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Excelsior frozen in time

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  • Excelsior frozen in time

    Thanks for all replies and information.
    Status is that I have still not got the bike to my place. Will update with more picture when the bike is here.

    Best regards


    Seeking information about the bike at the attached photo. Owner have been storing the bike since the mid 60ˋs. Never started it. Has no idea about when previous owner had it running. If it was in the 20ˋs, 30ˋs, 40ˋs or 50ˋs. Probably unrestored. Supposed to be a 1919 model. I will try to make it run again this winter. Bike is not for sale, and I will work on it just because owner is an old friend, and that it is a fun project. Motor is stuck, but turned ok just a few years ago.
    i have no experience with Excelsior. Have been working only with Harley J before.
    The job I will do is just an easy one. Of course it is absolutely not going to be any repainting, or destroying of the originality. It shall look exactly as it does now. No new paint will touch any part of the bike. If motor has to be overhauled, it will not be me doing it. Will fill some kerosene in the cylinders, and with some time, patience and gentle approach with a wrench span at crank nut, I hope it will turn. And also hopes it will turn nice and free with no lugging where pistons have been stuck. If it comes loose, and seems fine, crank case will be flushed several times before adding new oil. Also many other things will be checked and tested before a possible teststart. Like valves movement etc….
    Still not have the bike here, so thought I could order tyres in front of getting hands on the bike, but could not even find/google information about tyre size….found that the board track racers had 2.5*28, but found no information about this original bike, that is safe enough for making me push the order button….so anyone?
    Hope some of you will share some information about what you see from the picture, is it original? Tyre size, the missing linkage parts, where to get them…any advice for the coming process?
    Best regards
    Steinar, Norway
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    This gallery has 1 photos.
    Last edited by Stein.S; 01-20-2023, 02:23 AM.

  • #2
    Beautiful Bike!
    AMCA Library contains: "Instructions for the Care and Operation of the Excelsior Series 21 - Model 1921" among others might b a place to start.


    • #3
      Hi. Thank you. Found some at the library that will be very useful.


      • #4
        Glad you found something useful. More pictures Pease!


        • #6
          I have some pictures of a very nice 1919 Ex from Germany. Don't know the owner.


          Eric Smith
          AMCA #886


          • #7
            A few more:

            Eric Smith
            AMCA #886


            • #8
              And some more:

              Eric Smith
              AMCA #886


              • #9
                This picture is of Gene Harper's 1919, full electric Excelsior. The picture was taken before it was completed but still shows what a beauty it is. No doubt, Gene will join this thread and you would be hard pressed to find anyone as knowledgeable about the 1919 Ex.

                Eric Smith
                AMCA #886


                • #10
                  Thank you very much for the photos. They show a lot of details that are valuable for me when trying to find out about the missing parts, how they look, and how they are mounted.


                  • #11
                    Nice bike ... it appears to be a Series 19. Excelsior Series 19 was introduced late in 1917 and continued to around 1920. The separate oil tank is a a feature of Series 19 machines. The tool box was mounted on the rear luggage carrier.

                    Bob Turek


                    • #12
                      Thank you for information. Owner think it is a 1919 model, so it might be then, that he is right.


                      • #13
                        Definitely a Series 19, non electric model with the reinforced Military fork, a nice feature! Looks to be quite complete and that is a big plus!! X parts have virtually dried up.

                        Tire size is 28 x 3 Clincher. This is a common size and not difficult to find. I used the EXCELSIOR brand tire from Coker. These have a very tough sidewall and are tough to get on and off. I ran them for decades on my 24 Chief and sidecar with no trouble.

                        The X linkage system is a bit complicated and takes a lot of time to get right, but when it's right, it's wonderful! Here is a write I did a while back explaining how all that works:

                        1915-24 Excelsior Brake and Clutch linkage operation.
                        The external brake is activated by the right foot pedal, through the cross over shaft, lever, short rod, pivot lever (dog leg on the rear lower frame bolt) and a second short rod. All adjustment is made at the rear of the second rod by screwing the turnbuckle on the shaft as needed.
                        The clutch is activated by the left foot pedal via a rod which is connected to the front upper lug on the clutch actuating arm. The lower holes in the actuator arm have a floating pin, or barrel with a hole in the pin. Threaded rods with adjustable stop and jam nuts are on the end of the rods. For 15-19 Excelsior models, the front barrel faces outward and has a ” hole for the hand clutch control linkage to slide in. The rear barrel faces inward and has a 5/16” hole for the internal brake rod to slide in. For 20-24 Excelsior models with the Splitdorf generator, these barrels are reversed, ” hole in, 5/16” hole outward. This is so the hand linkage can clear the generator belt guard.
                        When adjusted correctly, the clutch and internal brake actuates as follows:
                        1. Pushing the clutch pedal down about way will disengage the shifter lock on top of the transmission and disengage the clutch, allowing shifting of the gears. As the clutch arm moves, both of the bottom rods slide in the barrels. At this point, the left hand control can be rotated outward which will slide the ” rod through the barrel up to the adjusting nut and hold the clutch pedal and actuating arm in place, clutch disengaged. Now the operator can put the left foot on the ground while the machine is in gear with the engine running and clutch disengaged. At this point, the internal brake rod adjusting nut should be up against the barrel but not engaging the brake yet.
                        2. Again, if adjusted correctly, the left hand control can be used to disengage and engage or feather the clutch, allowing the operator to have both feet on the ground. Or, the operator can use their foot on the pedal, twist the hand control inwards to remove hand control of the clutch and then use the foot pedal to engage the clutch.
                        3. If the clutch pedal is pushed down all the way with the foot, the clutch will still be disengaged, as will the shifter lock. Now the internal brake will be actuated by the sliding rod, against the stop nut.
                        4. Note that the hand clutch control can only be used to actuate the clutch and shifter lock out but not the internal brake, the clutch pedal must be pushed down the rest of the way to actuate the internal brake.
                        5. When at rest, the stop and jam nuts on the ” hand control rod rest up against the back side of the barrel. This is the stop for the clutch actuating arm, holding it in place with no pressure on the throw out bearings. Otherwise, the arm will want to rotate counterclockwise and loosen the bearings too much, allowing the arm to wobble and flop all over!
                        This is an ingenious system of linkages and can be challenging to get set up right. However, take your time and get it right, because when correct, it is a joy to operate the clutch with the left hand!

                        Note also that the magneto timing should be activated by a small lever on the left side of the tank. This lever and rod is missing on your project and the hand clutch mechanism has been disabled and tied to the magneto for left hand control.

                        Try contacting my friend Leon in Holland. He has a few X's and may have parts or leads:

                        Good luck, looks like a great project. I would be reluctant to take the engine out unless it's seized or shows signs of bad damage of some kind.


                        • #14
                          Thank you. This was a great explanation of how things both works and should be. Will be very useful for me when trying to get the bike up running again. Owner of the bike still have not delivered it to me, but now I can at least order the tyres up front.


                          • #15
                            And, that it has a reinforced military fork, does that indicate it was delivered originally for military purposes, or did they just send out that edition to Europe for sale as an ordinary bike in an ordinary store?