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Columbia Bike-1896  with Shaw Motor Kit -1916

Columbia Bike-1896 with Shaw Motor Kit -1916

Stanley Shaw established the Shaw Manufacturing Company in 1903. Operating out of an old drug store, Shaw sold Elgin and Waltham watches in the front of the store and built small gasoline engines in the back. In 1905 Mr. Shaw secured a patent for a small, air-cooled, 400cc engine that, when sold as a kit, could convert a standard bicycle into a motorcycle. He placed ads for the kit in the fairly new Popular Mechanics magazine, and business grew from there. Shaw continued to make the bicycle conversion kits until 1920 when the company decided to concentrate on farm equipment.


This Columbia Model 40 Men’s Bicycle has been turned into a motorcycle with a Shaw motor kit. While our bike has the optional pneumatic tires, this model would have come standard with airless tires, its outer casing and inner tube vulcanized together and glued to its period-correct wooden wheel rims. Note the leather link-belt attached to the rear wheel. This was provided with each Shaw kit as a way to compensate for different bike frame lengths; one would just simply add or remove the links as needed depending on their bicycle’s wheelbase.



Manufacturer: Columbia Mfg. Co. (bicycle) Shaw Manufacturing Company (engine)

Country of Origin: Westfield, Massachusetts, USA (bicycle) Galesburg, Kansas, USA (engine)

Engine: Shaw; air-cooled, 240cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke

Top Speed: 40 mph

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