When surveying the most influential American-made motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters of all time it would be a gross oversight to not discuss the headway made by the technological insights and developments made in motorcycle research by the engineers at Excelsior Motor Co.
Excelsior Motor Co is more than just one of the many American motorcycle companies that rose up in the era of automobiles associated with the late 1800s and early 1900s only to fail at the height of the Great Depression like so many other manufacturing firms.
No, the Excelsior Motor Company was a pioneer in the field of motorcycle manufacturing, producing multiple V-twin motorcycles long before even the legendary William S. Harley of Harley-Davidson drew up the first designs for V-Twins at his company.
Excelsior was the first motorcycle company in the history of the United States to produce V-Twin motorcycles, beginning in the 1910s and ending in the 1930s when the company went under.
The Seminal Design
The first motorcycle model in which Excelsior managed to successfully cram a V-Twin engine was the Model BigX, produced from around 1918 to 1924, although historians are a bit hazy on the specific start dates.
The frame used was essentially a reinforced bicycle frame, with reinforced bicycle wheels, and a reinforced bicycle suspension. For all intents and purposes, the first Excelsior V-Twin was a motorized bicycle.
Timeline of Models and Changes
Two versions of the V-Twin engine saw use by Excelsior, one in the Model BigX and the other in the Excelsior Super X.
- Model BigX (1917-1924)
The original design for the V-Twin motorcycles produced by Excelsior were little more than what amounted to insanely high-powered bicycles, capable of–in some instances–propelling the user at over 100 miles per hour.
- Excelsior Super X (1925-1929)
The Excelsior Super X has much more information surrounding it than does the Model BigX, in part due to its status as the last major motorcycle produced by Excelsior before the Stock Market crash sent the company into a downward spiral that would eventually result in a total loss of the company.
Good Luck Finding Non- Collector-Focused News
Nowadays, you’re not very likely to hear anything about excelsior that doesn’t pertain to collectors and what collectors are doing with their Excelsiors. Take this article for instance. It’s all about how a collector’s Excelsior hasn’t changed in more than 100 years.
Film and Television
The Excelsior brand has a couple of film and TV credits to its name, but only one that really pertains to the V-twin line-up. In 1975, the Excelsior Big X was used in the filming of Capone.
Seeing as how Facebook, Instagram, and, well, the entirety of the internet was little more than a science-fiction musing during any particular point in the history of the Excelsior Motorcycle Company, not many internet groups have managed to gain any particular traction.
Excelsior V-Twin – One of the First Motorcycle Classics
More than 100 years ago, the first American V-Twin motorcycle was created by the designers at Excelsior. Even though the company has since faded into the history books, the world of superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters as we know it today owes its very existence to Excelsior’s line of V-Twins.