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Creating a Harley Davidson Police Motorbike Replica

By Scary Gary Newcomb

Photo of Gary Newcomb's handmade replica of a 1910 Harley Davidson Motorbike

Quick Stats:
Replica 1910-1920 Harley-Davidson Police Motorbike
Builder: Gary Newcomb
Donor Bike: www.CruiserTown.com 
Engine: www.KingsMotorbikes.com 

Editor Note: Gary's chronicle of building a classic tandem trike is still one of our most frequently visited articles. We prefer totally human-powered vehicles, but this tale was simply too cool to pass up. 

This project was made as a loosely based replica of the early Harley Davidson Police motorbike, probably around a 1910. To make up for items not in use yet (lights, police paint scheme, etc....) I dated the rear plate for 1920.

The project's 2004 (modern day custom) donor bike and most of the new bike parts came from CruiserTown. Because of the frames 1-1/8 diameter tubing, it was a great candidate for being motorized. The engine mounts fit almost perfectly with a little innertube rubber wrap to protect the frame, and cut down on vibration. The exhaust easily clears the frame, and is almost centered under the frame.

The engine was purchased from KingsMotorbikes. The 80CC Square Head engine looked and ran great out of the box, but was still cleaned up to be running at top capacity. I opened up the exhaust pipe a little, and tuned the clutch, and it ran great. King's reports these engines turning out 3.5HP at more than 40mph!

I replaced the stock teardrop gas tank, with a smaller rectangle tank that rides on the rack behind the seat. This is the location of the oil tank on some of the old Harley's, so it really lends itself to the style of the bike.

I fabricated the faux coffin gas tank and bracket out of 26 gauge sheet metal. The "tank's" sides were bondo'ed, painted white, masked with adhesive stencils, sprayed black, and then remasked for the red paint on the interior of the text logos and then clear coated (all with lots of sanding in between). From the same material, I also made brackets for clutch/throttle cables (No Zip-Ties in 1920!).

To date it in the early 1900s, I didn't want a lot of chrome. I also decided to go for the "Black and White" paint scheme in semi-gloss paints. I painted almost everything except the frame, including; fork/ornament, fenders, gas tank, faux tank, chainguard, rear lock box, chain tensioner, lights/generator/mounts and mirrors. I think that's everything... As a late addition, I am also working on a set of heavy duty wheels (white hoops and nipples, and black spokes).

Paint on faux tank, CAL 20 license plate, front "PATROL" plate and chainguard were painted with custom cut adhesive stencils and masking. A newer process I saw on TV (American Chopper, Great Biker Build Off, Overhaulin'...), and decided to try. For people who can't freehand paint lettering or pin striping, this allows you to reproduce some complicated artwork.

The bike is a blast to ride, gets 150 mpg and a lot of attention. A good portion who see it assume that it is actually from 1920 and restored. Results I'm happy with, for a garage built and homemade spray booth painted bike that I did all the work on!

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