Cleveland - Tornado
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Cleveland D2-492-09-08
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 1029
Model : Tornado
Production : 1929 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


1000 Tornado - 1929

100 mph-guaranteed!

Founded in 1915, the Ohio firm of Cleveland began with a little 270cc two-stroke which enjoyed a remarkable success. The company's first 606cc four-cylinder model appeared in 1925, replaced in 1926 by the 4/45, an F-head 750cc monobloc four that was one of the first American bikes fitted with a front brake drum (though admittedly, it was pretty useless).

Sports Version

The 4/45 was quickly joined by a sport version capable of 75 mph. No matter how good it was, the Cleveland 4/45 was incapable of beating off the competition from the 1300cc Ace and Henderson fours, a weakness which was to repeat itself in August 1927 with the launch of the 4/61. This 1000 cc, still a monobloc four-cylinders, was of completely original design, unlike all the other American big fours – Ace, Henderson, Excelsior and Indian – which, if they hadn't actually been designed by W. G. "Bill" Henderson, were the work of one of his pupils.

The Tornado Blows In

The 4/61 was fast enough, with a top speed of 90 mph, but its sports derivative, the Tornado of 1929, which had a lowered frame, bigger valves, lighter pistons and a higher compression ratio, was guaranteed by Cleveland to reach 100 mph. It was the fastest of all the American big fours, but it was Cleveland's last new model, for the mark was wiped out in the Wall Street Crash just as it was getting ready to produce an even faster 1000cc four – the Century.


Engine: Air-cooled 1029cc (64.7x77.5mm) four-in-line

Valves: F-head (side inlet, overhead exhaust)

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed tank change, chain final drive

Suspension: leading link (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 4.00x19in wire

Maximum Speed: 100 mph

Besides its outstanding performance, the Tornado was the most highly evolved American bike of its day, with many avant-garde features.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

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François-Marie Dumas

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