1913 Henderson Model B; Henderson Motorcycle Co; 1913; CMM347


1913 Henderson Model B

About this object

In 1911, brothers William G. and Thomas W. Henderson established the Henderson Motorcycle Company in Detroit, Michigan, and constructed their first prototype. Production was launched and in January, 1912, with the 7hp, 934cc (57ci), inlet-over-exhaust, in-line, four-cylinder Model A. Although the prototype utilised belt drive, the production model was chain-driven and featured an Eclipse clutch. It featured a distinctively long 65 inch (1.65m) wheelbase. It was equipped with a folding hand starting crank and was the third four-cylinder motorcycle to be manufactured ion the U.S.

Although it was expensive at US$325, it was considered a very desirable machine. The long wheelbase made it comfortable and stable at speed and it was the largest and fastest motorcycle of its time, making it popular with sport riders and police departments. Its build quality and reliability were underscored by one Carl Stearns Clancy, who rode 18,000 miles around the world on a 1912 model, partly financing his journey by submitting articles and photographs to various motorcycling publications. It is believed that Clancy was the first person to motor around the world. A story of his feat was featured in the October 1913 issue of 'World Motorcycle Review'.

The Model B was launched in 1913 with revised girder forks, a lower seat position, a flat fuel tank in place of the previous cylindrical one and an improved brake. Like the 1912 model, it was single-speed. A two-speed rear hub was introduced in 1914 and an optional shorter frame became available in 1915 to provide a wheelbase of 58 inches (1.47m), which significantly improved its handling. To shorten the frame, the large foot board in front of the engine was removed and replaced with two smaller boards attached to the sides of the frame.

This example was acquired for the NZ Classic Motorcycles collection from a collector in Karaka, New Zealand, in April 2015, and purchased by Transport World in May 2016.


Henderson Motorcycle Co

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

USA, Michigan, Detroit

Object number


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