Riding a classic Am...
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Riding a classic American BMW?

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James Bussell
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 56
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A few years ago I rode my 74 R60/6 to the Wheels Thru Time museum in Maggie Valley, NC, USA and after being led through this wonderful time-machine for American Iron, I thanked the owner for an awesome experience and he asked what I was riding. When I showed him my R60, he said "I see you appreciate old iron...wait and a minute." A couple of minutes later he emerged with a 1942 Harley Davidson XA and told me hop on it and take it for a ride! In 1942 during the North Africa offensive the American military discovered that the harsh desert conditions were causing the Harley and Indian motorcycles to overheat. They eventually captured a BMW R75 in Tunesia and asked Harley Davidson to see of they could "clone it". In less than a year, Harley Davidson created the XA motorcycle and subsequently built a little more than a 1000 of them for the military. Unfortunately for the design engineers that had devoted so much time to this project, The Allied forces routed the Germans in North Africa much earlier than expected and decided that there was no more need for an air cooled opposed design and the XA project died. Getting the opportunity to ride that very rare wartime Harley clone of a 1941 BMW R75 around his property was a once in a lifetime treat that I will never forget.

Brent Bourne
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 9

Interesting WW2 history, especially as the Russians recognized the cold weather reliability of the BMW R71 and called it the Ural, which is still produced and sold today. As for HD, it seems to be intent on self destruction these days, stuck in a era that is dead and gone while the world moves forward. Sad.



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