Motorworld’s newspaper № 37
Test-drive video
Series U of Harley-Davidson motorcycles launched in 1937 (and superseding Series V) consisted of six models: three had engines with 1213 cc displacement and, among them, Model U was basic, Model US was supplied with sidecar, and Model UL had a high-level engine compression. Three more models — UH, USH and ULH—had 1311 cc displacement, and they had, correspondingly, similar characteristics.

Harley Davidson UH from «Motorworld by V.Sheynov» collection

All models of the series had V-shape engines located on the duplex tubular frame, with valves under the angle of 45 degrees, magneto ignition systems, and dry-sump lubrication systems. Gear change was effected manually, using a lever that was affixed to the fuel tank. The gearbox had 3 speeds, the transmission to the rear wheel was by chain. The front suspension was parallelogram with frictional damper, while the rear suspension was unsprung.

The US Army kept purchasing the Harley-Davidson Model U civilian motorcycles until 1939. The military were mostly buying Model UL (there is, however, one known case of Model UH purchase). In 1939, however, a special “army” version of Model US was designed, which was produced using the UA designation. Following changes introduced to the design of model UA made it different compared to its civilian version: high-clearance mudguards, baffles for lights, further improved transmission. In some cases, civilian-type sidecars were installed.

Around 2100 units of Series U motorcycles in various modifications were delivered to the US army over the period from 1938 to 1945. The total number of motorcycles in this series manufactured over 12 years of their production, from 1937 to 1949, was 33129 units.

Manufacturer Harley-Davidson Motors Co., Milwaukee (Wisconsin, USA)
Years of manufacture 1937 – 1949
Quantity produced, units
Price 415 $
Today’s value 6 706 $
Type Twin-cylinder, V-shape, air-cooled
Engine capacity, cc 1 213
Bore and stroke, mm 87 х 102
Engine rating 33 h.p. at 4600 rpm
Sparking Battery type
Battery 6 V
Clutch Dry, multiple-plate
Transmission 3-speed
Frame type Tubular, duplex
Front suspension Springer
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 4,50 х 18
Length, mm
2 438
Width, mm
1 753
Height, mm
1 092 (with wind shield)
Wheelbase, mm
1 525
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km

* – Data from the results of the measurement of the “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov” exhibit.