1914 Harley-Davidson Model 10F

1914 Harley-Davidson Model 10F (978cc)

The Harley-Davidson V Twin was first introduced to the public for the 1909 model season. A mere 27 were produced before the model was withdrawn from the market place. It was then given a total redesign of the engine and re introduced in 1911. 1912 and 1913 saw more improvements. With the completion of their new factory in 1913 Harley was poised to start manufacturing serious number of their by now quality V Twin.

In 1914 the most popular model was the 10-F which incorporated the recently introduced rear chain drive, Harley had started with belt rear drive. Front forks were an improved version of their springer type. Engine was a 978cc inlet overhead and side exhaust valve air cooled V Twin which was to stay in production with various improvements for the next 15 years. Ignition is by Bosch ZEV magneto. This was the first year Harley was to introduce a transmission. Albeit a rather complex 2 speed affair situated in the rear hub. When one considers that the 1914’s sole brake, clutch and transmission were all situated in the rear hub indicates that it was no mean engineering accomplishment and a very busy area of the motorcycle. Frame was of the loop type by this time fitted with sprung centre post to allow the seat to pivot and enhance rider comfort! Auxiliary electrical lighting was not to come to Harley-Davidsons until the following year but our bike shown here has the optional acetylene gas cylinder and Solar headlamp, a genuine work of art in itself.

By 1914 new Harley-Davidsons were starting to trickle into Australia. Dealerships were appearing in the major centres and agents were available in the vast Australian outback. A handful of 1914 twins maybe still exist in Australia with our bike the only one known to be in regular use. This bike was discovered by the previous owner in a loft in the US State of Montana. In complete condition, it has received a mild restoration to the cosmetics probably in the 1950’s. It was given a thorough recommissioning and everything mechanical was brought to operating condition in 1999. In 2011 it was imported into Australia for the Harley City Collection. Given a complete check over and a few adjustments our, bike was ready for the road.

Riding the 1914 is a new experience. One must first familiarise one’s self with the controls; in particular the step starter first introduced for this year and deleted after 1915. Starting is easiest accomplished with the bike on the centre stand. The step pedals operate on both sides of the bike but do not rotate as in a pushbike or earlier Harleys. Yes push the pedals back and they will operate the rear brake. There is a conventional brake pedal as well. Retarding the timing with the left-hand grip also operates a decompression mechanism making the engine somewhat easier to turn over but requires much juggling to get in the correct position for firing the little beast up. Fuel valves are on top of the gas tank and oil tank is under the seat. Engine is gravity fed for lubrication. Clutch is operated in the conventional (well by early Harley standards anyway) left-hand foot pedal and is also fitted with an auxiliary hand lever. Gears are operated by a tiny bell crank on top of the gas tank. Selecting first on our bike is a bit of a challenge but once one is mobile the bike is light and nimble to ride with power being adequate for riding in metropolitan Melbourne. Handlebars, a curious bend at a first glance are surprisingly comfortable. The machine feels strong and dependable and maybe a Great-Race in the future can be testament to this.

Price in Country of Origin $285
Engine Displacement 60.34 cubic inch (978cc)
Top Speed 65 mph (104kph)
Weight 310 pounds (141 kgs)
Number Produced 7,956

Enjoy the ride…

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