Merkel Motor Wheel
The Merkel Motor Wheel was designed by Joe Merkel, maker of Merkel Motorcycles, bicycles and The Merkel Automobile. The First Merkel Motor Wheel was introduced on December 4, 1916 at the Cycle Trades Association Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 1917 Merkel was sold as a kit for 80 dollars. In late 1918 the company declared Bankruptcy and on December 12, 1918 the assets were sold off. There were enough parts to make at least 300 machines. The Hendee Mfg purchased the entire operation for $1700. Hendee modified the parts they had bought and began re-selling the Merkel around 1920. The Hendee model had a free engine clutch so the rider could stop the bike and keep the engine running. When this was added the linkage was in the way of the shock absorbing feature so it was eliminated. There were around 2000 Merkel's made and 7 or so are known to still exist.
Plant Security Badge
Photos and information provided by Brian Kunzog
The Merkel instructions are a later publication that I found on the internet. They are for the Indian Merkel with a clutch. Mine has no clutch and is direct drive. My exhaust is missing but should exit from the front while the Indian version was changed to the rear to clear the clutch mech. I have sold my Merkel and am waiting for the buyer to complete payment before shipping to Calif. My Merkel Motor Wheel is installed in a Emblem Mfg. Co. Greyhound frame. The same company that made Pierce bikes. Brian
Brian's 1917 Merkel Motor Wheel
Sold on eBay
By Dick DeBuse