Motorcycle Types Cruiser Harley-Davidson Museum: Summer Exhibit

Harley-Davidson Museum: Summer Exhibit

harley-davidson-museum-2011-summer-exhibit (1)

Harley History on Display

With more than 108 years of history, Harley-Davidson is bound to have some interesting pieces buried deep in its Archives.

Even the most dedicated motorcycle enthusiast is in for more than a few surprises when the special summer exhibit, Collection X: Weird, Wild Wonders of the Harley-Davidson Museum, opens June 11, 2011.

The motorcycles, leathers, and accessories for which the Company is known make up just a small fraction of the hundreds of artifacts that will be on display in the 10,000-square-foot Garage exhibit space at the Museum through August 21.

The never-before-seen prototype bikes that were created as concepts but never manufactured or sold are sure to get bikers and engineering enthusiasts talking.

History buffs will revel in the early 20th century motors – Harley-Davidson made motors for everything from lawn mowers to military drones – as well as the vehicles, old photographs, and riding goggles, belts, and other accessories. And fans of pop culture and anything that’s out of the ordinary, interesting, and offbeat will enjoy the huge variety of unearthed items, from t-shirts, belt buckles and folk art, to inventions like the brake light helmet.

Bill Davidson (Vice President of the Museum) says: “Harley-Davidson’s rich heritage is filled with many unique and little-known business endeavors. I couldn’t be more excited about the Harley-Davidson Museum hosting this summer’s exhibit and displaying for the first time the items that represent these different ventures.”

Exhibit highlights

The Cyclone Motor-Sled, “Pop’s Trolley”

This 10-foot-long canvas-covered spruce sled is one example of the many uses found for Harley-Davidson motors over the years. The motor-sled was sold as a kit by the Mead Company in Chicago in the 1930s, and $38.50 bought the entire sled, except for the countershaft, propeller and engine. The sleds were powered by Harley-Davidson motorcycle engines – some of these engines came from owners’ motorcycles that weren’t being used in the cold winter months in the Midwest. This particular sled is painted blue and white, with the moniker “Pop’s Trolley” on the side.

Harley-Davidson Prototypes

A concept vehicle from the early 2000s with two front wheels and one rear wheel and another from 1981, are two examples of the prototype bikes that will be on display, showing a unique facet of Harley-Davidson product development, engineering and creativity.

All-Leather Chopper from Red Moon in Japan

This ¾ scale chopper replica is made entirely from leather, from the wheels to the frame to the headlight. Even the spark plug boots, chain, fuel valve, and tools in the tool bag – all functional – are made from leather. The piece was handmade in 2000 by artisans from Red Moon, a Japanese company that specializes in leather products. It took 20 craftspeople more than two years to complete the piece, which was created as a tribute to Harley-Davidson in celebration of Red Moon’s 10th anniversary.

1913 electrical transformer from Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee

This 8-ft, 8,000-lb electrical transformer helped power the Harley-Davidson factory (now its corporate headquarters) in Milwaukee from 1913 through the 1990s. What’s most impressive is that up until this year, the transformer was still being used as back-up power at the Juneau Avenue building. Visitors to the exhibit will see the nearly century-old transformer next to a photo from the day it was delivered to the factory from General Electric Co. in New York in 1913. At that time, when the industrial age was booming, the Motor Company boasted about being the largest individual user of electrical power in Milwaukee and the only company in the city to have an electrical furnace.

Special Events

June 10 – Members-only preview

Members of the Harley-Davidson Museum will have the chance to see the exhibit a day before the general public, with a members-only preview and reception taking place at the Garage exhibit space from 5-7 p.m. For more information on becoming a Museum member, visit and click “Become a Member.”

July 23 – Untold Stories: Meet Frank Fritz, American Picker

Frank Fritz, one of the stars of the popular History Channel show, American Pickers, and vintage motorcycle collector, will visit the Museum to share stories about his career and his “picking” strategies as he travels the country in pursuit of rare and unique treasures. The program begins at 7 p.m. Tickets will go on sale for Museum members on June 2 and for the general public on June 6. The cost is $20 for Museum members and $25 for non-members.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

Emula Concept First Look: With 2electron McFly Technology

One of the prime complaints many motorcyclists have about electric motorcycles is that they don’t deliver the visceral experience that comes from an internal...

2020 Yamaha Power Assist Bicycles Review: Two Electric Choices

While not a motorcycle, as we interpret it, a pedal-assisted electric bicycle just might be a gateway product to owning a motorcycle. With that...

Editor’s Choice: Al Phillips Collection at Mecum Indy 2020 Auction

Noted motorcycle collector Al Phillips will be selling 25 motorcycles from his collection at the Mecum Indy 2020 auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds....

2020 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS Buyers Guide: Specs & Price

Based on the dragstrip-scorching Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, the 2020 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS is a civilized coast-to-coast sport-touring motorcycle that does not lack for...

2021 AIMExpo Dates Set: Now A Trade-Only Show

The Motorcycle Industry Council is making two big changes to its American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo). First, the date for the show, which the...

Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride Starts July 31, 2021

Women’s Motorcycle Tours’ Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride is set to start in Portland on July 31, 2021, and run through August 20 in Washington, DC....