Harley-Davidson 1915 Model F

The introduction of a number of innovative new features in 1915 meant that this was a significant  year in the development of Harley-Davidson’s road bikes. It could even be said that it was the year when the motorcycle came of age as a practical machine. For 1915 Harley-Davidson listed five V-twin motorcycles with a combination of single or three-speed transmission and with or without an electrical system. As far as Harley was concerned, there were three main innovations: a three-speed gearbox, a mechanical oil pump, and electrical lighting, with the Model F boasting two out of the three. The gearbox made the bikes faster and also gave them better hill climbing ability and improved low-speed running. The Model F had three gears but no electric lights and sold for $275. Police departments were quick to see the benefit of using high-performance motorcycles to chase errant motorists in low-performance automobiles and Harley V-twins became the models of choice. Their 60mph (97km/h) top speed put them among the fastest bikes around.

Harley-Davidson 1915 Model F
Harley-Davidson 1915 Model F
This department is mounted on 1915 Model Js, which was the model up from the Model F in that it had electric lighting. There was also a V-twin commercial tricycle available in the 1915 range which had a box and two front wheels instead of conventional motorcycle forks. The motor-driven oil pump guaranteed better lubrication and improved engine life, and electrical lighting meant that trips at night could now be undertaken at times other than when the moon was full.

Harley-Davidson 1915 Model F
• ENGINE Inlet-over-exhaust, V-twin
• CAPACITY 61cu. in. (1000cc)
• TRANSMISSION Three-speed, chain drive
• FRAME Tubular loop
• SUSPENSION Leading-link front forks, rigid rear
• WEIGHT 325lb (147.5kg)
• TOP SPEED 60mph (97km/h)