Home WORLD Pierce 1912 – America’s First Four-Cylinder Motorcycle

Pierce 1912 – America’s First Four-Cylinder Motorcycle

The Pierce Four was the first four-cylinder motorcycle produced in the United States.The model is included in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Classic Bikes and Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.

source/image: yesterdays

Touting its inline-four engine as “vibrationless”, Pierce sold the motorcycle for $325, rising to $400 by 1913, which was expensive at the time, making it popular with “more prosperous sportsmen”.

image: JAWA TINO

The engine was used as a stressed member of the frame, and the large diameter tubing (3.5 inches) both increased the frame strength, and made manufacture of the frame far simpler, with fewer fussy parts to braze up.


Pierce redesigned the FN engine as a 43 cu-in. (707cc) capacity, a ‘square’bore/stroke (2.5×2.5 inches), and a T-head sidevalve topend, which meant intake and exhaust valves were positively operated – a big improvement over the FN, with its ‘automatic’ inlet valves.

The first models of 1909 had no clutch and a single speed, but the next year a two-speed transmission and clutch were added. The 275-pound machine was good for 60 MPH, which was excellent performance at that date. The Pierce 4 was America’s first four-cylinder motorcycle, and a very advanced machine.