Uwe Goedereis is our main man in Bielefeld Germany, and sent in his report on the races from earlier this month:
Hello Friends of the Oval Sports,
My friend Jochen Kleine and I presented the 11th time the Trackracer Meet in the motordrome in Bielefeld. In Germany it is called Cement track Race. This is like the old board tracks, but made from concrete, not wood. During the 50th there are fast motorcycle races and also car races (Cooper) in the bowl.
It is really interesting to start in this oval. The curves are inclined 49° and the track is 333 mm long.
Yes, that good for very fast rounds.
It was this year a very sunny day. We very lucky to have 37 competitors at the grid. A lot of interesting bikes. All drivers have a lot of fun and made a lot of rounds (laps) during the whole day.
In the evening we had a great dinner. We served the traditional "Püfferchen". And all drivers must help, prepare the potatoes, onions and so on. That also real fun . After the dinner some of the drivers go once again on the track. We ride under floodlight and this was for all an interesting experience.
Now the 11th Trackracer Meet is history. We’ll be glad to see all again in 2016.
Thanks to Thomas of the Bey of us in his Cooper Oval he brought, Stefan Bund for brilliant photos, Hermann Becker for his contribution with the propeller bike – awesome. Also thanks to Andy who came from London and the Harley with some troubles.
Merci also to Thomas Patt for his support to the great blog
Nice to see some new participants at the start and several of them now really have tasted blood.
Last week was the annual Minden, Nevada tour, held on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains just down the hill from Lake Tahoe. It was yet another wonderful time, with 3 days spent riding old bikes on the backroads. About 30 riders pre registered and a few more showed up to partake in the fun.
Day One was the ride south to The Wolf Creek Restaurant and Bar in Markleeville CA for a cold beverage. Only a few of us made a wrong turn or two on the way there, and there were some bonus miles on the return route following friends out through Diamond Valley and back to the little main road to the hotel. Before we walked across the parking lot to the Chinese restaurant there was a short session of stories and bike repairs.
For Day Two we went to Genoa to see Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor. It is a typical hole in the wall Victorian roadhouse, complete with an antiques shop next door.
The second stop was at Paughco to see their fabrication shop. Eighty employees turn miles of tubing into motorcycle frames, springer forks, exhaust pipes, etc. The stamping dies are used to make oil tanks, fuel tanks, headlight buckets and more. I’ve forgotten the numbers, but something like 75,000 part numbers are made in house, and they sell hundreds of frames a month. Another highlight of the tour was seeing the custom bikes that the employees build and the collection of old HD race bikes and motors on display.
Third stop was Virginia City, to dodge the tourists who came to watch the Ostrich races (small people riding large birds in a circle). Camel races were scheduled later in the day, but we left after lunch in order to make it to the fourth stop at the Genoa tavern again.
Dinner at the local Basque place was excellent, with a variety of meats to choose from. Day three was a trip out to Smith Valley and Yerington before we all packed up and headed home.
Big thanks are due for the Wildharbers who hosted the event again this year! Without them, we’d all be sitting at home and watching teevee instead of riding and breaking old bikes on the quiet backroads, and then laughing at our broken bikes and telling parking lot lies about how fast we used to be. If you’d like to come along next year, the rules are not as strict as in the old days. Pre1916 bikes are preferred, but later machines are welcome too. See you next time.
Here is a pile of photos from my phone. Not great, but hopefully they give you an idea of the fun at the Minden Tour.
Four heroes of our hobby: Rick McMaken, Daniel Statnekov, Mike Madden and Wes Allen.
Wes brought his Reading Standard. It was used by the Canadian military, and still has their insignia stamped into the toolbox.
Buster left his Yales at home and rode his 1915 Indian three speeder instead.
Steve Huntzinger and Plumber Dave
OHV Indian conversion.
This Indian looks like Buster’s but it isn’t. I think this is a 1914 two speeder. Can anybody confirm?
This blue scout looked really nice.
Spring front end, turned around.
CAC race motor
8 valves, 2 cams, oval ports
A special two cylinder Indian 4
No horses allowed.
Dave, Madden, Rick, and Dave Bettencort
I get many questions about old bikes via the “Comment” link at the bottom of each article. Although they are pretty rare today, Wagner questions seem to come up fairly often. The author of this article, Tom Sheldon, has replied to several comments over the years with information, and has offered to share his thoughts on the marque:
Many of the roughly 2000 American auto companies started life making buggies or wagons. Similarly, many of the 300 or so American motorcycle manufacturers began as bicycle builders. This was true of German immigrant George Wagner. Around 1895 he began working for The Bird Cycle Co of St Paul, MN. In 1897 he formed the Wagner Cycle Co. Around 1900 George “started to experiment with motorcycles”. According to Wagner literature 1901 was the first year of manufacture. The 1911 Tenth Anniversary sales brochure states that 60 motorcycles were produced in that first year. The earliest ad, from 1903, that I have seen for Wagner states “The Wagner Motor Cycle has no equal” and in another 1903 ad “no you have not heard of us before because we have spent the last three years perfecting a motor cycle to offer to the public”. Through 1904 Wagner used a motor supplied by an unknown manufacturer. Models from 1905-1912 all used a motor of their own. Horsepower grew from an initial, at most, 2 1/2 HP in 1904 to 4 HP for the 1911-12 models.
Gorge Wagner designed and marketed a number of unusual motorcycles. The Model 4 catalog of 1904 lists a tandem motorcycle configured like a tandem bicycle as well as a tandem engined, tandem motorcycle. This bike they claimed to have 5HP (2 X 2 1/2HP). In 1907 their sales literature listed a ladies model, with dropped top bar for easy mounting in a dress. This model also had chain and belt guards (men, I guess, did not need guards) and canvas skirts on the front and rear fenders. Also in 1907, Wagner advertised “Adopted by the Fire and Police Departments of New York City”. Probably due to the work of their local agent George Lyons. The Lyons Agency was a big player in early motorcycling in New York City, they handled Wagner from 1905-1908.
George knew the power of competition. The old adage ‘race them on Sunday and sell them on Monday’ may have been used about 60 years earlier than commonly believed. A 1904 ad read “The 1903 Wagner finished every contest with a PERFECT SCORE”. In 1905 “The perfect scores obtained by our machines in the recent endurance run, from New York the Waltham, is only a sample of what they are doing every day, 250 miles in 6 hours including stops”. For 1907 “In the recent Century Runs of the New York and Brooklyn Motorcycle Clubs, Mr. Irving Mehrbach, the heaviest motorcyclist in the country, finished well within the time limit. Mr Mehrbach weights 305 pounds and the Century was his second ride on his Wagner” also written is “In the same contest Jack Dickinson and Sam Shaw on a Wagner with tandem attachment, finished third out of 75 riders and their Wagner was the first single cylinder to finish”.
Perhaps the most famous of the Wagner stories has to do with his daughter, Clara. She was the first female member of the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM) in 1907, she was just 15 years old. Together George and Clara competed in the 1910 Chicago to Indianapolis Western Enderance run and both riders scored perfect scores of 1000 over the 365 mile course. The judges, however, disqualified Clara because motorcycling was too dangerous for women. Her fellow riders though came through by pitching in and purchased her a gold medal. The free press from Clara and her motoring abilities had to help sales.
Over the course of production George held the course, always single cylinder motor, always single speed, always belt drive. One of the best things going for this simple, durable, reliable but perhaps boring bikes, was the advertising that George and Co placed in magazines. Advertising could be commonly found in ‘Cycle and Automobile Journal’. This magazine did a fine job of writing up (company issued) descriptions of many autos and cycles as well as being full of detailed ads. This makes these magazines invaluable for research. Other publications that Wagner used were ‘Telephony’, ‘RFD News’, ‘Automobile Review’, ‘The Medical World’, ‘Technical World’, ‘Popular Mechanics’, ‘Motorcycle Illustrated’ and ‘Motorcycling’. Of interest is a 1912 ad from ‘RFD News’ that states “4000 Wagners in daily use on R.F.D. routes”.
In 1912 George sold out to MASCO (Motorcycle Accessories and Supply Co.). MASCO ran their catalog business out of the old Wagner factory from 1912 to maybe 1918-1919. It is commonly stated that Wagner was in business through 1914, there is no evidence that any motorcycles were produced after the company was sold in 1912.
To follow I will let pictures show the development of Wagner over the production run. Most of these pictures are from existing motorcycles.
1905-1908 3 HP model
1909-1910 3 1/2 HP model
1911-1912 4 HP model
I have been researching Wagner for about 20 years. I became interested when I saw one in a friends garage and learned that they were built in the Twin Cities. I was interested in old motorcycles, but having bikes built in your home city struck a chord with me. Wagner was not a flashy or fast bike but proved itself with dependability and affordability. I have collected a great deal of original and photo copied literature, ads, photos/postcards and memorabilia. I would be happy to help anyone who has any questions about these bikes. I have some spare parts and also always interested in acquiring anything related to Wagner. Also interested in items from the other Twin City brands of Minneapolis/Michaelson and Thiem/Joerns/Cyclone, as well as other smaller concerns.
re_cycler(at)msn.com —Replace the (at) with a @ symbol.
Aldo Carrer has finished his latest book, a continuation of the previous one here. The Motorcycle of 1900 is published in English, Italian and German, but could likely be understood by readers of many other languages. It features photos from Aldo’s collection, acquired via decades of work searching through European swap meets, auctions and family connections. Aldo has gathered thousands of loose images, postcards, and complete scrapbooks dating back well over 100 years. The book is focused on primitive (but quickly evolving!) vehicles with two or three wheels. They are sorted by the country of origin, with a short description and date for each photo. As with Aldo’s previous books, they are a treasure for the fan of motorized transport and also make good gifts.
216 pages. 8.5”x12” Hardbound, published by EDS Edizioni
To buy a copy, contact Aldo here: firstname.lastname@example.org
US pricing is 30 Euros plus shipping. I’ll ship direct from San Francisco. Anywhere in the USA is $14(or 12.86€) prepaid, or you can pick it up for free here in SF. That total is 30€+12.86€ = 42.86Euros to Aldo’s Paypal at the email listed above.
Europe and rest of the world pricing & shipping depends on where you live. Contact Aldo directly and he’ll set you up.
All images Copyright Aldo Carrer 2015.
Everybody was smiling as we descended on Epsom Downs as the sun rose, bringing precious, but insufficient, warmth. Being a Californian, I expected relatively cold weather and I was not surprised. However my six layers of shirts and sweaters still left me shivering. The smarter folks among us wore ski parkas instead of button down shirts and bowties!
This little guy was looking forward to the journey, and was especially pleased to place his feet upon the basket filled with chocolate Easter eggs. James Ernshaw piloted the 1907 P&M and chair with a big smile too.
I really liked the look of this 1910 Arno 500cc single. The frame tube drops down just ahead of the seat, giving a low seating position and allowing the pilot to easily reach Terra Firma. The motor is hung between motor lugs instead of using plates, and the Armstrong rear hub has a clutch and three gears that must have come in handy in the Brighton traffic.
Regular readers will know that I have a preference for the oddball machines (stay tuned for Part 3). Resplendent in black, nickel and brass, this 2.25hp De Dion dates from 1899 and has a triangular fuel tank/surface carb under the seat.
Ken Lee is a UK American Excelsior aficionado. That sentence may need clarification: Excelsior was a brand of motorcycles made in the UK. To minimize confusion, the bikes made in Chicago, USA were called American Excelsiors in the UK. And Ken lives in Blighty, and rides X’s, so he’s a UK American Excelsior aficionado. Now that we are past that, here is Ken’s more exotic machine, the one and only 1904 James H. Smith. 3hp, and with a fuel tank covered in control levers. Ken found it years ago at a jumble (swap meet). It was apparently made by Mr. Smith in his workshop, using a Fafnir engine and BSA chassis parts, but not much more is known. The elephant is a nice touch.
I take photos of this 1907 Rex every time I see it. What a beauty.
The Premier has a few things to notice. The kangaroo on the tank logo, the Davison fuel gage in the front of the tank, and the auxiliary exhaust valve are the first three. The coil spring on the head fins adds some additional surface area to dissipate the heat to the surrounding air. Open Bosch mag, B&B carb and silencer cutouts are common fixtures on other machines of the era.
Two veteran Veloce machines, and three Velo Fellows. Dave Masters, myself and Tim Simkins had a chat overlooking the Brighton beach. Dave rode his reliable M5054, and Tim rode Ivan Rhode’s early two stroke Velocette.
The little two stroke doesn’t weigh much at all, which makes starting a little easier. The pilot stands straddling the seat and simply paddles his/her feet for a few short steps until the motor comes to life. Direct drive and no clutch keeps things simple and light.
The two speed is foot controlled via the double ended shifter lever shown in this image.
Lincoln Elk is not a well-known marque. Bacon and Hallworth state that LE made bikes 1902-1925 in Broadgate, Lincoln. In 1912 they featured a novel two speed gear via a countershaft with two clutches and a chain to one side of the rear wheel, and a belt drive to the other side of the rear wheel! The 1909 bike pictured below on the Pioneer Run has a conventional belt drive.
The 1914 Calthorpe Junior is a capable little machine, making just enough dependable power to complete the run. At first glance, the 175cc motor looks like a two stroke, but there are poppet valves mounted horizontally on the rear of the motor. I think that there is also a two speed gear built into the motor, just visible underneath the magneto.
Another Douglas. This one looks very nice from the rider’s seat.
The following pics are not Uwe’s Peugeot, but another one that is almost the same. I think that both bikes have been converted from points and coil ignition to magnetos, and this second bike has an interesting pair of sprockets on that timing chain.
I’ll finish Part 2 with a few views of Rudge Multis. I’ve written about them in the past and their wonderful mechanism, click on the search button on the right of the screen to find more.
Sorry that I’m late with my articles. Stay tuned for Pioneer Run Part 3, and the Bud Ekins Memorial Tour, and also King City too. Plus a guest article on Wagner motorcycles, maybe a quick how-to article on Burman gearboxes and a book review of “No Room for Watermelons” and an announcement of Aldo Carrer’s new book when the publisher is ready…