If you check out this site once in awhile, you’ll know that I dig Italian motorcycles and the design esthetic behind them.
In my estimation, there’s more to a motorcycle than simply two wheels, a seat and a gas tank; for it to capture my imagination, a motorcycle needs to rise to the level of art as well as making tracks like a scalded dog when it’s time to ride.
For their entry in the AMD Championship of Bike Building, Abnormal Cycles Union of Italy created this amazing, Art Deco Harley-Davidson Sidehack rig.
What do I like about this machine? Every…damn…thing.
Not only does is make perfect use of one of the most iconic motorcycle models in history, it incorporates the often sneered-at sidecar in a way that makes the sidecar look supreme once again. The ACU custom started with a with a classic 1942 Harley-Davidson U Model, and carried it through to a momentous conclusion reminiscent of the motorcycling days of yore when a motorcycle needed utility as well as style. The rig rides on 18-inch JoNich wheels with custom CEAT tires and makes a statement of intent and historical perfection with Kustom Tech brass and chrome brakes, hubs and handlebars.
The whole thing rolls smoothly down the road on a magnificent leaf springer front end, and the leafer theme is carried though to the inverted-leaf suspension on the sidecar.
Back in 1938, Harley-Davidson introduced the UL motorcycle. One of the most innovative models Harley offered, the UL came out as The Motor Company was trying to make waves and fight its way through the economic agony of the Great Depression. Following a downturn in the early 1930s, Harley-Davidson took a flyer and forged ahead with a lineup of 11 different models, and nearly all of them featured “Big Twin” engines (61, 74, or 80 c.i.) which shared common components.
The 61-cubic-inch V-twin, the now highly-sought-after “Knucklehead,” was the only powerplant from the lineup with overhead valves, but this bike features the side valves 74-cubic-inch flathead powerplant. Flatheads were modernized in 1937 and adopted a recirculating oiling system from the Knucklehead. How good was the flathead design? The smaller version, the 45-cubic-inch flathead V-twin, stayed in production moving Servi-Cars well into the 1970s…