Cartoon Thunder’s Department of Gone, But Not Quite Forgotten would like to remind you that the 20th century (.?) had many American motorcycle manufacturers besides Harley-Davidson. The fact that Harley survived tells us something about both the product and the business, not to mention the support shown by Harley customers (“enthusiasts”, bikers, etc).

But what about some of the runners up?

One of the major competitors for Harley and Indian, the only motorcycle companies to survive the Depression, was the Excelsior Supply Company (1909-1931) based in Chicago Illinois. Excelsior started out with a 500cc single running a belt drive. Eventually, Excelsior developed their own v-twin line as well as a number of four-cylinder models. They contributed bike manufacturing to the World War I efforts, and had some machines that did well on the race circuit. Like other bikes of the time, pipes were often short and straight.

It is notable that in 1911, Excelsior was acquired by Inaz Schwinn, who later added the Henderson line of motorcycles to his manufacturing base.