Motorcycle: Model Codes - Harley-Davidson Model Codes
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:47:59 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Harley-Davidson Model Codes
The Harley-Davidson company has always favoured a particularly cryptic method of model designation, although the system is in most cases quite simple once the "code" is understood. The first model made in any numbers was the 1908 Model 4 - indicating the fourth year of production. A suffix letter identified the precise model type, such as "A" for magneto ignition, with the most basic model simply known by its model year number. The first "suffix" was actually a prefix: in 1912, "X" before the model year indicated a rear wheel clutch.
Thus, the Model 5 followed in 1909, the Model 6 in 1910 and so on, until all models adopted the last two digits of their year of manufacture from 1916 (Models 16). Thus, Model 16B was a base-model 1916 single, a 16E was the most basic twin and a 16J was a three-speed twin with full electrical system. Unfortunately, Harley's long-standing habit of having lead times — by which you could buy most "year 2000" models in late 1999, for instance, often creates additional ambiguity.
Later, as the range became entirely composed of V-twins, the suffix letters became more elaborate and numerous but the basic year-prefix system continued publicly until 1969 (and technically still does). Initially, there was little attempt to marry a suffix letter logically with what it represented, although in recent times the connection has — usually — been more clear.
Not quite every letter of the alphabet has been used ("Y" is the exception) which would be daunting enough, but several have enjoyed different meanings at different times. Equally, the same "feature" has also commanded different code letters. Thus, electric start has been indicated variously by "B" and "E", while the latter has also represented the 61-inch Knucklehead and Panhead engines (as opposed to "F" for the 74-inch models) and even police spec. In recent times, "B" has variously represented Belt drive, Daytona and Bad Boy, to name but three.
All current Harley-Davidsons start with a pair of letters, denoting certain engine and chassis combinations.
Therefore, XL is the Sportster range, with solidly-mounted 883cc or 1,200cc engines. The suffix dates back to the original 55-inch XL Sportster of 1957.
"FX" first appeared for the 1971 SuperGlide when the "X" indicated that the model had borrowed the lighter Sportster front end. The FX suffix now refers to a welter of models with Twin Cam or81.6cu in (l,340cc) Evo engines. FXD now represents the Dyna series with two-point rubber-mounted engines dating from the FXDB Sturgis frame of 1991. FXST denotes Softails, with engines rigidly mounted in a chassis that is based on the previous FX range.
"Heavyweight" models (not that most others are light) have enjoyed the FL suffix since 1941, when "F" indicated the new 74-inch Knucklehead engine, of which the Special Sport version was designated "L". These days, it refers to rubber-mounted big twin engines: Electra and TourGlides. Exceptions to this are rigidly-mounted FLST Softail models, such as the Fat Boy and Heritage Softail.
Suffix - Modern meaning - Historical meaning
A - N/A - Army (military spec)/ without tow bar (on Servi-Car)
B - Bad, as in Bad Boy, Belt drive and Daytona - Electric start/ previously aluminium piston(s)
C - Custom, Classic, Cafe (as in Cafe Racer) - "Competition"/ Commercial/ Canadian spec
CH - N/A - "Competition Hot" : super sports with magneto
D - Dyna Daytona - At least four other uses
DG - Disc Glide - N/A
E - (Formerly) electric start. Previously 61-inch ohv engine and some police models - N/A
F - Fat Boy - As a prefix, 74-inch ohv engine; as suffix, foot change
H - Notionally extra power but largely redundant - Extra power/ high compression/ larger engine
I - Fuel injection - N/A
J - N/A - Battery electrical system (as opposed to magneto)
L - N/A - Sports specification; "LD" signified Special Sports models
LR - Low Rider - N/A
N - Nostalgia - Iron piston
P - N/A - Police model/ sprung fork on 1949 ohv models
Q - N/A - Two passenger sidecar
R - Road King - Racing/ pseudo racing (XR 1000)
S - Springer, as in the last letter of FXSTS (Springer Softail) as Sport, as in FLHS (ElectraGlide Sport) - Sidecar specifications/ sometimes Sport
SP - Sport Edition, as in FXRS - SP Low Rider Sport Edition - N/A
ST - Softail - N/A
T - Touring, with frame-mounting fairing - Reverse gear/ Twin
U - Ultra - "Restricted" engines
WG - Wide Glide - N/A
X - Some Sports models - Rear wheel clutch
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