The Excelsior Supply Company was founded in 1876 by George T. Robie and was a very successful distributor of sewing machine, bicycle, and later, automotive parts. Robie’s son Frederick had ambitions to become a manufacturer, and he convinced his father to expand their bicycle business, with motors attached. The Excelsior Motor and Manufacturing Co. was formed in 1906 as a subsidiary of the Supply Co., with Frederick Robie as president.
It first announced a Thor-engined Model B in 1907, which was a stopgap, as the far more sophisticated Excelsior Auto-Cycle Model A was introduced in the middle of the 1908 season. The Model A was the foundation of a new line of single-cylinder motorcycles—and as a twin-cylinder in 1910—with beautiful castings, nickel-plated cylinders and striking paint schemes. They were a success, and production expanded rapidly to keep up with demand. The Excelsior Auto-Cycle 4/5 HP is powered by a 30.50 CI (500cc) 4-stroke F-head single, which relied on an atmospheric inlet valve. The engine was well engineered, with a force-fed lubrication system at a time when most other machines relied on hand-pumps. Advertisements crowed that the oiling “Never Goes Wrong!” and that the bike was “Developed to the Highest Point of Mechanical Perfection.” Excelsiors did have excellent build quality, which was highlighted by the company’s incredibly successful racers. Despite the success of its motorcycles and rapidly increasing demand, George T. Robie had died in 1909, and Frederick Robie found running two large companies too much. In 1911, Excelsior was sold to Ignaz Schwinn. This 1911 Excelsior Auto-Cycle 4/5 HP Single is a “pre-Schwinn makeover” example, with the original Excelsior script logo. The bike exudes quality, and it is a meticulous restoration of a “barn find” by Antique Cycle Northwest in Seattle. All original parts were used in the restoration, which took three years, and restoration and finish are truly superior. This is an excellent opportunity to own a genuine, original-metal restoration of a very early American brand of the highest quality. This rare motorcycle is for sale at the Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction (Jan 23-Jan 27, 2018).
Report by mecum.com