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2011 Bud Ekins Memorial Tour, Atascadero, CA part 1

May 9, 2011

Last week was the annual tour around Atascadero, Paso Robles, etc., as hosted by Steven Wright.  Pics of last year are here.  

In the parking lot, Steve Huntzinger arrives in style in his 1931 Ford roadster, pulling his 1915 Excelsior.  The roadster has a Ford Y block motor with three deuces, not the typical Chevy 350.  Split wishbones, juice brakes, lakes pipes and ‘46 Ford hubcaps are all good stuff.  Steve built the car when he was a teenager.  The X was finished last year, just in time for the Cannonball and did every mile across the USA.



At the Mission San Miguel, just north of Paso Robles.  1916 X, 1914 X and a 1915 HD.



1915 has the shifter on the right side, fuel primers to the cylinders are from a syringe in the tank cap, breather is in the timing cover, and the motor crankcases and cylinders are all one year only parts.  Foot pedals for the brake and clutch are longer and the toolbox and exhaust cutout is different from later models.




Two rear brakes.  Internal one is operated with the left hand, external band brake is operated with the right foot.  All this stuff is one year only 1915.




Front gate to the Mission.  There are striking differences between inside and outside:  Outside, everything is hot, dry and almost dead.  Inside, it is green, lush, and cool.   Probably some metaphors in that…







Who wants to buy a 1/4 scale copy of Burt Munro’s Worlds Fastest Indian?  Phil at Suspension Concepts is making 36 of them.  Here is one of the motors, complete with hardened gears, high speed bearings, etc.  They will run once he finishes the scaled down Schebler carbs and the magnetos.  The bikes will be built complete, with frames, fairings, etc. all at 1:4.  Total length is something like 30” due to the long fairing that Burt used.




Jim brought his 1930 Excelsior Henderson 4 cylinder.  Normally he has a sidecar on this one, but he had it off to make it easier to adjust the valves.  It is a very solid bike, as used by police forces way back when.  They were advertised to go “from 8 to 80mph without shifting gears”


Two cam Harley JDH.  A favorite of the bobjob and cutdown fans.  More info here.


Grey hair and grey beards are common on these old bike tours.


Greg’s 1911 Excelsior receives some attention during the lunch stop.  This was my favorite bike on the run.  I’ll post another article showing more photos of it.


Stay tuned for the next few articles, which will include the two Crockers, a Sears, a belt drive Yale and other bikes.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2011 3:44 pm

    Great pictures of Steve’s bike. The 1915 transmission casing is one year only too. Interesting to see he used the original nuts and bolts everywhere. Great bike restoration except I wonder what he knows about the latest clincher tires. He used a later type rim and tire. I’ve only heard rumors about clincher troubles. How many bikes on the Cannonball did the trip on original type tires I wonder?

    • May 10, 2011 9:14 am

      Steve has been pretty vocal about not using modern clincher tires. It is a good topic for discussion, as some guys use them with decent results (Victor Boocock) and others have had them wear out quickly or blow out on the road. On the Cannonball, maybe around 50% of the bikes used new clinchers, the others had drop center rims.

  2. May 9, 2011 3:55 pm

    I’m wondering too if he and or you magnifluxed your rods when rebuilding your engins. There is an X on Ebay right now with a blown front rod lower end and it suddenly looks like a weak link to me. Also I see Steve’s oil regulator looks sealed off. Is it still adjustable as per stock and lastly did he use oil additives going cross country?? I’m getting ready to come back to the US and fire up my 1915X with 1916 engine and it seems the questions are multiplying. Who could check my rods? Thanks, Paul

    • May 10, 2011 9:11 am

      Steve’s motor has brand new rods machined from 8620 steel. I didn’t check on his oil regulator, but I think he’s in the phone book. I don’t use any oil additives in my bikes. Oil is way way better now than what they used in the old days. Plus a constant loss motor gets a fresh shot of brand-new oil every time, it cannot be old oil that has been through 3000 miles of wear and tear.

      • May 11, 2011 9:09 am

        Interesting, but I’m still wondering if you took your crank apart and checked all for cracks. Jerry Capa and the blown engine on Ebay have me thinking that indepth analysis is wise if I intend to run the motor. I wonder what percentage of Excelsiors have had that extensive a rebuild. I have a “rebuilt” motor on my 2 speed X and that could mean anything I am realizing. Thanks again. Great pics, Paul

      • May 11, 2011 9:20 am

        Hi Paul. I didn’t split the flywheels on mine yet. I did the old test of lifting the rods to feel for any play and they both felt ok. But I’ll need to open it up and inspect the big ends at some point.

    • May 20, 2011 6:02 pm

      Hi Paul. My motor made very expensive noises today! I was testing my new mag armature going up a little hill near my home, and the bottom end broke up. It looks like I’ll be learning about X connecting rods sooner than I planned to! I guess they made it 94 years before they broke, that’s not too bad… ;(

      • May 20, 2011 7:17 pm

        OMGosh. Rod thru the case? The Henderson motor I have had a couple of holes in the side of the crankcase. The crankcase is warped too. Oops. Well, I hope you post the project on Occhio. You going to machine your own rods? Cylinders OK? Can old cracked rods be fixed??? Looks like I split my cases for sure now. How many miles did you have on the bike? Did you rev it very high? Maybe I can pay you to make me a set while you are at it. I was hoping to avoid this. Now I’ll have to mike everything and groan. Hehhehe. Cheap thrill over for now. Just think, I have 6 of these motors. I wonder of Brad Wilmarth redid his rods. I think Tavis’s bike is all original though. Rods rods rods. Hmmm. Thanks, Paul

      • May 21, 2011 9:30 am

        not through the case. I’m taking the motor out of the frame this weekend, then I’ll know more. I had probably 2000 miles on it, but the rods are 95 years old. It was making a light knocking sound on the Atascadero ride, so I babied it home. But it sounded great on my test ride, 3 blocks from home it was good, low revs and decent power, then it made very expensive noises…

      • May 22, 2011 6:53 am

        Pete, Looking at the timing cover on Huntsinger’s motor it looks like he installed another oil feed to his gears. Is that so? The original design sure doesn’t look very high tech to me. I’ve been thinking mainly of relying on modern oil additives to augment reliability and longevity. Don’t need any more setbacks! Paul

      • May 23, 2011 9:16 am

        it is the breather. He put a 1/4″ copper pipe to take the breather vent around the back of the motor and to lube the primary chain.

        Oil additives might help. But I like to remind myself that modern oils are already way way better than the oils of yesteryear.

  3. May 9, 2011 4:14 pm

    After a glance at my parts book it seems that that back plate may be a later 1915 or 1916 model. My bike doesn’t have a correct 1915 rear brake since it’s largely a “put together” project assembled from swap meet finds. I have heard that the very first back plate was subject to failure from warpage but it’s just a rumor at this point.

    • May 10, 2011 9:09 am

      Hi Paul. Be careful when you study the parts books! I’ve heard that some of them were printed many years later by the Excelsior factory, and they surely have some errors. Especially the one titled something like 1909-1915 all models. I think that was printed in the 1920s. I like to refer to the parts lists for each year if possible. And the same for the catalogs. For example, you can see in the 1916 catalog that they were still selling some of the old c1914 type bikes with the old frame and motor, etc. The good news is that very few folks now know the details, so your bike wont be called a fake. And the guys that do know all seem to be pretty ok with things as they are. 😉

  4. May 11, 2011 12:41 pm

    Nice Tshirt Pete !!
    and of course great ride…

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