1917 Excelsior 61ci
Year of manufacture1917
1917 Excelsior 61ci Motorcycle Combination
Frame no. EX92531
Engine no. 92531
* Premier American make
* Restored condition
* Stylish 'Banbury' transport
The famous American Excelsior motorcycle was produced by the Excelsior Motor Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois from 1907 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. 1911 was a landmark year in Excelsior's history, for the firm was acquired by bicycle maker Ignaz Schwinn and introduced its first v-twin model that year. In 1913 the 61ci (1,000cc) twin was offered with all-chain drive, while two-speed planetary transmission and a leaf-sprung, Indian-style front fork were two innovations introduced for the following season. By this time the original Excelsior single had been dropped, being replaced for 1914 by a 250cc two-stroke lightweight.
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, a first for Excelsior. Deeply valanced mudguards distinguished the v-twin of 1917. 'Military' olive green was adopted as the Excelsior livery that year and would remain the only option until 1920 when blue became the norm. In 1921 a 74ci (1,200cc) v-twin was added to the range, but by this time Excelsior had acquired the manufacturing rights to the Henderson Four and the days of the big v-twins were numbered. They were gone by 1925, Excelsior preferring to concentrate its resources on the Four and the newly introduced Super-X 45ci (750cc) v-twin.
An imposing motorcycle from any angle, this restored Excelsior motorcycle combination is offered with an Automotoclub Storico Italiano certificate.