1909 Reading Standard

| 7/19/2011 10:04:04 AM

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Editor’s note: Welcome to National Treasures, where we’ll be featuring many of the amazing vintage motorcycles on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. Of course, nothing beats viewing the museum’s amazing vintage motorcycle collection with your own eyes, so be sure to visit the National Motorcycle Museum website and plan your trip today. 

1909 reading standard 1 
1909 Reading Standard on display at the National Motorcycle Museum,
Anamosa, Iowa.

Located in the hills of eastern Pennsylvania, Reading Standard built some of the most interesting American motorcycles between 1903 and 1922. Its advertising slogan was "Tested in the Hills."

Early Reading models had side valve engines designed by Charles F. Gustafson before he transferred to the Indian Motorcycle Co., and when the Readings appeared they were little more than Indian copies with a Thor motor.

1909 reading standard 2 

The company began building its own design of single-cylinder motorcycles in 1906. These were the first flathead motorcycle engines offered by an American motorcycle manufacturer. V-twins like the museum's example arrived in 1908. Early examples sported a more conventional F-head (overhead intake, side exhaust) configuration with the valves on the left side of the front cylinder, but on the right side of the rear cylinder. These Reading Standard V-twins displaced 722cc.

Jeff Homan
10/21/2011 6:09:23 PM

The machine shown in the photos of the twin cylinder Reading Standard in your museum is not a 1909 model but a 1908 model, the first year the company produced a twin cylinder. I know because I have an original 1909 R-S twin cylinder and I also have an extensive collection of original R-S factory literature.

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