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Motorworld’s newspaper № 37
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Launched in 1937, the Harley-Davidson U Series, which replaced the V Series, consisted of six models. Among the three motorcycles with an engine capacity of 1,213 cc, the U was the base model, the US was supplied with a sidecar, and the UL model had a high-level of engine compression. Three motorcycles with 1,113 cc engine capacity — UH, USH and ULH — had the same characteristics respectively.

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

All models of the series were equipped with V-shape engines with valves at the angle of 45 degrees, magneto ignition systems, and dry-sump lubrication systems. The gear change was done manually by a lever attached to the gas 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.

Harley-Davidson U displayed in “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov” museum is a civilian version, which in 1945 was available only in a “safeguarding gray” color. The motorcycle features are in a complete lack of chrome and Harley-Davidson nameplates, mandatory for civilian models.

The carburetor and a black-painted frame confirm the motorcycle’s civilian origin. In addition to our conclusions, we received confirmation of the well-known in narrow circles Harley-Davidson motorcycle specialist David Sarafan. Judging by the engine number (there was no frame number in 1945) the motorcycle was released in a civilian version.

A number of Harley-Davidson U bikes in civilian versions were purchased by the U.S. Army (mainly military purchased the UL model; also known a single purchase of UH model). In 1939, however, a special army version of the US model was developed, which was produced under the index UA. Changes made to the design of the UA model, which differed from the civilian version, were high-clearance fenders, camouflage lighting, and improved gear. In some cases, civilian-type sidecars were installed.

Around 2,100 copies of U Series motorcycles in various modifications were delivered to the U.S. Army over the period from 1938 to 1945. The total number of motorcycles produced from 1937 to 1949 was 33,129 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.