Harley Davidson 1926 Model B

After the failure (comparatively) of the Sport Twin of 1919–23, Harley had another crack at the lightweight market by releasing a range of single-cylinder bikes for the 1926 model year: the A, B, AA, and BA. The design was entirely conventional, and inspired by Indian’s contemporary Prince as well as typical British machines of the period. The bikes were available with side-valve or overhead-valve engines and the racing versions that followed were nicknamed “Peashooters” due to the unique pitch of the exhaust. The side-valve model was revived between 1932 and 1934, probably as much to use up stocks of parts as it was to sell what Harley claimed was its cheapest ever model. The name was eventually applied to all the models. The model shown here is a B, with side valve engine and battery ignition option. Harley-Davidson intended these singles primarily for export markets and initially they were successful. Unfortunately, the worldwide recession meant that the British imposed severe import tariffs and the European market collapsed. The model was discontinued in 1929, though existing stock continued to be sold the following year. These were ideal machines for impoverished commuters and delivery riders who accepted underwhelming performance as long as the bike was cheap to buy and run.
Harley Davidson 1926 Model B
Harley Davidson 1926 Model B

Harley Davidson 1926 Model B
• ENGINE Side-valve, single cylinder
• CAPACITY 21cu. in. (346cc)
• TRANSMISSION Three-speed,vchain drive
• FRAME Tubular loop
• SUSPENSION Leading-link front forks, rigid rear
• WEIGHT 263lb (119kg)
• TOP SPEED 60mph (97km/h)