1928 Harley-Davidson Sam Oppie JDH
The Harley JDH Two Cam was to be the ultimate machine for early timer motorcycle customizer’s to practice their art. Sam Oppie a founding member of the Seattle Cossacks stunt riding team was to become one of the most prolific exponents of the two cam cutdown. Usually finished in Robins egg blue, Oppie maybe built as many as 20 of his uniquely modified specials. The front downtube was reshaped to bring the engine forward for better weight distribution. The seat post was lowered 2 inches, creating a shorter backbone, that then required the gas tanks to be shortened as well. Being a racer himself, engines were optimised for maximum power output.
Our bike has the late 1929 I-beam forks known for their more robust construction. Open class hill climber flywheels give a cubic capacity of 86 cubic inches. Cams and cylinder period modifications give a wonderful power spread. Michael Lange was entrusted with the engine rebuild and the result gives a strong, easy starting, oil tight engine. The bike was painted a darker metallic blue probably in the sixties. The blue Oppie favoured is still present, serving as an undercoat. At some time, safety rims replaced the beaded edge items, the seat was recovered and that is about it. An evocative photo shows Andy Decker with the bike in the 1950’s. He took over ownership from his Father Basil who got the bike from Sam.
This bike is an absolute treat to ride. A motorcycle built by a motorcyclist, for a motorcyclist.
Enjoy the ride…