”American motorcycle manufacturers went through some tough times, much like the American auto industry did during the 1970s,” Andrew Beckman, archivist for the Studebaker National Museum, in South Bend, Ind., told Design News. “But they’ve been able to weather that and rejuvenate themselves.”
In a new exhibit, the Studebaker Museum is allowing visitors to glimpse some of America’s most notable bikes, from the crudely motorized Yale Single of 1910 to the 2013 Harley-Davidson FLST Heritage Softail. The new exhibit includes 24 motorcycles from manufacturers such as Yale, Indian, Excelsior, Harley-Davidson, Cushman, and Victory. The exhibit includes scooters, simple motorized bikes, luxury motorcycles, and military products.
”Some of the early ones were very primitive -- basically bicycles with motors strapped onto them,” Beckman told us. “But collectors still think nothing of jumping on and riding them.”
Studebaker’s exhibit will run through May 10. Check it out by clicking on the photo below.
The 1910 Yale, which looked a like a bicycle with a motor strapped to it, employed a 3.5-HP, single-cylinder engine. The Yale was originally a product of the California Motor Co. of San Francisco, which later became the Consolidated Manufacturing Co. of Toledo, Ohio. A 1910 Yale cost $200 new.
Indeed, motorcycles have come a long way. I'm a fan of the old ones myself. Where I live in Portugal there are a lot of old Zundapps around, usually helmed by old Portuguese men dressed like the Red Baron. Those are pretty cool, and if well-maintained can last for years.
The hard times for American motorcycles, starting in the mid-fifties, were caused by the vast technical superiority of first English, then European, then Japanese motorcycles. Only in the 90s, when the biking generation got old, did Harley and the Harley look-alikes regain their former dominance in the American market. Now, with a couple of notable exceptions, the English are dead, the Europeans are making bikes too expensive and too fast for all but the richest and most skilled riders, and the flagship Japanese 1000cc sportbikes have been describerd by better riders than I as "stupid fast". I have been riding for over 60 years, and working professionally in the motorcycle industry for 50 years, and though I feel some patriotic pride in what the Amereican industry has done, my two bikes are still Japanese and Italian. One more comment--it is a shame that the exhibit did not include the iconic Harley Model K flat track racer. It was dominant in 1/4 and 1/2 mile racing, very popular in the 60as and 70s, for over a decade, and represented the higest development of the flathead engine. I wish I could have afforded one those many years ago, when I was a young and not-too-promising racer.
In looking at how some of the early motorcycles looked much like heavy duty bicycles with engines and fuel tanks strapped on, I find it interesting that there seem to be an increasing number of present-day bicycles with motorized kits added on to them.
A friend at work is currently looking at adding an 80cc gasoline engine kit to a sturdy mountain bike to make going up the big hills in our area a little more inviting when out on those pleasure rides. I concurr - it could make otherwise challenging exercise on a bike a bit more recreational and encourage venturing into those more hilly neighborhoods.
I understood from the start you have nothing against seatblet USE. I only meant to comment on seatbelt laws, which I prefer not to need, but due to population ignornace, I feel we do (so the better long term fix is address the ignorance).
I think users of The Convincer recognize what they feel is no where near a real accident, which is probably a big part of why its so convincing. If something that slow has that much impact, they realize how much more a real accident would be.
The sad thing is that the bulk of this diversion on a motorcycle topic would've been completely unnecessary if it had been noticed that I never said anything against seatbelt USE.
My comment that apparently ignited the whole diversion was simply alluding to the irony in using LAW to mandate their use by automobile occupants while having no similar requirement for motorcycles or bicycles, each of which arguably put their riders in a much more vulnerable position. If I didn't believe that to be the case, I most likely would have continued riding throughout my kids' childhoods. As it was, I gave up riding so their odds would be better of having a Daddy around as they grew up.
Now nobody else may consider that law discrepancy to be the least bit interesting or at all ironic and that's perfectly okay with me. I don't think I'll ever understand why several commenters had to construe my comment into any kind of position against wearing seatbelts. That was fabricated out of thin air because I've never advocated for their non-use - ever. Entire libraries could be filled by books advocating the pros and cons of free will, so I apologize for opening up THAT can of worms.
I like "The Convincer" for it's ability to make a lasting impression about how much potential energy is stored by mass in motion. Even though it may not exactly replicate the experience of a typical accident, I believe it's a very valuable tool for those who have lived much of their lives in a virtual world (TV, movies, video games) and don't fully understand how much energy has to be absorbed in those circumstances.
"Favoring free will over coercive behavior does NOT define one as being against life. To assume so is reckless reasoning and it disappoints me to see that kind of characterization made by people on this site."
"I'm just not sure that protecting fools from themselves is really doing them and everyone else a favor in the long run. Survival of the fittest has individual motivation and responsibility built right into it in a manner that is consistent with the rest of nature."
"...I'm resistant to your premise that law was "necessary" to save lives."
But you also said:
"There's no doubt that many lives are saved by wearing helmets and seatbelts..."
I do agree with you that new laws aren't the solution. I would prefer an education campaign to enlighten people to understand why seatbelts work, and that even of they feel safe without one, they aren't.
Here in CT, the State Police have a device called 'The Convincer" which is a little cart on a short inclined track, just a few feet long. The cart has a seat with a seat belt. They release the cart, and at the bottom of the track it abrubtly stops. It seems to make an impression on people how such a slow speed has so much energey, and how much a belt is needed. This tells us how many people don't understand the energy invovled, or even that dissipating energy in a controlled way is what prevents injury (ever see a movie where the character is 'saved' from a fall at great height by being stopped inches from the ground? That people don't realise that would be just as damaging is the problem. Education is the solution. A law is just a bandaid (but I'd rather have a law than nothing).
Where is this "dumb argument" about not wearing seatbelts? Why are we pontificating for or against using seatbelts on a Motorcycle post in the first place? Are you advocating for the use of seatbelts on Motorcycles? Or did someone make an argument against seatbelt use that I missed?
Decent used ones can be had for a song these day. I have an '06. Mine with full bags retailed for about 13K, but these days you can get a low mileage Ulysses for about 4K. Part of the reason for that is when Harley stopped making the Buells in '09 they were selling leftovers for dirt to clear them out and people are often reluctant to buy a 'dead' brand because of concerns about replacement parts and service (if you don't twist your own wrenches). I won mine as the grand prize for the 2006 AMA membership sweepstakes that year. So for $3,500 in income taxes, I got a fully loaded Ulysses. I can't complain. I was very close to buying a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (similar style bike) about that time when I learned I won.
I'm not sure if EBR (Erik Buell Racing) is planning on supporting the legacy models when Harley stops supporting parts and service past the 7 year point. My friend at my work who owns both a Ulysses and one of the CR1125's says there is a very healthy aftermarket for Buell parts especially in Europe. Other than oil filters (and tires :-), I haven't needed anything for my Buell.
Keep in mind that the legacy Buells (with the exception of the CR1125) used a Harley derived engine and it shakes like a paint mixer at idle. Once you get some revs on it, Buell did a very nice job of isolating engine vibration through links and dampers. It has a nice rumble to it too without being obnoxious.
Favoring free will over coercive behavior does NOT define one as being against life. To assume so is reckless reasoning and it disappoints me to see that kind of characterization made by people on this site.
Governments don't just inherently know and do what's in an individual's best interests better than the individual does. Stalin maintained that he did and it resulted in anywhere from 20 million to as many as 60 million individuals dying of unnatural causes under his rule. That is magnitudes worse a track record than the number of people who have died of their own poor choices because they weren't restrained by the laws of some all-wise government.
There's no doubt that many lives are saved by wearing helmets and seatbelts, but it can't be assumed that people who don't favor it as a law wouldn't practice those measures of safety and protection otherwise. The greatest instinct of any organism - whether it be a person or a government - is to preserve itself. That priority often results in unholy alliances and unimagined (to most) adversaries. Limiting the power and authority of government was one of the chief objectives of the contract between the people of the states known as the U.S. Constitution, and doing so highlighted the naturally conflicted relationship between a people and their government.
Almost every time a government has overstepped the bounds of their authority, they have done so under the guise of it being for our good. That's why I'm resistant to your premise that law was "necessary" to save lives.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.