1928 Excelsior Super X
Year of manufacture1928
1928 Excelsior 750cc Super-X
Frame no. J5132
Engine no. 4953
Premier American marque
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.