Pierce Four at The Art of the Motorcycle exhibit in Memphis
|Manufacturer||Pierce Motorcycle Company|
|Parent company||Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company|
|Engine||696 cc T-head inline-4 with compression release|
|Bore / stroke||2-1/2 x 2-1/2 in.|
|Top speed||60 mph (97 km/h)|
|Power||4 hp or 7 hp|
|Frame type||31⁄2 inch tubing|
|Suspension||Front: Leading link fork
|Tires||28×2.5 in. pneumatic|
|Weight||275 lb (125 kg) (dry)
|Related||FN Four, Henderson Four|
The Pierce Four was the first four-cylinder motorcycle produced in the United States. The model is included in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Classic Bikes and Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Touting its inline-four engine as "vibrationless", Pierce sold the motorcycle for $325, rising to $400 by 1913, which was expensive at the time, making it popular with "more prosperous sportsmen".
Development and design
Percy Pierce, president of The Pierce Motorcycle Company, created as a subsidiary of Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company, had acquired a European 1908 FN Four and brought it to America to disassemble and study. The company's engineering team used it as a "reference" for at least part of the two years they took to develop the Pierce Four. The results were innovative, with a stressed member engine and shaft drive, and a frame that both hid the control cables and held oil and gasoline internally. The large diameter tubing is said to have increased strength and reduced parts count for less expensive manufacturing. Unlike FN's engine, the Pierce had a T-head, and cam-driven intake valves rather than automatic (opened by atmospheric pressure).
Early models had no clutch and fixed gearing, like the competing FN Four, but this was soon corrected in 1910 when a two-speed transmission was fitted.
Fate of Pierce Motorcycle Company
The motorcycle is said to have cost more to build than its sale price and eventually bankrupted Pierce Motorcycle Company after fewer than 500 were built.
Exhibitions and collections
The Pierce Four was exhibited in the Guggenheim Museum's The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition in Las Vegas. Examples are held in permanent collections of several museums, including the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Alabama,Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum in England and the Dreamcycle Motorcycle Museum in Sorrento, British Columbia.
- American Motorcyclist 2005, p. 71
- Silverman 2013
- Duckworth 2012, p. 30
- Hodgdon, p. 28
- Hodgdon 1976, p. 27
- Dumitrache 2011
- Clayton 2008
- Hodgdon 1976, p. 34
- Edwards 1997, p. 43
- de Cet (2002, p. 360) states that Pierce "did not copy" the FN Four but "its influence...was apparent".
- Clayton (2008) states that fuel was carried in the top tube and seat tube. Oil was carried in the down tube.
- Motorcycle Hall of Fame states that (steel?) tubes were internally coated with copper.
- d'Orléans 2013
- 2003 Art of the Motorcycle Show Photo Gallery, Motorcycle USA, retrieved 2013-10-28
- 1912 Pierce Four, National Motorcycle Museum
- Classic Bikes: 1911 Pierce Four, American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame
- "2011 Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum: 1910 Pierce Four", Photo Gallery (Motorcycle USA), retrieved 2013-10-28
- "1911 Pierce Four", American Motorcyclist 59 (7), July 2005: 71
- Clayton, Graham (March–April 2008), "America's early in-line fours", Motorcycle Mojo
- de Cet, Mirco, ed. (2002). The Illustrated Directory of Motorcycles. St. Paul, MN USA: Salamander Books. ISBN 0-7603-1417-9.
- Duckworth, Mick, ed. (2012), Motorcycle: The Definitive Visual History, Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978-0756690526
- Dumitrache, Alina (May 23, 2011), 1910 American Pierce Four Wins Villa d'Este Motorcycle Best of Show
- Edwards, David (August 1997), "Four-runners: the essential guide to inline-fours", Cycle World: 42–43
- Hodgdon, Ted A. (1976), Motorcycling's Golden Age of the Fours (third ed.), Lake Arrowhead, California: Bagnall Publishing Company, ASIN B0006CR2Q2
- 1910 Pierce, How Stuff Works
- Motorcycle Hall of Fame (2010), 1911 Pierce Four: When two cylinders were not enough, American Motorcyclist Association
- d'Orléans, Paul (April 4, 2013), "Bicycles and a Pierce 4", The Vintagent, retrieved 2013-10-21
- Silverman, Daniel (January 23, 2013), "Retro: 1911 Pierce Four-Cylinder", Ride Apart
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pierce Four.|
- High resolution images, Copake Auction