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Book review HD 1930-1941 Revolutionary MC's/H.Wagner

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Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Posts: 470
Location: Six miles East of Cheney, Wa.
Cotton told me to get this book, so I did.

Not a real review, I have just given the book a good skim-through. First impressions.

Bitchen book, really high quality. Only $20.00 bucks, such a deal. Just the pictures are worth the price.

Although it did give a good narrative about the early bikes, and then much information about the VL's, it's really a Knucklehead book, and that (background on the JD's, Vl's) is mostly background leading up to the Knuck, and then it's mostly all knuck-knuck-knuck from there. Really skipped over the U bikes. In fact, surprise, there's a Knucklehead on the cover. I would have liked to see some comparison between the V's and the U's, but I got the impression that the author considers both to be the same engine, 74 and 80 inch flatheads, in spite of the difference in the oiling systems. And that may be, the cylinders and heads didn't really change.

But the critique of the flathead is based on the V, and it's backed up pretty well with interview/testimony from those that were there.

The information on flatheads in general, their drawbacks and flaws, and how that led to the OHV was good. But really nothing about the U bikes, and everything about the Knuck! And that's okay. Explains pretty well why HD went to the OHV, but not why the U continued to be produced for so long. ?


Posts: 470
Location: Six miles East of Cheney, Wa.
Finished the book, great book, well worth the price. Little, almost no information on the post-1936 stated above, really a book about the knucklehead, with a lot of VL information. I think the author just considers the UL as a VL with circulating oil...and perhaps that is correct.

There was one example of a factory employee riding a '36 Knuck for a year, then switching to the UL. Then back to the EL a couple of years later, but he kept the UL. However, one or two good pictures of a UL would have been nice. Tons of pictures of VLs, ELs, and 45's, and even the experimental OHV 45.

Bottom line, you could sustain high RPM driving with the OHV, flatheads tend to melt the pistons (especially the front piston) if pushed too hard. No way to really fix that with an air cooled flathead...other than running it intelligently...and hence the Knucklehead. This is what the book covered very well with much background information.


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