Ace Motor Corporation
Ace Motor Corporation was an American motorcycle manufacturer of luxury, four-cylinder motorcycles in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was in operation from 1919 to 1924, and intermittently after that until 1927 when it was purchased by the Indian Motorcycle Company. Ace was inducted in AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
Alligator Motorcycle Company
The Alligator Motorcycle Company was the motorcycle division of the former driver/racing team owner’s All American Racers workshop in Santa Ana, California. The company is known for designing the Alligator motorcycle. The Alligator is a feet-forward motorcycle with a unique low-slung seating position which allows for its low center of gravity.
Allstate was an American brand of vehicles marketed by Sears. Scooters, motorcycles, and cars were sourced from several manufacturers and re-badged with the Sears “Allstate” brand. Piaggio and Cushman were major suppliers of scooters, while Puch and Gilera supplied mopeds and motorcycles, and cars at different times were supplied by the Lincoln Motor Car Works and Kaiser-Frazer. The 1965 Allstate Puch 250 SGS which was featured at the 2009 Seattle International Motorcycle Show was perhaps the most well-known motorcycle under the Allstate brand.
Arch Motorcycle is a high-end motorcycle manufacturer founded by Keanu Reeves (yes, Neo from The Matrix) back in 2011. Keanu – a motorcycle enthusiast at heart – set out to build radical and sleek designs featuring the latest technology and pairing it with a side of handmade craftsmanship. Currently, Arch offers three beautifully designed models, with many more to come down the line.
ATK is an American based motorcycle producer specializing in competition Motorcross, sportbikes, ATVs, and off-road bikes; manufacturing then between the years of 1985 and 2015. Currently, they don’t offer any production bikes and have shifted their manufacturing focus and geared it towards making new parts to support their previously marketed motorcycles at their shop in Centerville, Utah, USA.
At one time, the biggest producer of custom motorcycles in the entire USA, Tim Edmonson and Bill Rucker ventured to create a brand that would fill the gap in large-quantity custom motorcycles for the American market. American IronHorse built custom choppers from 1995 until 2008 when they ceased all production due to financial troubles and sold their company assets at auction.
Boss Hoss Cycles
In 1990, Monte Warne founded Boss Hoss Cycles in Dyersburg Tennessee; a company specializing in fitting Chevrolet V8 Engines into cruiser-style motorcycle (and trike) frames. The insanity doesn’t just stop at the 5.7L Chevrolet small-block though, they have even produced bikes with the 8.1L Vortec big-block engines making them the world’s #1 producer when it comes to powerful motorcycles. You can still purchase Boss Hoss v8 motorcycles today on their website.
Brammo Inc. was a company founded in 2002 initially seeking to make a sports car capable of fitting owner Craig Mranscher’s 6’3″ stature after being disappointed in what Ferrari and Lamborghini had to offer at the time. From there they bought the rights to the Arial Atom, an open cockpit track car, and moved toward manufacturing EV motorcycles utilizing their experience in building supercars and electric drivetrain R&D. After Polaris Industries purchased the brand in 2015, Brammo Inc. ceased production when Polaris announced they were closing down the Victory Motorcycles brand in 2017.
Buell Motorcycle Company
Erik Buell left Harley-Davidson in 1983 to begin his own brand to provide track-oriented V-Twin powered street-bikes for the American market. In 1993, H-D acquired 49% of the brand, making Buell Motorcycle Company an owned subsidiary of Harley-Davidson by 2003. The company was quite successful, ceasing production in 2009 after they had manufactured 136,923 motorcycles.
Recommended reading: The Story of Buell Motorcycle Company: 1983 – 2009
Confederate Motors is an American manufacturer of exotic street motorcycles in Birmingham, Alabama. It was founded in 1991 by trial lawyer H. Matthew Chambers, as an initiative seeking “enlightened design through true American inspiration.” In 2017 the company announced plans to rename itself to Curtiss Motorcycles and switch to all-electric motorcycles with a partnership with Zero Motorcycles. The Warhawk will be the final and only gasoline motorcycle under the Curtiss brand. It is based on their P51 Fighter, with a limited run of 35 bikes.
Cooper was a classic motorcycle manufacturer founded by Frank Cooper, who was seeking to provide motorcycles between the entry-level Japanese and higher-end Euro bikes to American customers. Cooper Motorcycles lived a short life with the brand lasting only between the years of 1973 and 1975 before being purchased by Southern California Yamaha to be rebranded to Ammex. Being manufactured in Saltillo, Mexico, the company failed when the Mexican peso was devalued in 1976, causing financial troubles for the company.
Crocker Motorcycle Company
The Crocker Motorcycle company focused on manufacturing single-cylinder race motorcycles, V-twin cruisers, and later on motorized scooters for a decade beginning in the year of 1932. The company was based in Los Angeles, California, and ceased production in 1942 with the remaining inventory of parts being sold in 1947. The motorcycles are a coveted collector’s item, with a 1941 V-twin Crocker selling for a whopping $230,000 at an auction in 2007 making them some of the world’s most expensive motorcycles today.
Erik Buell Racing
During the heyday of Buell Motorcycles, Erik Buell decided to create a sub-brand dedicated to building V-twin race-spec motorcycles out of East Troy, Wisconsin. The company had a successful life in the Superbike World Championship since 2011, with their 1190RR and 1190RS taking their riders to multiple podiums before folding in 2015 due to the failure of the main Buell brand.
Excelsior Motor Manufacturing & Supply Company
Between the years of 1907 and 1931, Excelsior Motor Manufacturing & Supply Company built motorcycles out of Chigaco, Illinois. Ignaz Schwinn of the popular bicycle company Arnold, Schwinn & Co bought the company out in 1912. The company developed the first motorcycle capable of reaching 100mph, and by the year 1928, they were enjoyed wide-spread popularity sitting in third place behind Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles in the list of popular motorcycle brands at the time.
In 1993, Daniel Hanlon founded Hanlon Manufacturing Company in Burnsville, Minnesota. The brand manufactured cruiser bikes taking design notes from the former Excelsior and Henderson motorcycles. The factory was located in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, with the capacity to manufacture between 10,000 and 20,000 motorcycles annually, but due to financial constraints the brand was unable to secure investment and they had to file for reorganization in 1999 before ultimately dissolving.
Fischer Motor Company
Fischer Motor company was making sportbike’s beginning in 2006 until reportedly haulting production in 2012. Their first mass-produced motorcycle, the MRX 650, was a V-twin sportbike featuring amazing styling and an aluminum perimeter frame. Few-dozen motorcycles were produced by the company during its three years of activity, making the MRX 650 quite a rare bike to own.
The Flying Merkel was a motorcycle marque made by the American company Merkel in Milwaukee, which relocated later to Middletown, Ohio. The motorcycle was produced from 1911 to 1915. The Flying Merkel was considered to be a technological marvel at that time. It had a conservative engine-control system featuring an automatic inlet valve and a preset outlet valve. The V engine initially displaced 884 cc (53.9 cu in) and delivered 6 hp (4.5 kW), through a two-speed gearbox and a belt drive, for a maximum speed of 97 km/h (60 mph).
Harley-Davidson is quite possibly the most notorious and legendary motorcycle manufacturer in American history. Being one of the first motorcycle companies to come out of America in 1903, Harley-Davidson has had a long and rocky road through the survival of many ownership agreements, bailouts, high chance of bankruptcy, and intense global competition. The Harley-Davidson company is more than just a brand, it’s a lifestyle when it comes to their consumers. Since pioneering the chopper V-twin cruiser market in America, the company has stuck to its guns in producing heavy air-cooled V-twin monsters, until recently looking at other avenues of manufacturing to revive the brand in recent years; most notably the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle and their upcoming Pan America adventure bike.
Harley-Davson India is a fully owned subsidiary of H-D, basing its motorcycle sales out of Gurgaon, Haryana, India; beginning their venture into Indian markets in 2009 with their first dealership opening in 2010. H-D India provides its American cruisers to India with an 11 model lineup; including all the parts, accessories, and merchandise Indian H-D enthusiasts would need to keep their American chopper dreams alive. Today H-D has 29 dealerships sprinkled across the large country in most major cities.
*Based in India, but a regional arm of an American company.
Hodaka was a fairly large company producing approximately 150,000 motorcycles between 1964 and 1978. The company was both American and Japanese owned, and prior to creating their own brand Hodaka was producing engines for the Japanese Yamaguchi brand. The company has been credited with providing America with its roots to grow the enormously large trail bike industry we have today.
*Jointly owned with a Japanese motorcycle brand.
For a brief time just over 100 years ago, Indian Motorcycle was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Today, Indian is best known for making some of the best looking and riding cruisers you can buy. Whether it’s the venerable Chieftain or the badass Scout Sixty, there’s just something special about them.
Janus Motorcycles is an American manufacturer of small-displacement motorcycles in Goshen, Indiana. The company was founded in 2011 by Richard Worsham and Devin Biek, and has been delivering motorcycles since 2013. Worsham and Biek got started repairing, restoring, and tuning vintage pedal-type mopeds through Biek’s company – Motion Left Mopeds – a manufacturer of aftermarket performance parts for vintage two-strokes. The moped business led to their interest in small, lightweight bikes, and helped develop business relationships with local component vendors.
Lightning Motorcycle Corp. is an American manufacturer of electric motorcycles. after participating in an electric Porsche race team, CEO and Founder Richard Hatfield started the company in 2006 in San Carlos, California. Lightning Motorcycle specializes in electric motorcycle R&D and production, with their new ‘LS-218’ EV bike being heralded as the fastest production motorcycle in the world.
This brand was initially created to compete in the MotoGP circuit and brought us some great innovations, most notably their patented slipper clutch featuring twin clutches. Their flagship electric race bike, the E1pc, had quite a successful racing career taking first place in the 2010 TT Zero event at the Isle Man TT, setting a new record for the track and division.
John Penton, an established American off-road motorcycle racer started Penton in the year 1968. The company provided rebadged bikes manufactured by KTM in Austria for American customers until ultimately folding in 1978.
Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company
The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company built all things with motors. Although they began as an automotive manufacturer, they provided vehicles in a large range from trucks, boats, fire trucks, trailers, bicycles, and – most importantly – motorcycles. The Pierce Four was the first four-cylinder motorcycle ever produced in USA, as most bikes of the time were V-twin variants. The company was based in Buffalo, New York, and business began in 1901, taking them all the way to 1938 when they closed their doors.
Ridley Motorcycle Company
Ever heard of a cruiser motorcycle featuring a continuously variable (CVT) transmission? Ridley Motorcycle Company sure has, because they made one in 1999 with the debut of their ‘Ridley Speedstar’ making it America’s first automatic motorcycle. The company began producing motorcycles in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995 and built bikes until before filing for bankruptcy in 2009. In early 2010, all of Ridley’s assets were sold at public auctions being acquired by Route 66 Ridley Motorcycles.
Simplex Manufacturing Corporation
Paul Treen started Simplex in New Orleans, Louisiana with an initial investment of $25. Simplex Manufacturing Corporation was the only manufacturer with roots in the deep south of America until Confederate Motorcycles came along and stole the show. They produced motorcycles between 1935 and 1975, and the brand followed their minimalistic philosophy with the bikes rarely seeing any design changes from 1935 onwards. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Thor was founded in 1901, in Aurora Illinois. They began their journey into the industry of motorcycles through producing Indian Motorcycles engines from 1901 to 1907, before moving to market their own motorcycles (until 1920) once the agreement came to an end.
Titan Motorcycle Company
When the Titan Motorcycle Company was founded in 1995 (Phoenix, Arizona), there was a shortage in the supply of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Titan Motorcycle Company took the initiative to fill the gap by customizing older models with all the parts available from the new models as many H-D riders were disassembling their new bikes to customize them anyways. The company went into two separate bankruptcy, the first in 2001 and second in 2007, leading them to ultimately close the doors to their shop.
Victory Motorcycles was an American motorcycle manufacturer with its final assembly facility in Spirit Lake, Dickinson County, northwestern Iowa, United States. Born in 1997, their first motorcycles entered production the following year. Eventually ceasing operations in 2017, Victory Motorcycles leave behind a complicated legacy that, at the very least, demonstrates how even Harley-Davidson could be outgunned and outrevved in the cruiser segment.
Z Electric Vehicle
Z Electric Vehicle Corporation (ZEV) is a currently active American electric scooter manufacturer and distributor based in Morgantown, West Virginia. The brand began its life in 2006; its original home being a garage that belonged to the founder, Darus Zehrbach Jr. When he realized there was an opportunity to sell his electric scooters to global markets, he began developing cost-effective alternatives taking us to the present day, where they claim their scooters have the longest range, and the most power available in the EV scooter market.
Zero Motorcycles Inc. (formerly Electricoross) is currently leading the charge when it comes to American-made electric motorcycles. Who better to design new technology for riders than a retired NASA engineer? Neal Saiki began the journey in 2006; bringing us to the current day where Zero Motorcycles manufactures a sizable lineup of electric motorcycles consumers can choose from, most notably the new Zero SR/S – a street bike style EV motorcycle designed for speed and handling.