Launch Of Official Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles Website

Usually, you launch a website to support a product or service, but there are no Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles being produced since 1999. Henderson produced 4-cylinder motorcycles from 1912 to 1931 with a brief brand revival in 1994 when the Hanlon brothers Dan & Dave (no relation with the Hanlon Brothers from Mean Street Products) secured the rights to the defunct trademark. The Hanlon’s were able to raise a capital of $100 million to launch the company, but ran out of cash ($30 million to be precise) in 1999 and the company filed for bankruptcy. It was the last chapter of the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles story.

Still, Dan Hanlon thinks that the defunct brand deserves and needs an “Official Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company” website to preserve the history and heritage of all Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles. Will be covered all brand history from the Henderson Brothers to the Schwinn ownership  to the failed 1990’s Hanlon led revival. The site will be interactive, requiring readers participation for stories, pictures, replacement parts and will list Excelsior-Henderson owner meets and rallies. And if you wonder if this website could be an introduction/test/forum to evaluate the opportunity to re-launch the brand. Officially, absolutely not. But the motorcycle industry manufacturing business is full of deaths followed by revivals. So, you never know….

18 Responses to “Launch Of Official Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles Website”

  1. 1 Greg May 28th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Not the time to re-launch a manufacturing company. Or maybe it’s the best time when others are down.

  2. 2 Woody May 28th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Who owns the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle name now? (Hopefully, the creditors)

  3. 3 john f May 28th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I only invested $40 thousand and the BASTARDS folded.
    Deep down I think that planed on screwing every one they could.
    Now how much money do they have?????
    I don’t have any retirement

  4. 4 Ryan May 28th, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Heard at the time that the brothers were investigated for stealing some company assets just before filing for bankruptcy. Anyone knowing about this?

  5. 5 Lyle May 28th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    No relation to the Indian 4 speed overdrive Hanlon either.

  6. 6 deadwood May 28th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Don’t overlook the fact that along with the failures everyone consistenly points out, Excelsior-Henderson had its share of successes along the way as well. As an owner of three of these unique machines, I have a lot of admiration for the tenacity it took to bring a new proprietary motorcycle design to market. The challenges these guys faced were enormous. The push back from industry stalwarts relentless. Almost no one I knew inside the industry ever thought production would be acheived. I have never seen the EH of the 90’s as a failure. I still don’t. I guess EH is the “Tucker” of the motorcycle world in my eyes. The bikes are both aesthetically pleasing and are standing the test of time. During the Sturgis Rally this past year I rode one of mine nearly 4k miles on my 10 day journey and never picked up a wrench. I say that is pretty damn good for a 10 year old bike of any brand. The new website will help preserve the rich legacy of what was and what might have been. And who knows? It might even ignite a fire in the souls of other dreamers with the vision and determination to reach out and at least try. Is it not better to have tried and come up short than to never have tried. Ride on Excelsior-Henderson. The future is not set.

  7. 7 Mad River Motor Company May 28th, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    #1229 is the best motorcycle I’ve ever owned – and though the world tends to hate it (people will say things about my bike no one would dare say about another) there is nothing like rocking the motorcycle equivilent of a custom delorean or Tucker

  8. 8 Woody May 29th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I don’t think anyone is disparaging the later bikes themselves, just questioning the business “situations” behind them at the time. I thought they were cool as hell and was sorry to see it fold, but the numbers didn’t seem to make it possible from the start. Seems the guv’mints fell all over themselves giving money to the cause, a concept we’re currently perfecting in Wash. DC 😉

  9. 9 deadwood1783 May 30th, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Wait up there!!! Woody. Nothing at all personal here!! But it is THE BUSINESS PLAN as well as the MOTORCYCLE that has been vindicated with the passage of time. Dan’s dream became a reality despite the longest of odds. The fact that production ever occurred is more unlikely than you or I hitting the lottery. Milestone driven funding based on a solid business plan. Thats why the State of MN bought in. They believed in the the BUSINESS PLAN! The MC Industry press had a field day at the expense of EH by acting just like the national media and focusing on the negative. As somewhat of an industry insider I know first hand just how hard a large industry stalwart pushed to see to it that some major suppliers would not sell to or supply the upstart Excelsior-Henderson with critical parts driving startup costs skyward. The barriers to market entry were truely immense. And the above 30 million short quote is in error as well. The Senior Management team considerd 160 million in baseline funding as the minimum amount of funding needed to compete AND survive. The acheivments of the Company will most likely never be repeated in the lifetime of anyone alive today. To conceive and produce a brand new proprietary motorcycle from dream to reality without a corporate sugardaddy. Not likely. That is one of the most dismal statements I have ever made. Dan Hanlon and company brought a proprietary motorcycle design and manufacturing company to life with true American Spirit and sheer willpower against all odds. I’m happy to see Dan rejoin the continuing saga of Excelsior-Henderson with the launching of the new website. Check it out. “CLONING IS FOR SHEEP”

  10. 10 Doc Robinson May 30th, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Hmmnnn … As a bike journo I got toI test ride one at Sturgis the year they were released. I thought it was a pretty damn good bike and the factory rep who accompanied me did some impressive tricks on it such as monos and leaving lots of rubber down on holeshots. I loved the look, was rapt that they hadn’t tried to copy any other brand but did a redux (in a sense of earlier Excelsior-Hendersons) and thought it rode very well indeed. Would I have considered owning one? Yep. Then there’s the down side with the founders having an oil painting portrait of their good selves up in the company foyer even before – if I remember the timing right – they even had finished making one motorcycle. And of course the road leading to the factory was named Hanlon Drive or some such. Less money spent on glorifying themselves and put into the business may have seen them survive. The Greeks had a word for it, “hubris”.

  11. 11 maroco May 30th, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Impressive motorcycle.

  12. 12 Woody May 30th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    deadwood, I must respectfully disagree as far as their “success”, but since I wasn’t an investor or affected taxpayer I guess it’s not a big deal to me. From what I remember at the time it was going on, tons of money were spent on champagne surroundings instead of building on success and living within the company’s means, i.e. nothing to sell yet. No offense taken BTW, this is just talking with our feet up as far as I’m concerned 🙂

  13. 13 Joshua May 31st, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Tucker my ass. The Hanlon Bros. didn’t do anything innovative. They rode the wave of nostalgia that was cresting at a time when the industry was experiencing record double-digit growth, exploiting an old brand that lasted only 19 years but had been defunct for nearly 70 before the Hanlons co-opted the “heritage” and spun it like it was their own. They actually may have succeeded if both of them weren’t such major league, arrogant assholes. There were many allegations of the brothers being little more than flimflam men who happened to be better at the game than guys like Phil Zhangie (sp?), who made a trademark grab of Indian, which largely worked, and then proceeded to allegedly defraud scores of investors and buyers who plunked down big deposits for bikes never built. And, yes, there were allegations that the company’s assets, which were substantial, mysteriously walked before EH’s many creditors could get a dime. I seriously doubt that any Hanlon driven, directly or indirectly, “Official EH” site is any real kind of homage or salute to American motorcycling ancestry; rather, it smells like a new wrinkle in an old plan, a veiled attempt at resurrecting branding opportunities, boost the value of extant bikes, and gradually grow interest in relaunching the company. Perhaps this site should think twice before it becomes an unwitting party to what may be the beginning of just another shameless plot to allegedly bilk more money from so many people and institutions. Fool us once…

  14. 14 just my opinion Jun 1st, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I don’t know anything of the so called Flem flam-ing that did or did not happen. But what I will say is that this company was a total flop. How can anyone claim success when you have spent
    ONE HUNDRED MILLION dollars and ended broke? And lets not forget this all happened at a time when people were spending huge amounts of money to be part of the motorcycle community. Allot of builders were making money in those times. And some of those builders are still around and making money.
    At the same time these business geniuses were spending a hundred million and going broke you had companies like.
    American Iron Horse
    American Eagle
    Big Dog
    Milwaukee Iron
    Boss Hoss
    Redneck engineering
    and others and they all made money for a period of time and most telling is that 50% of those companies mentioned are still in business, and even those companies mention that are no longer in business lasted longer that EH. Lets be totally honest being out lasted by American Iron Horse does not speak of success.

  15. 15 Conrad Nicklus Jun 4th, 2010 at 9:15 am


    …”Lets be totally honest being out lasted by American Iron Horse does not speak of success.”…

    That was probably one of the most well put comments I have EVER read on the blog!! Touche’

    Conrad Nicklus

  16. 16 Matt Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Before anyone goes around placing blame on a “failed” company, you should probably research the facts a bit.
    The Hanlons did not “flimflam” anyone or anything. They set out to start, from scratch, an American made motorcycle company. With which many believe they succeeded. Ever ridden one of their bikes? Finest riding machine you will sit on even though it is currently a 12 year old design. No lie. Go try one. You will be shocked and amazed at what this motorcycle can do.
    As for them selling off assets before creditors could get hold of them… you may want to Google an entity called EH Partners started by a real-life “flimflam” artist named George Heaton. That is the asshole that parted out the factory and has yet to make a single payment on his $1 on the $1 offer to buy Excelsior Henderson out of bankruptcy.
    There are stories of people touring Harley Davidson factories, during the time of Excelsior Henderson’s rise, and seeing posters of Excelsior motorcycles with phrases such as “This Is The Enemy” plastered over the Excelsior images. A Tucker job? Duh!
    This company was forced into bankruptcy and had absolutely no say as to how or in what direction their bankruptcy would take.
    Over-leveraged? Maybe. But what is Harley’s current debt load?
    Too big too fast? Maybe. But at what pace would have been acceptable and also profitable?
    Taj Ma Hal headquarters? Ever seen Harley’s headquarters? Excelsior Henderson’s building was constructed and furnished for less than the cost of a single Walmart store.
    Until you have read and researched the rise and fall of the company, making wild accusations about guilt and failure are just plain stupid.
    And, YES, I do own one of their motorcycles and I do ride it every single chance I get. 25,000+ miles currently.

  17. 17 Mikey Sep 4th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    One more thing the misinformed naysayers are perhaps not aware of: The Hanlon brothers and many family members lost much of their fortunes as well. They were heavily invested in the company, as much as anyone. If they were flimflam men, would they have invested in a venture (that was eventually raped by Heaton and the EH partners)? You’d have to be a fool to think these guys weren’t in it all the way, heart and wallet! I only wish they had succeeded long enough to put a dent in Harley’s sales. I’ve owned many bikes, including Harley Davidson, and my EH is by far the best.

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