Bonhams Pioneer, Vintage
& Classic Motorcycle Auctions

Bonhams Motorcycle Department

1930 Henderson 1,301cc KJ Streamline Four

Date Published:
24 May 2019
OR, United States

For sale is my beloved 1930 Henderson KJ Streamline. Founded by Tom and William Henderson in Detroit in 1912, Henderson built nothing but four-cylinder motorcycles in its 19-year existence. Numerous detail improvements were made throughout the 1920s to ensure that the Henderson remained 'the finest motorcycle in the world'. Nevertheless, by the decade's end it had become obvious something better was needed to stay ahead of the pack. The result was the 'KJ', designed by ex-Harley-Davidson engineer, Arthur Constantine. Introduced in April 1929, the KJ reverted to 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) valve gear while incorporating a five-bearing crankshaft (replacing the old three-bearing item) and increased cylinder finning among a host of other improvements. In addition, the handsome newcomer boasted sleek, up-to-the-minute styling, earning itself the sobriquet 'the Streamline Henderson'. Producing 40bhp at 4,000rpm (45 horsepower in KL form) the Streamline Henderson proved exceptionally smooth and tractable, being capable of accelerating from 10mph to over 100mph in top gear. Sales were encouraging but with the Depression biting, Ignaz Schwinn decided to quit while he was ahead, ending production of all Henderson and Excelsior motorcycles in 1931. Bike is going for $45,580.