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Basketball harleys

Post Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:23 am

Posts: 10
AMF 1969 to 1981 Harley Davidsons. AMF = American Machine Foundry. I remeber in late 1972 I bought a 1972 1/2 FX 1200, 74 cui Metellic Blue with small silver horizotal lines & AMF decal on gas tank. FX = kickstart & had front & rear cessna aircraft calipers, called back then ( banana brakes) sportster narrow front end & 19 inch front wheel 16 in back & plastic banana seat & 2 into 1 exhaust pipe. I remeber an older "Panhead Rider" calling it a ("Basketball Harley") I asked him what? its a Harley, he laughed and said "AMF" makes sporting equipment, (basketballs, bowling alley equipment & other sporting items), hence the term "Basketball Harley" "Were 1969 Harleys" true Harleys or the start of the "BASKETBALL Era?"

Post Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:07 pm

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Harley-Davidson MERGED with AMF in January 1969. This was mid way through the 1969 year model production.So a 1969 built before the January date would be a genuine H-D. But built after the date it is an AMF product. What was the difference? Absolutely nothing. It took a few years for the AMF poor quality to creep in.

Post Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:51 pm

Posts: 391
To expound on this a little. The AMF "poor quality" was a result of attempting to up production dramatically without creating a proper means of doing so. Build as many as possible in the shortest time with no new equipment or trained workforce and the outcome is plain to see. In an attempt to bring numbers up they decided to move production to York, PA, where they already owned a facility, from Milwaukee. This created lots of dissent in the ranks of the long time H-D employees who were offered the option of move, or quit! Tough for people who have family and connections in a certain area! So with a "who gives a shit attitude" the quality further deteriorated and even instances of sabotage occurred. AMF was not building Harleys, they were merely dictating HOW they were to be built. They were still built in H-D's own factory until the move to York.
And as far as AMF being a sporting goods company, that is incorrect. AMF is American Machine and Foundry, a conglomerate that owned many types of manufacturing. I have an old (and extremely well built!) radial arm saw that is DeWalt branded, owned by AMF, no bowling pins or basketballs included!

Post Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:01 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

AMF out sourced parts to Japan during an era when Japnanese quality was very inferior and more like 3rd world nation quality. This is not to say Japan did not produce some quality products. Their Hondas were quite reliable and their Kawasaki brand was on the up swing. Still, most manufactured goods coming out of Japan were like todays China goods. "JUNK". Earlier AMF parts stock was made in USA but repackaged with the AMF logo.

Post Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:18 pm

Posts: 1038
Location: Ojo Caliente,NM,USA
I never herd them called Basketball Harleys But everybody called them Bowlingball Harleys even the dealer parts and mechanics.

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