Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1910 Harley-Davidson Silent Gray Fellow

This was the bike, a simple single-cylinder, 494 cc inlet over exhaust engine that  produced six and half horsepower. It paved the way for much of Harley-Davidson's later success.

This bike is a 1910 Harley-Davidson 6A

Chain drive was for the starting pedals only. The bike was put on it's rear stand and started since it had no gearbox or starter. The rear wheel also houses the back-pedal type coaster brake. There was no front brake fitted.

That's a German made Bosch Magneto above the leather belt that is a free wheel clutch operated by the lever.

These machines required manual pumping 'on the fly' to keep the oil flowing.

 The leather drive belts were prone to slipping and ultimately replaced by chain drive as well.

The Schebler carburetor

 The Harley-Davidson logo circa 1910

Exhaust cut-out offered reduced noise in town and maximum power and sound when opened.

The view from the sprung saddle seat and wide, tiller-like bars is graceful. The hidden controls are run internally for the spark advance and the throttle.

The leading-link style forks offered a small measure of suspension for the front end at least and helped reduce broken forks on the rough roads of the day.

Capable of a maximum speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) and weighing just 195 lbs (88.5 kg), the performance was 'stately' rather than sporting.

These machines were produced from 1904 through 1918, V-Twin production began in 1907.

All photos by John P. Lawless 


  1. I have seen this bike personally. One phenomenon question of mine is that where the front bake of this bike. It is hard to find brake in this bike.
    Harley Chain

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  3. This bike has quite an elegant vintage design. The silver color and the exquisite wheels add an elegant touch to it. The surprising thing about it is that it only weighs 88.5kg, which is pretty light, even for a bike. Despite that, it still has a maximum speed of 72 km/h, which is admittedly pretty fast. I guess that’s because bike is pretty light!

    Claudio Mccarty

  4. Harley s did not have front brakes till 1928. This motorcycle has coaster brakes like a bicycle. Even thaw in 1909 Harley was trying to come out with the V twin they did not sell any till 1911 as they suction valve did not work very well on the 1909 V twin models. In 1911 on the V twin they used an mechanical valve that fixed the problem and was the first year of production. This motorcycles top speed was around 45 to 50 MPH and most roads back then would not let you run that fast. There where VERY few paved roads.

  5. All so it was drip oil and not pump of any kind hand or mechanical. The nob by the oil cap would be turned on about quarter of a turn and there is a site glass under the tank to make sure it was dripping at the proper rate. You turned it off when not riding. It is all so a total lose oil system and only graced the bearings once then out on the ground.