Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sixties Icon on Two Wheels

Almost as soon as I began my motorcycling career back in 1960, I began riding off-road. Just a few weeks prior to my first sight of the word Honda, my best friend acquired a 1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10. The model you see pictured here is the trail variant of the direct descendant of the short-lived Super 10, a model made only in 1960 and '61. The 165cc Super 10 became the 175cc Pacer in 1962, and a trail model with upswept exhaust, high, bobbed fenders, and knobbier tires was also added to the line of small, U.S.-built Harleys. (Yes, Martha, Harley-Davidson used to make motorcycles in the US of A that cost three figures instead of five and weighed somewhat less than a boxcar full of elephants!) The photo is of a 1963 Scat. As far as I can tell, the only non-stock item on this model is the chopped rear fender. This example features the new-for-'63 rear suspension consisting of a large spring mounted underneath the frame at the swingarm pivot point. Although the spring worked as a solo artist, this was not exactly what Yamaha would later call a Monoshock. In five-figure elephant lingo, this is now called a Softtail.

The Harley-Davidson Scat is a rare little beastie. I have encountered only a few of these personally in my lifetime, but the photo shown is one of the best I have seen of a Scat. Anyone who would like to learn more about the Scat, Pacer, Super 10, Ranger, Bobcat, or the ubiquitous Hummer will enjoy my upcoming extensive book featuring small motorcycles of the Sixties.

Watch for it: The Tiddler Invasion, the new book by Floyd M. Orr coming Spring 2013!

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