2012-08-23 13:44:58+0000
  • Make:
  • Iver Johnson
  • Model:
  • Model 15-7
  • Year:
  • 1915

An American made motorcycle in production for one year in 1915. The Iver Johnson Model 15-7 had a v-twin 1,016 cc (62 ci) engine and a top speed of 60 mph (97 km/h).

The Iver Johnson Company motorcycle division was born with the conversion of a business that had been manufacturing bicycles for 23 years prior. The Iver Johnson motorcycle was produced by the Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. A successful manufacturer of firearms, Iver Johnson entered the bicycle business in the 1880s, and in 1910 began to manufacture a single-cylinder motorcycle. In 1913 the firm expanded their line to include a V-twin. Proud of their reputation for working to the highest standards, the company attached their founder's name to the new product and adopted the slogan "Mechanically Perfect" for their motorized two-wheelers.

There are similarities between the company's motorcycle and the bicycle that preceded it. The arch in the frame above the engine closely follows the truss design that Iver Johnson pioneered with their popular bicycle. This frames geometry gives the sculpted fuel tanks a distinctive style. Its sophisticated paint scheme, gray-and-black enamel with polished nickel furthered the image of the Iver Johnson as "the aristocrat among motorcycles.

Mechanically, the lver Johnson's 62 ci engine is notably different than the other V-twins of its day. The most significant feature being the flywheel assembly and the ignition sequence. An arrangement of two separate crankpins enables the pistons to travel in a synchronized manner, each piston reaching the top of its cylinder simultaneously with the other. Ignition is evenly spaced and (like a vertical twin) accomplishes a smooth delivery of power to the rear wheel.

Iver Johnson was under-geared in terms of the competition and still used the old-fashioned bicycle pedal start, from the start they were at a significant disadvantage in the marketplace.It had also become evident that, despite its "aristocratic" reputation, the mechanical complexity of the Iver Johnson was beyond the repair skills of the average rider.

Suffering a decline in bicycle and motorcycle sales, the Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works discontinued production in 1916. Bringing an end to many years of bicycle and motorcycle production. Ultimately, the arms division of the business was growing so rapidly, that to meet demand, management decided to focus on that.

It is estimated that fewer than six examples of the Model 15-7 twin-cylinder machine have survived. A fine example can be seen in person at the Otis Chandler Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife in Oxnard, California.

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