Lienhard gets this wrong too. The Reitwagen had a twist grip control. It was NOT reinvented by Glenn L. Curtis. Indian motorcycles are often credited with a twist grip throttle first, but it was actually the Reitwagen. The first chain drive on a "motorcycle" (since all early motorcycles were mopeds except the Reitwagen and H&W) was the Phelon and Rayner from 1900 (This became the Humber).
Lienhard is again wrong in this statement, "Despite Roper's early lead, commercial motorcycles were not available until Curtiss and others began producing them at the beginning of the twentieth century. The venerable Indian Motorcycle Company started making motorcycles the same year Curtiss did. Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson built their first motorcycle a year later." There are several errors here. Roper's steam bicycle lead to nothing, it wasn't a lead and it was one of several one offs, which should be ignored. There was no Indian Motorcycle Company. The Indian Motorcycle was a brand name of Hendee Manufacturing (1898). Hendee changed their name to Indian Motorcycle Company in 1923. The first commercial motorcycle was the Hildebrand and Wolfmuller from 1994. The first AMERICAN motorcycle was built by Waltham Manufacturing Company made the first USA motorcycle in 1900 and it was called the Orient Aster. Indian followed a year later. Harley-Davidson claims to have built their first motorcycle in 1903, but the machine they display as Old No. 1 is in fact a 1905 model. HD had NO machine offered for sale prior to 1904. As for Curtiss, he built some motorcycles for himself, but was not a manufacturer. All of the first USA made motorcycles, Orient Aster, Thomas Auto-Bi, Indian, and Harley-Davidson used DeDion-Bouton engines or close copies of it.
Lienhard seems to think American women were very incapable of driving automobiles for a very long time. In 1888 Bertha Benz took a substantially long trip with her two sons in the Benz motorcar (unknown to Karl) and was he first woman motorist just as Adolf Daimler had been the first man to ride on a motor vehicle when he drove the Reitwagen. I see little to suggest that Lienhard should be considered a credible source.
The entire discussion of whether the Reitwagen is a motorcycle or not is irrelevant. It is the first petroleum engined automobile. It's either a motorcycle by modern definitions, or an automobile. It lead to the creation of the automobile industry, of which motorcycles are a somewhat unimportant part. If the Reitwagen had not existed when it did, then DeDion-Bouton might not have created their 1895 engine which was used by hundreds of bicycle shops to create mopeds, which are often called motorcycles when they fail the modern definition. The definition of what is a motorcycle as opposed to what is a moped is simple... what is the prime mover when the machine is first propelled.. If it's the engine

and the vehicle is ridden ON, not in, then it is a motorcycle. If it's the human who starts to move the machine, it's a moped. If the machine moves by engine power and the driver and passenger sit IN IT, then it's a car. Classic Rider (talk) 21:37, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Furthermore: "Als erstes motorisiertes Zweirad der Welt gilt der Reitwagen von Daimler und Maybach. 1885 gebaut, hatte die Konstruktion ein Gestell aus Holz (wie die Laufmaschine von Drais) und war als bloßer Versuchsbock zur Aufnahme eines Verbrennungsmotors gedacht. Dennoch wurde der Reitwagen für Fahrversuche eingesetzt und damit zum Vorbild für die spätere Motorradindustrie." translated, "The first motorized bicycle in the world is riding the car of Daimler and Maybach. Built in 1885, the construction of a frame made of wood (such as the running machine from Drais) had and was intended as a mere attempt to block recording of an internal combustion engine. Nevertheless, the riding car used for driving tests and thus a model for future motorcycle industry." source: http://www.zweirad-museum.de/index/pub/motorrad.htmlClassic Rider (talk) 21:37, 30 March 2011 (UTC)