Riding a Cyclone
Motorcycles were made to be ridden. Regardless of what people may want to do with them now, the makers were very clear about this 100 years ago. Ridden, enjoyed, crashed, broken, repaired, and eventually scrapped and replaced by a newer motorcycle. I’m sure that Mr. Hendee or Hedstrom, Mr. Pope or Vincent would have a chuckle about how their machines are treated in 2012. Yes, the machines have a value. Some have tremendous value. But I don’t mean their pricing in dollars and cents. I mean in their ability to carry a person down the road (quickly!) and to do it while looking very good. Some do their job better than others, but it is still a job, and they are still just machines. We have emotional attachment to motorcycles much more than we admire the other machines in our lives: our dishwashers, drill presses, cameras and garage door openers. I suppose we could put them on a pedestal, and admire them in a museum under a spot light. And maybe somewhere there is a museum of dishwashers and drill presses too. But they were made to function. And in my mind, they are only really alive when they are in motion. A stopped machine is like an un-eaten sandwich. It might look really good, but you can’t get full enjoyment until you use it like it was meant to be used. So eat your sandwich, wash your dishes, and ride your bike!
Lane has had this Cyclone since before I was born. He rides it occasionally and isn’t worried about the oil leaks or chips in the paint. Also in the photo is Lane’s son, who used to ride on the rear package rack of the family Excelsior when he was small.
The famous Cyclone motor, filled with overhead cams, bevel gears and a bunch of bearings. We looked at this in more detail in one of the articles on OHC patents. Click here to read it, or search through the Table of Contents at the top of this page.
A view of the left side of the Cyclone. Just behind the seat post is the vertical leaf spring for the rear suspension. The innovations of the bike were not limited to the motor, as a monoshock swingarm was pretty novel in the 19teens. This was not the first one, but it was still a novelty.
Stopping at the Cutthroat in Wolf Creek for a cold beverage.
A top view of the gas tank shape.
We’ve mentioned the Cyclone motorcycle a few times before. Click here to see previous articles.