Excelsior 1917 “ Series 17” 974 cc ( 61 ci) IOE V-twin Frame # 17539 Engine # 81154
The famous American Excelsior motorcycle was produced by the Excelsior Motor Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois from 1908 until 1931, latterly under the ‘Super-X’ brand name. The first Excelsior was a belt-driven single cylinder machine, the engine of which formed part of the frame.
The engine itself was an inlet-over-exhaust ‘F-head’, a design then much in vogue because, whatever its limitations, it enabled the exhaust valve to be directly cooled by the incoming mixture, a positive advantage at a time when the science of metallurgy was in its infancy.
In 1911 Excelsior became part of bicycle-maker Ignaz Schwinn’s empire for the sum of $ 500,000 and that same year a 61ci (974 cc) v-twin was introduced. Schwinn’s financial injection and design and engineering input together with the positive tendency in the motorcycle market led to a boost in sales for the make.
In 1913 the twin was offered with all-chain drive, while two-speed planetary transmission and a leaf-sprung, Indian-style front fork were two of the following season’s innovations.
Alongside rivals Harley-Davidson and Indian, Excelsior offered a three-speed countershaft transmission for 1915, at the same time introducing a new frame with curved top tube and smoothly rounded tank and mudguards, a first for Excelsior. During the Great War, Excelsior was together with Harley Davidson and Indian first choice for the US Army to serve the US troops in their home land as well as the battling troops in Europe.
This machine is fitted with the double trussed military fork that had been fitted since 1917 to Excelsior machines for military service.
This graceful “X” has been restored with care and it comes complete with Lucas “King of the Road B41” front lamp and replica Acetylene tank.