1912 Silent Gray Fellow

1912 Silent Gray Fellow

SPECIFICATIONS 1912 Silent Gray Fellow

  • Engine: Inlet-over-exhaust, single-cylinder
  • Capacity: 30cu. in. (494cc)
  • Power output: 6.5bhp @ 2,700rpm
  • Transmission: Single-speed, belt drive
  • Frame: Tubular loop
  • Suspension: Leading-link forks, rigid rear
  • Weight: 195 lb (89kg)
  • Top speed: 45mph (72km/h)

By hie time Harley-Davidson built this X-8 single in 1912, the company was well on the way to establishing itself as a major motorcycle manufacturer, and the motorcycle was a more refined mode of transportation. The rugged engineering and rigorous development championed by Harley from day one had borne fruit in the form of sprung forks and magneto ignition, and the company wasted no time emphasizing that cubic inches were the key to increased power. The original 1903 Harley had a 24.74cu. in. (405cc) engine, rising to 26.8cu. in. (440cc) in 1906, and 30cu. in. (494cc) in 1909. In 1913 it gained a further 5cu. in. (82cc). The Harley single became a valued and dependable machine which earned it the nickname “Silent Gray Fellow.”

1912 - Silent Gray Fellow

1912 Silent Gray Fellow

This bike was a direct development of the original 1903 model and continued in production until 1918. Though it still had belt final-drive, an atmospheric inlet valve, and no gearbox, these developments were just around the corner.

Technical advances

The optional rear hub clutch on this model meant that the bike could be stopped without stalling the engine, and the optional Schebler carburetor hugely improved reliability over early models.