Common Tread

Moto pop quiz!

Jan 18, 2016

Test your knowledge! Win some bar bets! Waste your employer's time!

See how you fare with an eclectic motorcycle knowledge quiz. The answers are at the end. No cheating!


1. Ducati is currently owned by automobile manufacturer Audi. Over the years, Audi has also owned NSU and one other motorcycle producer. Who is it?
A. MV Agusta
B. BMW Motorrad
C. Zündapp

2. If a rider asked you where to find his “hero blobs,” what part of the bike would you point to?
A. The muffler
B. The footpeg
C. The master link on the final drive chain
D. The bar-end weight

mystery part
3. What is the part shown in the image?
A. A piston ring
B. An exhaust flange retainer clip
C. A snap-ring
D. A circlip

4. Who is the third-winningest Grand Prix motorcycle racer of all time, behind Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi?
A. Ángel Nieto
B. Jorge Lorenzo
C. Mick Doohan
D. Mike Hailwood

5. When a motorcycle’s frame is “raked,” trail…
A. Increases
B. Decreases
C. Remains unaffected
D. No way to answer, more information is needed

6. After the gate drops in a motocross race, the rider who got the “holeshot” has done what?
A. Reached the whoops
B. Rounded the first turn most quickly
C. Completely cleared the starting gate
D. Brought the bike up on one wheel during the race start

7. Doug Domokos set a record for the longest wheelie in 1984. How long was it?
A. 1.45 miles
B. 14.5 miles
C. 145 miles
D. 1,450 miles

8. What is the correct nomenclature for the period of time that a camshaft simultaneously holds the intake and exhaust valves open?
A. Compression stroke
B. Overlap
C. Duration
D. Lift

9. When did the first electric starter appear on a motorcycle?
A. 1914
B. 1915
C. 1964
D. 1965

10. Who sold the regular-production motorcycle with the largest displacement motorcycle-specific engine available?
A. Harley-Davidson
B. Honda
C. Triumph
D. Suzuki


1 - D. During the 1920s and 1930s, DKW was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. The company's 125 cc two-stroke motorcycle later was the basis of the Harley Hummer and the BSA Bantam. The original design drawings were surrendered as war reparations. DKW represents one of the four rings of Audi’s logo, which signifies the merging of four motor vehicle manufacturers.

2 - B. The footpeg on most modern sportbikes has a small, removable protrusion designed to let the rider know when he is coming in contact with the pavement during turns requiring heavy leaning.

3 - B. Harley has used this style of clip for more than 30 years on exhaust flanges. A piston ring’s ends would have a perpendicular cut, not a biased one. A snap ring normally has ends that terminate in a hole or slot, and a circlip generally has a round cross-section.

4 - A. Ángel Nieto is number three, with 90 wins over the course of 18 years, including 13 championships. He’s superstitious, too. He labels that count as “12+1.”

5 - A. If nothing else on the motorcycle is changed, trail measurements increase, often to the point of making steering slow and sluggish. Especially on frames that have extreme rake, builders will often employ many tricks such as raked trees, lengthened springer rockers, and smaller front wheels to help bring the trail numbers back down and make the bike handle well again.

6 - B. The rider who has rounded the first turn most quickly has won the holeshot. The holeshot is important in both motocross and Supercross because racers start abreast, rather than in order.

7 - C. Domokos, also known to fans as “The Wheelie King,” ripped a 145-mile wheelie at Talladega Speedway. His record stood for better than eight years.

8 - B. Cam overlap is the time intake and exhaust valves are open simultaneously. Properly engineered cam overlap will use exhaust gas to help draw fresh air and fuel into the cylinder. More overlap can also make starting an engine a bit easier due to reduced compression during the overlap period.

9 - A. The 1914 Indian “Hendee Special” featured an electric starter. It was a flop, though. The batteries of that time period weren’t capable of spinning the engine over reliably, and only 200 of the bikes were made. (Lots of folks think the 1965 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide was the first one, but it was beaten out by the lowly 1964 Servi-Car, which had the option available in 1964.)

10 - C. Triumph released the Rocket III for the 2004 model year. It featured a 2,294 cc inline-triple engine. Displacement-wise, the engine is the largest motorcycle-specific engine ever placed into a factory motorcycle. If we remove the “motorcycle-specific” restriction, though, other contenders appear, like the Boss Hoss Stud Hoss. That bike was powered by a Chevrolet engine that displaced 8,230 ccs.