First Motorcycles in Hawaii

Invented in Germany in 1885, the motorcycle debuted in Hawaii in February 1901. Mr. Whitman, manager of the Tribune bicycle agency, took the very first spin around downtown Honolulu and Waikiki and described his experience:

I went over to Alakea street and turned on the lowest power possible. It was my idea that the wheel would make a jump so I prepared myself. Instead …, it started out as a man would do when pushiinng on the pedals, and then kept going faster … I didn’t bump, even a little bit.

At Emma Street, when I reached the steep grade, the machine went more slowly and climbed the hill without trouble. After that, I took a spin abour the city and out to Waikiki. Everything worked splendidly.

Honolulu dealers Schuman Carriage Co. and E.O. Hall & Sons sold Reading-Standard Motorcycles, Iver-Johnson Truss Frame Bicycles with Smith motor wheels (basically a bike with a motor), and the Big X Twin.

– Alice Kim

“Arrived by ‘Hilonian,’ a large consignment of the famous Reading-Standard Motorcycles. E. O. Hall & Son, Ltd.”
Reading-Standard Motorcycles
Evening bulletin, August 25, 1909, Page 9

“A drive of five to fifteen miles in a spring wagon eats up time and takes a horse away from work. The same distance is a joke to a man on an R-S Motorcycle.”
Reading-Standard Motorcycles
Hawaiian star, Oct. 20, 1910, Page 4

1913 Models of Indian Motorcycle
The Garden Island, Nov. 26, 1912, Page 3

“Saturday’s the day to advertise your motorcycle in Star-Bulletin want ads because the young men who want a motorcycle for spot cash at a bargain price have Sunday at their disposal. Experience shows that a Saturday motorcycle ad on the Star-Bulletin want page gets results in a hurry.”
Advertise Motorcycle
Honolulu star-bulletin, April 10, 1914, Page 14

“Why not enjoy the beauties of Hawaii on a Smith motor wheel? Complete with Iver-Johnson Truss Frame Bicycle. Schuman Carriage Co., Ltd.”
Smith Motor Wheel
Honolulu star-bulletin, August 12, 1916, Page 20

The Big X Twin. Schuman Carriage Company, Ltd.
Schuman Carriage Motorcycle
Honolulu star-bulletin, Oct. 13, 1917, Page 6, Image 20

Article from Chronicling America

“Motor Cycle Tried” (first column from the right)
Evening bulletin, February 15, 1901, Image 1