If you're wondering what prices the bikes made at last weekend's EJ Cole auction, then we can sum it up in two words: big bucks. We’ll be bringing you the top ten over the next few days.
Although Steve McQueen’s Cyclone didn’t quite break the million dollar mark, it did fetch $775,000, the highest genuine bid ever for a motorcycle at auction, which after the buyer’s premium was a price of $852,500 or £572,686 in real money.
The 1915 board tracker is one of a handful of surviving Cyclones built by the Joerns Motor Manufacturing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, which were pretty revolutionary in their day; when it made its debut in 1913, factory development riders JA McNeil and Larry ‘Cave Man’ Fleckenstein were timed at 108mph in a Minneapolis motordrome. The next year, McNeil was timed at 111.1mph at the Omaha, Nebraska, board track, which was nearly 20mph faster than the internationally recognised world record of 93.48mph, held by Indian. And, remember, this was over a hundred years ago! Officials at the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM) simply could not accept that a bike was capable of that speed and refused to ratify the record.
The Joerns Motor Manufacturing Company folded in 1916 – it simply didn’t have enough money and what capital it did, it ploughed into racing rather than production bikes. When new, this Cyclone would have cost $350 (approximately £235) against $275 for a Harley.
Steve McQueen owned some cool bikes, but they don’t get much better than this!