News from Oakland Harley-Davidson

The History of H-D Engines

Posted by Jess Bettencourt on Feb 27, 2017 2:26:12 PM
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2017 begins the next era of power, performance and innovation for Harley-Davidson® motorcycles, and it all starts with the all-new Milwaukee-Eight™ engines. The sound of the Harley-Davidson® 45-degree V-Twin rings through the history of motorcycling in an unbroken line stretching back to 1909. Each one improving on the one before it. Iconic. Durable. Unmistakable in their sound. Unparalleled in their muscular look. Unmatched in the feeling they deliver to the rider. Take a look at the history of H-D engines: Atmospheric-V-Twin.jpg

1909 Atmospheric V-Twin

It began with 27 motorcycles. 49.5 cubic inches. 7 horsepower. The 45-degree Harley-Davidson® V-Twin engine is born.

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1911 – 1929 F-Head

Designed to bring more power to street, police and commercial applications, it featured a waterproof ignition system and 61 cubic inches of displacement, which later was joined by the larger 74. 

Flathead.jpg1929–1973 Flathead

The Flathead engine got its nickname from the flat shape of the heads. It didn’t have valves in the cylinder head; they were set off to the side. It featured easily removable heads for serviceability.

Knucklehead.jpg
1936–1947 Knucklehead

The Knucklehead was nicknamed for its rocker covers and push rod tubes, resembling a clenched fist. It was the first H-D® twin engine with overhead valves and recirculating oil. Considered the father of all H-D® V-Twin air-cooled engines that followed, its architecture has carried forward to today.

Panhead.jpg

1948–1965 Panhead

New aluminum cylinder heads, new hydraulic valve lifters, better oil circulation and roller bearings on the crankpin reduced weight, and added durability. The nickname describes the rocker covers looking like upside-down pans.

Shovelhead.jpg

1966–1984 Shovelhead

We rolled into the modern touring era with a new engine on the original Electra Glide® model. “Power Pac” aluminum heads, 12-volt electrical system, carburetor and easily adjustable timing system. Its nickname comes from the “shoveled-out” look of the middle section of the rocker covers.

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1984–1999 Evolution®

The first H-D® engine developed using Computer-Aided Design. The “Evo” was an evolution, an all-new engine that ran better, used less fuel and delivered more horsepower and torque.

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1999–Today Twin Cam

The second two-cam Big Twin in our history, after the 1928 JDH, with bigger displacement, more power, and a more rigid engine/transmission connection for improved powertrain stiffness.

2017 THE ALL-NEW MILWAUKEE-EIGHT™ ENGINE

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The Milwaukee-Eight™ 107 and Milwaukee-Eight™ 114 engines take the Harley-Davidson® V-Twin to a place it’s never been. They’re the most powerful, coolest-running motors we’ve ever built* – smoother, stronger and more durable, with crisper throttle response and truer, cleaner sound. See all of the features for the new Milwaukee-Eight™ engine by clicking here.

To see all of the new 2017 H-D Touring motorcycles that feature this amazing new engine click here.

See 2017 H-D Touring Motorcycles

Want to check out some more Basic Maintenance for Your Harley-Davidson Motorcycle?

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Topics: Oakland H-D News, Current Rider

News from Oakland H-D

Keeping the Bay Area motorcyclists up to date

Our team of experts at Oakland Harley-Davidson strives to keep you up-to-date on:

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