Harley Davidson Bikes are the things of dreams for many. But did you know that they were part of the single most dream-crushing event of the modern times – they were originally prototyped and built by the USA and Canada as reconnaissance and messenger carriers during the Second World War. It is estimated that a total of 80,000 Harley Davidsons were built by the Americans and Canadians during the war years. And that isn’t all – there were also spare parts built that could be used separately to build 30,000 more such bikes. And while the atrocities of the war are behind us – these Harley prototypes have tremendous historical value today!

And talking to a biking enthusiast – these prototypes really are like holy grails! So we thought we’ll feature 5 of the top Harley Davidson prototypes today:

#1 Harley-Davidson TA

Harley-Davidson TAThe problem with a bike was that not everyone could ride it easily. And to solve this problem this particular model was built with 3 wheels. This took the balancing issue out of the equation, making these easier to ride. Plus these also featured left or right hand shift features. Even though these were later replaced by jeeps, for some time, they managed to solve some of the problem. However, this prototype had a few failures – chiefly – it started to spring oil leaks, as well as there were intense vibrations owing to the design. They were then re-designed.

However, you can still spy one of these at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC.

#2 Harley-Davidson FC

Harley-Davidson-FCThis was a prototype designed for the Canadian Harleys. It was designed in 1943 and was made with the intention that a dual engine power plantwould power one heavy duty rear end tank. However, the prototype didn’t pass the testing stages and was never built on the large scale. However, the single model ever built is still owned by Harley Davidson – and the lucky ones get to see it too.

#3 Harley-Davidson XA

Harley-Davidson XAThis was next in line – this prototype was actually inspired by the German BMW R71 bikes. Those had a number of advantages:

The cylinders were better positioned for easy cooling due to the opposed twin motor.
• Drivetrain maintenance was lower because of the enclosed shaft drive.
• And overall, these were more reliable.

In a bid to match these – the Americans and Canadians designed the XA. This featured:

Foot shifted four speed transmission that left the hands free to maneuver
• A 45 cubic inch opposed twin motor
• A larger fuel tank for higher range
• A larger battery
• Centrally mounted air box
• An external oil tank with radio shielded ignition

This was probably one of the most successful of all the prototypes developed and 1,011 units alone were built for army testing. The design for the engine survived the bike, and the bike itself served as a prototype for future Harleys!

#4 Harley-Davidson XS

Harley-Davidson XSThis was one of the later and more heavy duty takes on the XA. It looked like a Harley with a sidecar but it was actually an attempt at designing a two-wheel drive vehicle for greater control. However, this was developed at a time when the jeep was becoming quite popular – and the need it was created to fill was already being filled by the jeep. So only 3 prototypes of this were ever built and you can catch sight of one of these in the Harley-Davidson Archives!

#5 Harley-Davidson WSR

Harley-Davidson-WSRThis was specially developed for the Russian army to fit their needs. This actually was a Harley with a sidecar. It had better ground clearance but had the same side valve motor and hand shifted (three speed) transmission. While it was designed and a prototype created – the end of the war in Europe left it in the prototype stages and no more were produced!

Harley-Davidsons, even today, are associated with power and class, just as they were during WWII. And prototype or not, innovation is still one of their top priorities!

http://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Harley-Davidson-XA.jpghttp://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Harley-Davidson-XA-300x300.jpgEvan BartlettBIKESharley davidson,harley davidson models,harley davidson motorcycles,harley davidson prototypes,old harley davidson,vintage harley davidsonHarley Davidson Bikes are the things of dreams for many. But did you know that they were part of the single most dream-crushing event of the modern times – they were originally prototyped and built by the USA and Canada as reconnaissance and messenger carriers during the Second World...Daily News, News Magazine, Online Magazine