Quiz: Can You Name These Motorcycle Parts From an Image?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Name These Motorcycle Parts From an Image?
By: Ian Fortey
7 Min Quiz
Image: redhumv/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Motorcycles have been tearing up the highways for well over a century. The earliest models date back to the late 1800s in Europe. The Daimler Reitwagon, a truly antiquated-looking mostly wooden machine, is considered the first motorcycle ever, and it was made in 1885. It's amazing to compare that early model with its spoked wooden wheels to a modern Harley-Davidson or Honda. And while the basic principles are the same, the advances have been impressive. Modern bikes with room for a friend on a pillion or in a sidecar, with keyless ignition and chromed-out exhaust pipes and mufflers. Some even have massive windscreens and crash bars, and dramatic and stylish fairings to make your bike look as cool as possible.
If you've done your share of cruising on a bike over the years, whether it's an old school beast like a Harley-Davidson or an Indian motorcycle or something more sleek and trendy from Yamaha or Honda, or even high-end rides like BMW or Ducati, then you should know a bit about a bike's anatomy. If you know a clutch from a choke and a throttle from a petcock valve, now's your chance to show your stuff. Head out on the highway, open 'er up, and take the quiz.
By Eve Livesey/Moment/Getty Images
Which of these is for storing your gear on a bike?
Although some bikes can be outfitted with small storage compartments like a trunk, a lot of bikers choose to use saddlebags to store their gear. Just as the name suggests, they're inspired by saddlebags that used to be on horses back in the day.
Pixabay by Capri23auto
Do you know which of these provides energy to run the ignition system?
Like any car or truck, a motorcycle needs a battery to provide power for the electrical components. The ignition system, the starter motor, the lights, the radio and all of the electrical parts run on battery power. This is especially true of an electric bike.
Common Motor Collective via YouTube
Supporting the weight of the bike is one of the functions of which of these parts?
Shocks have two functions on a bike. The first is supporting the bike with a spring that softens those bumps in the road. The second is to control the up and down movement of the bike with provides stability to a ride by damping the friction caused by bumps.
Motorcyclist Magazine via YouTube
Friction from which of these stops a bike's motion?
The brake pads on a bike, or any brake system, are what apply the friction to the wheel by clamping down when the brakes are activated. That pressure stops the wheel from turning, stopping the vehicle. No brake pads means you're going to create a lot of heat and squealing when you try to stop.
Pixabay by Joakim Roubert
Do you know which of these is often visible as a large circular protrusion on the side of some bikes?
Like the air filter in a car, the air cleaner from a bike filters the air that mixes with the gasoline in the carburetor. It's likely your bike will still work fine without an air cleaner, but the engine will wear down much faster as it's exposed to more airborne pollutants and dust.
MotoTrip Motovlog via YouTube
Which of these covers the crankshaft?
The crankcase cover can be found in different places depending on the type of bike and may also cover additional parts where the cam and pinion gears are located. You generally want to look at the right side close to the bottom end of the engine to find it.
Veronica Verlan/Photodisc/Getty Images
Which of these can be added to a bike to provide room for another passenger?
Motorcycle sidecars are remarkably old and were first invented in France back in 1893. In fact, sidecars are older than motorcycles themselves. They were first invented to be used on regular old bicycles.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Modern versions of which of these are LED?
Not all headlights are LED but many of them are these days because they're both very bright and very energy efficient. When headlights first showed up in the 1880s, they were fueled by acetylene or oil. Even when electric lights were invented, the flame kind lasted for a number of years just because people were used to them.
NicheRiding via YouTube
Do you know which of these helps start a bike in the cold?
When you pull out the choke on your bike, it alters the flow of air into the carburetor. It's best done in cold weather to improve the air-fuel mix and help the bike start when it's cold. Once it's going and warmed up, you can put the choke back in place.
Bikers can use these for stretching their legs on longer rides. What are they?
Highway pegs aren't on every bike, some bikes will have floorboards for resting your feet. Those that do have highway pegs will have the pegs located in a position that allows the rider to stretch their legs on a long ride.
tennyshoe17 via YouTube
Which of these is part of a motorcycle's brake system?
The master cylinder is used to convert force into hydraulic pressure. The harder you apply force to the brakes, the more pressure is exerted and the more abruptly you'll brake and come to a stop.
The Inja via YouTube
The left handlebar is where you'll find which of these?
You access the clutch lever with a squeeze of the left hand. It's connected to a cable that disconnects the engine and transmission so you can easily switch gears before reconnecting them again, allowing you to continue your ride.
Neon Weasel via YouTube
Which of these are known for being rather ineffective without an upgrade?
Motorcycle horns are oddly quiet on most modern models and aren't that effective in loud traffic. Fortunately, they are easily upgraded with louder and more powerful models if you're concerned about being heard.
Wiki Commons by Dbratland
Which of these is a loop of chrome found on either side of a bike's body?
Not every motorcycle has a crash bar, but those that do have them as safety features. They're located on both sides of a bike near the front and work by preventing the bike from fully falling onto either side on in the event of crash, protecting both the rider and internal bike parts.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
If you're behind a bike at night, which of these are you going to see?
All vehicles on the road need taillights, and that includes bikes. Taillights weren't really a thing before 1915 and while that's very early in automotive history it does mean there were a number of years when people were driving around with no lights whatsoever.
What do you call the plastic body of a bike?
A motorcycle can be easily made of just metal parts, but to make them look a little fancier a plastic shell called a fairing is fitted on many kinds of bikes. It gives them a sleek look and also makes them more aerodynamic.
Pixabay by Hermann Traub
Which of these is located on the left of the bike in front of the foot peg?
A gearshift in a car is pretty easy to locate on the steering column on the floor, maybe the center panel. On a motorcycle it's just by the foot peg and follows a standard 1-N-2-3-4-5 system in most bikes.
Ryan Urlacher via YouTube
When you need a place to rest your feet, you'd use which of these?
Footpegs can be placed in several positions on a bike. Commonly they'll be directly under a rider, but they can be forward to allow for leg stretching or even further back if you're in a crouched-over position like on a racing bike. Some bikes won't have them at all.
Which of these connect the muffler to the engine?
On a bike like a Harley-Davidson, the exhaust pipes will be thick and shiny chrome pipes running down the side of the bike from the engine to the back next to the rear tire, often capped with some kind of a muffler. Other bikes will have them hidden until the muffler is exposed at the back, but in either case they help direct fumes away from the engine.
Biker Sajal via YouTube
Which of these is an emergency shut down?
Also called the engine cutoff switch, a kill switch is an emergency device, most often a red switch located on the right-hand side of the handlebars. As the name suggests, if there's an emergency then flipping the switch immediately turns the engine off.
hoohoohoblin via YouTube
You can prop your bike up with which of these?
A side stand, sometimes called a kick stand, is the little arm that braces your bike to hold it up when it's parked. Many bikes can't start unless the side stand is flipped up, and you never want to put one down on a soft surface like mud.
Wiki Commons by Yogi2795
Carrying gear is a lot easier when you strap it to which of these?
A luggage rack on a bike works the same as a luggage rack on a car. It's a simple metal framework that you can use as a mooring to hold things down with some rope or bungee cords when you're driving.
Wiki Commons by Ildar Sagdejev (Specious)
Depending on your bike, which of these can either be out in plain sight or hidden under a door?
Motorcycle gas caps usually come in one of two styles. They can be hidden away behind a door like on your average car or they can be quite ostentatious and chromed out to be part of the general esthetic of the bike. You can even get decorative ones that look like skulls or crowns.
Ben Pipe Photography/Cultura/Getty Images
Do you know which of these is a safety feature that allows you to see what's behind you?
Every modern vehicle is made with side-view mirrors so it's strange to think that the first patent for a side-view mirror was only in 1921. That means there were several decades without the convenience of seeing what was behind you.
Scott Mlakar via YouTube
A motorcycle's sound system needs which of these to work?
Motorcycle speakers are typically not nearly as effective as those in a car for obvious reasons, but there are some aftermarket speakers that can be installed which will provide an impressive audio experience if you need to listen to tunes while you drive.
Exhaust gas is diffused by which of these?
A muffler on a bike takes the exhaust gases from the engine and diverts them away. The whole exhaust system accomplishes that task, but the muffler specifically also tones down the noise that it produces at the same time.
Do you know which of these cuts down on wind in your face as well as bugs and debris?
Windshields on bikes serve two purposes. The first is to protect from precipitation or bugs on the road, but the second allows the bike to be more aerodynamic as it diverts air up and around the rider in a more streamlined way. This, in turn, increases fuel efficiency.
Wiki Commons by Mau Spencer
The flow of gasoline to the engine can be controlled by which of these?
Not all bikes have a fuel petcock valve. As the name suggests, it's a valve you can turn to control the flow of gasoline to the engine. It needs to be in the ON position if you want to get the bike running.
Which of these is located on the right handlebar?
The front brake lever connects to the master cylinder, which in turn controls the front brakes on your bike. The front brakes are where much of the stopping power in a bike is found, so it's important to keep them in good working order.
Eugenio Marongiu/Cultura/Getty Images
Your ride is going to be awful if which of these isn't comfortable?
A motorcycle seat is a pretty easy-to-spot part of the bike. A lot of stuff can be stored under a seat on some bikes from fuses to tools to the owner's manual, so you'll want to make sure you know how to remove the seat to have a look under it
Wiki Commons by Khaosaming
Many modern bikes use a form of which of these called telescopic forks. What is it?
Like your rear shocks, the front suspension helps stabilize a ride and make the whole thing more smooth. Telescopic forks are just one kind of suspension while there are also girder forks which are older and less common these days.
Pixabay by 6584691
Without this you can't ignite the fuel-air mixture to get the engine running. What is it?
As in any combustion engine in a car or a truck, the spark plugs in motorcycles provide the spark that causes the combustion part of the combustion engine. Unlike cars, the plugs can be readily visible on a number of motorcycles.
Pixabay by olafpictures
Which of these controls the ratio of fuel and air entering an engine?
Thanks to a carburetor, when you hit the gas in a car or a bike, what you're actually doing is allowing a greater amount of air to enter the engine which in turn pulls in more fuel vapor, which creates greater power as it combusts and gives you speed.
This is located in the right handgrip of a motorcycle. What is it?
Motorcycles don't have a gas pedal like a car. Instead, they have a throttle located in the right handle. Turning the throttle causes you to go faster, and it takes some getting used to in order to master it. You also need to be careful about other buttons nearby, like the kill switch.
Ryan Urlacher via YouTube
Which of these can be found in the middle of the handlebars or on the left of the engine?
Like most vehicles, you need to do something to start a bike and that's put a key in the ignition and turn it. Of course, just like cars, a lot of modern bikes have also switched over to keyless ignition making this obsolete on some models.
Which of these is the rubber part that covers the wheel?
Arguably the easiest part of any bike to identify, the tires are what provide traction and forward momentum. Tire technology has been progressing pretty steadily since the late 1800s when the first pneumatic tires were invented.
Photo by Rafa Elias/Moment/Getty Images
Some bikes don't have visible versions of these. What is it?
A gas tank is obviously important on any bike but they're not always as they seem. Some bikes have what looks like a gas tank which is just for show when the real tank is actually hidden away beneath the skin of the bike. On a Harley, however, the tank is legit.
japatino/Moment Open/Getty Images
What's another name for the fender?
Fenders or mudguards can be on the front or back or both wheels of a bike. As the dirtier name suggests, part of the purpose of a mudguard is to prevent mud and water from being sprayed up the back of the driver when the bike is moving.
Stefano Oppo/Cultura/Getty Images
Which of these is another name for a passenger seat?
A pillion is a second seat behind the main seat for passengers to sit on. It's best to avoid having passengers at all if you're new to riding bikes but if you do have a second seat back there at least it's a good spot for carrying gear.
MicBergsma via YouTube
After the ignition is turned on, which of these will get the bike going?
The starter switch is usually on the right side of the handlebars, and may often say the word "start" right on it. With the ignition on and the kill switch off, the bike in neutral and the choke pulled out, this will start your bike up. A lot of modern bikes really simplify that whole process, though.
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