June 11, 2011

Classic Harley Panhead Speedometer Options

Harley bobber motorcycles seem to be coming back with a passion these days. And why not? They look great are fun to ride and don’t take as much time or cost as restoring a correct classic Harley. And money is tight these days, so saving is OK. More than a decade ago I originally built my 1949 Harley dual carb bobber mostly with genuine Harley parts I scored at swapmeets and occasionally on ebay, which was still fairly new back then.

Real Harley frame and front end, real Harley Panhead engine and 3 speed transmission, real Harley seat and post, tin and era correct Linkert carbs. A couple of items just didn’t look or work the way I wanted and knew I had to correct them.

Today I swapped out the aftermarket speedometer from a different era for one I bought on ebay. Now I have to admit that it looks like the real deal with correct colors, marking and needle but it is not genuine Harley.

My "new" 1949 and later Panhead speedometer

It is a very nice fake. Based on a new aftermarket speedometer, the guy I bought it from carefully took it apart and replaced all the parts you can see when it is mounted. Different face, different needle, different glass with numbers and bar & shield on them. I suspect if I had not told you this was a repop you might not be able to tell. The only thing to give it away – I believe – is the two small screws on either side of the needle pin.

Why, do you ask, did I install a repop speedometer on this otherwise mostly all Harley bobber? Because I am not comfortable spending over $1100 for a real one on ebay. I bought this one for less than $300 and it should serve me fine until I find a real one more in my price range.

Wrong looking speedometer (black and white) and correct looking (blue) one for my Panhead.

Of course, if anyone has a good deal on a decent, complete and working real 1949 Harley Panhead speedometer, please let me know.

Next I have to sort out the seat post issue, which has always been too soft for my, ahem, heft. I bought a new set of springs that can be mixed and matched to fit various needs. Hope to get to that next. 

We are planning on running a complete feature on this bike in the pages of American Iron Magazine in a few months. And, if I can get it fully sorted out, I plan on riding this bike on the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic from Wheels Through Time museum in October.

Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog, Random Ideas by Buzz Kanter

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