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Bike of the Month
September 2023
1949 Cushman Series 60
By Robert Conn

So, there it was, stuffed into and hanging out of the trunk of my dad’s 62 Pontiac Bonneville, the one that thrust me into the realm of motorcycle madness, my first powered vehicle on two wheels. All in all it wasn’t much different from my push scooter, but it had a seat and the brake worked with about the same efficiency.

I must have been a good boy and behaved well that dark and stormy day I became the proud 14 year old owner of a 1949 Cushman Series 60 step through scooter. It was most likely bright red but certainly not apparent as the corrosive Gulf Coast air had long since eaten the paint completely away and had eaten various other metal parts as well. But I have to say the “patina” matched well with the brown primer that was still on it. We unloaded it as I realized that my life was changed forever.

After many trials and tribulations expanding my mechanical knowledge, I finally got the cast iron, 2 piece, 4HP motor to stomp start and run. It continued to run bulletproof until a couple of years later when I spun the keyway on the crankshaft. I didn’t have money to repair it, so back to where it came from, full circle to the junk yard for scrap. Dad had bought it for the price of scrap metal and I sold it for the same. I don’t remember the amounts but I’ll never forget my self-taught, learning curve crash tests. It’s dirt bike capabilities honed by running across the veggie garden, racing my next door neighbor against his 7HP Cushman Pacer. We had a rural road straight as an arrow for almost a 1/2 mile, dead man’s curve on the end and a T-intersection on the other. It took all of it to wind up the centrifugal clutch to be all it could be, about 51mph, me lying stretched out over the turtle deck (Rollie Free) style. Clad In blue jean cutoffs, bare feet, shirtless with head down between the handlebars. Of course, there was no helmet law back then!

After I had “honed” my racing skills, I would head out into the pasture nearby with my trusty steed and hunt for rabbits, rats, and critters with my single-shot 22 caliber rifle which rested quite nicely in the crossbar.

I rode that scooter a few times to high school in 68-69, about 12 miles away, but parked in the back of the student lot. I’d run past the bike parking lot (Triumph, BSA, Ducati) past the muscle cars (Mustang, Firebird, Camaros) out to my scooter, with 1 or 2 kickstomps ---- I was on my way on my not so manly machine--- but then again I was only a boy having the thrill of my life  … (before sex). How blessed I was to have my eyes opened by that little scooter!!

Here's a few stats and company data for a Series 60 Cushman step through 1949

Weight - 210lbs

Engine - 4HP 2 piece cast iron

Lubrication - oil slinger

Rear Suspension - rigid

Front Suspension - telescopic with springs

Brake - rear only, drum with expanding shoes

Lighting - generator, high/low switch

Top Speed - 51mph

Clutch - single speed centrifugal

Tire size – 12 in. with steel rims.

Made from 1936 – 65.


Cusham started building engines in 1901 then built scooters as a new product for the engine. In WW2, they supplied the military with designs for parachute drops. 1949 was first year Series 60 Step Through. Later on, they developed the Eagle series. In 1950 it evolved into a 9HP aluminum OHC engine. Cushman also built Trucksters and Golf Carts.

Rumors are, the Club President and VP (George with Cushman and Rodd with Powell) have been challenged by this offer to a full on lag race at a future date TBA – others welcome. That’s right ladies and gents ... step right up and place your bets!!

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