Everything about EXCELSIOR
EXCELSIOR Brand History
Excelsior Motorcycles started out as bicycle manufacturer in 1874, being based in Coventry. In 1896, the company decided to install a Minerva engine on one of its bicycles, resulting the first motorcycle manufactured by Excelsior. However, the vehicle was produced under the Bayliss, Thomas & Co Ltd brand, a name which was used until 1910 when the company was renamed to Excelsior Motor Co.
Starting 1900, the company got involved into racing competitions, being one of the first British manufacturers which stepped into this side of the market. After the end of World War I, the company was acquired by R.Walker & Son, one of the company's major suppliers, so the entire production line moved to Birmingham. The company started building motorcycles with displacements from 98cc to 1000cc, all of them featuring JAP, Villiers or Blackburne engines.
The first major success in racing competitions took place in 1929, when the British Excelsior B14, the most popular model of the company, won the Lightweight TT race.
In 1937, the company rolled out a brand new model, dubbed Autobyke, equipped with an engine providing a displacement of 98cc. Three years later, Excelsior started manufacturing the Wellbike, a small collapsible motorcycle which was found pretty useful by the Allied Paratroopers.
Around 1954, the company designed a 250cc, 4 stroke, V-Twin engine which never entered production. However, thanks to the experience gained during the process of manufacturing bicycles, Excelsior wanted to try something new so it started producing scooters. The Skutabike, with an engine of 98cc was introduced in 1957 and Monarch, with a displacement of 147cc saw the daylight in 1959.
Unfortunately, Monarch had a pretty short life, being withdrawn in 1960. In the same period of time, Excelsior was acquired by the Proctor family, who already owned Britax. However, the company's motorcycle manufacturing history ended in 1965, when it decided to concentrate more on producing cars and motorcycle accessories.
Another Excelsior company was based in the United States and was especially focused on manufactured motorcycles. The company was founded in 1907 but it was purchased by Henderson in 1931. This company built large displacements motorcycles.