FN 1912 498 cc four cylinder a.i.v. frame# 37769 engine # 729
To many enthusiasts the FN four has always been one of the most appealing machines of veteran and vintage times.
Its production ran from 1905 till 1926.
The earliest type had a 362 cc engine with automatic overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves.
The machine was single geared, had shaft drive and the top speed was about 60 km/hour.
The FN four was an immediate success and found customers all over the world; FN sold its machines in more than 40 countries.
It found many customers in the U.S.A. and made Americans interested in the four cylinder concept: Percy Pierce purchased a 1908 model on one of his trips to Europe and the FN became a point of reference for the first Pierce Four in 1909.
The engine was redesigned for 1910.
New cylinders had twelve fins rather than eleven, the bore was increased to 52.7 mm to give 498 cc, and the exhaust pipes were now attached with two bolts to a flange in contrast to the earlier screw-on pattern.
The spark plugs were moved from the top of the cylinders to the right side between the valves.
The inlet manifold was substantially revised to site the new carburettor at the left of the engine between cylinders two and three.
A nice touch was a fuel filter mounted on the seat tube of the frame.
There was also a new oiling system.
The only major change to the cycle parts was a long rebound spring on top of the front fork.
The 1910 model continued unchanged through 1911, but for 1912 there were more detail modifications.
A tubular rear carrier and an independent stand replaced the very veteran combined carrier/stand used from the earliest models.
The characteristic inverted magneto and separate distributor were replaced by a Bosch ZFN4 upright magneto incorporating a distributor.
A clutch and valances on the front guard were available as options.
Longer handlebars and a more substantial seat completed the new model.
The Horstmanns 2 speed gearbox that is fitted to this machine was sold as an aftermarket accessory; many owners had one fitted and when FN brought out its 1913 model it was equipped with a 2 speed gearbox of very similar layout.
Another common modification to 1912 models that we find on this machine was the lowering of the seat position: 1913 FNs looked much more modern with their sloping top tubes and specialist repairers offered this modification.
This sought-after and practical veteran (clutch and gears!) has been restored in the nineties and comes with Dutch registration.
For interesting FN four info see Leon Mitchell’s page: http://earlymotor.com/leon/bikes/fn/html/earlyfn.htm