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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bike History: The Crocker Motorcycle

Expert Author Darnell A
The tale of the Crocker motorbike starts in 1882 with the birth of Albert Crocker. We only know a little about his earlier childhood days, even so the tale significantly picks up with his passion in engineering and subsequent recruiting by the Aurora Automatic Machine Company of nearby Illinois, in the style and design section of the bike division. They have been producing the mighty Thor motorcycle back then, and Crocker wasn't merely appointed for his engineering acumen, but he also played as a competition race player (1907-08 season) and gained quite a few contests on top its V-twin machines. It is cited that he was friends with Oscar Hedstrom and George Hendee, concepts of the Indian Motorcycle Co., through his racing career, and a long friendship ensued.
According to "The Iron Redskin", Crocker stepped down from Thor in 1909 and worked for Indian. He was sent to San Francisco to handle the parts department of the manufacturing plant headed by "Hop" Hopkins, a famous motorbike personality at the time. The plant transferred him to Denver ten years after as branch manager; then he was off to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1924 to operate the Indian dealership in the region. He went on to dispense motorcycles all over the State. Crocker married Gertrude Jefford Hasha in 1925, widow of Eddie Hasha the well-known racer, and together they relocated to Los Angeles three years later to take control of the long-standing Freed Cycle Company. In combination with servicing and selling motorcycles, he ran an equipment shop included in the industry and offered Indian with crankpins and other small machined parts.
A racer and engineer in his own right, Paul Bigsby, signed up with the shop as a foreman. Both men shared a love of design, motorbikes, and racing. An overhead conversion kit for 101 Scouts and Chiefs was developed and marketed to great acclaim. Flat course races started to grow, and Al and Paul created a one cylinder Speedway racer to compete within this class of racing. Approximations contrast on the number of Speedway racer motorcycles developed, but the concluded total seems to be somewhere in 30 and 40.
They proceeded to create the famed Crocker V-twin later on in the 1930s, which gained outstanding popularity from all of those people who owned or operated or raced them. These days, they are the other Holy Grail of motorcycle collectors. Bigsby also gathered fame outside the motorcycle community with non-bike related products.
he motorcycle featured here is a 1933 Crocker Speedway Racer owned by Jerry Gendreau of Savanna, Illinois. This bike and others enhance the Iron Horse Social Club, a popular museum and bar and motorbike nirvana around town. Jerry became serious about old motorcycles in the past after looking at books related to vintage race motorcycles. He today owns flat trackers, hill climbers, drag racers, whatever. He can find the ownership of this bikes back to Sam Parriott, a noted racer and motorcycle enthusiast. Jerry owns a 1948 photo of Sam with this bike and a Crocker twin at the Rosemont, California, dry lakes, where the motorbike set a record of 120 miles-per-hour, and the Crocker twin set a speed record of 129.49 mile per hour. How cool is that!
He bought the motorbike around 15 years ago at the AMCA meet in Davenport, Iowa, from Glen Bator, who had restored it earlier. The motorcycle is fitted with a 30-112", 500 cc, over head valve, one-cylinder engine that thumps out about 40 horsepower. Jerry's racer still maintains some of its genuine paint, and yes it appears like its moving 100 miles-per-hour simply fixed on its stand. He's proud of its history, and the fact that it is a rare machine just contributes to its aura.
Before heading out, when swapping anything on your bike from side mirrors, grips, fenders, Z bars, rims, or anything, make sure they are made from the toughest and highest quality materials to ensure your safety. We get one shot at life, so drive safely and happy biking!
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