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Excelsior Classic Motorcycles

Excelsior Classic Motorcycles

The origins of Excelsior lay with the Bayliss Thomas partnership who originally made bicycles and then fitted Minerva engines to them at the very dawn of the motorcycle industry in this country in about 1896. By WWI, although showing interest in sporting events, they proceeded to manufacture ever larger single cylinder machines, one model being an incredible (at the time) 5.6hp.

Excelsior was also noteworthy for their early involvement in motorcycle racing, which started around 1900. In 1910 the company was renamed, The Excelsior Motor Company Co Ltd.. In 1940 Excelsior changed to war related work, manufacturing the 'Wellbike', which was a collapsible small motorcycle used by Allied Paratroopers.
Civilian motorcycle manufacturere re-commenced in 1946.

Bike Image Description
1910 Excelsior USA Single, 499cc 1910 Excelsior USA Single, 499cc  
1914 Excelsior twin boardtrack racer Excelsior twin boardtrack racer  
1917 Excelsior Combination, 1000cc 1917 Excelsior Combination, 1000cc  
1918 Excelsior USA Twin, 974cc 1918 Excelsior USA Twin, 974cc This machine is an example of the 974 cc twin, with bore and stroke dimensions of 84x88 mm. It has a three speed gearbox and a foot operated clutch. The seat post is sprung for extra comfort. Ignition is the best there was at the time: Bosch.
1920 Excelsior Series 20, 974cc 1920 Excelsior Series 20, 974cc  
Excelsior 680 Manxman 350cc 1922 Excelsior 680 Manxman 350cc  
1922 Excelsior GB V, 770cc 1922 Excelsior GB V, 770cc  
1923 Excelsior JAP 300 1923 Excelsior Albion 3-speed gearbox. It has a rare JAP engine. Belt Driven.
1926 Excelsior GB JAP OHVV, 350cc 1926 Excelsior GB JAP OHVV, 350cc  
1929 Excelsior Henderson Super X 1929 Excelsior Henderson Super X  
1930 Excelsior Hill Climber 1930 Excelsior Hill Climber  
1930 Excelsior Sport Excelsior Sport 350cc OHV, two Port.
1931 Excelsior Midget Excelsior Midget 98cc.
1933 Excelsior Empire Excelsior Empire 148cc. Twin Port model BE1.

She was registered in the port of Milford Haven on 12th January 1933 and was used as transport around the port every day by the same person.  When the Second World War came she was saved from being melted for scrap to make war machinery (like happened to so many other bikes and cars at the time) as the bike and owner were classed as essential war workers because by then, the usual fishing fleet in Milford Haven had been replaced by Royal Navy warships and also Sunderland flying boats.  The bike was used throughout this time, escaping the Luftwaffe bombing of the port with just the loss of a headlamp (still never been replaced) and the girder forks which were replaced with the correct items. She continued in service up until the 1970s by which time the exposure to salt (and bombing) had taken its toll. She was repainted a dark red by hand - probably to hide the rust)

1933 Excelsior Empire BE1 1933 Excelsior Empire BE1 148cc Twin Port 2 Stroke.
1935 Excelsior Manxman 350cc 1935 Excelsior Manxman 350cc Although, it propelled Sid Gleave to victory in the 1933 Isle of Man Junior TT race at an average speed of 72.62mph, the 'Mechanical Marvel' was just too complex for Excelsior to consider series production. In addition to the tooling cost implications of its twin carburettor, dual camshaft and pushrod operated four-valve radial cylinder head specification, the 'Marvel' also promised to be a warranty nightmare. Nevertheless, determined not to lose the publicity benefits of its hard-won competition success, Excelsior asked Blackburne's Ike Hatch to come up with a simpler, more reliable powerplant. Utilising a conventional bevel-driven overhead camshaft, the resultant single-cylinder engine was both simple and effective. Displacing 248cc courtesy of its bore (63mm) and stroke (79mm), it developed a reputed 16bhp @ 5,000rpm. Mounted in a rigid frame and mated to a four-speed foot change gearbox, the whole ensemble was christened the Manxman. Debuting at the 1934 Olympia Motorcycle Show, the new model proved a palpable hit. Proving that its name was no idle boast, a four-valve racing version took second place in the 1936, 1937 and 1938 Lightweight TTs.
1936 Excelsior Pioneer Excelsior Pioneer  
1939 Excelsior Autobyk de Luxe Excelsior Autobyk de Luxe

Villiers 98ccJunior engine.

Bayliss, Thomas & Co. were established in 1874 and were well-known makers of bicycles and tricycles at the Excelsior Works in Lower Ford Street, Coventry. Excelsior was only one of several trademarks used by the company but, by the time the Autobyk was launched, the name of the company had become "The Excelsior Motor Co. Ltd. (Proprietors of Bayliss, Thomas & Co.)" and the factory was at Kings Road, Tyseley, Birmingham 11.

1939 Excelsior Universal
Excelsior Universal

Excelsior introduced the Universal model in 1937. Designed to offer basic transport, the little machine initially used a 122cc Villiers engine housed in an open frame with blade girder forks. The model continued in this form until 1939 when it was joined by a 98cc version.

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1946 Excelsior 125cc 1946 Excelsior 125cc This Excelsior was originaly registered in 1946. This model was very popular although few have survived. It has a 125cc Villiers engine.
1947 Excelsior Autobyk 1948 Excesior Auto-Byk, Villiers 98cc Junior Deluxe  
1948 Excesior Auto-Byk, 98cc Junior Deluxe 1948 Excesior Auto-Byk, Villiers 98cc Junior Deluxe  
1950 Excelsior Talisman 1950 Excelsior Tallisman 244cc.
1951 Excelsior Tallisman Excelsior Tallisman 250cc twin. This is a rare plunger model.
1953 Excelsior Talisman 1953 Excelsior Tallisman  
1957 Excelsior 98cc Excelsior 98cc 1954  
Excelsior 125 Universal Excelsior 125 Universal  
1934 Excelsior 246cc Road Racer 1934 Excelsior 246cc Road Racer  
Excelsior Manxman - 1935 Excelsior Manxman
  • Engine - 249cc, single-cylinder overhead-cam four-stroke
  • Launched - 1934-1939
  • Gearbox - three-speed close-ratio
  • Cylinder Head - two-valve aluminium-bronze
  • Compression Ratio - 6.5:1
  • Weight - 280lb
1936 Excelsior GB Manxman, 250cc 1936 Excelsior GB Manxman, 250cc  
Excelsior Welbike Excelsior Welbike
  • Engine - 98cc, two stroke, petrol lubricated
  • Suspension - none
  • Launched - 1939
  • Gearbox - single speed
  • Wheels - 10 in, 20 psi front, 35 psi rear
  • Fuel Consumption - 45mpg

More Excelsior Welbike information.

1949 Excelsior Universal 1949 Excelsior Universal
  • Engine - 10D villiers 122cc engine
  • Gearbox - three speed gearbox with direct lighting
  • 1951 Excelsior 'Roadmaster', 197cc 1951 Excelsior 'Roadmaster', 197cc  
    1951 Excelsior Talisman Excelsior Talisman 250cc Talisman Twin TT1 Model.
    1954 Excelsior Consort 4F Excelsior Consort 4F  
    1955 Excelsior Autocycle 1955 Excelsior Autocycle

    With Excelsior 98ccSpryt Engine (same as the Brockhouse Corgi).

    By 1955, when this Excelsior was manufactured, the writing was already on the wall for autocycles. Those new-fangled ‘mo-peds’ had just hit the showrooms, and old-fashioned cyclemotors and autocycles were no longer wanted by a public that had been waiting so patiently since the end of the war to buy new vehicles with modern designs. Excelsior ceased production of its renowned autocycle the following year, so this is one of the last of its breed. As you can see below, it sports Excelsior’s own engine, the Spryt, which was also fitted to the Brockhouse Corgi motorcycle.

    1957 Excelsior Skutabyke 98cc
    Excelsior Skutabyke 98cc 1957 An Excelsior Skutabyke. Finished in green with some of the finish appearing to be original and other elements seemingly hand painted. The machine retains all of its original tin-ware together with the characteristic footboards, dual seat, and full lighting kit.
    1958 Excelsior 150 Courier 1958 Excelsior 150 Courier  
    1959 Excelsior Skutabyke, 98cc Excelsior Skutabyke Image provided by Rex Judd Motorcycles.
    1959 Excelsior Consort 1959 Excelsior Consort Image provided by Rex Judd Motorcycles.
    1959 Excelsior 1959 Excelsior 150cc.
    1959 Excelsior Consort
    Excelsior Consort

    In keeping with its simple design philosophy, the Consort did not adopt telescopic forks until 1960. This Excelsior lightweight is finished in green with some of the paintwork appearing to be original (notably the fuel tank) and some hand finished but servicable. A circular toolbox is fitted and the machine appears to be complete except for a missing speedometer drive.

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    1960 Excelsior Consort
    1960 Excelsior Consort An example of the basic, lightweight Excelsior, hand painted in red and cream and in complete condition with a toolbox mounted on the right-hand side and fitted with a rear carrier.
    Excelsior Consort 98cc 1959
    Excelsior Consort 98cc 1959  
    1962 Excelsior Consort 1962 Excelsior Consort 98cc.
    1963 Excelsior U14 1963 Excelsior U14 150cc.

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