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Servi-Cycle 1945


Servi-Cycle from 1945. The concept of the motorcycle came from Paul Treen, a Harley-Davidson dealer in Baton Rouge. Paul Treen thought there was a demand for a very simple motocycle for young riders, but Harley-Davidson rejected the idea. Treen started his own business in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the late 1920s. The company 's name was Simplex Manufacturing Corporation. After a number of prototypes had been evaluated, Simplex began production in 1935, initially producing between twelve and fifteen units per week.

[img] To the left: 1935 Servi-Cycle. Over the years the Servi-Cycle relied on the same basic engine configuration: a single cylinder air-cooled 2-stroke developing 2 HP, which can power the little bike to 40 mph. The early model featured a direct drive; a belt from the crankshaft delivered drive to a centrifugal clutch which then relayed the drive to a large pulley on the rear wheel. Early machines needed a push start to get the little motor fired up, while stopping occurred via a switch on the handlebars that earthed the ignition system.

A foot operated clutch was added in 1941 and a full automatic transmission in 1953. Paul Treen would often visit the factory's tool shop and work with the engineers on new ideas himself. It resulted in continuous improvements to Simplex products instead of annual new model introductions. Simplex's minimalist philosophy was maintained throughout the company's history, whose designs changed little after 1935. By the 1950s Simplex's designs were primitive, leading to the end of Servi-Cycle and Automatic production in 1960. Simplex continued to make minibikes and karts using proprietary small engines until 1975, when Simplex went out of business. Treen had sold the company three years earlier, in 1972.