Harley Davidson 1935 RL

When the original D-series Harley 45s were introduced in 1929, they were nicknamed the “three-cylinder Harleys” because their vertically mounted generators resembled an extra cylinder. Harley-Davidson produced these bikes in response to the success of the popular Indian Scout, but the D-series was not considered a success and it was replaced, in 1932, by the R-series. One of the benefits of the V-twin engine design is its narrow width, keeping the weight of the machine close to the center line.
Harley Davidson 1935 RL
Harley Davidson 1935 RL

The stand was fitted until Harley-Davidson adopted rear suspension. The critical change was the new frame, which now featured a curved front downtube and allowed the fitting of a conventional horizontal generator in front of the engine. These 45s were available in four versions: the basic R model, the high-compression RL, the RLD, and sidecar RS. This bike, with its diamond graphics and airflow taillight dates from 1935, though the engine number indicates that it is a 1932 motor. This kind of contradictory evidence is not uncommon when dealing with many years of history. When the R-series was introduced in 1932, the D-series 45 unit was totally reworked, with modifications to the flywheels, crankcases, barrels, pistons, conrods, and oil pump. There were only a few minor internal changes to the engine between 1932 and 1935. The Rs were replaced by the W-series in 1936. While the European market considered a 750cc machine to be a big bike, the R-series were the smallest bikes in Harley’s range in the mid-1930s.

Harley Davidson 1935 RL SPECIFICATIONS

• ENGINE Side-valve, V-twin
• CAPACITY 45cu. in. (738cc)
• POWER OUTPUT 22bhp (approx.)
• TRANSMISSION Three-speed,hand shift
• FRAME Tubular cradle
• SUSPENSION Leading-link front forks
• WEIGHT 390lb (177kg) (approx.)
• TOP SPEED 65mph (105km/h)