1928 Excelsior Super X
Year of manufacture1928
Engine number4953 (see text)
1928 Excelsior 750cc Super-X
Frame no. I5132
Engine no. 4953 (see text)
* Premier American marque
* Restored condition
* Corbin speedometer and Sparton horn
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. A 61ci (1,000cc) v-twin joined the range for 1911, at which time Excelsior was acquired by bicycle maker, Ignaz Schwinn, and in 1913 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. 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 navy 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.
Introduced to the American Market in 1925, the Super-X retained the Big Twin's F-head valve gear while reverting to the leading-link front fork used on its earliest ancestors. Elsewhere though, it was extensively redesigned, featuring unitary construction of the engine/gearbox and geared primary drive encased with an alloy casting, innovations doubtless inspired by the contemporary Indian Scout and Chief. There was a higher-performance Super Sport model available and this pair of Super-Xs continued with few changes, other than a switch to a streamlined, teardrop-shaped fuel tank for 1929, until Ignaz Schwinn pulled the plug on motorcycle production in the spring of 1931.
This restored Super-X is offered with a German registration document and TüV paperwork. It should be noted that the former records the frame number as 'J5132' and that the engine number has been over-stamped with the frame number.