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December 9, 2011

Flying Merkel one cylinder

I scanned some cool family photos that I inherited, and a lot of them aren’t labeled. The above photo is most likely my Great Uncle in Flint, Michigan. The woman sitting on the bike below is my Great Grandmother (Casement) Brown, also probably in Flint.

Can anyone tell me the make and approximate year of the motorcycle?

Flying Merkel one cylinder



  1. Judging by the unique fuel-tank-under-the-frame, the belt drive, front “suspension”, one-cylinder engine and the clutch assembly….I’d say you have a 1909-1911 Flying Merkel there.

  2. How the hell you know that? I knew I could count on my Michigan buddies.

    The original belt-drive!

  3. Yes, I am a geek. Gentle correction, though…that link you posted is a 1912 two-cylinder. 1912 was the year that production focused on V-twins (I had to look that up), which is why I say 1909-1911 for your family bike when Merkel was making primarily one-cylinders. This is more like it (minus the headlamp and leather bag thing): http://motorbike-search-engine.co.uk/classic_bikes/flying_merkel.jpg

  4. Eventually it would be fun to let iPhoto’s facial recognition loose on a big set of family photos. You’d need them all online to allow your relatives a chance to tag a few, but you could crowd source it if you had some patience. Currently iPhoto doesn’t accommodate web-based tagging (?), but something for the future perhaps.

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