Flanders "4" Belt Drive Single
Flanders motorcycles were produced from 1911 to 1914.
Motown was making music long before Doo Wop rock and roll, and it issued from the exhaust pipe of the Flanders motorcycle. The handsome machine first rolled out of the Detroit-based Flanders Motorcar Company in 1911. With its “whale shaped” underslung gas tank and graceful tiller handlebars, it was officially labeled the Flanders 4, referring to the horsepower produced by its 29.49 ci (483 cc) single-cylinder powerplant. The engine had a bore of 3.25 inches and a stroke of 3.6 inches. It was a motorcycle that certainly made waves upon its introduction.
A large advertisement appearing on page eight of the Sunday July 7, 1912, issue of the Galveston Daily News stated, “Flanders 4 Motorcycle Has Them All On The Run. $175 f.o.b. Factory - Magneto Included of Course. What an upsetting of prices the arrival of the Flanders 4 Motorcycle has occasioned. Why, the other makers seem to be in a panic… we can build 60,000 a year at a $175 price.”
The low price was correct but the predicted massive output was rather optimistic. Today, remaining examples are few and far between.
The concept behind the Flanders was based on getting the most bang for your buck by designing a reliable and comfortable machine with a price tag friendly to the pocket book, and substantially less than the competition. While it was value-priced it did not skimp on the refinements, as evidenced by the compression and rebound dual spring design of the front fork. Other features included an advanced Splitdorf magneto and an optional rear seat.
The Flanders 4 was an enterprise born of a largely successful automobile manufacturer, the Everitt-Metzger-Flanders Company, founded in 1908. Walter Flanders himself had been previously employed by Henry Ford and was said to be responsible for setting up the assembly line system that would make Ford an international success. Flanders also incorporated the principle of mass production into both his cars and bikes, thus lowering their price. Then in 1911 E-M-F was bought by the Studebaker Co. and the last of the Flanders motorcycles, in production for three short years, was produced in 1914.