The Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Company was co-founded by brothers Dan and Dave Hanlon along with Linda Hanlon (Dave Hanlon's spouse) in Burnsville, Minnesota, USA. The company set as its mission to design and manufacture American-made cruiser and touring motorcycles. The company secured the motorcycle names from the past of Excelsior and Henderson previously owned by Ignatz Schwinn of the Schwinn companies, and proceeded to design and manufacture OEM proprietary motorcycles with design originality of the former Excelsior and Henderson motorcycles.
From 1997 to 1998, the company constructed a factory in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. The factory was equipped for a capacity of 10,000 motorcycles per year, and, with a few minor assembly and finishing line changes, would have had a capacity of 20,000.
Excelsior-Henderson introduced it first production model, the Super X, in December 1998, and commenced production in early 1999. The company developed the Super X motorcycle as a new vehicle, including a new engine, frame, and all related drive and styling components, adopting styling from the earlier Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles from the 1905-1931 timeframe. The company established 140 dealers throughout the United States. The motorcycles averaged an MSRP around $18,500. Via the assembly line, the company produced for retail sale approx. 1900 motorcycles in various configurations; 1161 units in model year 1999, and 720 units in model year 2000. In total, the company produced an estimated 1950 motorcycles, which would include motorcycles produced and not designed for retail dealer sales; such as dealer promotional bikes, test prototypes and non-assembly line produced motorcycles.
With a waiting list for a popular Harley-Davidson model at up to two years, Excelsior-Henderson planned to capitalize on unfulfilled demand. During this same timeframe, additional companies (OEMs and after-market custom bikes) had also decided to enter the industry, with most of them later succumbing. Noteworthy are the Indian Motorcycle revivals, which invested an estimated $240 million, and the Polaris Victory motorcycle launch, which invested an estimated $200 million.
Excelsior-Henderson, having spent $100 million in capital over a seven year period and still several years from profitability, was unable to raise additional capital by late 1999. Therefore, on December 21, 1999, Excelsior-Henderson filed for reorganization under Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code. As an outcome of the process, the company was sold to a Florida investment group, which later filed for reorganization. Production of motorcycles never commenced.
There is an official Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles website that maintains information and links about the company and motorcycles.
- Truett, Richard (4 March 1999). "Excelsior-Henderson Super X". Orlando Sentinel.
- Holmstrom, Darwin (April 2002). "The Strange Saga of Exelsior-Henderson". Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine.
- "Exelsior-Henderson". Inc. Magazine. 1 January 2001.
- Wehrwein, Sven (September 2010). "Wipeout". Twin Cities Business Magazine.