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1909 Royal Pioneer

The Royal Pioneer was a gentleman’s motorcycle built for reliability and smoothness, not built to a price.

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About 1901 Emil Hafelfinger and Charles Persons founded Royal Motor Works in New York City, later moved operations to Worcester, Massachusetts. Like many builders of the time, they built DeDion-Bouton-style single cylinder engines under license for their motorcycles. But all components of their motorcycles were made in Worcester along with sidecars, seats, carriers and a variety of other motorcycle accessories.

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In 1909 Royal introduced the Pioneer, a very well styled, advanced machine for the times that used their own engine design and chassis components. While most motorcycle engines of the period used the simple inlet over exhaust cylinder head design, Royal Motor Works innovated a pull rod overhead valve setup for improved flow and efficiency. The exposed valve train parts let you see how the design works, flowing exhaust through the frame to cool it.

Perhaps most unique and refined on the Pioneer are the controls for operation. Looking closely you’ll find four twist-grips on the bars; one for throttle, another for air intake. A third controls spark timing and the fourth lifted the exhaust valve serving as a compression release for starting. The fuel tank and other components are nickel plated, a quality touch. In addition Royal conceived a more compliant front fork, a first, the pneumatic “double action spring fork.”

  • Air-Cooled Vertical Single
  • Displacement: 30.5 Cubic Inches/500cc’s
  • Pull-Rod Valve Operation
  • Bosch Magneto Ignition
  • Oil Level Sight Glass
  • Brown & Barlow Carburetor
  • Four Horsepower
  • Pedal Crank Starting
  • Rear Coaster Brake
  • Watawata V-Belt Final Drive
  • Persons Rear Pulley
  • Double Action Pneumatic Fork
  • Persons Champion Seat
  • Rigid Rear Suspension
  • Wheels/Tires: 26 x 2.5” or 28 x 2.5”
  • Wheelbase: 56 Inches
  • Weight: 190 Pounds