August 23, 2014

1902 Steffey Antique Motorbike

Over the years I have become more fascinated with the very earliest motorcycles, or motorbikes really. This is the lastest one I am fortunate enough to acquire at a very reasonable price – a running, but unfinished 1902 Steffey motorbike.

1902 Steffey motorbike in a shipping crate

I purchased this 112 yea old motorbike from an enthusiast who specializes in them. He did a partial disassembly, crated it up and shipped it to me at the American Iron Magazine office, where I am the Editor-in-Chief.

I took off the top of the shipping carton and carefully lifed out most of the machine in one piece. The seat, front wheel and rear sand were separate and the handlebar was loose on the mounting stem.

Antique 1902 motorbike in “knocked down” condition for shipping. Sort of like a wonderful mechanical jigsaw puzzle.

Once I got it all out of the shipping carton I stabilized it on the removable rear display stand, set the handlebars, remounted the thumb bell and installed the front wheel with interesting front brake. Note the wheels and tires are much newer than the rest of the machine. This allows it to be ridden safely.

All reassembled and almost ready to ride this vintage motorbike.

I mounted the saddle, adjusted the headlight mounting and aligned all the parts and pieces for the photo above.

Other side of the 1902 Steffey motorcycle and my 1941 hot rod Chevy truck,

Basically it is a turn of the century bicycle with the Steffey 2-stroke clip on engine mounted. The fuel tank is mounted on the wodden rear fender behind the saddle.  To start it the rider pedals the bicycle pedals to gain speed, then ease on the wooden handle lever in the middle to add pressure to the belt that transfers movement from the rear wheel to the engine pulley to spin the engine over.

Close up of 1902 Steffey engine and battery box

Ignition is via a battery in the large battery tube behind the engine, fuel is via the tank over the rear fender, and the fuel is delivered by a very primitive mixer (so crude I would not call it a carburetor). And check out the wooden chain guard and flexible exhaust system!

Filed under History, Random Ideas by Buzz Kanter

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May 14, 2014

Race Prepping A 1937 Indian Sport Scout Motorcycle Racer

Last year I was fortunate to buy a great little classic motorcycle racer from an old friend. Butch Baer, who I have know for a couple of decades, offered his 1937 Indian Sport Scout racer without reserve at an auction I was at.

The racing Indian Sport Scout before the motorcycle auction

The racing Indian Sport Scout before the motorcycle auction


This is the same bike Butch raced against me in the fabled “Streets of Laconia” races in – yep, you guessed it – the streets of Laconia, NH. I was on a Doc Batsleer Sport Scout and Butch I diced our way around the track until he went off course and made the dent that is still on the bike. I wrote about it in the More on Race Prepping A 1937 Indian Sport Scout Motorcycle Racer

Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog, Classic Indian Motorcycle History, Competition Motorcycles, Events, History, Random Ideas by Buzz Kanter

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March 26, 2014

Racing in the Capitol City


Like most early motorcycle and auto racing tracks, the racetrack at Benning, Maryland started out as a horse track.  Opening on April 1, 1890, the track faced stiff competition from neighboring tracks in Anacostia, Brightwood and Ivy City, but within a few years it became popular with “Washington society” and it’s attendance increased tremendously.  It was also rumored that there were “shady” betting practices occurring at the track which seems unusual for a venue that was frequented by congressmen and other public servants…  Ultimately, horse racing was banned in the District of Columbia in 1908 leaving Benning open for motorsports. More on Racing in the Capitol City

Filed under Classic Harley History, Classic Indian Motorcycle History, Competition Motorcycles, History, Panhead Jim's Blog by PanheadJim

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