tirsdag 25. januar 2011

Wonder why?

Why do I do this to myself again and again, buying work. Oh well I recon I will be smiling in the end. Do I get it all done for summer? I find I better not waste time in front of the computer from now.

Still not half way apart.

søndag 23. januar 2011

Harry, “hestehags skrecken” I

Coincidences, life is full of those.
While surfing the endless ocean of the www I came across a genealogy site belonging to Tommy. Tommy had dedicated a page on his site to his since long passed father Harry (1914 – 1976) and some pictures where shown with Harry astride his Harley Davidson.
Sending Tommy an e-mail explaining my interest in motorcycle history soon paid off. Our correspondence revealed Tommy as a true gentleman being very keen on letting me know more on his father and his life with motorcycles, generously sharing stories he remembered his father had told him as well as what he had experienced from his childhood when being a part of his family motorcycle life. Tommy did also climb his attic finding his mothers old photo album containing more photos of great interest to me and you, thanks a lot Tommy for sharing.

Harry started his motorcycle career as a young lad, but this could soon have been put to an end as a car crashed into him damaging his leg such that it would never again be healed. Harry did not let this prevent him from riding tough, not at all. When still at the hospital he was visited by a motorcycle friend Stig who drove his Harley to get there. Harry asked if he could please sit on his bike which Stig agreed on. When seated on the bike Harry could not resist and took the bike for a spin, damaged leg or not, he couldn’t wait getting back in the saddle. Harrys first bikes where British made but he where soon to fell deeply in love with Harley Davidsons of far greater displacement than their tiny British cousins. Later on with exception of a short fling with an Indian he would stay with Harleys. Tommy could tell me Harry had at least 12 motorbikes along the years.

1930ìes, VL sidecar mount and Harry wearing a cool leather coat as driving outfit.

Harry grew up in “Hesthagen” (Horse field) in Nacka, a small community not far from Stockholm the capitol of Sweden. Here he was soon nicknamed “hestehags skrecken” or in English “The Horse field horror” as the locals where scared when he and mate Stig roared by on their Harleys, throttles wide open and the sound of the V-twins popping in their ears.
One story tells that Harry was out speeding on the local roads on a snappy Harley he had bought second hand at a police auction, Stig riding with as pillion rider this time. This was late night and speed was far higher than the limits allowed for. All off a sudden there where sirens coming up behind, this from a local police officer running a Harley too. Harry kept throttle wide open trough a number of curves and when the police officers headlight was visible no more turned a sudden left. This led those two daredevils into a farmer road where they turned of the bike and lights keeping calm until the police bike drove by dissapearing.

Harry started up working with Ostermans in Stockholm as a mechanic. According to Tommy they imported Harleys directly from the US, delivered from the factory in huge wooden boxes. Harry and others had access to the left over materials from the boxes when bikes where removed. Those materials where very popular amongst those extending their holiday homes, or some would even end up used when building a smaller cottage.
Wouldn’t that be something, staying trough summer in a cottage built by planks from Harley boxes shipped out of “the Factory” in Milwaukee?

Harry with a UL imported as a second hand machine from the US. This bike is packed with optional extras, front & rear bumper, hub caps, fender trims, bullet lights, jewels, front fender light and what is most interesting the additional hydraulic front fork dampers. This cool detail is described as a special option used by guys in the Jersey area, see Knuckle Busters blog;
This bike must have been quite impressing compared with most others mounts when Harry arrived at any scene.

Later on in 1949 Harry started his own workshop VEGA CYKEL OG MOTORSERVICE where he took care of a growing number of customers in need of his mechanic skills. He stayed in business there for 27 years until his death in 1976. The need of a skilled Harley mechanic didn’t get to an end even if there became less of these motors in everyday use. Older chaps brought their Harleys still to get helped well into the late sixties / early seventies.

A younger Tommy giving Harry a helping hand with a customers Harley JD outfit. This bike have at some point in its life got a major facelift, fringed saddle, chrome fender skirts, huge car light and tank decals from a thirties VL..

Harry and his friends Harleys where not just everyday rides to get to work. Tommy grew up getting used to the entire family leaving home on a Sunday morning to have a ride trough the surrounding country side, picnics included. When riding, the normal setup would be mother and Tommy in the sidecar and brother Leif on the back of the buddy seat. Leif would be secured to dad with a belt, this as he had the habit of falling a sleep during longer rides.

Harry and family bike in the background with wife and Tommy in the sidecar. Leif is ready to take of with a friends bike, A 7109.

Tommy at the back of the buddy seat, Leif must have got influenced by his uncle as he pretends to be a racing sidecar monkey hanging out of the car.

The Indian fling, Leif on the passenger saddle, mother and Tommy in the sidecar.

This is what a Sunday is made for, motor biking in great weather and a picnic rest with all sorts of goodies.

In addition to touring his bikes and working with motorbikes in his workshop, Harry would top this up helping out as a mechanic when his friends raced in local events, such as in Albybacken hill climb. Several Harleys used to compete in these events and Tommys uncle, Gunnar acted as sidecar monkey in friend Hasse Olsson`s Harley outfit. Hasse, as well as others competing in those races used their bikes in ordinary traffic too.

Hasses sidecar is cut down and modified with a bar for the sidecar monkey to keep secured to when doing his acrobatics in a race.
Leif, Tommys brother sits on the sidecar wheel of Hasses Hog. A Harley with a commercial sidecar for hauling goods is part of the crew. At the rear is Harry`s family mount. On cool detail is there is a dog coming along, standing in the commercial sidecar. Who would mind “walking the dog ” this way?

Hasses Harley, throttle wide open up the Albybacken hill climb. Gunnar trying his best to keep the rear wheel grounded.

This mount is Gunnar Andersons 47 Knuckle 61” (1000cc). Check out the amount of gravel thrown by the rear wheel towards the spectators trying to hide behind the fence. The Knuckle power must have been something to “work out with” up this hill.
In 1955 Harry bought his first car, a DKW van. What a step down most of us would say today, compared to a big inch Harley Davidson, but times have changed.

Source; Tommy & http://hogberg.be

Note: better scans of those images to follow.

mandag 17. januar 2011

American Motorcycles

I`m not quite sure but I think this is the same Indian as pictured in Fridays Pics from yesterdaze. This pic show the bike have got slightly worn from its use. The cellulose paint is not that shiny no more and the carbid headlight mount have vibrated loose and is now pointing downwards. But still, what a little marvel those late Hedstrøm Injuns where, fragile looking but still a thrusty workhorse.

Cool litle trick resting the bike on a log to get the look as if at speed with no legs touching ground.

lørdag 15. januar 2011

American Motorcycles

This guy is pretty small or we have a scaled up Harley model not known of until present?

fredag 14. januar 2011

American Motorcycles

This Gentleman have just invested a lot of money in a brand new Indian Twin, year 1912-1913`sh. Its enamel shines and the tirepump is still clipped to the handlebars.
This bike was Indians ultimate seller, even if still operated with direct drive and started by pedals as an ordinary (but heavier) bicycle.
Gearbox came in 1914 even if direct drive was then still an option. Engine is of IOE type still, called the Hedstrom engine by those familiar with the marque. This bike is just a beautiful machine, fragile looking but still a workhorse. Rear carrier casted in steel, suspension both front and rear by leaf springs, all mechanical controls by rods and flexible joints. Look at that flimsy looking but still strong front fork, mudguard braces as thin as welding rods. You bet the steel selected for this litle marvel is of first grade quality. Production scored 32000 redskins out of the factory in 1913, the bike pictured is what people wanted to get a motor in these years.

torsdag 13. januar 2011

American Motorcycles Norway

You gotto love this picture`s brightnes and quality. Directly scanned from a 80 years old glass negative. The quality of those glass negatives is fantastic, just chemicals and a piece of glass, no digitals and still superb.

Start number 5 is a wildcard attending a race held at Øya Stadum in Trondheim.
His 61" (1000cc) Harley is a roughly 1920 model where all parts not needed is removed to get rid of weight. Weight is the worst enemy of any daredevil looking for speed.
This guy race in his cotton ski clothes, wearing whool knee socks and walking shoes. Cool.
Wonder if he kept the ball horn in case he wanted to pass any of his competitors?

tirsdag 11. januar 2011

Everyday ride

I know a lot of guys with old bikes.
Some restore, they deeply consentrate in every detail and some even to a point that they never get finnished.
Then there are some when finnished leaving their bike on display and some using their bikes at rare occasions when the sun is shining at no moisture is present in the air.
Then there are the lesser crowd using their bikes to go to rallies, meets or races to meet likeminded people, not caring if there is sun or rain.
There are very few people around using their vintage as their everyday transportation, tough they are some.

A Swede, Lars is one of those last few who refuse to realise his old Harleys are relics at age 80 or more. Those bikes are go - go, no show.

I have just learned to know Lars trough the www, though I have sort of known of him from before. Anyway check out his cool blog;

http://thepowerslidingsidecar.blogspot.com/ (copy and paste in your web browser)

By coinsidence I`ve had a couple of pics showing Lars`s summer Harley on my hardrive for a while, not knowing it belonged to Lars. Now I know :-)

mandag 10. januar 2011

Uncle Ralph

OK, this is guy is uncle Ralph, he is from US by no doubt when looking at the picture. Uncle Ralph is a slick guy, confident in style for sure. Harley watch fob, leather spots and jewels on his nifty riding cuffs, leggings to avoid his whool breeches getting messed up if his Harley "god forbid" should spill any oil from its engine, and some stylish googles to protect his eyes. I seriously doubt he could possible keep his hat on when at speed, but you newer know whit uncle Ralph, do you?

Uncle`s hog is a 61" (1000cc, count the exhaust pocket cooling fins, remember?) Harley 1926-27 (28 or 29 would have different oilpump), original Harley cushion passanger seat, and its sporting some real cool wheel covers.

Uncle Ralph is a proud member of the Kennebunk Mc, a bounch of likeminded fellas always ready for a spin.
If I`m to blame Ralph for any, this would be he have shown lack of respect when traveling in populated areas leaving his muffler cut out wide open (note the heel lever pointing upwards).
Ehrr saved by the bell, just came to think about that the cut out is working the other way, sorry Ralph.

søndag 9. januar 2011

American Motorcycles

Three younger Swedish lads and a Harley.
OK better be careful in telling what model Harley, my guess is 1935 45" (750cc) the last year with toolbox on the front fork.
Bike seems to suffer from a long and hard life, maybe those guys put its life to an end?

American Motorcycles

Uffe sent me an e-mail with a cool picture showing his joy and pride, a 74" (1200cc) Harley JD from 1929. Caracteristic for the 29 is the twin headlamps. This was the last year of manufacture for the IOE Harley engine. This engine was the last in a line continously developed from 1905 (ref. Herbert Wagner in his excellent book "At the creation").
Many customers would miss the torque and snappy throthle of the IOE during the first years of the VL.
With reference to my previous post on JD John Cameron some will know he did beat the Flatheads on the race tracks for years even after the IOE`s where sanctioned from racing.

Uffes bike is for go more than show. Check out the cool detail with a ring of rope around the front wheel hub to awoid dirt sticking when traveling gravel roads. Another very cool detail is the drop forged rear fork legs, an item that came with the flatheads and wich you will never find in any IOE parts book.
More on this matter can be found here;

As you might see this bike feature the optional fork stabilizer offered to avoid the upper front fork tubes from flexing and eventually break.

I love your bike Uffe.

lørdag 8. januar 2011

American Motorcycles Norway

This picture is from the Northern part of Norway, the Troms region. The Harley, a 45" (750cc) from the mid thirties seems to be off further from home than the other motorcyclist as it is well packed on both sides at rear as well as on the luggage rack.
The Harley driver is a pretty young fella. I bet those three younger lads wouldnt mind having the Harley and for sure the girl dont seem like she would be hard to ask coming along as a pillow passenger neither.
Its real hard to see what bike is next to the Harley, but my guess is a early thirties English brand bike as its fuel tank mounted instrument consolle typical for the that period.

Hrrm, I need to clean my glasses from now on when looking at the old photos. Got an e-mail this morning from Jaap in Holland correcting me that this Harley is not a 45" but a 34" (500cc) model CB from 1934. I agree, the 34"`s didnt sport valanced fenders as the 45"`s did (well that is for sure not always the truth as I`ve seen some 34"`s with valanced front mudguard). Year of manufacture is for sure 1934 based on tank decals and white rubber grips on the handlebars.
Well thanks a lot Jaap :-)

fredag 7. januar 2011

JD John Cameron, 1915 to 1996

A while back, pooking around in in a box marked "Harley JD and related" in my "office" a cool photo surfaced. This photo tell a lot of stories to me even if I never got the chance to be in this garage myself.
It is taken inside John Cameron`s garage at his place in SOCAL where he lived.

But, I did call and talk to John Cameron before he passed, and I have this and a couple more photos from inside this his garage that I have been given, wich is cool as he is one of my "old motorcycle heroes".

His skills with the older J-era Harleys and the JDH two-cammers as well as owning the 8 valve Harley racing engine that first belonged to the british racing-hero Feddy Dixon should be well known for many. This and the fact he was one of the original founders of the Boozefighters, a club well known for taking part in the Hollister rave. When Life Magazine made their story "covering" the event they played a role in giving birth to what eventually became the 1% Biker culture.

I became aware of Johns name after having purchased the unvaluable book "Inside Harley Davidson 1903 to 1945" where he shared a lot of his knowledge. At this time, having just started on my first JD I learned a lot from reading this book.

At far right in the picture is Johns 8 valve board track racer, in the middle a two-cammer in a boardtrack racing frame and to the left a JAP engined speedway bike.
On the work bench is most likely another one of Johns many bobbed two-cammers or what is more correctly named "Cut downs", the predecessor of the bobber beeing borned.

This is what "Inside Harley Davidson 1903-45" looks like. If you ever get the chance to find one, buy it.

To give further insight in the "Cut Downs" made by JD John Cameron, check out this link:

More to follow, stay tuned.

American Motorcycles

Its a new year, 2011. Lets hope this year will make all your (and mine) motorcycle dreams come trough.
I passed 50k individual hits on my blog during 2010, whow to say the least. Not to bad at all, presenting thoughts and photos on this rather narrow lane interest wich old US made bikes and related after all is for the "average Joe".

December have been a pretty awful month, coooold several times hitting -28 below (we are talking celsius). Most of the day have been spent in front of the owen continously feeding logs into the fire.

Wrenching in a workshop when there is less than 5 degree C is not inspiring at all.
Well, there is still e-bay and hunting for "the parts", now consentrating on whatever is Panhead related.

Will get back to blog mode starting whit sharing another cool photo from the "yesterdaze" motorcycle scene.
This is a Dane, P.Chr. Herl getting aerodynamic on his big port Exelscior racer at Fanø beach in 1923. He must have read the chapter in Victor W. Paiges book on how aerodynamics affect the speed and what is the ideal "go fast position".

A cool detail that I have mentioned before are the mechanical controls for ignition and throtle. These are still used even if what appears to be the exhaust valve lifter (or kill) is operated by a Bowden cable from that handle on Herl`s right handlebar side.

The front fork is reinforced by a single tube added to each side. This was a pretty common modification on hard workin race bikes at the time. This relived the fork from flexing sideways, hence improving stability during curves as well as straight forward.

Got an e-mail today from Perry in Canada ( http://www.ruiter.ca/mc/ ) who is a very knowledged gentleman in anything made by the Scwinn factory and a lot more when it comes to old motorbikes. He is not afraid of using neither his Super X streamline nor his Henderson De-luxe from 1927 ( http://www.hendersonkj.com/other-hens/other6/index.html ).
He informs me that this fork used on the Excelsior racer is a stock item for their military cycles named model 19. Its quality made it popular with racers as well as it was copied by others like Harley to gain the same stability.
Thanks a lot Perry for letting us learn :-)

Perry enclosed a Excelsior bulletin where this forked is described: