fredag 14. november 2014

To step or not!

Have been digging in some dark corners of my workshop today, where light have not been spread for years.
Did I do any discoveries?, indeed I did.
I found a really cool old gearbox.
A Harley gearbox, of course it was.
But this specific gearbox was in its time a big change for the Milwaukee factory.
For Harley as most manufacturers it all started with belt pulleys with slipping mechanisms allowing the rider to halt. Further on the rear wheel hub gears was tried and abandoned in 1914, finally in 1915 the gearbox was an option for the modern man, who dared.

Below are brave words from Harley`s 1915 sales brochure;

** The Three-Speed **

The three-speed gear for the 1915 Harley-Davidson is a ‘’regular automobile fellow.” Outwardly not conspicuous, its “bones” are large and husky. It’s the big Harley-Davidson feature for 1915. The illustrations in this issue show that in the three-speed model the free-wheel feature, which with the two-speed is at the rear hub, is now at the countershaft, integral with the three-speed gear. The change only slightly alters the line design, which remains distinctly that of the Silent Gray Fellow.

** Eight Thousand Miles Without Wear **

The gears are claimed to be noiseless and can be banged back and forth without injury. They are eight pitch and have a half-inch face-as big as gears used in many automobiles. The distance between centers is short. The spline shaft and jack shaft are so close together that there is no play. The rigidity of the gear box is such that some of the machines in the engineering department have been run 8000 miles without any indication of wear or play in any part of the gear.

** A Case of Three-in-One **

The step-starter, the clutch and the three-speed are mounted together on a drop forging which is part of the frame. The front chain can be adjusted by simply sliding this unit on the frame. It can be locked instantly and the adjustment is such that the transmission is always in line. The rear chain is adjusted in the usual way.
An illustration of the top of the gear box shows the locking mechanism, by which it is made impossible for the gears to be shifted without releasing the clutch, thus doing away with any chance of stripping gears through carelessness.

** Value of the Intermediate **

For side car purposes the three-speed is ideal. With the standard gear of 3.89, used on the twins, the intermediate gear of 1 ½ gives a ratio of 5.83. In traffic or rough going, the motor can be run on the intermediate indefinitely- a relief from racing the motor on the low. The low gear, with its Increase of 2 ¼ gives ratio of 8.75, which ought to pull both the driver and his side car passenger through almost anything.
To accommodate this increased power, the chains and sprockets are larger. Both are 1/8-inch wider and the three-speed model has a 16-tooth engine sprocket. This it is believed, will more than double the life of the transmission.
It is claimed that, in the low, the new model will climb a 45% grade with side car and passenger, and that it has taken a 60% grade without side car, “without a murmur.” The touring radius of the three-speed twin is claimed to be double that of a two-speed machine. As for care, -no adjustments; a little oil now and than, that’s all.

The gearbox from the dark corner:

Obviously some owner of this great 1915 Harley at some time in history was ashamed of the pedals causing the motorbike having a bicycle appearance. No problem though, every farmer boy have a hacksaw and his neighbor welding gear, voila pedals became a single pedal starter as the 1916 models and on had.

tirsdag 4. november 2014

Aussie 61" OHV sidecar racer

Another cool photo from a 1939 Enthusiast magazine.
Australian Jack Conquest gives his 61OHV a good beating during the Australian sidecar TT, a race Jack and his "spry" "monkey" won.

" SAY, these 1939 HARLEY-DAVIDSONS are beauties! - The best ever !"

OK, i admit to have wished for a Knucklehead, wished and wished, but most except a few that have come up for sale here have been, ehh not so much Knuckle other than the heads.
Mostly a mix of this and that and loads of repop, which would be OK if they where cheap and I wanted to build something else than a original looking ride.

Neither are they cheap nor did I want to build something unoriginal looking, and those projects I know of - of course they are not for sale as their owners have a plan.
Not that I should complain, I have my Bessie and her 45" siblings, but you know the feeling, the itch, the need, I WANT A KNUCKLEHEAD.

Sometimes it is all about fate, this time fate played nice to me and I was contacted by a gentleman in Oslo offering me to buy his family heirloom, a 1939 Knucklehead.

And what a bike, sold new here in Norway by Sørensen & Balchen back in 39, hidden in Sweden during the WWII to be re-registered in 1946, and the bike still have its original 1946 plates on.
Original paint in export green, a choice only available for Europe.

Lets say back in 1938 you got your latest issue of The Enthusiast that you had been waiting for, here is what you would would learn about the 1939 Harley Davidson 61" models:

Front page of The Enthusiast September 1938, advertising the new 39 models!

Check out all these new improvements for 1939!

Re-designed instrument panel, described as eye-appealing and first year for the Beehive tail light!

The self-aligning upper and lower head cones, new for 39!
Assures smooth and easy handling for the entire life of the motorcycle.

The new and classy saddle made of two-tone russet rhino-grain horsehide leather!

The 1939 61" OHV!
"The motorcycle every rider wants to own some day"

Of course do I want to be as fast as Joe Petrali running at an average SPEED of 136,183mph at Daytona beach in 1937.
Of course do I want to have the possibility of going longe ENDURANCE runs as Ted Kennedy when he won the Jack Pine Endurance run in 1938.
And who would not want Fred Horn`s STAMINA, he did incredible 1825,2 miles in 24 hours at Muroc dry lake in 1937.

All of this was made possible due to their choice of motorcycle, the Harley Davidson 61" OHV model.

A few pictures of my 1939 61" OHV:

A final quote from Harley Davidson;
"You, too, will some day want to own a 61" OHV if not already so fortunate".

søndag 19. oktober 2014

More Cutdown progress

Have spent another bunch of hours in the workshop playing with the cutdown project.

Spent many hours in modifying the original seat T bar and making a front fastener for the Racing seat to fit the T.
Wanted the seat position slightly forward compared to the original bucket seat. Another issue is to get the seat lower than original to get center of gravity lowered.
Still get some rear fasteners for the seat as paper models only, will have to transform them to metal tomorrow.

Due to the modifications to the rear frame the mudguard need to be modified too, to get a correct radius towards the wheel. Another couple of hours scratching my head, think I have solved the problem. Still need to decide what length the rear mudguard will get.
I`m using the early style fenders as they add to the slim fit along with the narrow peashooter fuel tank, will have to decide if there is going to be a front mudguard too.

lørdag 18. oktober 2014

What's up here!

When I look out the window I can tell for sure the riding season have come to an end, for now. Its raining as if there was no end to it, and yesterday we had some of  that white stuff coming too.

What is good though with this crappy weather, time is there for hibernation which in practice means get some work done in the man cave. There are plenty of projects in need of attention.

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to get to buy another motorbike, as if I ever needed one more, some would have said!
Well I had to have this last one. The odds to get get an original paint 39 Knuckle with two previous owners and 100% documented history and sold new in Oslo, nope I reckon this chance only happens once in a life, and this was now.

I will get back to this later, for now I quote the Enthusiast Sept. 1938 issue proudly presenting the 1939 models;

"SAY, these 1939 Harley-Davidsons are beauties! The best ever!"


Cutdown project again gets attention, got the final weld done to the frame, have been working on shorting the fork and getting the fork rockers done.
99% of old "halvtopper" fork rockers found have been used with no grease in the bushings, hence they have been so loose in their fit they have ruined the the rocker plate where it is to move towards the rocker stud.
Made a jig where the fork rocker aligns on two studs, one a press fit, the other loose. This make the finished milled surface 90 degree aligned to the bushing hole and allows for a 0,1mm fit (in and out). Makes the fork feel tight which improve the entire bike when ridden.

søndag 21. september 2014

You know you are in trouble when;

Picture gently stolen elsewhere, show one fatal engine failure that happened in the ongoing US cannonball race.

Pics from yesterdaze

Swedish Excelsior, same bike with and without a sidecar.