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1912 MOTORCYCLE

 

The George N. Pierce Company began making bicycles in the 1890s. By 1906 the Pierce Cycle Company, separate from the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company, was led by Percy Pierce, son of George N. In 1909 they introduced the first American made four-cylinder motorcycle, joined in 1910 by a single-cylinder model.

YEAR, MODEL and BODY STYLE

1912 was the fourth of five years of production of Pierce four-cylinder motorcycles. A few engineering details were changed each year, but the model was essentially the same during the whole run. A two-speed transmission and clutch were standard from 1910.

The price of the Pierce four in 1912 was $400.

 FEATURES

Top speed: 60 mph.  Weight: 186 pounds.  Displacement: 696 cc

Pierce in-line four-cylinder motor, highly advertised as “Vibrationless”

Gasoline tank built into the top frame tube, and oil tank in the front frame tube

Pneumatic shock absorber on the front fork

Hidden control cables

Pedals and chain drive for starting, shaft drive for riding

THIS EXAMPLE

This example has the kickstand and optional luggage carrier. It was bought in 1984 from the daughter of a man who had taken it in trade before 1960. You see its original black finish.

ADDITIONAL  INFORMATION

The total production of Pierce four-cylinder motorcycles was about 3500 over five years. About 15 of them survive in the United States, and perhaps as many more abroad, most in operating condition.

There is a beautifully restored example of a 1910 Pierce four motorcycle in the Barber Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama, near Birmingham. Another example is at the Wheels of Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

Pierce marketing was always aimed at the high-end buyer, and emphasized quality and reliability. Pierce’s usual artistic advertising was also applied to the motorcycles.

Their successful competition in performance events for automobiles was repeated by their motorcycles; and emphasized in advertisements such as the one below from 1911 or early 1912. 

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