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 Flying Merkel - 1000
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Photo ou archives : ATLAS USA

Capacity : 1000
Model :
Production : 1914 -
Category : (R) Route


1000cc V-twin - 1914

A unique concept

Joe Merkel was very much his own man when it came to the concept of a motorcycle, and proved it when he launched his new touring model around 1910. This 1000cc V-twin offered amateur enthusiasts power, elegance and comfort. Also, the many racing successes achieved on the board tracks by – among others – ace rider Maldwyn E. Jones ensured excellent publicity. The Merkel was technically advanced, and the 1914 models even featured a spring starting system, which was both disastrous and dangerous!

End of the Road

But the decline in the US market, combined with technical problems (because of WWI, Merkel could no longer obtain special German ball-bearings for the crankshaft, camshafts and magneto), hastened the end of the marque, which was absorbed by Indian in 1915 and vanished in 1922.

Fully-Suspended Frame

Merkel was one of the first manufacturers to consider that motorcycle suspension should not depend solely on the air in the tires and the springs in the saddle. On the new model, the rear suspension consisted of a cantilever assembly with a single spring beneath the saddle. The front suspension, one of the first US telescopic units, used twin-coil springs contained in a leather sheath. Such advanced concepts fully justified the glamorous marque name "Flying Merkel." The 1913 owner's manual even counseled good riding etiquette – "Never ride with the exhaust cut-out open. It is a very bad habit since the noise is most unpleasant for the public and frightens horses. Never forget that you must always remain a gentleman."


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

Power Rating: 6 hp (rated)

Valves: automatic intake, overhead exhaust

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: single-speed chain drive

Suspension: telescopic forks with two coil springs (front); cantilever (rear)

Brakes: drum (rear)

Wheels: 21 inch (front & rear)

Maximum Speed: 60 mph

With its bright-orange color scheme, the Flying Merkel was instantly recognizable, whether or not its rider bad the exhaust cut-out open!

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.