The Ninth Annual Motorcycle, Bicycle and Accessories Show | Seeing the Show Through Technical Eyes

From the February 1923 issue of Motorcyclist magazine

Each successive motorcycle show demonstrates that the comfort and safety of the rider are given increased attention, and the Ninth Annual Motorcycle, Bicycle and Accessories Show is no exception to the rule. The day of novelty for the sake of novelty has definitely passed, but the veteran rider and his less experienced brother will find plenty to interest him in the motorcycle, sidecar and accessory line.

Following is a review of the exhibits:

The Ace Corporation, of Philadelphia, is a marked advocate of the comfort and safety features. The handlebars on the Sporting Solo model Ace are noticeably rigid and of a width and position that needs only a trial to demonstrate the full control the rider has of his steering at all times. The bucket saddle is most comfortable and is well sprung. The fins or flanges on the valve cages of the motor give an increased total radiating surface of 30 per cent and the gas passages have been refined to give an easier flow of induction and exhaust gases. The Butler piston, of special copper, aluminum and nickel alloy is used, permitting of high speeds in connection with careful and individual balancing of each motor. That the Ace rider is assured of a seasoned product is warranted by the preliminary block test to which each power plant is subjected. The motors are jacked in for ten hours, then given three hours on the firing stand, and a final dynamometer test before being put on the road for the final road and adjustment run. The ease with which the Ace is dismounted completely and again assembled is demonstrated twice daily at the exhibit.

The Cleveland Motorcycle Mfg. Co., of Cleveland, Ohio, is showing the Cleveland two-stroke and the Reading Standard big twin. From the rider’s viewpoint, the handlebars on the Cleveland are noticeable for their rigidity and comfortable position, the cross-brace contributing to these desirable qualities. The handlebars are finished in black enamel, another item which tends to keep the machine in neat appearance. The old and tried Reading Standard shows no structural changes, but the inclusion of an ammeter as standard equipment now enables the rider to watch the condition of his electrical equipment to better effect. The weather-proof switch on the battery casing, while not new, is very desirable from the rider’s viewpoint.

The Evans Power Cycle shows no structural changes, unless a neat red rim to each wheel can be so considered. Chief Engineer Joe Merkel was kept busy answering questions about these rims, as well as about this American representative of the widely-popular and growing lightweight mount which is widespread in Europe. The product of the Cycle motor Corporation of Rochester, N.Y., is a pioneer in the use of a combined ignition and lighting magneto as well as one of the staunchest advocates of the two stroke motor.

The Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Co. booth provides plenty to concentrate attention. On the four-cylinder Henderson models the crankcase has been redesigned to permit of increased speeds; it has been “stream-lined” and its cooling capacity has been increased. It is not generally known that the maintaining of the correct temperature of the crankcase has much to do with the efficient running of an air-cooled motorcycle motor and the Henderson engineers have seen to this thoroughly. Aluminum pistons of special alloy, die cast, are fitted. New flanges and pockets are provided on the cylinders. The clutch has been redesigned. The guide surfaces have been increased. Spiral bevels are used, giving quieter operation. There is a neat compensating device for eliminating backlash of the gears. Special alloy steel valves, permitting the use of any fuel, are fitted and all spring composition has been improved. The sidecar for Henderson and Excelsior has the wheel placed further forward and the body has been redesigned to fit the passenger to the end that greater comfort is secured. The new lines of the body are altered to increase the streamline effect. Luggage space has been increased. The top equipment is ingenious and gives great protection, combined with ease in erecting and folding away. The apron and wind- shield are detachable and can be stored in the body without damage to the shield. The top bows fold back out of the way and stay in position without rattle. A special tire carrier of simple design and positive holding of the casing is fitted.

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company, of Milwaukee, Wis., in contrast with its complete line of 1923 models, shows a 1913 Harley-Davidson twin as sold ten seasons ago. Comparing the present non-electrically equipped model with that of 1913 demonstrates the great advances in engineering and design in the decade just passed, and also that while present prices are not higher, the value to the rider has been increased for the same outlay. Not only is this obvious to the eye, but a study of the standard construction of 1923 will show this even more noticeably. Take the brake, for example. The lining for the 1923 model is much wider and thicker; more of the lining surface is in action (all as compared with about 60 per cent in 1913); the pedal control is more sturdy and easier to operate. The present valves are of Silchrome steel as compared with the plain steel valves of 1913. The increase in comfort through the use of the auxiliary buffer springs, the air-cushion saddle and the firm’s spring seat post is likewise obvious, for on the 1913 model (which was, as veteran riders know well, by no means uncomfortable) the spring seat device and Sager type front fork only were fitted.

The Hendee Mfg. Co. display of Indian motorcycles, in their characteristic red, have been so well designed and constructed as to warrant only minor refinements from season to season. The product of the Hendee Company is aptly called the chief advocate of twin-cylinder unit power-plant construction and three-point suspension, its two Chief and its Scout models all having this form of power-plant suspension. A small but by no means minor point on these machines is the articulation of the lifter plate, permitting comfortable and positive location for the finger when operating the valve lifter plunger. To demonstrate the balance and handiness of Indian models an ingenious arrangement of spring and rollers is fitted to several mounts. A coach spring is carried at its center by a sturdy link attaching to the front sidecar lower lug and at each end of the spring two rollers are fitted. The prospective rider can mount the machine and determine for himself, right on the floor of the agency or showroom, just how she will handle on taking a curve, etc.

The practical man is vitally interested in light delivery as well as in the more pleasurable features of motorcycling and a neat sidevan outfit to attach to the Indian Scout shows the recognition by the big Massachusetts factory of this important feature of the delivery problem. This van, known as the Indian Service Car, is well sprung and has a capacity of 4 cubic feet or 350 pounds of cargo. Hitched to the Scout with full load, the outfit has repeatedly covered 50 miles to the gallon of gasoline, with oil consumption in proportion.

The Neracar, Syracuse, N.Y.-Careful design and hard road service for nearly two seasons have given rise to minor changes only in Neracar construction, and these emphasize more safety and satisfaction to the rider. The draglink is fitted at both ends with ball-and-socket joints. The steering post is now made adjustable for different users. An Eisemann flywheel generator is now Standard equipment, this being used for lighting as well as ignition. The brake mounting is heavier. The piston pin is mounted in bosses with the small end bearing floating on the pin. The Neracar is the product of the Ner-A-Car Corporation of Syracuse, N.Y.

The Schickel. -Schickel was the first American motorcycle to adopt exclusively the two-stroke motor, and the Schickel Motor Co., of Stamford, Conn., shows an excellent design of this form of power-plant. This motorcycle is the only representative of the planetary gear on the American market, and its two-speed with pedal control is most ingenious and thoroughly practical. Pioneer difficulties with two-stroke carburetion led Norbert Schickel to develop his own carburetor and this has proved so satisfactory that today the same carburetor is used on all the firm’s output.

American Easting.- For the comfort of the sidecar passenger, the American Easting Company, of New York, is showing an easily adjustable screen. The arm mounting of this allows of any position of the screen and apron, the sockets being fitted with wing nuts for ready adjustment. The passenger can have the screen as near to or as far from his body as he desires and with a minimum of effort and time.

The Electric Storage Battery Co, of Philadelphia, shows the full line of Exide batteries and components for motorcycle service. The Exide product is a veteran in ignition and lighting service in all automotive lines and has demonstrated season after season, as well as in the World War, that it will stand excessive abuse and neglect and still give service.

Ace had one of the best exhibils, with the new Sporting Solo as the big magnet
Wells Bennett’s transcontinental Henderson was the headline attraction at the Schwinn exhibit