Motorcycle: Lightweights - Stateside Strokers
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:20:07 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
• MODEL S-125, 1948-52 MODEL ST-165, 1953-9 MODEL B HUMMER, 1955-9
Harley-Davidson's first venture into the world of two-strokes owed much to the end of the Second World War. On the one hand, it was assumed that thousands of demobbed GIs would crave almost any motorcycle they could lay their hands on, and the 125cc single was considered the ideal low-cost candidate. Second, the design was basically that of the pre-war DKW RT125.
When partition placed the factory in the new East Germany, the design passed to the Allies as war reparations. British BSA's hugely successful Bantam was also a DKW copy, as was the very first Yamaha, the YA1 "Red Dragonfly". Producing just three horsepower from its simple piston-ported, air-cooled engine, the S-125 must have been a profound disappointment to any American biker raised on big four-stroke power. Juneau Avenue was evidently hopeful about selling these machines in huge numbers, producing more than in the model's first year, but sales proved poor, settling to around 4,000 annum even after the introduction "Tele-Glide" version with telescopic g forks in 1951.
A bore increase in 1953, from 52 to 60mm, resulted in the slightly zippier g 165cc Model ST. A restricted version, 11 the STU, was also available.
Two years later, the Model B
Hummer — using essentially the same 125cc engine and transmission as the first Model S — appeared in the Harley-Davidson catalogue. From 1960 to 1961, an updated 165cc range continued as the 6bhp BT and BTU (restricted to 5bhp) Super Ten. Harley-Davidson's slogan for this model went: "keen wheeling for teen wheeling".
Engine: 2-stroke single-cylinder Capacity: 125cc Transmission: 3-speed Power: 3bhp Wheelbase: 50m (1,270mm) Top speed: around 40mph
• RANGER, PACER, SCAT, BOBCAT, 1962-6
This quartet was another attempt to broaden the Harley range and allow Milwaukee to compete as a mass-market player. In hindsight, the strategy was clearly misguided, but Milwaukee believed there was a niche market of buyers not quite ready for the new 250cc Sprint (nor for the big twins). The Ranger and its siblings were the result. All four machines, designated Model BT, shared a two-stroke engine derived from the Super 10, but with increased stroke from 60 to 61mm for a capacity of 175cc on all but the 1962 Pacer and Ranger. As with the Topper, "full power" and 5bhp versions were built. Models that year were the street-only BT Pacer, the dual-purpose BTH Scat and the BTF Ranger, a stripped-down, off-road variant without lights. The first examples had rigid rear ends, but models that had swinging-fork suspension appeared for 1963. The Ranger was dropped for 1963 while the Pacer and Scat gave way to the BTH Bobcat in 1966.
Available in road and optional off-road guises, this lasted for one year, proving to be the last of the American-built Harley lightweights.
Engine: 2-stroke single-cylinder
Wheel-base: 52in (1,320mm)
Top speed: around 60mph
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