Motorcycles | 18 July 2016Hummers, Scats and Toppers: The Milwaukee Two-Strokes Share article facebook twitter google pinterest After the end of World War II, war reparations from Germany included drawings of a 125cc two-stroke engine. Harley-Davidson: The Complete History tells of how the motorcycle brand used the engine. The Hummer was one of Harley’s third attempts to reach the booming youth market following World War II. To the winner go the spoils. Among the spoils of World War II was a 125cc two-stroke engine from German maker DKW. Harley-Davidson, as a member of the winning side, claimed that engine as part of Germany’s wartime reparation. Harley put the little two-stroke engine into production for midyear 1948 as the Model S, a fun little bike with a girder-type front suspension, rigid rear, and a little “peanut” tank that later charmed the world on the XLCH Sportster. It was Harley’s best seller that year, with more than 10,000 units trailing blue smoke out dealership doors. In 1951, Harley updated the Model S with a telescopic fork. That fork was of the male-slider type, like all the “upsidedown” forks on the latest Buells. In 1953, Harley punched the engine out to a 165cc and called it the ST. In 1954, Harley added a second model, the STU, which was fitted with a carburetor restrictor to reduce power to under 5 horsepower, so the kiddies could ride them on the street without a license. In 1955 came a third model, a stripper with the old 125 engine and a squeeze-bulb-type bicycle horn as stock equipment. Harley called its new kiddy bike the Hummer. It didn’t need a restrictor, because its little engine was only good for 3 horsepower. The Hummer made up in style what it lacked in speed. With the invasion of light, powerful Brit bikes in the early 1950s, sales of the Harley two-strokes steadily declined. Then, came another invasion—an invasion of scooters from Italy—that cut further into sales for Harley’s lightweights. Harley fought back on the scooter front. The battlewagon of Milwaukee’s 1960 counterattack was the all-new Model A Topper scooter. Where the Italian scooters were sleek, light, and zippy, the Topper was slab-sided, heavy, and underpowered, with only about 5 horsepower. For 1961, Harley hot-rodded the Topper to keep up with the Lambrettas and Vespas. The brawny Topper H came with almost twice the horsepower, but by then the scooter craze was played out, and everyone had moved on to small motorcycles from Japan. Sales declined, and the Topper was discontinued in 1965. For 1962, Harley punched out its two-stroke engine to 175cc for use on the Pacer street bike and Scat dual sport, or “scrambler,” as such bikes were called at the time. Harley did this in an attempt to give its two-stroke bikes enough power to keep up with the more modern lightweights from Japan and from Harley’s Aermacchi affiliate. For 1963, Harley finally gave the Pacers and Scats rear suspension. And what a suspension! As on the later Softail models and Buells, Harley hid the suspension components under the transmission. For 1966, the new Bobcat replaced the Pacer and Scat. The Bobcat was clothed in fiberglass, with its gas tank and boat-tail rear section made from the material. 1965 Hummer. At the end of 1966, Harley discontinued the little Bobcat and used the full capacity of its Milwaukee plants to build the more profitable Electra Glides and Sportsters. The Hummers, Scats, Toppers, and the rest were good little bikes but were never really accepted by Harley’s hardcore riders and dealers. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Cruise through this collection of Harley-Davidson’s most iconic motorcycles! When most people imagine a motorcycle, chances are they picture a Harley-Davidson. That’s because Harley-Davidson machines look the way the primordial biker inside each of us feels a motorcycle should look. In short, Harley-Davidson makes mythic bikes. Harley-Davidson: The Complete Historycelebrates these iconic motorcycles, presenting them all in one beautifully illustrated book. The most beloved and recognizable motorcycles are included here: the Knucklehead, the Panhead, the Peashooter, the KR, the Sportster, the XR750, the Shovelhead, the Evolution, the Twin Cam, the V-Rod, and all the rest. Pages in the book reveal historic images as well as modern photos from the top motorcycle photographers working today. Additionally, there are chapters from some of the most celebrated motorcycle writers of all time–Peter Egan, Kevin Cameron, Ed Youngblood, Allan Girdler, Steve Anderson, and many more. All of this material combines to tell the story of every major motorcycle that Harley-Davidson has built, from the very first prototype to the Silent Gray Fellow to the latest liquid-cooled CVO Electra Glides and Softails. Harley-Davidson: The Complete History is the ultimate history of the ultimate motorcycle company. 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