[ 1910 FN ]
The Begian Arms company 'FN' was the first to make 4 cylinder motorcycles in 1905. This is a 500cc engine, as big as that in the Gilera, but doesn't look big because of the small cooling fins on the engine. These and other inline 4's would usually be limited by the back cylinder getting hot. This bike has no clutch. When you stop, you must stop the engine and then peddle to get started again.
[ 1920 ABS Sopwith ]
Designed by the All British (Engine) Company (ABC) it was built by Sopwith Engineering, the same people who made the Sopwith Camel WWI airplane. This bike was very innovative and is generally considered as the engine that BMW copied in 1925 (BMW also made airplanes in WWI). This bike has front and rear suspension, overhead valves, a 4-speed transmission and an electric generator. These engines have a reputation that if you ever rev them too much, the pushrods fall out.
[ AJS & 1918 Thor ]
The Thor was made by the Aurora Machine & Tool Company in Chicago, Illinois. They made the first engines for Indian in 1902 and then started their own line in 1903. The 1200cc motor in this bike was only made until 1915 but Thor assembled bikes up to 1918. Several thousand were built. Aurora also made home appliances and at one time sold a combination clothes washer/dishwasher, which probably speeded up their eventual demise.
[ 1927 Henderson Four]
The Henderson Brothers were the fathers of the 4 cylinder motorcycles in America. The company was bought by Schwinn (the bicycle people) and the Hendersons went on to make the ACE, which was bought by Indian.
[ 1928 Neander ]
This bike was a Swiss engine called a M.A.G. Neander quit making bikes in 1929. Originally, these bikes are cadmium plated, including fender and tank. This bike was restored in Germany where cadmium plating is not allowed, so was painted with dull aluminum paint.
[ 1936 Nimbus w/ Sidecar]
Real Danish motorcycle with sidecar from Denmark. Notice the interesting contrast of technology. A four cylinder overhead camshaft engine with a foot shift and shaft drive, contrasted with a frame made from flat strips of steel.
[ 1946 Indian Chief ]
The Chief was first made in 1922 and production stopped in 1953, when Indian quit making its own motorcycles and started selling British bikes with the Indian label. Oddly enough, one of the DuPont family took control of the company in 1930, making the full range of DuPont paint colors available on Indians in 1931.
[ 1947 Triumph Speed Twin]
[1949 Vincent Black Lightning Supercharged]
Gosh....its so beautyfull....!!This is one of only 30 Black Lightnings ever made and was the first one in the USA. This bike held the 1-mile world speed record (unsupercharged) in 1953 and then held the American record of 182 mph supercharged. This is probably the meanest pre-1950 bike you will ever see.
[1953 Mondial 175cc Double Overhead Cam Racer ]
FB Mondial was formed by 4 brothers (Fratelli Bosselli) who started making motorcycles seriously after WWII. They were the folks who showed that a double overhead cam 125cc racer could beat teh 2-cyclinder engines. Their factory racers won the world championship in 1949, 1950, and 1951. This 175cc racer is a larger version of the 125 and was used for racing in the Italian series. MV Agusta basically copied Mondial and went on to take over the world championship.
[ 500cc Moto Guzzi Milan-Taranto Falcone ]
Named it after the Milan to Taranto race. Guzzi was very successful in racing with their horizontal single-cylinder engines. Circa 1956.
[ 1956 Ariel Square Four ]
This is as usual with Italian bikes, it looks great. Notice the very high cam shaft driving the short push rods.
[ 1960 500cc Jawa Factory Racer ]
This Czechoslovakian dual overhead cam twin was used by the very successful Jawa factory race team. They got 2nd and 3rd in the 1961 350cc world championship, losing out only to an MV Agusta 4 cylinder, and got 4th place in the 1966 500cc world championship. Pretty good considering they were behind the iron curtain.
[ 1956 Ariel Square Four ]
England four cylinder motorcycle, the engine has 2 crankshafts rotating in opposite directions. The square four overhead cam engine was made in the mid-30's but this overhead valve model was made from yr's 53 to yr's 59. The manufacturers described it as "Whispering Wildfire". Development was stopped after the BSA group took over Ariel.