1912 HARLEY-DAVIDSON MODEL X-8-E TWIN Engine no. 6163B • Wonderfully presen

1912 HARLEY-DAVIDSON MODEL X-8-E TWIN Engine no. 6163B • Wonderfully presented in striking Renault Gray The Harley-Davidson Motor Company exhibited phenomenal growth since its inception of hand building robust single cylinder motorcycles in their progression of wooden and brick buildings. In less than ten years, they went from a handful of machines produced to nearly 4000 by 1912, and had almost 1100 workers and staff. The motorcycles showed a strong conservatism in their evolution and were always developed with logical engineering. The first Harley-Davidsons had a displacement of 24.6 cubic inches, developing a whopping 2 horsepower. The next progression occurred in 1906 with displacement increased to 26.8 cubic inches, and production was increased to 50 motorcycles. The familiar color to modern collectors, Renault Gray with double red pin striping became an extra cost option through 1909, to the Piano Black finish with gold pin striping used on all the earlier machines and became the instigator for the name “Silent Gray Fellows. Each following year, the Harley-Davidson factory continued to increase their production output. The year 1909 proved pivotal with the engine displacement increased to 30 cubic inches, a displacement that would remain until 1913. The color choices now were reversed with Renault Gray being the standard color and Piano Black now costing the owner a bit more. The year also brought in reliable Bosch magnetos, the first 2-piece gas tanks and the company’s first V-twin model. The new 50 ci V-twin used a flat leather belt for the final drive but lacked a tensioning device which made riding difficult in poor weather and when the belt began to stretch from normal use. The twin was pulled from the model lineup the following year and would not reappear until 1911. A breakthrough year, 1912, in Harley-Davidson’s history with a record number of motorcycles manufactured and a doubling of the personnel from the prior year, the future for the company was indeed rosy. Innovations continued to flow from the engineering room to the factory floor. A new frame where the rear section of the top frame rail sloped downward was instituted for all models, allowing for a lower saddle height. Pedal cranks were now mounted in an eccentric bushing which allowed adjustments to the rear wheel without disturbing the belt tension. Fresh from Bill Harley’s drafting table came the Free Wheel Clutch which became available on select models for 1912. Actuated by a hand lever along the left side of the gas tank, the clutch was located in the rear hub. The rider no longer needed to pedal down the road or push off the bike to start the engine. Once started, he merely needed to engage the Free Wheel Clutch to pull away smoothly and safely. Other improvements included a hand operated pump on the gas tank to supplement the drip oil feed lubrication system, and a new valanced front fender. New ball bearing races on the engine’s mainshaft with self-aligning bearings on the sprocket side improved the reliability and performance. New cylinders had vertical radial fins at the top to improve cooling. It was also the first year Harley-Davidsons were exported to Japan. The 7 horsepower V-twin sold for $285. The 1912 Harley-Davidson twin offered for sale is a gorgeously restored version of the best model twin offered by the company in that year. The model lineup included a 50 ci belt drive twin along with this 61 ci chain drive twin. The X-8-E had all the best Harley-Davidson could offer that year. It included a timed breather system on the crankcase and a twist grip actuated compression release. An adjustable spring post suspension provided much more comfort than realized in earlier motorcycle models available to the public. This motorcycle is a handsome machine with bright polished nickel and a superb paint job in Renault Gray and the optional black border striping on the tanks, highlighted with red lining on the edges and a pair of gold pin stripes running down the center of the black stripe. It’s a beautiful motorcycle for display or enjoying on the road.