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4. Flying Merkel
Although rare, it’s hard to attend a vintage motorcycle show and not see a Flying Merkel. Designed and built by AMA Hall-of-Famer, Joseph Merkel, the Flying Merkel was an early leader of American motorcycle innovation, winning numerous victories circa 1910. Merkel utilized mono-shock rear suspension when most bikes had no suspension. And while the front appeared to be an unsprung trussed fork, it was actually telescopic, using dual coil springs. Sold to Miami Cycle Manufacturing in 1911, the brand continued until the onset of WWI, after which it did not return, the models produced becoming fodder for future collectors and restorers.