The Motrice Pia was an early three-wheeled vehicle, introduced by Italian Enrico Bernardi, and credited as the first motorcycle by sources such as the Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.[1] The exact year of introduction depends on which one of the following milestones one considers: the demonstration of a gasoline engine in 1882–1884 (first used to power a sewing machine),[2][3] the application of the engine to a child's tricycle in 1884,[4] the application of this engine to a motorized tricycle (or low cart) in 1893,[2][5] or the mounting of the motor behind a bicycle on a one-wheel trailer via chain drive creating a "motorcycle" in 1894.[2]

Motrice Pia
ManufacturerEnrico Bernardi (inventor)
Assembly1884 one-off
Engine122.5 cc single-cylinder, water cooled, gasoline engine with cast iron cylinder
Bore / stroke44 mm x 80.5 mm
Power0.024 bhp at 200 rpm
Frame typeWooden tricycle
Fuel capacity0.2 L (0.044 imp gal; 0.053 US gal)



Specifications in the box accompanying the article are from Museo Nicolis and refer to the 1884 tricycle.[4]


  1. ^ E.F., "Bernardi, Enrico", Encyclopedia Italiana (in Italian)
  2. ^ a b c "Review of Heinlich and Shube's Traction Drives", History of Automobiles and Early Transmissions
  3. ^ Terry Welshans (August 2013), A Brief History of Aircraft Carburetors and Fuel Systems, Aircraft Engine Historical Society
  4. ^ a b "Motrice pia" 1882, Verona: Museo Nicolis, archived from the original on 2012-06-23, retrieved 2014-05-26
  5. ^ Italian automotive chronology (PDF), Politecnico di Torino, 2004

See also