Floyd Clymer at the Berthoud Museum

Posted on 30th November 2010 by JG Mashino in Motorcycle Info - Tags: , ,

Floyd Clymer and the Berthoud Museum Exhibit

The exhibit was advertised as Racing to the Top Floyd Clymer Motorcycle Mania.
The exhibit was a joke considering Floyd Clymer was raised in this little town.
At the age of 11 Floyd was a auto dealer in Berthoud selling Reo, Maxwell and Cadillac, it was 1906. In 1909 Floyd with his little brother embarked on a trip to Spokane, Washington by themselves in a Flanders 500 car as a promotional event. The car never made out of Wyoming, the brothers took the train to Spokane. There is a mural painted on the side of a downtown building depicting this event.

Floyd Clymer in Berthoud

He must have gotten board with selling autos, in his teenage years he spent most of his time racing his Excelsior motorcycle all over the region. By 1914 he was selling Excelsior and Harley Davidson motorcycles out of his Greely dealership and started publishing a little magazine called Motorcycle Topics. In 1916 he was the first winner of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb running an Excelsior with a side car. That same year he set two World records on a 2 mile dirt track as a member of the factory race team from Harley Davidson at the Dodge City 300.

In 1920 ranked as the National Side Car Champion he set many city to city route records like Denver to Chicago in 63 hours. It is said he once tried unsuccessfully to run a motorcycle up Longs Peak, I don’t think that could even be done today.
In the late 20’s Floyd Clymer moved to Denver and bought Mead Auto Cycle where he sold Harley, Indian, Henderson and Excelsior motorcycles. He was the largest motorcycle distributor between Chicago and the west cost.

After doing some time for mail fraud he bought the Al Crocker Indian dealership in LA and promoted his wears through Hollywood allowing them to use his bikes in films as long as he could use the images for publicly.

In 1938 he sold his Indian distribution and focused full time on publishing. In 1951 Clymer purchased Cycle Magazine and managed that until 1966 when he sold it for $350,000. He continued to write articles for various publications and served as a test rider for Popular Mechanics.

Back to the Museum Exhibit, the only thing that belonged to Floyd Clymer and was part of the exhibit was this letter dated 1929 from Floyd to John O’Connor of Western Motorcycling. Floyd Clymer letter dated 1929At the time Floyd was trying to gain support of Harley and others in the industry to promote the new motorcycle racing that was gaining public support.

Displayed also were three old motorcycles that had nothing to do with Floyd Clymer,

other than the fact he may have rode one a time or two.

These motorcycles were being displayed by local collector and restorer Russ White.

1929 Excelsior.

1929 Excelsior Motorcycle

1940 Indian Sport Scout.

1940 Indan Sport Scout

Electra Glide In Blue