or 1906 they introduced a Racycle motorcycle equipped with a Thor single-cylinder engine. During this same period, Racycle bicycles used mostly Thor hubs. By 1910, the Racycle motorcycle was using a very similar-looking engine but now with “Racycle” cast into the crankcase. The earliest machines used the engine cylinder as the frame’s seat tube.Several years before buying the Merkel line, the Miami Cycle and Manufacturing Company had built its own motorcycles. In about 1905
Miami Cycle must have been familiar with Merkel as a competitor—and an imposing competitor at that—long before purchasing the company. Merkel motorcycles were technologically advanced with chain drive (on many models) instead of a belt, front and rear suspension, and a relatively stout frame that did not use the engine as the seat tube. I have found no information about Racycle motorcycles being actively raced, but my sources agree that Merkel’s machines were renowned for their competition successes. In the end, Miami Cycle abandoned Racycle motorcycles in favor of the Flying Merkel in 1911.
So it was that, from about 1906 to about the end of the teens, motorcycles were being constructed in the Middletown factory known as the Home of the Racycle. A review of advertising from the early teens suggests the company lost enthusiasm for its Racycle bicycles. After 1913, little to no advertizing championed the Racycle in particular. Instead, ads were taken out singing the virtues of the entire line of Miami Cycle’s bicycles: Racycle, Miami, Hudson, and, surprisingly, the Flying Merkel! (ca. 1916.) It appears that the Flying Merkel name was used on a bicycle as well as single- and twin-cylinder motorcycles. One could speculate that the absence of Racycle-specific advertizing indicates that the motorcycle business was taking center stage from the Racycle bicycle line.