1940 Harley-Davidson U Flathead


1940 Harley-Davidson U Flathead

Even as motorcycle manufacturers looked to overhead-valve designs for more performance and the motorcycle business began to recover in the later 1930s, there was still a market for a big, simple flathead engine. Less fussy and able to slog along at low rpms, side-valve engines remained the favorite of sidecar riders, delivery boys and police departments.

In Europe, Brough Superior and Matchless both made huge 1,000-cc V-Twins for years, while in the U.S. Indian only built side-valve engines and Harley-Davidson offered the 74-cubic inch VL flathead from 1930 to 1940. Early models were plagued with problems, but they were quickly solved, and in 1936 Harley one-upped the competition with the 1937 ULH model and its giant 80-cubic inch engine.

The ULH model was not continued after World War II, due to the popularity of the OHV knucklehead, making this a rarely seen collectible.

  • 1,311 cc V-twin side-valve engine, Schebler carburetor,
  • four-speed, hand-shift transmission,
  • Meisinger bucket saddle,
  • sprung front forks,
  • hard-tail rear,
  • hand-operated front drum brake,
  • foot-operated rear drum brake.
  • Wheelbase: 60″
  • Uncommon, 80-cubic inch flathead model, recommended for sidecars


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