Motorcycle: Singles - Model C Single, 1929 - 1934
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 15:58:39 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Model C Single, 1929 - 1934
In 1929, the Model A and B singles got a bigger brother with the introduction of the Model C. Displacing 30.1 cu in (493cc), the newcomer's top end was essentially half of the old 61-inch Model F/J twin, mated to the 21-inch single's bottom end. This was clearly a more sound solution than the trick many American racers had been pulling for years — they had simply removed one top end and connecting rod from the J, blanked off the hole and let rip on the track. Road riders demanded something slightly more elegant.
Unlike the "21" however, this time no overhead-valve variant was offered; the model was resolutely side-valve, although the greater pulling power of the 30-inch motor meant that, for the modest uses for which most singles were destined, no overhead valves were required. Power was sufficient for a top speed approaching 60mph (96kph).
Compared to the smaller single, the "30" was both bored and stroked with even more undersquare dimensions of 3 1/16 x 4in (78.6 x 101.6mm). Since it was also slower revving than the "21", a J 42 per cent increase in capacity realised only a 25 per cent increase in power, from eight to ten horsepower. Both machines shared a similar three-speed transmission. An overhead-valve competition derivative, the Model CA (later CAC) was produced in very limited numbers. By the time of the Model Cs debut in 1929, Harleys had begun to develop front brakes (they also featured on the 45-inch twin that appeared in the same year). Like the rear brake, this was a simple, single-leading shoe drum, but activated by a lever on the right handlebar, as is the practice today.
Early examples shared the same frame and running gear as contemporary 21-inch singles, but during the second year of production the larger engine was installed in a chassis "borrowed" from the twin. This turned the robust little single into a "full-size" motorcycle — ironically with a lower seat height but increased ground clearance.
More ironically still, in 1933 it was joined by the Model CB, essentially a 30-inch engine in 21-inch running gear— a choice perhaps prompted by excess stock of the latter.
Worthy as the Model C was, the majority of American motorcycle buyers still hankered after twin-cylinder pulling power even during the depths of the Depression.
A measure of the singles' problem at home was that, during 1929, sales of the 21- and 30-inch singles combined were little more than half of those of the Series D twin — 3,789 units compared to 6,856.
Nonetheless, though comparatively unheralded in their own country, the sturdy little singles proved popular overseas as Harley-Davidson continued to develop its international markets, where the sheer weight and size of the big twins often posed problems to potential buyers. Not surprisingly, the larger single had soon became the dominant seller. Initially priced at just $20 more than the $235 price-tag of the "21", the Model C comfortably outsold the smaller machine from 1930 onwards. More than 5,000 units of the popular Series C were produced in total over the life span of the model, which was to be six years in all.
Engine: side-valve single
Capacity: 30.1 cu in (493cc)
Power: 10 bhp
Wheelbase: 57 1/2 in (1,460mm)
Top speed: around 56mph (90kph)
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