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Friday, October 6, 2023

Militaire Motorcycle: A Rare Gem from Motorcycle History

Rare ONES - You might be unfamiliar with the striking appearance of these classic motorcycles, but allow us to introduce you to a piece of two-wheeled history. These vintage four-cylinder motorcycles were crafted between 1913 and 1917 by the Militaire Auto Company of Buffalo, New York.
1915 Militaire Model 2 vintage motorcycle. (Picture from: BikerDigital)
The Militaire motorcycle broke away from traditional design and construction, resembling more of a two-wheeled automobile than a conventional motorcycle. The original prototype was equipped with a single-cylinder engine, hub-center steering, a steering wheel, and retractable outrigger wheels at the rear. However, as the design evolved, the single-cylinder engine gave way to a four-cylinder powerhouse, and the steering wheel was replaced with handlebars. Nevertheless, the automotive-style frame and rear idler wheels remained part of the design.

Now, despite its name, the Militaire was not initially intended for military purposes. It was too long and heavy to be classified as a motorcycle and too unstable to function as a car. While a few Militaire motorcycles were acquired by the Army for use in France in 1918, they quickly found themselves immobilized by the treacherous mud. Thus, the Militaire motorcycle never truly served as a military vehicle.
Left side view of 1915 Militaire Model 2 vintage motorcycle. (Picture from: MecumAuctions)
These antique motorcycles featured a robust 68 cubic-inch, 1,065 cc engine, delivering over 11 horsepower through a three-speed transmission with reverse, and a shaft drive system. The wheelbase, measuring 65 inches, shared similarities with early Henderson models, and the wooden artillery wheels were equipped with 28-inch x 3 clincher tires.
Right side view of 1915 Militaire Model 2 vintage motorcycle. (Picture from: MecumAuctions)
What truly sets the Militaire motorcycle apart are its distinctive features:
  • Wooden Artillery Wheels: These motorcycles sported wooden artillery wheels paired with 28-inch x 3 clincher tires.
  • Unique Steering: A curved front axle allowed the front bearing to slide, facilitating smoother turns.
  • Automotive-Style Transmission: The Militaire boasted a car-like three-speed "on the floor" stick shift, complete with a reverse gear.
  • Shaft Drive: Power was transferred to the rear wheel through beveled gears with an enclosed ring gear and pinion.
  • Retractable Outrigger Wheels: The standout feature was the retractable outrigger wheels, providing added stability and convenience when waiting at traffic lights. These foot-operated wheels could retract like landing gear on an aircraft, allowing you to come to a complete stop and accelerate again without taking your feet off the footboards.
Measuring a remarkable 97 inches in overall length, the Militaire motorcycle must have been the longest machine on the road in its time. Its top speed could reach up to 70 mph. Today, this 1915 model stands as one of the rare surviving examples of its kind. In 1915, purchasing one of these remarkable machines would have set you back $335, but fast forward to 2015, and according to Mecum Auctions, it boasts an estimated value ranging from $130,000 to $150,000.
In conclusion, the Militaire motorcycle is a remarkable testament to the innovative spirit of its era. Despite its unconventional design and intended use, it has cemented its place in history as a unique and valuable piece of motorcycle heritage. Whether you're a collector or simply an admirer of vintage motorcycles, the Militaire's distinctive charm is undeniable.😎

Kept spur your adrenaline on the power of the two-wheeled monster and stay alive with true safety riding. May God will forgive Your sins and so does the cops...... *** [EKA [28122019] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | MECUM AUCTIONS | BIKERDIGITAL | HOTRODPEEPS ]
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