America's first four-cylinder motorbike for sale

Ultra rare 1910 Pierce 688cc four goes under the hammer

THESE days the Americans almost exclusively make twin cylinder motorcycles  - but a rare pre-War four-cylinder bike is expected to make up to £80,000 at auction.

This 688cc Pierce was made in Buffalo, New York in 1910 and is America's first four-cylinder bike.

Auction house Bonhams is selling this bike, once described by its makers Pierce as 'vibrationless' and with 'motor car comfort.'

Pierce promised its bike would 'travel comfortably from a mere walking pace up to the speed of the motor car' - talk about shameless performance boasts!

As well as its unusual engine configuration (for its day, at least), the Pierce also features a novel tubular frame that houses the bikes fuel and oil. 

It's hard to believe but this bike, with its two-speed gearbox, was the cutting-edge sports bike of its day and took a string of wins in the popular city-to-city endurance races.

If you're wondering why Pierce isn't a more established name in the American motorcycling hall of fame it's because the brand struggled to convince a bargain-hunting public of the value of its high-spec bikes. In 1913 this bike was only marginally cheaper than the iconic Ford Model T, costing $400 new.

Pierce fours rarely turn up on the open market these days so Bonhams is expecting a lot of interest in this lot. It is the highlight of a collection of 60 bikes belonging to Tiberio Lonati, the Italian based CEO of the Santoni Group.

It goes under the hammer at the Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale on 17 October at The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Staffordshire County Showground. For more information visit Bonhams.