Built between 1911 and 1915, the Flying Merkel is one of the most iconic American motorcycles of all time. The brand actually started back in 1902 as a bicycle builder, but a year later the founder (Joseph Merkel) started slapping single-cylinder motors on bicycles and his pursuit of motorcycling was official. They were pioneers in certain technology like a spring front fork, monoshock rear suspension,
ball bearings (instead of bronze bushings) in the engine, and a throttle-controlled automatic oiler.
In 1909, Merkel sold the company to Light Manufacturing and he continued to innovate. With racing success came fame and the orange “Flying Merkel” bikes made a name for themselves. Other examples of the breed have sold between $200k and $400k at auction, and A Flying Merkel board track racer currently occupies spot #11 in Paul D’Orleans’ list of most expensive bikes sold at auction – it went for $423,500 at the Mecum Las Vegas auction in March 2015. [NOTE – I can only find an older version of Paul’s list right now, which is dated back to 2008] For more on the Flying Merkel, check out this website dedicated to the model.
This example (VIN: 10901) has the original paint – in fact, the seller claims it’s “the best original paint 1913 Flying Merkel in the world.” It’s said to be in good running condition and the seller has a registration from Pennsylvania dated back in April 17th, 1914. He’ll also give you an original sales brochure as well. The seller has had the bike since October of 2005, when he acquired it “from a resident of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.”
Find this Flying Merkel for sale in Marion, Indiana with 109 (!) bids up to $60,100 and the reserve not yet met or a BIN of $245,000