Photo ou archives : H. Ludwig
2000cc Six-Cylinder - 1931
The long rider
The renowned 1929 Henderson-Excelsior 1301cc KJ designed by "Connie" Constantine was one of America's best four-cylinder machines Â– capable of "10 to 100 mph in top gear" Â– but for some people, four cylinders were just not enough!
Turned from the Solid
That was how the unique Henderson Six Â– a superb custom conversion of a 1931 four-cylinder Henderson "police only" bike Â– came into being. Its maker created its six-cylinder power unit with professionalism by "cutting and shutting" two four-cylinder crankcases. The crankshaft was a masterpiece of lathe work, for it was turned from a solid 180 lb billet of steel Â– and the finished item weighed a mere 18 lb! The design of special camshafts and a higher throughput oiling system were further complications, though the problem of ignition was simply solved by using a six-cylinder automobile magneto.
The End of Henderson
The intake and exhaust pipes Â– like the crankcase Â– were created by cutting and welding four-cylinder components, while the already long frame was made even longer to accommodate the extra cylinders. Otherwise, the rest of the bike's equipment was identical to that of the Henderson Four, with its celebrated round speedometer mounted on the tank top. Sadly, Henderson boss Ignaz Schwinn panicked in the face of the Depression and halted production in 1931; otherwise the Henderson Six might have become a production machine. At least two sixes were built, one based on the old side-valve four in 1930, and the one shown, with its more modern F-head power unit.
Engine: 1951cc (68x89 mm) air-cooled six-cylinder four-stroke
Valves: overhead intake, side exhaust
Fuel System: one Schebler carburetor
Transmission: 3-speed lever shift, chain final drive
Suspension: leading-links (front); rigid (rear)
Brakes: internal drum (front); external band on drum (rear)
Wheels: 4.00x18 inch (front & rear)
Maximum Speed: in excess of 100 mph
The astounding Henderson Six, a real crowd-puller at old-bike meets in the United States, was built in the same year that the marque was closed.