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 Flying Merkel - 1000 V twin
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Flying Merkel V twin motocyclette motorrad motorcycle vintage classic classique scooter roller moto scooter
Photo ou archives : H. Ludwig

Capacity : 1000
Model : V twin
Production : 1909 -
Category : (R) Racing


1000cc Board Track Racer - 1910

King of the wooden oval

The story of the Merkel motorcycle began with the "Light" single – virtually identical to the Indian – built in Pennsylvania in 1901. In 1909, Joe Merkel acquired the company and set his personal mark on his bikes by giving them a redesigned front fork and cantilever rear suspension. Between 1909 and 1915, the company – one of the 67 individual American marques created before 1914 – became the Miami Cycle & Manufacturing Co. and moved to Middletown, Ohio. Under the name of "Flying Merkel," these bikes were counted among the most famous American board track racers of their time.

Banking on Records

In 1910, riding a 1000cc Flying Merkel – perhaps even the actual machine shown – Fred Whittler smashed records held by Indian on the first major board track built at Los Angeles, covering 50 miles on the banked wooden oval at an average speed of 75 mph.

Crude but Fast

The legendary Ralph de Palma – one of America's greatest racing drivers of the Golden Age – first came to fame riding 500 and 1000cc Flying Merkels, as did Maldwyn Jones, another famous American rider. This particular 1910 1000cc Flying Merkel – preserved in the condition in which it finished its last race – is a typical American board track racer of its day. The large displacement engine is housed in the minimum frame necessary to withstand the pounding of the rough plank surface, and the primitive design of the combustion chambers is offset by the use of twin spark plugs. Despite its design, such a machine was easily capable of exceeding 80 mph.


Engine: 1000cc air-cooled V-twin four-stroke; Splitdorf magneto ignition

Valves: overhead automatic intake, side exhaust

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: direct chain drive

Suspension: none

Brakes: none

Wheels: 28 inch wire clincher (front & rear)

Maximum Speed: over 75 mph

Flying Merkel battled with Indian and others for supremacy on the board tracks in the 1910s.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.