July 26, 2011

Update on 1926 Harley Classic Motorcycle Racer

This 1926 classic Harley motorcycle has not been started in over 10 years. Seems to be smoking a little..

I brought the 1926 classic Harley J down to Wheels Through Time last Sunday night with the plan to get get it running and sorted out. The to strip it down to race on Sunday in the closed off streets of Morgantown, WV in the Vintage Grand Prix at Mountainfest.

Working with Dale and Matt Walksler we got the bike running the first morning, then spend some time adjusting and fiddling with it for a day and a half. Today Dale and I went out for a ride around Maggie Valley. Dale on my 1915 Harley I rode on the Motorcycle Cannonball, me on the 1926 Harley that had not run in over ten years.

The ’26 made good power but handled poorly. In a straight line it was ok, but under any turning at all it got very skittish. I knew the tires were over inflated but knew it had to be something more than that to make it handle so poorly.

Dale and I swapped classic Harley and he felt the same issues with the ’26. When we got back to the museum we began checking things and discovered the fork was loose as the steeringhead bearings felt loose and sloppy.

Removing the forks from this classic 1926 Harley so we can clean up and regrease the steeringhead bearings


Front end off the classic Harley. We had it off, fixed and back on in about an hour.

After we got the forks off we discovered what very little grease in there was at least as old as I am and there were three missing balls there. We cleaned it all up, greased it all up , added the three missing balls and reinstalled the entire front end in about an hour. It handled a LOT better after that. 

We now have the engine running quite well, sorted out the brakes and clutch and the handling. Tomorrow we are going to clean and lube everything else on the bike – especially the wheel bearings. Then, if all goes according to plan we will strip it down for some street racing at the Vintage Grand Prix in Morgantown, WV this Sunday.


Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog by Buzz Kanter

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