Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Strap Tank

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Wis
    Posts
    360

    Default Strap Tank

    Here's Ralph Sporleder on what looks like a brand new strap tank. From the 10-1-1908 Motorcycle Illustrated. 2 years later Sporleder and Lacy Crolius
    started the Waverley Mfg. Co. in Milwaukee. Both were HD employees at the time.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    3,471

    Default

    I think you could argue that early H-Ds were a bit plain, but I think the strap tank models were very attractive, and more aesthetic than the Indians with the tank on the rear fender. I think the '07-'08 H-Ds were the best looking of Harley's early motorcycles. It's incredible that any of those bikes survived considering how they were hopelessly obsolete by 1915; even 1914. I've often wondered if bikes of that era were all discarded before WW1, or if they were pushed behind the barn and just rusted away.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  3. #3

    Default

    I don't think there was metal drives for WW1 & many people still did not have a vehicle,so they probably were bought
    & used by 14 year old boys until totally used up. Also remember production was so low for HD, 4 for '04,less than 20 for '05,50 for '06,150 for '07,450 for '08...out of less than 800 made any surviving is amazing

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    3,471

    Default

    You're right Roger, they were rare in their own day and probably most of them were sold in Wisconsin, (I should read Howard Wagner's book again). I recall reading a motorcycle trade magazine from the early 20 and the writer talked about "antique" motorcycles from 10 years earlier. He went on about how crude, slow, and unreliable they were and how great "modern" motorcycles were because they had 3 speed transmissions, step starters, and lots of power. Like you said, most of those bikes probably became a pre teen boy's first motorcycle.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  5. #5

    Default

    There were scrap drives during WWI. Though not as extensive as during WWII, most places had them.

    Bob Turek
    #769

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Wis
    Posts
    360

    Default

    Hey Eric, did you mean Herbert Wagner? He just finished a new article about early Harley strap tanks. Look for it in a future AMCA magazine. Duffy, not to be picky but HD built only 2 prototypes in 1904 that we know of and less than 10 complete bikes in 1905. We know for sure they built at least 5 by June of 1905 as there were five HD's at the race at the Wisconsin State Fair mile track according to newspaper articles. The production figures HD uses come from a notebook they have from the teens. They have no records from 1903, 04 or 05. Or so they claim.

    What is really rare are the Milwaukee motorcycles that are now lost to history. There were many motorcycle builders in Milwaukee prior to 1912. Comet, Merkel, Feilbach, Advance, Schoeps, H&L, S&S or S.O.S. and McLeod to name a few. Plus many unknown homemade motorcycles. Some made less than a handful. Some only one. How many were strap tanks? No photos except for the Comet, Feilbach and Merkel. I agree too that many motorcycles were used up during the metal drives in 1918. Plus countless motorcycles during the WWII drives. I also think many early HD strap tanks ended up powering small shops and farm contraptions.

    There must be photos out there of pre-1914 motorcycles that have unknown manufacturers. No names on the tank or unknown names? Home build's? That might make a good thread. During this time period all across America people were building a lot of stuff that had gasoline motors.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    3,471

    Default

    Interesting stuff, as always PEM. My apologies to Herbert Wagner. I was talking about Howard Wagner's 'Wagner' motorcycle with a friend recently.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  8. #8

    Default

    Not offended,Threw those numbers out of my head to show how few there were made[you didn't add any!]I was trying to be at the top of numbers,not bottom.A few years back these '04 & '05 numbers were a discussion w/Bruce Lindsey & myself.He said up to 4 in ''04 and some had said 8 in '05 and others said as many as 18....still total was less than '08 production at Indian?The earliest ad Bruce had was '05.
    Last edited by duffeycycles; 01-21-2016 at 04:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Wis
    Posts
    360

    Default

    Eric, that's what I kinda figured.

    Duffy, I only mentioned it because the myth about HD's early days has been so repeated. Thank goodness that Herb straightened it out. In 2003 after Herb's book was released HD had Marty Rosenblum write a rebuttal in the Milwaukee Journal. Now you woulda thunk they would have used original documents, letters, or blueprints from 1903/04/05 to do that but instead Marty quoted an article from a 1914 newspaper and a 1916 magazine.

    I have thought I should take a ride someday and visit you. I'm about 35 miles east of the Mississippi River. How far to your place?

    I would like to see other people in other states take a look at their early motorcycle history. And share. I almost guarantee that many more other makes would be found. Maybe with strap tanks.

    later

  10. #10

    Default

    I should have bought Herb's book,but haven't.Money was tight when it came out.I don't agree with everything that I read from it but would still love to have it.Marty was wrong on many areas but a nice guy.Nobody knows it all,especially not me!!My shop is in Riverside.30 miles from Muscatine about 60 to Davenport.Marty had told Willie G that the bar & shield came out way later than it did.I showed Willie pics of a '13 single with the Bar/shield on it,he was suprised that anybody would contest their story and back it up.Fun stuff.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •