Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pre Harley Davidson V-Twins...

When researching early v-twin motorcycles on the net, it became apparent that many people are convinced that Harley Davidson invented and produced the first v-twin motorcycle. Not true! Harley didn't make a v-twin until 1909, but Indian made one in 1903, and Curtiss's v-twin was probably 1905. However, most Americans fail to look outside the borders of their own country. 

In various online articles, it correctly states that the V-twin was introduced in 1903 (to the public, anyway), but this is the same year that Harley Davidson started trading, and the same year that Indian founder, Oscar Hedstrom broke a speed record. 

Americans want to believe that Harley (or some other American company) invented the v-twin, causing them not to notice anything that contradicts this belief. 

In fact, William S. Harley and Arthur Davidon produced their first production motorcycle in 1903, but did not produce their first production V-twin until 1909. However, according to Wikipedia "In February 1907 a prototype model with a 45-degree V-Twin engine was displayed at the Chicago Automobile Show." According to the book Harley Davidson Century, the prototype was finished in late 1906, but hardly any were produced before 1911.

The Hendee Manufacturing Company, who became Indian, produced their first v-twin factory racer in 1905, and their first production v-twin in 1907, according to Wiki. According to Indian, Indian "introduced the first V-twin motorcycle to the world in 1907".

Harley Davidson did NOT make the first V-twin...Indian had beat them into production by 2 years...and Indian's factory racers were racing well over a year before the first Harley prototype, ..but it was also true that Indian were NOT FIRST either! Curtiss had beaten them by 1 or 2 years. 

Here are some prime examples of classic V twins that were manufactured outside of the US prior to Harley manufacturing their most popular motor.

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