Excelsior Lightweight Motorcycle

vintage motorcycle image the excelsior lightweightThe year was 1917. Motorcycles looked a lot more like bicycles with motors than today’s powerful machines. Isn’t there just something cool about this Excelsior Lightweight motorcycle advertising image? Oddly enough, there were three companies selling motorcycles at the time and using the name Excelsior.  The companies were in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.  Ironically, all three companies started out making bicycles prior to putting motors on them. I’ve seen vintage motorcycle images from two of the companies and they do look quite similar in design. Based on the address contained within the advertisement, my best guess is this is a product from the American company.

The Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Company

The Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Company was a Chicago-based company that originally made bicycle parts.  Is it any wonder they promoted this particular model to “the old time Motorcyclist or non-riding business man who fears the power and speed of the Big Twin a ride on the Excelsior Lightweight will be a revelation in comfort, convenience and enjoyment.”

It looks more like something you would use for short, quick trips. To me, it looks more like a bike built for pleasure moreso than traveling along the open road. And, there’s that little lever with the knob about mid-way across the frame. I know for sure I would have bumped and banged that thing more than a few times. Did your feet get hot if you rode the Excelsior for prolonged periods of time? But, hey, this was the coolest of the cool in 1917. Clearly, they thought it would appeal only to make drivers. Hopefully, the ladies of that era were able to purchase and ride them too.

This vintage motorcycle advertising image is in the public domain in the United States. However, it could well be in the public domain elsewhere too. I’ll leave it to you to do your own research. This super cool black and white vintage motorcycle drawing would be great used on your websites, scrapbook pages, mixed media art project or for whatever else you would like.

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