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solotommy's 1952 Harley K-model

The cycle was restored to the owner's preference approximately 15 years ago. pdf version
I rode it about 200 miles, then put it up. It sat on display in a central Florida dealership for quite some time, then was loaned to a museum. I started it again about 4 years ago when I was asked to teach a class on K Models at the Motorcycle Mechanic's Institute (MMI) in Orlando. Although it fired right up, it smoked badly.  I'm not sure if it was a wet sumping or ring issue. This motorcycle won an award at the prestigious Lake Mirror Classic Councours, presented by famous race car driver Stirling Moss. It has the correct, one-year-only frame with hollow footpeg supports. The engine cases have matching belly numbers. The fenders are repop, but the gas tank is real. The left grip does not advance timing.

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The trumpet horn is on the left side in K-models. So is the carburetor. The round chrome thing on the right side is the power pack for the horn, not an air filter. It does give the bike a nice symmetry.


The early front end has "cow bell" covers over the fork tubs, not rubber "gators". Its a sleek clean look, no doubt inspired by the jet age. The brake was on the left side of the hub. The full-width brake came on 1964 Sportsters.
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I once read that the late great jazz trumpeter Miles Davis always wore one item of red clothing when he performed because he believed that people get excited by the color of blood.   This explains the red kick pedal, but who needs red to get excited about such a fine, rare motorcycle?


The cover in front of the shock holds the ignition coil and a tool-box. Brake is on the left, shifter on the right. This went until the 1974 Sportster, when the government mandated left-side shifters.

The solo seat is supported by two springs in the frame down-tubes. Very plush.
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1952_Harley_K-model_guage.jpgThe dash has two keys, one for lights, one for ignition. The little swinging doors over the key cylinder are hard to find.

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