Sears Dreadnought

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Sears Dreadnought was a motorcycle sold by Sears in the 1910s. [1] The motorcycle featured a 70.62-cubic-inch (1,157.3 cm3) V-twin made by Spacke. [1] It was sourced from Spacke's cyclecar and had 9 horsepower (6.7 kW). [1] This engine was also used by Dayton, Eagle, Minneapolis and Crawford. [2] In addition to the internal combustion engine, it also had foot-pedals like a regular bicycle. [3] (This was for getting the engine started as the kick start had not been invented yet.)

Sears, Roebuck and Company, colloquially known as Sears, is an American chain of department stores founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1893, reincorporated by Richard Sears and new partner Julius Rosenwald in 1906. Formerly based at the Sears Tower in Chicago and currently headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, the operation began as a mail ordering catalog company and began opening retail locations in 1925. The first location was in Evansville, Indiana. In 2005, the company was bought by the management of the American big box chain Kmart, which formed Sears Holdings upon completion of the merger.

Cyclecar tiny car designs briefly popular in the 1910s–20s

A cyclecar was a type of small, lightweight and inexpensive car manufactured in Europe and the United States between 1910 and the early 1920s. The purpose of cyclecars was to fill a gap in the market between the motorcycle and the car.

Kick start motorcycle starting pedal

Kick start is a method of starting an internal combustion engine by pushing a ratcheting lever with one's foot. Kick start mechanisms were almost universally a part of motorcycle engines before the mid-1970s, and were phased out of production over the next twenty years or so as electric starters became standard equipment. There are still some motorcycles produced that have both kick and electric starters.


The motorcycle was a designed for Sears in conjunction with Excelsior Company of N. Sangamon Street, Chicago. [4] They put together popular components and features of the period including the Spacke V-twin engine, a Schebler carburetor, Musselman hub, chain drive, etc. [5] It was offered with various options such as a two-speed hub and a lightning package. [6]

Sears sold the motorcycle like its other products via mail order for 250 dollars in 1913. [1] People would shop out of large catalog of thousands of items rather than the local store, then the product would be delivered to them. [7] Sears sold motorcycles from 1912 to 1916. [1] The motorcycle is also called the Sears De Luxe Dreadnought Twin. [8] DeLuxe was the marque of the Spacke engine company and was on the engine itself. [9]

By the year 2001 it was thought about ten Sears Dreadnoughts remain, and one went for a Sotheby's auction for over 100,000 USD. [10] By the end of the 20th century the motorcycles of this era were lauded as works of art, being featured for example in the prestigious Guggenheim Museums. [11]

Sotheby's is a British founded American multinational corporation headquartered in New York City. One of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles, Sotheby's operation is divided into three segments: auction, finance, and dealer. The company's services range from corporate art services to private sales. It is named after one of its cofounders, John Sotheby.


See also

Thor Model U was a motorcycle that debuted in the 1910s with a 7 hp V-twin in the Thor marque of Aurora Automatic Machinery Company of Illinois. The 1913 model came with a 61 ci V-twin engine, with the V at an angle of 50 degrees. In 1914 the engine size was increased from 61ci to 76.25ci The motorcycle had chain drive with clutch and was overall a bicycle configuration with two handle bars and seat above a frame which housed the engine and connected the front and back. The V-twin has an angle of 50 degrees. By 1916, the Model U was essentially the "flagship" of the Thor lineup with a large 50 degree V-twin with mechanical valves, a magneto ignition, and a three speed transmission. These kind of features were improvements over typically features of the day like a single-cylinder engine, battery start, and two speed or even single speed;they were much closer to their bicycle origins they had just birthed from in the previous decade.

Harley-Davidson Model 7D

The Harley-Davidson Model 7D of 1911 was the first successful v-twin from Harley-Davidson, inaugurating a motorcycle engine configuration that has continued unbroken from the Milwaukee motor company ever since.

FN Four

The FN Four was the world's first production inline-4 motorcycle, manufactured in Liége by Fabrique Nationale from 1905 until 1923. It was also, at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), the world's fastest production motorcycle from 1911 until 1912.

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Indian is an American brand of motorcycles originally produced from 1901 to 1953 in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States. Hendee Manufacturing Company initially produced the motorcycles, but the name was changed to the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company in 1928.

Yamaha SRX

The Yamaha SRX is a motorcycle that was manufactured from 1985 to 1997 by the Yamaha Motor Company.

Matchless British motorcycle and automobile manufacturer

Matchless is one of the oldest marques of British motorcycles, manufactured in Plumstead, London, between 1899 and 1966. A wide range of models were produced under the Matchless name, ranging from small two-strokes to 750 cc four-stroke twins. Matchless had a long history of racing success; a Matchless ridden by Charlie Collier won the first single-cylinder race in the first Isle of Man TT in 1907.

Henderson was a manufacturer of 4-cylinder motorcycles from 1912 until 1931. They were the largest and fastest motorcycles of their time, and appealed to sport riders and police departments. Police favored them for traffic patrol because they were faster than anything else on the roads. The company began during the golden age of motorcycling, and ended during the Great Depression.


The Ner-A-Car was a type of feet forwards motorcycle designed by Carl Neracher in 1918. It used an unusual steel-channel chassis, much like an automobile, and hub-center steering at the front wheel, making it 'nearly a car' in design. The Ner-A-Car was the most successful hub-center steering motorcycle ever produced, with sales far eclipsing earlier or later examples of this design, such as the Yamaha GTS1000 or Bimota Tesi. About 10,000 Neracars were manufactured in the United States by the Ner-A-Car Corporation, while around 6,500 are believed to have been produced in England under licence by the Sheffield-Simplex company between 1921 and 1926 under the Ner-A-Car name.

Honda XL125V Varadero motorcycle

The Honda XL125V Varadero is a dual-sport motorcycle with a 125 cc four stroke V-twin engine, produced by Honda since 2001.

Ivy was a motorcycle manufacturer between 1907 and 1934 in Birmingham, England. It was run by various brothers from the Newman family. Ivy built about 6,000 motorcycles of various models. Most used two-stroke engines made by either J.A.P. or Precision, but there were also 225cc and 296cc engines designed and manufactured by Ivy. The company also made its own suspension forks, carburettors and sidecars.

Split-single engine configuration

The split-single, is a variant on the two-stroke engine with two cylinders sharing a single combustion chamber.

The Bat No. 2 is a British motorcycle made in 1913 by Bat Motor Manufacturing Co. Ltd in Penge, Surrey. Offered with a choice of Bat's own two-speed gearbox or with a conventional belt drive, sales were good but production ended on the outbreak of the First World War one year later.

The Advance Motor Manufacturing Company was a British motorcycle and engine manufacturer established in 1905. As well as supplying aircraft engines to the pioneering monoplane developers, Advance engines were also used by Captain Robert Scott to power Antarctic snow sleds. After the end of the Second World War the company was sold to Sheepbridge Engineering and became a motor supplies organisation.

The Rover Company was a British bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer before it began the manufacture of motor cars. Rover was established in 1878 by John Kemp Starley in Coventry to produce bicycles. The company developed and produced the Rover Imperial motorcycle in November 1902. Between 1903 and 1924, Rover produced more than 10,000 motorcycles.

Bradbury Motor Cycles

Bradbury Motor Cycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Oldham, England and established in 1902. Originally involved in the manufacture of machine tools, sewing machines and cycles, their first motorcycles were bicycles with clip-on Minerva engines. The Bradbury factory went on to develop and produce a range of single-cylinder motorcycle, V-twins and horizontally opposed twins. The 1912 Bradbury motorcycles were one of the earliest with variable gearing. Although the factory survived the First World War it closed in 1924.

Puch 250 SGS

The Puch 250 SGS (Schwing-Gabel-Sport) was a motorcycle manufactured by the Austrian Steyr Daimler Puch AG's Puch division in Thondorf near Graz. The motorcycle was powered by a split-single two-stroke engine. It was marketed in the United States by Sears as the "Allstate 250" or "Twingle", with the model number SR 250, and sold primarily via the Sears catalog. It was a common "first motorcycle" for many riders.

Flying Merkel

The Flying Merkel was a motorcycle of the American company Merkel in Milwaukee, which relocated later to Middletown, Ohio. The motorcycle was produced from 1911 to 1915.

Hazlewoods Limited

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Thor (motorcycles)

Thor was an American manufacturer of motorcycles and motorcycle parts especially engines, founded in 1901 in Aurora, Illinois. From 1901 to about 1907 it made engines under license for Indian motorcycles of Connecticut, which Thor was also allowed to sell on the open market. Thor also sold a large variety of parts and when the agreement finally ended, entered the motorcycle market on its own selling complete bikes until about 1920. Some of its success were supplying engines to many motorcycle manufactures of the period, some record setting bikes in the early 1910s, and V-Twin engine with automatic valves.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 913 Sears Dreadnaught V-Twin Share Mail-order motorcycling, from Indiana to your doorstep
  2. National Motorcycle Museum Featured Motorcycle 1913 Sears De Luxe Dreadnought Twin
  3. Old Motorcycles Take the Stage By JIM McCRAW Published: September 14, 2001
  4. 1912 SEARS De Luxe Dreadnaught Twin
  5. 1912 SEARS De Luxe Dreadnaught Twin
  6. 1912 SEARS De Luxe Dreadnaught Twin
  7. 1 2 3 4 Sears 1913 9HP Dreadnaught 1157cc 2 cyl ioe
  8. National Motorcycle Museum Featured Motorcycle 1913 Sears De Luxe Dreadnought Twin
  9. Spacke And the CycleCar Era
  10. American Motorcyclist Dec 2001
  11. Old Motorcycles Take the Stage By JIM McCRAW Published: September 14, 2001

Further reading