”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.
That $200 translates to just under $5,000 in today's money. Living my entire life in Milwaukee, motor cycles (H-D) have always been a big deal. It's amazing how far they've progressed over the years. We're all anxious to see how well their new electric model does in the marketplace since their image has always been big, tough, rugged, and loud. - John
I used to ride years ago, but that affection ended rather suddenly.
I'm sure everybody has their favorite bike they'd like to add, so I'll nominate the Curtiss V8. This bike, with uncle Glenn in the sadlle, set the land speed record in 1907 at 136MPH. The record sood until 1911, and was not beat by a motorcycle until 1930. The bike had a 4400cc, Curtiss V8 aircraft engine that produced 40HP.
jhankwitz--Before I retired I supported a company in Watertown, WI, i.e. Watertown Metals. The manufacturing manager was able to schedule a plant tour of the Harley Davidson facility in Milwaukee through a relative of his that worked there. It's a mechanical engineers dream. I was absolutely blown away with the entire process. We were also very fortunate to be given the tour by the VP of manufacturing. That visit remains one of the most fascinating plant tours in my career.
Excellent slide-show Charles. I'm embarrassed to tell you I did not know where the Studebaker Museum is. (I do now.) They have a very well done web site with plenty of information, (Including a map.) This exhibit will certainly be fascinating. I definitely will check this one out. I have a client about an hour away so it should be a good "road trip". Thank you for the post and the heads up.
What, no love for Buell? There are actually motorcycles besides modern antiques. Motorcycles don't have to look, and perform, like those made 60 years ago. Eric Buell has produced some of the most interesting, innovative and technologically advanced motorcycles ever produced (anywhere, not just in the US). His works have garnered praise, and awards, and won races. Recent races. Excluding him from this slideshow is an inexcusable oversight.
Hear, hear !! I love my Ulysses. The first motorcycle I've owned in 35 years where I didn't feel the need to run out and 'fix' the suspension. This thing handles like it's on rails, has nice satisfying rumble without being obnoxious and rolls over crappy broken up roads like a magic carpet. Grab too much throttle in any of the first three gears and the front wheel likes to point to the sky. Just too much fun. Never mind that you can stuff it so deep into corners without dragging a bit that carrying a clean set of skivvies is highly recommended. This thing was so not-Harley, that the stodgy vision-less wonks in Milwaukee decided that they would no longer produce them. I sincerely hope Buell is able to keep it going on his own.
I grew up with motorcycles, but haven't had one of my own since getting married 24 years ago. I'll never forget my first ride on my grandpa's Cushman scooter when I was about 5.
Having had a Jetta Sportwagen TDI for about 6 months now, I'm really curious why more effort hasn't been put into making a lightweight clean diesel engine that would be well-suited for motorcycle production. It may not be the fastest off the line, but the low end and wide range of high torque output could be super satisfying on a motorcycle, IMO.
Not that I'm against seatbelt use, but one of the things I appreciate about motorcycles is that they aren't encumbered (yet) by big brother seatbelt laws.
As much as I don't like laws that tell me what to do, anyone that does not wear their seatbelt lacks a fundamental understanding of physics, or does not place much value on their life (or both). Its a shame we even need seatbelt laws, but it seems there are enough ignorant people (either ill informed or lacking intelligence, or both) that otherwise would not wear one, that such laws are necessary (not to protect them from themsleves, but to protect us from the burden of their healthcare costs due to preventable injury).
Unlike other calculated risks, like skydiving or even riding a MC, with seatbelt non-use there is no visceral thrill to be enjoyed, nor skill to overcome the danger (for the passenger - for the driver, no seatbelt to hold you in place to properly utilize those skills).
What is even the point of not wearing one? If its uncomfortable, or wrinkles your clothes, you don't have it adjusted correctly. If its just not wanting someone to telling you what to do, then don't wear it becuase the man tells you to, wear it because it would be stupid not to.
...and one reason they don't have many diesel MC's is because of the required pollution controls to make diesel clean enough. They would be too heavy, too bulky. Plus, at least in the US, the culture is that MC's are for fun, not for transportation. At least in the US, Diesel and Fun don't often go in the same sentence.
Wow - I'm glad I gave you a chance to rant on seatbelts. Honestly, I don't recall ever NOT wearing one whenever I was in a car - law notwithstanding. However, you and I have differing viewpoints when it comes to assuming healthcare costs for someone eles's responsibility. I prefer not to draw a line when it comes to personal responsibility for risky behavior, because I don't believe there's a way to assess what and how much constitutes acceptable risk in a manner that satisfies everyone. 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.
As to the nature of diesel engines, you really ought to take a Jetta TDI for a spin on hilly terrain before claiming they can't be fun. My Jetta Sportwagen TDI is a real kick in the pants to drive, and I've had some sporty vehicles in my day.
I'm not convinced that such a motive force couldn't be scaled down for a motorcycle, but I agree that a lot of preconception inertia would have to be overcome. However, I believe getting that much thrust at 100 mpg could be very convincing,
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.