In Spain, motorcycles are mainly used for sporting activities, although they also function as alternatives to cars in urban and intercity transport. The two most characteristic varieties of motorbikes for urban use are the scooter and the moped, which has an engine capacity of less than 50 c.c., a power output of 2 h.p., and a maximum speed of 40 km/ hr.
   Motorcycle production in Spain began in earnest in 1920. In the 1950s, the scooter and the Vespa, introduced in 1946, invaded the market. In the 1960s, demand for the scooter began to decline, and motorcycles took over. The late 1970s saw the appearance of the Japanese super-bikes. By 1977, 200,000 motorcycles were manufactured in Spain.
   The 1980s marked the great motorcycling revolution, with the emergence of a new clientele composed of young people born during the years of political and economic change. In Spanish youth culture, motorbikes are a symbol of power, enabling young people to experience new sensations such as speed and physical risk, which has, tragically, increased accident rates. Motorcycle ownership and all that it entails (engine tuning, display, maintenance, reading of specialist magazines), satisfies the younger generation's need for freedom, self-affirmation and pursuit of their own distinctive lifestyle.
   Motorcycle racing is uniquely exciting, because of the high speeds involved as well as the risk run by riders. The sport depends heavily on corporate sponsorship, and the huge prizes are financially supported by revenue from advertising material displayed on the machines themselves, overalls and circuits. The most important international competition is the Campeonato del Mundo de Velocidad (World Speed Championship), which covers a series of pruebas puntuales (points trials) to select the best rider of the year. Since 1949 this championship has been divided into classes, according to the cylinder capacity of the motorbikes. The introduction of the 50 c.c. category enabled Spanish riders such as Santiago Herrero and Angel Nieto to win many triumphs. In 1969, Nieto became the first Spaniard to win a championship, going on to a further twelve victories. Other noteworthy Spanish riders are Jorge Martínez Aspar, with four championships, and Sito Pons, Carlos Lavado and Ricardo Tormo with two each. In the various classes, the most prominent riders are Crivillé, Checa and Puig (500 c.c.), D'Antin, Gavira, Cordoso, Alzamorra and Sainz (250 c.c.) and Aspar, Maturana, Sarda and Nieto Jr. (125 ex.). Other specialized activities in which Spain has participated with increasing success are: trial (on rough surfaces, without the foot touching the ground), motocross (on irregular surfaces), enduro or todo terreno (TT) (mountain rally), Dakar rally, and raids or rallies (such as the Atlas). Annual events such as the Salón de Barcelona (Barcelona Showroom) or the famous concentrations moteras (motorcycling rallies) organized by supporters" clubs, which include races, visits to places of interest, and discussions, contribute to the increasing popularity of the sport.
   Further reading
   - Agostini, S. and Patrignani, R. (1972) Conducción deportiva de la moto, Barcelona: Editorial Biblioteca Deportiva De Vecchi (a study of how the different motorbike models and categories have evolved through time).
   - Tomasellli, J. (1995) MOTO: Official Grand Prix Book 1995, Brussels: IHM (a lavishly produced year-book on motorcycling, containing the main events of the year, championships and race winners).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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