110 years ago, Harley-Davidson presented its first V2
- (Neu-Isenburg, February 11, 2019) The year was 1903 when Harley-Davidson its first motorcycles - from then on the company grew and prospered splendidly. The machine develops 7 hp from 811 cm 3 and can reach over 100 km/h
- The further developed version appeared in 1911
The reliable single is constantly being further developed and just three years later the first Harley-Davidson factory, around 200 m 2 in size, was built on Chestnut Street, which would later be called Juneau Avenue. In 1909, 35 employees were already working here, producing 1,149 motorcycles. A completely new heart beats in a few dozen of these two-wheelers. Its name is Model 5-D and its engine has not just one cylinder, but two.
Because customers were thirsty for more performance, William “Bill” Harley, technical manager of the young company, spent several years designing this groundbreaking innovation for the company. 811 cm 3 displacement instead of the previous 440 and 7 hp instead of the previous 4 ensure an almost unimaginable speed of over 100 km/h if necessary.
The two gray cast iron cylinders of the first Harley-Davidson Twin stand at an angle of 45 degrees to each other, two fat pistons move up and down in them, their connecting rods transmit the power via a common crank pin to the powerful crankshaft, whose housing and bearing Bill Harley has reinforced . Bare steel parts were copper-plated and then nickel-plated, and light metal parts were polished. There is no gearbox; braking is done by backpedaling on the pedals. The support of the tubular frame wraps around the engine in an elegant curve. The fuel tank holds 7.6 l and the one for loss oil lubrication is 3.8 l. The cushion springer fork and a suspended saddle ensure contemporary comfort. Priced at $325, the Motor Company offers the stylish machine in Piano Black or Light Gray with Carmine Striping.
As with all Harley models of this era, the V2 breathes in through atmospherically controlled valves, so-called sniffer valves. They open when the piston sliding downward creates a negative pressure in the cylinder. The principle that works great in the single turns out to be the V-twin's Achilles' heel, as it makes starting more difficult and sometimes causes it to run sloppily. In addition, the belt that drives the rear wheel tends to slip due to the high engine power. Such weaknesses do not let Bill Harley rest. So he and the Davidson brothers suspended V2 production for a year until the design fully met the company's requirements. In 1911 the time had come: the sniffer valves had become obsolete; from now on the inlet valves were also mechanically controlled. In addition, a new rear-wheel drive with clutch mechanism, high-strength steels and an even more stable frame are used. So finally nothing stands in the way of the V2's triumph.
Although Harley-Davidson tried out a number of concepts in the following decades, from the two-stroke engine to the boxer principle to the four-cylinder engine, the classically beautiful V-twin with its four-stroke principle, the cylinder angle of 45 degrees and the forked connecting rod remains the style-defining engine for the company. It shapes the look, sound and soul of the machines from Milwaukee and becomes the company's trademark. In 2019, the descendants of the early V2 engines - matured over decades and always at the cutting edge of their time - can be found in more than 30 machines from the Sportster , Softail and Touring series. The fascination of the concept remains unbroken.
You can find out more about Harley-Davidson at www.Harley-Davidson.com.