Vintage Harley-Davidson Two-Strokes | Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions

Vintage Harley-Davidson Two-Strokes

5 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Vintage Harley-Davidson Two-Strokes
Aermacchi 250 CRTT

Classic Motorcycles: Harley-Davidson Two-Strokes

Harley-Davidson 2-Strokes (1948 to 1974)

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Shortly after the close of WWII, Germany’s DKW motorcycle plant was put to use by Harley-Davidson as part of U.S. war reparations. This resulted in Harley-Davidson’s introduction of its first small-displacement two-stroke motorcycle, the Model S-125, which was in production from 1948 to 1952. The Model 125 produced around 3 horsepower, and used a hard-tail frame with girder-type front suspension that was sprung with large rubber bands.

In 1951, the Model 125’s front suspension was replaced by Tele-Glide telescoping hydraulic front forks. The Model 125 was followed by the 5 1/2 horsepower 165cc Model ST-165, which was manufactured between 1953 to 1959. In 1955, Harley introduced the Hummer which was manufactured from 1955 to 1959.

The Hummer, which was named after Omaha, Nebraska Harley dealer Dean Hummer, had a distinctive peanut-shaped gas tank and Tele-Glide front forks. Both the Model 165 and the Hummer were replaced by the Super-10 in 1960.

In 1962, Harley introduced three new models: the Ranger, which still used a 165cc engine; as well as the Pacer and Scat which used a new 175cc two-stroke engine. In 1963, Harley upgraded its frame to a sprung rear suspension system known as Glide-Ride, which used two horizontally-mounted shocks under the frame. The Scat was also offered in a Dual Sport scrambler model.

In an attempt to enter the burgeoning scooter market, Harley introduced the Model A Topper scooter in 1960, and Topper H in 1961. The Toppers were boxy looking versions of the more popular Italian Vespas, and the short-lived Topper line was discontinued in 1965.

Both the Pacer and the Scat were discontinued in 1965, and the last of the Harley two-stokes to be made in Milwaukee was the Bobcat, which was only built in 1966. The Bobcat had atypical styling, with its one-piece fiberglass bodywork that resembled the later styling of the FX Super Glide Night Train of the early 70s.

In an effort to compete with the rapidly-escalating market for small, inexpensive Japanese bikes Harley looked for a way to outsource its production of their lightweight motorcycles. Since that time, the nickname of Harley Hummer has become synonymous with any of the American-made small-displacement 2-strokes that were produced before 1966.

Harley-Davidson Aermacchi

In 1967, Harley-Davidson affiliated with the Italian motorcycle and aircraft company Aermacchi S.p.A. of Varese, Italy to introduce the 250cc Sprint H, ERS Sprint (CR/CRTT). The single-cylinder Aermacchi models used either a 4-stroke undersquare (long-rod) engine, or an oversquare (short-rod) 2-stroke engine.

Other versions of Aermacchi Harley-Davidson’s small-displacement two-stokes were the M50 and M50-S 50cc scooters. The early Aermacchi Harleys had a distinctive Italian look, which immediately differentiated them from the earlier Milwaukee two-strokes which had more of a traditional Harley look.


1971 AMF Harley-Davidson Leggero ‘Mini Cycle’ 65cc Two-Stroke

Other collaborations produced during the AMF Harley-Davidson years (1969-1981) were the Aermacchi-Harley Davidson SS-350 Sprint 4-stroke, and the 65cc AMF Harley-Davidson Leggero Mini Cycle two-stroke. Harley Davidson purchased full control of Aermacchi’s motorcycle production in 1974.

These small-displacement Harley-Davidson/Aermacchis were not well accepted by the typical Harley-Davidson demographic, and sales continued to decline throughout the early 1970s. In 1978, HD Aermacchi production was discontinued, and Aermacchi was later sold to Cagiva in Varese, Italy.

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