Bike Of The Week

1923 Harley Davidson JD

Written by Motorcyclepedia

1923 Harley Davidson JD
w/Miller Triplex Seats

Harley’s signature bike was the J model, 1200cc V-twin with good horsepower and without extraneous weight.

This machine has been fitted with tandem seats manufactured by Miller Seats.

Who came up with the idea of offering side seats for both a rider and passenger is unknown, but patented examples were found as early as 1913. The Miller Triplex Seat offered by the Haverford Cycle Co. of Philadelphia was on the market as early as 1914.  The Triplex seat came in many variations and could seat up to 4 passengers!  See some of the photos for the various examples.  There’s also a good article about a 3,000 mile trip.  If the image is hard to read I did my best retyping it below.

Engine: F-head 45 degree V-twin
Displacement:  74ci (1207cc)
Horsepower: 24
Wheelbase: 59.5in (151cm)
Weight: 405lb (184kg)
Top speed: 60mph (97kph)
Price: $330

Side Seaters Have Fine Florida Trip

Excelsiorite From Sellersville. PA take 3,000 Mile Tour to Jacksonville and Return with One Puncture as Only Trouble

SELLERSVILLE, PA. – A.C. Groff, Excelsior agent in the city recently returned from a trip to Florida, taken on his twin machine fitted with a Miller Triplex seat.  Groff had as his running mate George Groth, another Sellerville enthusiast.  The trip took nearly two months and over 3,000 miles of roads were covered.

Groff and his mate started on December 9, 1915 and reached Washington D.C. at the end of the first day.  Together the pair weighed 300 pounds and the machine carried an extra 100 pounds of baggage on the carrier.  The route to Washington was through Philadelphia, Chester Wilmington and Baltimore.  Just before entering the District of Columbia, Groff was held up by a constable for speeding on a practically deserted road with a few houses on it.

Seeing the Magistrate

“The Magistrate was about 70 years old..” said Groff in telling about the arrest, “..and looked as if he was out to boycott the barbers.  He wore a suit of overalls and a jumper and held ‘court’ in a dirty little shack.  He fined me $10  but I got it reduced to $4 by pleading poverty.  We lost two hours and $4 by this arrest.”

At Washing Groff put up his mount with the Haverford Cycle Co. for the night and left the capitol the next morning for Raleigh, N.C.  The pair with their sideseater had 70 miles of muddy road to traverse, with plentiful sprinkling of creeks to ford or waterholes to rush.  At some points both men had to drag their feet to keep upright and moving at all.  Following this mud stretch, the roads were better through North and South Caroline to Raleigh.

In this city the pair had their first stop for repairs.  A nail went through the front tire but fortunately only a puncture resulted.  This was the only trouble encountered in the 3,000 miles of the trip.

The weather had gotten milder as the side-seaters proceeded nearer the Gulf of Mexico and some of their heavier clothing had to be shed.  The road through Georgia was about 400 miles but the scenery was interesting all the way. Jacksonville, Fla. was soon reached and only the lightest of clothing was comfortable there.  The arrival at Jacksonville was made just seven days out of Sellersville.  Groff and his partner enjoyed speeding on the hard sand beach at low tide, which they said was better than a race track.  They enjoyed the bathing hugely and were rather sorry to trace their route homeward.  They rode on their 1915 Pennsylvania license until reaching Virginia, where they had to procure a 1916 tag.

Puncture Was Only Trouble

Outside of the puncture in Raliegh, N.C. there was no trouble during the whole trip.  The excelsior had been ridden some 5,200 miles during the 1915 with two passengers on a side-seat and had not been cleaned or given any special attention before Groff started on his Florida trip.  He Found No difficulty in negotiating the rough and frozen roads of the North or the muddy surfaces of the South with the side-seat and 400 pounds of passengers and baggage.

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