Harley Knucklehead and Springer Classic
Progress was yesterday
Gigantic flywheels, groaning electric starters, rumbling engines, cracking gears. The whole thing is played around by robust exhaust sounds, solid vibrations and running boards spraying sparks. It has to roar, rattle and hurt a bit: Harley-Davidson and progress? now it’s getting complicated.
Like no other motorcycle manufacturer, Harley has stayed out of the competition between competitors for decades. And that’s good ?? because successful. If the headquarters in Milwaukee hadn’t realized one day that the brand’s independence was based on its tradition, the entire begging would probably have gone down the drain long ago. In any case, the Americans couldn’t keep up when the motorcycle market was revolutionized by the Japanese. Today Harley-Davidson is one of the most successful companies in the world.
What the brand has achieved is unprecedented in the history of mechanical engineering. Swearing technology-oriented customers to respect traditional values? and ultimately also to pay? than the achievements of modernity, it probably requires more progressive thinking than the invention of all
180 horsepower titanium devices together. And the number of those who follow the call of the past is growing steadily. The penetrated Harley fan likes to go a few steps further than the company itself: Only when the modern V2 resembles the original from yesteryear
one egg to the other, the dear soul has peace. With what the cult company? anything but by the way ?? secures the existence of a large accessories and tuning industry.
This includes the Harley-Factory Frankfurt, in whose laboratory a Springer Softail was genetically manipulated and trimmed to Springer Classic until it was modeled on it
FL 74, a “Knucklehead” from 1941, was confusingly similar. Almost paradoxical: the completely different positions of the Twins in their respective epochs. The “Seventy-Four-Overhead” was an uncompromising sports motorcycle that, with 1200 cm3, 48 hp and 160 km / h, was one of the most powerful and fastest two-wheelers in the world. The Hayabusa of the 40s, so to speak, a technology carrier whose history began in 1936 when Harley brought its first 45-degree V2 with valves hanging in the cylinder head to the people. Lovingly because of the characteristic shape of its rocker arm housing KCalled the nucklehead, the two-valve engine was to set the trend for Harley-Davidson.
To this day, the brand trusts von
the exceptional appearance V-Rod times
apart from that, an air-cooled V2 with a 45 degree cylinder angle
and two long bumpers plus rocker arms operated valves per cylinder. So everything is the same? Feeling, joy, egg bone.
Not quite, because tradition or not: Even the Americans cannot and do not want to ignore almost 70 years of development. Especially since so many post-war inventions can be considered beneficial. First and foremost the electric starter: push it on and drive off is the principle behind the Softail-
ell one though the twin cam engine did not fail to consider its ignition
Stage event. Bringing the Knucklehead to life, on the other hand, is real work: unscrew the fuel tap, engage the choke in the first stage, reduce the pre-ignition a little on the left twist grip. Press the kick starter twice without ignition, switch on the ignition. Then set the two pistons in motion with a courageous kick and … think. Kick again and again and again.
Also starting up ?? a challenge: use your left foot to step on the clutch known as a suicide clutch, use your left hand to engage first gear on the tank backdrop, then slowly come on the clutch and let yourself be set in motion quickly. Pure enjoyment when you’ve got it. Still not a bad idea to turn the clutch and shift thing around over the years. Because with today’s heavy traffic there is hardly any time to take your hand off the handlebars to change gears.
48 HP have little more trouble with the 265 kilograms of scrap metal than the 68 horses of the 1449 modern V2 with the 340 kilograms heavy Springer Classic. Speeds between 100 and 120 km / h: no problem for the Knuckle. But for the overweight Softail, which noticeably lurches at such speeds. In terms of handiness, the old man also plays one role in the young and is more agile in the cornering area and is directed from one incline to the next. Advantage of lower weight and lower center of gravity.
Progress is only coming again
on bad routes to the train, though
the fork springs of the FL 74 begin to rattle, the rigid frame rear wheel loses contact with the ground and the suspension seat post causes the rider to move amazingly. Then it is better to swing over the bumps in almost the same sitting position with an underdamped jumper fork and express gratitude everywhere for the more modern brakes. The Springer Classic is anything but sensational for today’s conditions, but it is predictable. What cannot be said of the Knucklehead.
But these are all damn profane criteria for Harleys and their clientele. It’s about the myth, the attitude to life in the saddle ?? hands relaxed on the beach bar, feet lolled on the running boards. It’s about a worldview, about authenticity. It’s about motorcycles that don’t go out of style. Progress was yesterday, what counts today are feelings beyond measurable values and advanced methods of maintaining them. Anyone who does not understand this philosophy has made the wrong investment with a Harley-Davidson.
It has to rattle, roar and hurt a little? The Springer Classic conveys all of this as competently as the original. However, supported by a fishtail muffler, who probably puffs out more angrily than the police allow. Because in the 21st century sensuality is often confused with backwardness.
Technical data: Harley FL 74 »Knucklehead ??
M engine: air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 45 degree V engine, one
Camshaft located below, two valves per cylinder, bumpers, rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, Linkert carburetor, Ø 33 mm, multi-disc oil bath clutch, four-speed gearbox, chain. Bore x stroke 87.31 x 100.81 mm, displacement 1207 cm3, compression ratio 7: 1, rated output 35 kW (48 PS) at 4800 rpm, max. Torque k. A. M chassis: double-loop rigid frame made of steel, spring fork, drum brakes at the front and rear. 5.00 x 16 tires front and rear. M Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1511 mm, weight with a full tank of 265 kg, tank capacity 13 liters. Price (1941): $ 465
Technical data: Harley Springer Classic
M engine: air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 45-degree V-engine, two camshafts located below, two valves per cylinder, hydraulic valve lifters, bumpers, rocker arms, injection, Ø 45 mm, uncontrolled catalytic converter, multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt. Bore x stroke 95.3 x 101.6 mm, displacement 1449 cm3, compression ratio 8.8: 1, rated power 50 kW (68 PS) at 5400 rpm, max. Torque 108 Nm at 3200 rpm. M chassis: double loop frame made of steel, spring fork, triangular swing arm made of steel, two spring struts, front disc brake, Ø 292 mm, single-piston caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 292 mm, four-piston fixed caliper. Tires MT 90 B 16, MU 85 B 16. M Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1630 mm, weight with a full tank 340 kg, tank capacity 18.9 liters. Price: from 32,500 euros
All those who do not understand the Harley philosophy find it difficult to see real progress in the Springer Classic, which is less on the technical than on the metaphysical level. But what are vile measurable values against such noble goals as eternity? And they are only available from Harley-Davidson, if not very cheap. So what is progress in the American sense? Very simple: maintaining one’s own tradition. A Harley never gets old. If that’s not progress.
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