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Classic Vintage Motorcycles: Excelsior-Henderson

Vintage 1915 Henderson Long-Tank

The Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Company

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In late 1917, the original Henderson Motorcycle Company was sold to Excelsior owner Ignaz Schwinn, becoming "Excelsior-Henderson." The new Excelsior-Henderson company was folded into Schwinn's Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Company in located in Chicago, Illinois.

1916 Henderson Model F & 1917 Model G

The Henderson company shortened the wheelbase starting with the "Model F" in 1916, and a kick-starter was added. By 1917 the Henderson "Model G" was upgraded with a three-speed gearbox and heavy-duty clutch.

1917 Henderson Model G
1917 Henderson Model G

In 1917, Alan Bedell rode a Henderson Model G from Los Angeles to New York City in seven days, sixteen hours, and fifteen minutes, breaking the "Cannonball Baker Run" record set in 1915.

The 1917 Henderson Model G marked the end of William and Tom Henderson's ownership of the company. Henderson was sold to Ignaz Schwinn in late 1917.

Henderson Model G Motor
Henderson Model G 1000 cc Four Cylinder IOE "Inlet Over Exhaust" Motor

The 1918 Henderson Deluxe & Schwinn

The Henderson 'DeLuxe' marked the first production year under the new ownership of Schwinn, and the DeLuxe sported a new tank logo featuring an Excelsior style "X" denoting Henderson's new parent company, Excelsior Schwinn.

1918 Henderson Deluxe Long tank
1918 Henderson 'Deluxe' Long tank

1918 Henderson Deluxe Engine
1918 Henderson Deluxe IOE "Inlet Over Exhaust" Motor

1918 Henderson Deluxe Long tank

Henderson's founder, William G. Henderson left the Excelsior-Henderson company in 1920, starting the Ace Motor Corporation which built high-performance inline four cylinder motorcycles until 1927 when they were purchased by Indian. William Henderson's departure was soon followed by Charles "Red" Wolverton who became the chief test-rider for Ace Motor Corp.

1929 Henderson Streamline Models: KJ & KL

The Henderson Streamline models KJ and KL were produced from 1929 through 1931. By the 1920s Henderson was a large supplier of police motorcycles, but by 1929 when the Great Depression hit, motorcycle sales plummeted. On March 31, 1931 Ignaz Schwinn made the announcement that the company would immediately cease opereations.

1929 Henderson Streamline Models: KJ
1929 Henderson Streamline Model KJ

1929 Henderson Streamline Model KJ
1929 Henderson KJ Motor and Ignition System

1929 Henderson Streamline Model KJ Speedo Drive Gear
1929 Henderson KJ Speedometer Drive Gear

Rebirth of Excelsior-Henderson "Super X"

During the late 1990s Dan and Dave Hanlon attempted to revive the Excelsior-Henderson marque with the introduction of the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company's "Super X."

The reincarnated Excelsior-Henderson Super X had a fuel-injected dual overhead cam, 1386 cc short-stroke V-twin motor; with 4-valves per cylinder. The Super X was priced at $17,950, and the Super X was manufactured at the Belle Plaine, Minnesota. Production of the Super X began in 1998, but in 1999 filed bankruptcy, ending a brief one year run with only 2,000 units being sold.

Excelsior-Henderson Links

Henderson Streamline Models: KJ & KL Parts Exchange

Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle

Riding The American Dream: The Official Story of Excelsior-Henderson

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Standard Catalog of American Motorcycles 1898-1981
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Riding The American Dream: The Official Story of Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles
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