The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) launched 21-inch (350cc) racing in 1925. The small-capacity class shortly gained traction, with Indian and Excelsior combating for board and dust observe supremacy. It’s protected to say that Harley-Davidson instantly felt disregarded, becoming a member of the brand new class only one 12 months later, in 1926, with its iconic “Peashooter” racer.
Designated as AA and BA variants, the race fashions got down to dominate the competitors. Thanks to its overhead-valve (OHV) configuration and vestigial exhaust system, the racing Peashooter gained 50 p.c extra energy than its manufacturing counterpart. That additional oomph equated to a 30-mph benefit and an almost 100-mph prime velocity. Oh, by the best way, Harley maximized the bike’s velocity by foregoing brakes.
H-D couldn’t take such dangers on the manufacturing aspect, nonetheless. While 21-inch racing introduced a proofing floor for the mini-Hog, the single-cylinder-powered mannequin additionally opened new markets for the Motor Company. European nations, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand generally turned to small-capacity motorbikes for affordable transportation.
Harley met that demand with its Model A and Model B Peashooters. Unlike their hopped-up siblings, the manufacturing variants opted for a side-valve structure. The A codename pertains to fashions with a magneto whereas the B trim signifies a battery/coil. Even with the arrival of the Model S race bike, Harley continued producing the Peashooter household till the mid-Nineteen Thirties.
With such an illustrious historical past, it’s no surprise Wheels Through Time Museum Associate Director Matt Walksler was so blown away when he acquired a serial primary 1931 Peashooter engine. From the race-specific head to the dual-port exhaust, Walksler instantly places his Peashooter information on show.
The uncommon Peashooter engine might require some elbow grease, an identical carburetor, and a whole chassis, however we are able to’t assist however hope that the tiny, mighty mill anchors a brand new challenge for the grasp restorer.