Excelsior-Henderson Website Is Launched

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Remember the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company, the exciting Minnesota start-up that burst on the motorcycle OEM scene before going bust in the early 1990s? It was a compelling story about a small group of enthusiasts who challenged the major manufacturers and captured the hearts and minds of riders and investors before running out of cash.

Don’t get me wrong. The company’s not back, as far as I know, but it’s remembered on a new website developed by Dan Hanlon, one of the company’s founders. The website is http://www.excelsiorhenderson.com. You can see it here.

The Hanlon brothers, Dan and Dave, lit a fire of enthusiasm among riders and investors that burned from suburban Minneapolis to Wall Street to the UK, as they raised funds to develop the largest production motorcycle built (1800cc) at the time. Unfortunately, they  ran out of money before they could really shift E-H from a development company to a production business, and they weren’t able to build more than a few thousand bikes.

It was an exciting time, and I had the opportunity to write several stories about the company as it struggled from developmental milestone to milestone, raising capital as it went along, before it missed some steps and was forced into bankruptcy. The company’s liquidation during bankruptcy proceedings is a special story in itself.

This site is described as the “Official Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company” website. It’s created and managed as a “public service to accurately and completely preserve the history and heritage of Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles,” from the earliest beginnings in 1876 up to today.

The website notes: “Throughout history there are Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles made–sometimes under different and separate nameplates and different owners–and we are inclusive of all periods of time, from the Henderson Brothers and Schwinn ownership timeframe to the more recent early 1990s Hanlon led revival.”

Interestingly, it continues, “…and possibly more in the future.” I asked Dan if that means there are plans, or at least ideas bubbling somewhere, about a new Excelsior-Henderson venture, but he didn’t reply in time for this post. I’ll let you know when I hear from him.

(In a later e-mail, Dan Hanlon said the site was developed in response to requests from riders, former employees, and interested followers of E-H. “Just had a lot of requests over the years to put something together as a public service for the riders, Road Crew, etc.,” he wrote, “so several former employees helped put (it) together and I underwrote the cost.”)

The site contains historical information, technical material, event details for riders, and merchandising opportunities. You can buy everything from bikes to books.

For example, Dan is using the site to sell his book, “The American Dream,” which is his version of the Hanlon-Big X story. It’s not complete, in my opinion, but it’s very interesting, just the same. Read my 2003 review of the book here.

Another beginning for E-H? Maybe, maybe not. But the new website is an interesting effort to keep alive the Excelsior-Henderson traditions. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 952/893-6876.

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One Response to “Excelsior-Henderson Website Is Launched”

  1. Here’s Another Excelsior-Hendeson Website « Dealernews Blog Says:

    […] the Excelsior-Henderson motorcycle mystique. Here is the site, and you can read the post about it here. That posting drew lots of visitors, in part, I’m told, because of the existence of another […]

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