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Hello Steve - Sears never made ANYTHING, except perhaps money, at least they USED TO MAKE MONEY!!!.........LOL... As for the motorcycles they sold in the teens and preteens era, these were "badge engineered" versions of other manufacturers bikes, often times "leftovers" or year old machines built but unsold by motorcycle manufacturers. I believe most Sears bikes had Spaacke motors which were quite large displacement motors (for the time) - i.e. 1200cc - 1.2 liter - 75 cu. in. twins and purportedly VERY, VERY fast for the era - 80 mph machines in an era of single wheel drum or coaster brakes. These were virtually the same motors as used on the circa1913-14 Spaacke cycle cars of which a very few survive. I believe the Excelsior Supply Co of Chicago IL, (not to be confused with the much more well known Excelsior Autocycle Co., also of Chicago, which was purchased by Arnold Schwinn in circa 1909-1910 and lasted until the early years of the (1st - 1929-1941) depression (not to be confused with the 2nd - current depression) nor the english Excelsior firm) was either the main, only or one of the manufacturers that built the Sears badged bikes.

While I do not have a Sears bike (I unfortunately passed on a nice restored circa 1913 Sears twin about 24 years ago - though I did buy a few other bikes from the same collection of a wonderful old bike guy who recently left us - a circa '02 Thomas Auto Bi, an original paint '11 Pierce single, original paint '12 Reading Standard single, original paint '13 Thor single '11 Minneapolis single, '15 (Schwinn) Excelsior twin 3 speed electric with a Rogers sidecar, '14 Deluxe twin 2 speed - manufactured by the aforementioned Excelsior Cycle Supply Co., '11 Arrow single which is a "badge engineered" Marsh Metz and a 1911 Montgomery Ward Hawthorne single (the only American built Montgomery Ward motorcycle known to exist- Hawthorne was their "house brand" name like Craftsman is for Sears and Kirkland is for Costco) which was actually a leftover 1910 Armac. The latter two bikes were, like the Sears, examples of machines sold by catalog houses or jobbers but manufactured by other companies. This practice was very common 100 years ago in many industries including Automobiles and still goes on today in many industries, including business machinery.

In fact, I believe some motorcycle manufacturers of 95-105 years ago would, if you agreed to buy as few as 10 of their motorcycles for an investment in the range of $1500 - $2000, paint and stripe the bikes the colors of your choice and put your name on the tank and on the headstock badge. Ah for a return of the "good 'ol days". Imagine having your own marque of cars or bikes in your own color scheme with your name on the emblems for a few hundred thou now. I could see a mini fleet of all black (deadbeat) Trump supersize SUVs, "green" Clooney, Gates, Alba or Begley Jr. hybrids or electrics and V-12 Leno supercars.

And to answer your question as best I can, I've seen 2-3 other Sears bikes over the years (including one at Hershey I believe a number of years ago) and would imagine 10 or 15 mostly to somewhat complete bikes have survived with a few more perhaps "built up" from surviving Spaacke motors and whatever else one can come up with nowadays. BTW, Dayton motorcycles in addition to the Sears and Deluxe brands also featured Spaacke motors. OK (more than) enuff said on the subject....Herb Singe

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Wow Herb, That's quite an answer! I may have seen the same bike at Hershey years ago, and I've often thought of it. My father has a Sears high-wheeler, and I've always thought the motorcycle would make a neat stable-mate.

BTW, the Sears high-wheeler was apparently made in a Sears factory. At least that's what all the propaganda of the time says. It was later marketed as a Lincoln (no relation to the Lincoln of Leyland design), but I've never seen or heard of a Lincoln high-wheeler.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JO BO</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I know someone who has a nice unrestored one. I don't know if he would part with though. JO BO </div></div>

I don't have any money to buy anything anyway, but it would be neat to see it. I'd just like to learn more about it.

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  • 1 month later...

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: olcarherb</div><div class="ubbcode-body">And, of course, Sears sold Automobiles - high wheelers - in the pre teens era </div></div>

Here's some pics from an original catalog of Sears cars from 1910 that I recently sold on Ebay....

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How many people are alive today that rode a 1912 Sears Motorcycle in the 1920's?

My Dad owned a Sears Motorcycle. He has told me many stories about his fun with it as a young man. He said it was very fast and had been used for racing before he bought it. I have compiled information and pictures for him on this MC and I will take this to Wisconsin for his 97th Birthday on July 4th 2009. He was born in 1912, the first year of this bike.

I so much appreciate the information, interest and links.

If you have any questions I will pass them on to him.

68 Hot Rod

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  • 3 years later...

Herb,

You've got a great collection of early American motorcycles there! I've just bought a 1913 Thor model U twin that I'll be restoring and was wondering if you knew how to contact a Greg Walter who was an AMCA judge and Thor enthusiast? Do you have any literature on the 13 twin yourself? Do you know if anyone is making replica 2 speed rear transmissions (also used on Henderson fours I believe)? These and a million other questions!

I'm also interested in knowing the paint and decal details of 13 Thors - would it be possible to take some detail photos of your bike (including closeups of tank and head-stem decals) and e-mail them to me?

I don't suppose you'd consider selling your Thor single (or any other pre 1915 American single cylinder bikes for that matter)? I've got a hankering for such machinery after buying and restoring a 24 Indian Scout and an 18 F model Harley and sidecar (still under restoration).

Any help or advice will be appreciated.

Rob

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Hi Steve. There are several Sears bikes still around. There is a V twin that goes on the Atascadero ride in May, not every year, but occasionally. And Matt Olson built up a complete bike starting with just a motor 2 years ago. Here is his build up: Put the Huffle in the Shuffle: post number 133 and check for the earlier 132 pages of build notes. I have some photos of Sears bikes here: 2011 Bud Ekins Memorial Tour, Atascadero, CA part 2 « Occhio Lungo and there is a photo of what I was told is the only remaining Sears single cylinder bike here: Some old motorbikes « Occhio Lungo

I don't really know how many Sears bikes there are left today. Probably a dozen or more, but less than 50-100 seems likely.

Regards,

Pete

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is a restored Sears Motorcycle at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. I saw it just last week.

I didn't note all of the details, but as I recall it had a DeLuxe engine on it. I took some photos, so I'll have to circle back and post a couple of those.

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