BBy 1941, German engineers have already learned that the exposed chain drive gets quickly disabled under desert conditions and that using shaft drives was the only way to achieve reliability. That’s why John Nowak, the designer of the XA model, decided to apply the development of the Wehrmacht, practically copying the XA from the trophy BMW R71 (in some sources BMW R12), which was successfully used in campaigns of the African Corps.
Motor Cycling magazine article of n October 1942 describing a new motorcycle model: Harley-Davidson XA
As an experiment, a variation of Model XA was designed in 1942 that was dubbed Model XS: its main difference from the XA was a sidecar with a drive wheel. The transmission to the sidecar wheel was done by a transverse shaft driven by crown gear and pinion gear. Besides, several modifications of the basic XA model were effected, including using Firestone tractor-type tires, outfitting the motorcycle with a second seat, as well as installing the exhaust system higher than that of XA.
The sidecar was very unusual as compared to standard civilian types: it had an opening on one side in the style of Jeep automobiles plus a mudguard and a locker. A spare wheel was affixed to the back side of the sidecar.
By the time the U.S. government was was ready to conclude a contract for the supply of motorcycles, the war in North Africa was over. Besides, Jeep was successfully coping with the tasks that the XA model was supposed to perform. Therefore, in 1943, the desert motorcycle project was closed.
The Harley-Davidson XA, presented in the ‘Motorworld by V. Sheyanov’ collection, is one of the hundred motorcycles produced with solid wheels, which should improve the cross-country ability of the vehicle when driving on the sand.
A total of 1,023 copies of the XA model were produced.
|Manufacturer||Harley-Davidson Motors Co., Milwakee (Wisconsin, USA)|
|Years of manufacture||1941 – 1943|
|Quantity produced, units||1023|
|ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION|
|Engine capacity, cc||739|
|Bore and stroke, mm||78 х 78|
|Engine rating||23 h.p. at 4600 rpm|
|FRAME AND WHEELBASE|
|Frame type||Tubular duplex|
|Rear suspension||Spring-mounted, telescopic|
|Wheel size||5,50 х 16|
|Ground clearance, mm||
|Seat height, mm||
|Gas tank size, l|
|Maximum speed, km/h||