This weeks bike of the week is the 1915 Harley Davidson “Dodge City” Racer and was equipped with an 8 valve twin motor. These motorcycles came standard with 4 valves, but when they were transformed into racers, another 4 valves were added. If both the intake and exhaust could be positioned within the cylinder head, the engine was able to provide a more efficient configuration of the combustion chamber and enhance the breathing capabilities. In 1915, Harry Ricardo was able to produce 55hp from a standard 61 cubic inch (1,000CC) configuration. The racer does not have any brakes, it has a direct drive transmission and a magneto ignition.
The racer proved to be exceptionally overpriced for its time, costing $1,400 for a single and $1,500 for a twin. The reason for the high price was the incredible speed the motorcycle was capable of. Harley did not want the racer easily obtainable by the public, therefore they charged nearly $1,200 more than the average motorcycle of the time.
An interesting note : “Harley Davidson insisted that they never used a 1915 model. They, did, and the motor was ripped out of the frame, due to weak motor mounts. They were improved in 1916 with engine mount plates.” -Chris Matthews