1914 Flying Merkel
"The Merkel" brand began as a bicycle manufacturer in 1902 and produced its first motorcycle in 1903. The Merkel brand produced many innovative firsts like front and rear suspensions and engine designs that would be later copied by others including Indian and Harley Davidson. The company adopted the slogan "All roads are smooth to the Flying Merkel." Other slogans to attract buyers were: "The Most Powerful Motorcycle in the World" and "If it passes you, it's a Flying Merkel." The signature orange paint is the only color it was available in throughout its production which ceased in 1917. The company produced both road bikes and racing bikes and was competitive in both markets. In 1914, a "Flying Merkel" won the national endurance run from Chicago to St. Louis.
Flying Merkel motorcycles are rare and highly sought after. Collectors of vintage American Motorcycles appreciate their style and innovative designs which contributed to all manufactures that followed. Though many companies (upwards of 300) produced motorcycles in the early years, few contributed as much as Flying Merkel due to its ahead of the time engineering. A 1914 Flying Merkel V-Twin was listed in the catalog for $305 against Ford's Model-T with a price tag of $650. Within 3 years, the Ford's price dropped to only $345 against the Merkel's $260. Through the number of Flying Merkel motorcycles made is not known, it has been suggested as few as 50 exist today. This motorcycle is an exceptional example of early American engineering.