7 vehicles that carry a single passenger in an exposed position, aka motorcycles, though not all have two wheels and a petrol engine
1. Standard Motorcycles
Two wheels, a modestly stout but small motor, no safety precautions, check. Most motorcycles are standard sized, not counting things like the Yamaha Goldwings, but honestly, those senior citizen snoozers are unlikely to survive into the Cosmic Era, not without all the cladding and shrouds, extra seats, and the rest of the junk stripped off to save weight. Most sport bikes fall into this category as well.
It's a motorcycle and stripped down, they would make for some interesting use of motorized scout infantry. They are too small for power armor, other than a one-shot run, where the bike would eventually suffer a failure in the suspension, wheels, drive system, etc, due to the excess weight on the vehicle. Urban gangs are the most likely to have these bikes, as they are too complex for long-term use in the wasteland areas, and with basic design, they are pretty much only good on Earth.
In addition to sport bikes, and the regular cruiser biker, are light and extra light bikes. Light motorcycles favor speed over anything else. Extral ight bikes are used for motocross and insane jumps. These are toys and sports equipment for motorsports and speed enthusiasts more than anything else.
That covering the important bases, on to the fun stuff.
2. Motorized Monocycle
The monocycle isn't new, they've been around for decades, maybe even a century. The concept of the entire bike being inside the wheel is very cool looking for steampunk motifs. The motorized monocycle is an electric bike that uses magnets to drive the one wheel that contains the rider and gear. Steering is questionable and balance is supremely important.
Monocycles might be a bit tall, with wheels that are five or more feet wide, but they are very low, all the components and the rider are almost on the ground. This makes them hard to hit, and equally hard to illuminate with beam weapons or laser designators. Advanced scouts, rangers, and survivalist types favor the monocycle for its simple construction, lack of moving parts, chain free design, and the fact that they can be high speed, low profile, low drag, and in hostile situations, they can lay the thing over and its very flat and easy to hide.
3. Scavver Special
The Scavver Special is a wastelander motorcycle that burns alternate fuel such as ethyl alcohol or a diesel substitute. While not efficient, and certainly loud and smokey, Scavver Specials are fast, easily repaired, and common. A wastelander who has two hands and half a technical bone in their body can typically pull the pieces together to make a Special, and there are dozens, hundreds, of shops across the wastelands where raiders and raider gangs get their bikes serviced and repaired.
Scavver Specials are junk bikes, and are 100% Mad Max in nature. Raiders love them. Wastelanders consider them as essential as water, food, or hard drugs. No two bikes are the same, and for every mundane bike, there is a bike with a hidden trick, a gimmick, a concealed weapon, or a terribly blood history. These bikes have as many traps and junk gadgets as a James Bond car.
Rocket packs next to the wheels
4. Armored Assault Motorcycle
Inspired by both the LawMaster of Judge Dredd and the Space Marine Bike of Warhammer 40k, the Armored Assault Motorcycle is a heavy motorcycle (the mass of some light cars) designed specifically for a person in full combat armor. The frame is heavy, and they use tires that would seem more suitable for heavy transport trucks than for bikes. The suspension is beefy to carry a thousand pounds of rider, and the motor is likewise robust enough to make the bike quick. The AAM isn't regular motorcycle fast, even at the top end they seldom move much above 100 mph, but compared to the regular walking speed of power armor, this is second only to air transport for speed.
The vehicle has rudimentary armor to protect the vital systems, and there are variants that add weapon mounts, sidecar systems, and even tow capability. Three wheeled assault trikes are especially good for light towed weapons like mortars or light AA systems. There are limitations on these vehicles and its their weight. An AAM is intended for a power armor trooper (or comic book level strength rider) so most people lack the mundane strength to safely use and ride on. They weigh as much as a light car, and tipping over is a shattered leg. A wreck is a skidded up bike a bloody corpse a few hundred feet behind it.
5. Speeder Bike
Best represented by the Aratech 74-Z Speeder Bike of Battle of Endor fame, the generic speeder bike using a gravity defying A-pod to hover a few feet off the ground. Most speed comes from 'tilting' the a-pod's field, though really fast speeder bikes make use of propulsion systems more commonly seen on spacecraft or rockets.
The speeder bike is incredibly fast, and useful on almost any planet. The anti-gravity effect works against water, stone, ice, and no lift is required. Speeder bikes work as well on the Moon as they do on Earth, Mars, or anywhere else this is something for them to resist/float against. The bikes have a number of serious limitations, the most blatant being their cost and danger. The a-pod required is a complex piece of gear, as is the pocket power source required to keep this energy hungry system running. An advanced guidance system is also required because most humans do not have the reflexes and spatial awareness to use a speeder bike at the speeds it is capable of reaching. This makes them incredibly dangerous for manual riders. The most common usage of these blisteringly fast bikes is to steer them like a horse and let the driver AI handle projecting where they are going, and respect speed limiters.
Who can use these javelins of speed? Cyborgs and cybernetically augmented riders who can blend their neuro-feedback abilities into the machine. Parapsychics who have enhanced reflexes, clairvoyance, or other things that change how they perceive reality (slowing it down) can also use speeder bikes.
Where a regular motorcycle can pass 100 mph in nearly a blink of an eye, most speeder bikes are mechanically limited to 200 mph, though most can reach hundreds of miles per hour easily, and the fastest easily approach the sound barrier. A common speeder bike accident is hitting the throttle hard and losing the bike because inertia and wind resistance remove the rider.
The Bat-Pod from Batman: the Dark Knight, is a pod-bike. It was carried as part of the Tumbler/Batmobile, and when that vehicle was destroyed, Bats carried on the pursuit on this collapsible motorcycle.
Pod-Bikes are considered a unique class of vehicles. Best described as hold-out vehicles, Pod-bikes are generally carried as part of another vehicle, in the same manner, that cars carry a spare tire in the trunk. The Pod-Bike is only a hundred pounds or so, and much of that weight is the wheels. When deployed, the bike is little more than a suspension frame between two wheels, allowing the rider to continue whatever their plan was before their main vehicle was lost. These are too large for aircraft or helocraft to spare weight on. Mecha, large vehicles, and similar are much more likely to have these as a sort of two-wheeled escape pod/lifeboat for the pilot and crew members.
Pod-Bikes are not regular use vehicles, and many require their power cells to be removed and replaced after a single use. They are intended to help the rider get away from whatever situation cost them their primary vehicle. In military applications, the pod-bike might also have a survival pack attached to it, with food, water filtration or purification tablets, and gear appropriate to the environment and conditions.
7. Giddyup Buttercup
Giddyup Buttercup is a mechanical horse toy from the Fallout Franchise, and with the Rideable Giddyup Buttercup mod, the player has the option to craft a full-size, fully functional robotic horse to ride.
What would be the utility?
A quadruped has a tradeoff between mobility and speed. The robotic Giddyup Buttercup can go places that motorcycles, halftracks, and hovercraft simply cannot. Just as Buttercup can't run across water, a hovercraft can glide down a rough, steep embankment. A wheeled bike can easily shoot past a hundred miles an hour and Buttercup barely manages thirty on the flat, but the same motorcycle is going to wreck when it hits something a few inches tall when moving at speed. The mechanical horse has a solid weight capability for what it can carry, and one of the advantages of the design is that the hips and joints of the legs can be used as energy recapturing systems, using springs and momentum to continually recharge itself as it moves. While no perpetual motion machine, it can go as far an electric cycle can, but while actually moving more, engaging with it's environment more organically, and having a basic intelligence module so that it's ability as a mount grows the longer it is with the same rider. Basic riders find Buttercup a heavy plodding machine that is insufferably slow, grinding, and inconvenient. Experienced riders know how to make Buttercup dance, fly through the air, and perform moves coming from centuries of mounted horsemanship, but with a robot.
Buttercup can carry power armor troops, but the two are not made for each other, and the weight of a trooper dramatically reduces Buttercup's range. When used by power armor troops, robots like Buttercup are better suited as pack and litter 'animals'. Rather than burden troopers down with hundreds of pounds of supplies, a handful of Buttercups can carry the load, keep up on foot, and in the case of ambush or attack, can offer retreat options for non-armored troops.
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