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Larson MasterWorks

1901 Steffey 4-Stroke Motorcycle

1901 Steffey 4-Stroke Motorcycle

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After a few years of collecting parts, making things fit properly, and restoration, I’m proud to say I’ve finally completed my 1901 Steffey 4 Stroke Motorcycle. I have heard there are a few other real Steffey’s out there, but I would also feel comfortable claiming this as the nicest! At this moment in time, I believe this to be the only restored and complete example you will find anywhere on the internet (Perhaps the only restored 4-stroke Steffey in the world!)
In 1901 you didn’t have many options when it came to an American made “Motorcycle”. Steffey Manufacturing Company from Philadelphia, PA sold some complete bikes & numerous different variations of kits to adapt to bicycle frames in this period. Many of these kits came unmachined and had to be finished by a machinist before assembly and installation!
This example is the overhead valve variation which uses an atmospheric intake valve and a cam-actuated exhaust valve. The engine drives a 1/2” wide flat leather belt fitting inside a standard bike frame - just as described in original catalogs.
The mixer (carburetor) has no butterfly, and can only be adjusted by a thumbscrew-actuated needle valve. The only way to control the speed on this bike is by adjusting the timing lever on the top frame tube.
Some other variations produced by Steffey include a more common 2-stroke engine, an F-head engine, and a larger F-head engine for tandem motorcycle. The Steffey kits came complete with engine, mixer, fuel tank, rear wheel sheave with brackets, fuel line, battery box, and all other components required to make this machine function. The from stand is an original bicycle wheel stand from around 1900, and the rear stand is one I made. Together they hold this machine upright quite well!
The frame is an original 1901 Columbia Model 74 Chainless - quite a luxury for the time. This bike is comprised of 90% original pieces. Every bit of paint, nickel plating, and everything in between was done by me. Believe it or not: the handlebar grips, tires, seat, and coil are all near NOS condition original pieces. I even found an original spark plug verified to be manufactured between 1898-1901 😉 (Mosler Spitfire pre-1902 Patent).
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