National Motorcycle Museum

National Motorcycle Museum The National Motorcycle Museum (located in Anamosa, Iowa) was founded in 1989 to preserve, document, and educate the public on the rich history of motorcycling - from the evolution of motorcycles to key personalities http://www.nationalmcmuseum.org/
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05/10/2019

Save the date! June 29th 2019 Vintage Rally!

It's Rat Fink Friday! Plan a weekend visit to see our entire collection!
05/10/2019

It's Rat Fink Friday! Plan a weekend visit to see our entire collection!

TBT! Let's give it a spin!
05/09/2019

TBT! Let's give it a spin!

05/08/2019

1946 Harley-Davidson "Knucklehead" Drag Bike
Tuners of dirt trackers, road racers and especially motocross bikes work hard to reduce the bike’s weight. Loosing weight is like adding horsepower and improves handling. Pear Shape Pearson went to extremes with his 1947 Harley Davidson “Knucklehead” drag bike. Imagine him is his Kansas City garage back in the 1950’s drilling fins on the engine, perforating the frame, fender, handlebar, even major parts of the forks! But his fuel drag bike set a record in 1955: 126.76 MPH in the quarter mile. There’s a great grouping of trophies to prove the bike’s performance, event photos and an AMA sanction agreement for the April 22, 1956 day at the track. Interestingly, Pearson’s club was named the Chainstretchers Motorcycle Club!

First produced for the 1936 model year, Harley’s original OHV V-Twin was a hit in performance, put them well ahead of Indian technically. 1936 machines had some mechanical issues and experts will point to running changes, three specific “versions” made that year. But by 1947, the last year for it, the machine later nicknamed the Knucklehead was well worked out. In the 1948 model change the valve train became enclosed and this was the last year for the springer fork except for special order sidecar machines.

When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum you can take in a range of drag bikes built around Kawasaki, Vincent, Yamaha, Honda, Triumph and certainly Harley-Davidson engines, even a double Panhead machine.

This bike was part of the Quarter Milestones exhibit at the National Motorcycle Museum in 2012. It is considered interesting enough that the Harley-Davidson Museum borrowed it for their drag racing show a few years ago, and Iron Works magazine ran a feature on it. Pearshape’s Knuck is graciously on loan from the John & Jill Parham Collection.

Specifications:
Engine: OHV V-Twin
Displacement: 74 Cubic Inches
Induction: Twin Carburetors
Controls: Hand Clutch Conversion, Rear Sets
Primary: Chain, Open
Clutch: Dry, Multi-plate
Chassis: Harley, Rigid
Fork: Springer
Brakes: Drum, Rear
Wheels/Tires: 2.75 x 19 / 5.00 x 16 Avon Slick

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone.
05/07/2019

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone.

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!
05/06/2019

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!

Rat Fink Friday!! I spotted this one while setting up at Torque Fest in Debuque Iowa yesterday. If you come to Torque Fe...
05/03/2019

Rat Fink Friday!! I spotted this one while setting up at Torque Fest in Debuque Iowa yesterday. If you come to Torque Fest stop by our booth and visit.

TBT!  Racing to the weekend!!
05/02/2019

TBT! Racing to the weekend!!

05/01/2019

1867 Roper Steam Cycle Replica
1867 INNOVATION: In 1867 Sylvester Roper used a purpose-built wood and iron frame, two 34” iron clad wood wheels, a steam engine for motive power and created the first motor cycle*.

Long before internal combustion engines were perfected, steam engines were the motive power source of choice. So when inventors sought to ease the effort involved in moving people or goods down the road they applied steam power to wagons, buggies and bicycles, and, using terminology loosely, created trucks, automobiles and motorcycles.

The son of a craftsman, Sylvester Roper worked in eastern Massachusetts and from his youth designed a wide range of machines. He is regarded as the first American* to invent the motorcycle; a hickory framed, iron clad steel wheel machine with a two-cylinder steam engine and boiler he rode successfully in 1869, just four years after America’s Civil War.

Since the Smithsonian owns Roper’s original steam cycle, what you are looking at here is a recently built replica created by William Eggers that gets the point across as to the general layout of Roper’s machine. The firebox was likely stoked with coal creating steam in the boiler above. The seat serves as a water reservoir. Steam to the cylinders is controlled by something like a twist-grip** with the entire handlebar’s rotation controlling steam flow. When turned in the opposite direction, the front wheel’s spoon brake is applied. Roper’s frame is roughly that of velocipedes of the time, yet is mimicked by the “perimeter frame” which BMW used in the 1930’s and reappeared in Superbikes in the 1980’s.

Unlike a gasoline engine’s operation, a charge of steam is very immediate and powerful. As the steam reached the cylinders, the pistons in the cylinders began their stroke. Tied to small cranks via connecting rods, you can see how the force rotates the rear wheel. The action is much like that used for steam locomotives.

Around 1896, after he saw Roper’s 1884 era machine, Colonel Albert Pope commissioned Roper to make a pacer cycle for bicycle velodrome racing. Pope supplied a large Columbia bicycle frame to Roper who installed the boiler, a single steam cylinder and other necessary equipment to drive the rear wheel. Period accounts offer that Roper’s 1884 machine may have made an impressive 8 horsepower, had a range of seven miles and may have traveled in excess of 40 miles per hour, very rapid for the period.

Riding the Columbia-based machine in a demonstration on the Charles River (Massachusetts) velodrome track he was timed at about 40mph. Rolling to a stop, Roper and steam cycle toppled to the ground. He had died of heart failure at age 72.

Roper innovated the first motorcycle over 150 years ago; we can credit him with the passion, ambition and inventiveness to bring us the machine we enjoy so much.

This replica of Roper’s first steam motorcycle is part of the Early American Transportation INNOVATION exhibition recently opened at the Museum. It is nearby bicycles similar what it’s derived from and is also near more sophisticated motorcycles from the first 20 years of the 20th Century. The STECO Aerohydroplane and Cycle Car are also part of the show.

Specifications:

Engine: Steam, Reciprocating
Type: Twin Cylinder
Bore: 2.25 Inches
Frame: Backbone, Iron and Wood
Suspension: Rigid, Padded Seat
Wheels: 34” Iron Clad Wood
Brakes: Spoon Type, Front Wheel
Wheelbase: 49 Inches
*In France Louis-Guillaume Perreaux experimented with a small steam engine in a bicycle frame, contributing to the invention of the first motorcycle. Perreaux patented this design under number 83,691 on 16 March 1869 and the argument continues as to who was first, but Louis-Guillaume Perreaux’s machine achieved less than 10 MPH. Gottlieb Daimler used a gasoline engine of Otto design and is credited with the internal combustion engine powered motorcycle, about 1885.

**Glenn Curtiss, aviation pioneer is credited with the twist-grip throttle, but that he applied to internal combustion engines on his early motorcycles.

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone
04/30/2019

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!  "You can trust you...
04/29/2019

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection! "You can trust your car to the man with the tin star. The big red Texaco star." Sorry I couldn't help myself. There is something for everyone.

If you have not been to Vintage Torque Fest....you are missing out!  It's a vintage lifestyle celebration with 20 entert...
04/28/2019

If you have not been to Vintage Torque Fest....you are missing out! It's a vintage lifestyle celebration with 20 entertainment acts on 3 stages, over 100 vendors, art show/auction, & LOTS of vintage hot rods and cycles. Make a trip to Anamosa for the Museum and Dubuque for Torque Fest. You will thank us later! Vintage Torque Fest is a rain or shine event-Friday and Saturday May 3-4 at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds. Entry is $15 on Friday, $20 on Saturday. Gate proceeds help children with congenital heart defects.

It's Rat Fink Friday!!  This is the "Asphalt Angel" made By Ed "Big Daddy" Roth in 1986 on display here at the Museum. C...
04/26/2019

It's Rat Fink Friday!! This is the "Asphalt Angel" made By Ed "Big Daddy" Roth in 1986 on display here at the Museum. Come see all our Rat Fink collection.

TBT!! Love his racing gear.
04/25/2019

TBT!! Love his racing gear.

04/24/2019

1957 Rikuo RT2
In spite of being made outside America, this week’s featured motorcycle resides in the area of the National Motorcycle Museum reserved for Harley-Davidsons. There’s no doubt that each year hundreds of visitors walk by it and miss entirely that it’s not a true Harley, or do a double take when they see a few styling details that don’t exactly say “Harley 45.” It seems illogical today that Harley would ever have manufactured their motorcycles in Japan about 80 years ago, but this was during the Depression and before Pearl Harbor. So looking for ways to make money during the Depression, Harley-Davidson licensed a Japanese company to manufacture “Harleys” in Japan.
Today Harley-Davidson’s new motorcycle sales worldwide are around 250,000 units a year. Leading up to the Depression Harley had reached sales of about 40,000 motorcycles, which fell to about 4,000 in 1932, the height of the Depression. Manufacturing equipment sat idle in Milwaukee and Harley was losing its market in Asia due to a bad currency exchange rate. Similar to what world markets stepped into just a few weeks ago, at that time world trade was complicated by tariffs, exchange rates and other forms of conflict.

So, how did this licensing deal come to be? Around 1931 Harley-Davidson sent independent agent Alfred Rich Child to several Asian countries to try and set up manufacturing there, and he had some success. Using idle machines, tooling and engineering drawings provided by Harley-Davidson, bikes came off the assembly line at Sankyo Seiyako in Japan beginning in 1933. Through 1936 the agreement provided $32,320 in royalties which The Motor Company could use to develop new Harley-Davidsons, namely the first OHV V-Twin we now call the Knucklehead launched in 1936.

But the licensing agreement Child fostered expired in 1936, a few years before the beginning of World War II, though Rikuos continued to be manufactured by various Japanese entities in 45, 74 and 80 cubic inch versions, even three-wheelers, through 1962. Today the Rikuo, which means “Land King” or “King of the Road” in Japanese, remains an interesting piece of Harley-Davidson history and the bikes are sought after by collectors world-wide. When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum, you can compare the Rikuo to dozens of Harley-Davidsons from 1908 to 2003 and study many interesting design details that set it apart from other Flatheads.
Specifications:
•Engine: 45 Degree V-Twin
•Type: Side Valve, Air-Cooled
•Displacement: 45 Cubic Inches
•Electrics: 6 Volt, Battery, Coil
•Starting: Kick Only
•Horsepower: 25HP
•Primary: Chain Driven
•Transmission: 4-Speed
•Final Drive: Chain Driven
•Suspension: Telescopic Fork, Sprung Seat
•Wheelbase: 61 Inches
•Wheels/Tires: 5.00″ x 16″
•Brakes: Drum, Front & Rear
•Weight: 510 Pounds

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone.
04/23/2019

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone.

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection! There is something ...
04/22/2019

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection! There is something for everyone.

04/19/2019
It's Rat Fink Friday!! Come see how many Rat Finks you can find mixed into our displays. This one is a Rat Fink ring. Ar...
04/19/2019

It's Rat Fink Friday!! Come see how many Rat Finks you can find mixed into our displays. This one is a Rat Fink ring. Are you still counting?

TBT!! Wish I could go back and buy this one. 1932 Indian Scout Pony with side van.
04/18/2019

TBT!! Wish I could go back and buy this one. 1932 Indian Scout Pony with side van.

04/18/2019
04/17/2019

1913 Indian Twin
Indian was respected for technological innovation such as Cradle Spring Frame rear suspension and electric starting. Though Merkel and Minneapolis experimented with rear suspension in this era, it did not appear on Harley-Davidson’s touring machines until 1958, over 40 years later. In 1914, the Hendee Special, largely identical to this machine, pioneered electric starting and might have been successful had better storage batteries been available. With the exception of one year’s experimentation with belt drive, Indians were always higher grade chain drive motorcycles.

It is often difficult to bring change and it’s possible the “cradle spring frame “was a bit bouncy as no form of damper was employed with the leaf springs. This design lasted but a few years, then it was back to rigid until the plunger design was employed in 1940.

After launching with the lightweight “Camel Back” in 1901, in 1907 Indian introduced its first V-Twin powered road going motorcycle. In 1911 Indian took the first three places in the Isle of Man road race. Indian was the World’s Largest Motorcycle Manufacturer in 1913. In 1914 Irwin “Cannonball” Baker set a cross country record on a machine very similar to this 1913 Indian demonstrating the brand’s durability. By the middle teens Indian was at its peak manufacturing over 30,000 motorcycles per year with half for export. But the Ford Model T changed everything.

When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum you can view this Indian which is part of the Early American Transportation INNOVATION exhibit and also tour the Indian History exhibit in another area of the Museum and see still more Indians. This Indian is from the Jill and John Parham collection.

Specifications:
Engine: V-Twin, Inlet Over Exhaust
Bore & Stroke: 3.25” x 3.67”
Displacement: 61 Cubic Inches
Ignition: Magneto
Primary Drive: Chain
Final Drive: Chain
Clutch: In Drive Sprocket
Starting: Pedal Crank
Controls: Bellcrank / Universal Joints
Trim: Nickel Plated
Suspension: Leaf Spring, Front and Rear
Brakes: Rear, Band
Wheels/Tires: 2.75” x 24” / 2.75” x 24″
Wheelbase: 59 Inches
Weight: 355 Pounds

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone.
04/16/2019

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection. There is something for everyone.

New front sign going up!
04/15/2019

New front sign going up!

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!
04/15/2019

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Great week to ride to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!

It's Rat Fink Friday!! Come see how many Rat Finks you can find mixed into our displays. This one is on the back fender ...
04/12/2019

It's Rat Fink Friday!! Come see how many Rat Finks you can find mixed into our displays. This one is on the back fender of a Triumph drag bike on loan to us from Baxter Cycle.

TBT! Just around the corner from Friday!
04/11/2019

TBT! Just around the corner from Friday!

04/10/2019

1902 Geer Blue Bird
By 1904 the motorcycle manufacturing landscape was full of players, and Harry Geer was active and inventive in St Louis, Missouri. Shopping his catalog, you could buy a complete motorcycle, a kit of engine castings ready for machining, or any components like hubs, frame castings and tubing, seats or handlebars.

The single-cylinder Blue Bird, and V-Twin Green Egg were actually complete motorcycles Geer purchased wholesale from established manufacturers. The Mitchell motorcycle, made by Wisconsin Wheel Works, was the basis of the Blue Bird, though Harry used different sheet metal parts. The frame is unusual in that it’s both a loop and diamond design combined and appears very strong for this period. The engine, with a primer cup, is low and to the front, yet there’s good structure to the pedal crank. Lighting is acetylene, a self contained headlight unit.

By this time Indian motorcycles had been produced for two years and incorporated more dependable chain final drive. Both of Harry’s machines, at this point, were belt drive as were Harley-Davidsons until 1912. Geer started out selling bicycles, was active with motorcycles from about 1902 to 1911.
When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum you can take in the new Early American Transportation INNOVATION exhibit, perhaps view it during Vintage Rally, June 29. In coming weeks we’ll feature other motorcycles and memorabilia from this new show that has as its centerpiece the 1911 STECO Aerohydroplane and Cycle Car.

Specifications:

Engine: Geer #2, Inlet Over Exhaust
Bore & Stroke: 3.5 Inch x 4 Inch
Displacement: 38.5 Cubic Inches, 631 cc’s
Lubrication: Total Loss / Gravity Feed
Ignition: Points & Coil
Carburetor: Schebler (or Kingston)
Horsepower: 4HP
Saddle: Messenger Type
Starting: Pedal Crank
Brake: Coaster Brake
Lighting: Acetylene
Frame: Lugged Steel Tubing, Loop
Wheels/Tires: 2.0 x 28” / 2.0 x 28”
Suspension: Rigid Front & Rear, Sprung Seat
Wheelbase: 55 Inches
Weight: 140 Pounds

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection.
04/09/2019

Toy Tuesday! Now that it has warmed up, plan a ride to come see our collection.

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Plan you spring rides to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!
04/08/2019

Memorabilia Monday! Spring is here! Plan you spring rides to the Museum to enjoy all of our collection!

Start planning your ride in for our Vintage Rally now.
04/05/2019

Start planning your ride in for our Vintage Rally now.

It's Friday everybody!! Rat Fink Friday!! Come see our entire collection.
04/05/2019

It's Friday everybody!! Rat Fink Friday!! Come see our entire collection.

TBT!! Ready to race!
04/04/2019

TBT!! Ready to race!

04/03/2019

Early American Transportation INNOVATION exhibit

Whether it was 100 years ago or yesterday, one of the cool things about motorcycles is new ideas designers and engineers come up with. The word INNOVATION, from the Latin word “novus” meaning new, shows in motorcycling’s long history and in transportation machines in general.

Imagine being about 20 years old in 1900 and watching aviation, automobiles and motorcycles in their design infancy! The Wright Brothers had just figured out lift with wing design yet had no real carburetor on their in-line four in 1903. Even earlier in France, De Dion-Bouton was refining an air-cooled single that would later be made in America powering Indians and providing great influence to those designing the first Harley-Davidson singles. Now we have spar frame bikes with wheelie control, our first motorcycles were little more than diamond frame bicycles with engines and simple belt drive.

So focusing on innovation, the new exhibition at the National Motorcycle Museum is entitled Early American Transportation INNOVATION. About 15 motorcycles, two cycle cars and a dozen bicycles are on display, and there’s even a 110 year old airplane!

Why an airplane, you are asking? About two years ago we came across something pretty cool, even if it was a bit off course for a motorcycle museum. Through a motorcycle collector in Minnesota we got wind of a cycle car and some other stuff that needed a new home. Car, you say? Well, a cycle car is a narrow track, tandem seating four wheeled machine that uses a motorcycle engine, so probably counts as part of the motorcycle family just as three wheelers and sidecars do.

That “picker,” a long time friend of the Museum, got us connected with the people who had the cycle car. That’s when we learned it was a collection that needed a new home and included was…a seven cylinder Gnome-Omega Rotary engined airplane! But once John Parham and other Museum staff learned how old, original and cool the airplane was, and that the current caretakers knew a lot about it, considered it the “oldest original condition airplane in America,” we all decided, “go for it.” Through a touch and go chain of events, the National Motorcycle Museum became the home of the STECO collection, creations of Chicagoan, James Stevens. Not only was there the plane and cycle car, but wood casting patterns and a ton of photos and blueprints for these creations from 1910!

It took a little time to figure out how to display the airplane. Do we hang it? Put it on its trick pneumatic tricycle landing gear, or on its optional floats, pontoons? It’s up on crates so you can walk all around it, get up close. In the new display a few bikes fit beneath the STECO Aerohydroplane’s wings.

We thank Bob Chantland for telling us about the Steco collection needing a new home, Denny Eggert, Jon Forman who had cared for the collection many years, those who chipped in through GoFundMe to help with transportation, historic aviation technicians Keith Roof, John Tiffany and Bob Hall for helping us get the plane reassembled in the Museum, all the lenders who offered pre-1920 motorcycles for display and Ric Stewart who helped with the overall exhibition installation.

Here are some photos of the new Early American Transportation INNOVATION exhibit, open now. We hope you can stop by and take in all the great motorcycles, the bicycles, cycle cars and the 1911 STECO Aerohydroplane. June 29 is the 9th Annual Vintage Rally at the National Motorcycle Museum. Plan to attend the Vintage Rally and see the new exhibition.

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Address

102 Chamber Dr - PO Box 405
Anamosa, IA
52205

General information

Admission Information Admission: $10 Per Person (12 and under FREE when with an adult) $1 discount for Senior Citizens (age 60+)* $1 discount for current Abate, AMCA, AMA, HOG, GWRRA members.** * Limit one discount per person per admission. ** Current proof of membership required. Group Discounts: Available - Please call for more information Closed On the following holidays: New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(319) 462-3925

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