Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today I went to the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburg, N.Y. and was quite impressed. There are something like 300 bikes there, the vast majority of them American. One starts off entering the Hillclimb section, all of them V-twins. Then there are three or four bicycle motor pacers with huge motors. There are a bunch of choppers, several Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth creations and many movie posters. Besides 'Easy Rider', I'd only seen one: 'CC and Company' with Joe Namath and Ann Margaret. Track it down if you have nothing to do.
There are a few road racers, including this superb '51 works DOHC Velocette. That's a long stroke Manx Norton in the backround. Other roadracers included a TZ 250 Yamaha, TSS Bultaco, and several KRTT H-Ds

There's an incredible collection of Indians; one model for every year of production, except the first (1901). There are three 8 valve boardtrack racers. I'd never noticed this front suspension before:
I'd forgotten that Indian had rear suspension in the teens also, with swing arms and leaf springs.

Downstairs there is a huge collection of early Harleys and, it seems, just about ever other American made cycle: Thor, Pope, Yale, Cleveland, Excelsior, M & M, Flying Merkel (another early bike with rear suspension). There is a great variety of four cylinder bikes: Indian, Henderson, Excelsior Henderson, Ace, Cleveland, and these two:

a Pierce and FN. I've always thought the Pierce was elegant with it's large diameter frame tubing. There was another early European bike which I had only recently been made aware of in reading about the 1911 IOM TT: the Moto-Reve. This was a Swiss bike, but they also supplied motors to other manufactures and the one in the museum is in a Husqvarna chassis. There are many other curiosities downstairs including a good selection of cut away motors and this oddity built in the Twenties:
The photo doesn't do it justice as the scale isn't obvious. I believe the wheels were 36" diameter and it had two massive V-Twins coupled together cleverly, as the two motors turned in opposite directions.
I highly recommend the museum as I easily spent 3 1/2 hours there and, at $10 admission, consider it a bargain.

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