Harley-Davidson Reference Book Book Review [Rider’s Library]
Just when you were thinking of everything that could be written about Harley-Davidson motorcycles had been written, Canadian author and custom bike builder Mitch Bergeron hits the shelves with his new homage to The Motor Company, The Harley-Davidson Sourcebook — All Milestone production models since 1903.
Bergeron writes from a wealth of practical experience; his custom constructions received the Best of Show award in the Easyriders Invitation and many regional shows. Additionally, his designs have been featured in TV shows including Biker Build-Off, Chopper Nation, and Chopper Challenge, and in the book, The art of the chopper.
As is the common practice of Engine books, the book is beautifully produced on heavy paper. The Editor-in-Chief of Motorbooks Acquisitions is Darwin Holmstrom, an accomplished motorcycle historian and author in his own right, having recently published Indian Motorcycle – 120 years of the first motorcycle company in the United States, also from Motorbooks. Holmstrom has written, co-authored, or contributed to over 30 other books, including Harley-Davidson life. Dain Gingerelli also provides editorial and thematic expertise.
In ten chapters, Bergeron covers what essentially defines the key eras in Harley-Davidson’s long history of engine and model development: chapter 1, the first singles; Chapter 2, the F-head twins; Chapter 3 flat heads with side valve; Chapter 4, the Knucklehead; Chapter 5, the Panhead; Chapter 6, the Sportster; Chapter 7, the Shovelhead; Chapter 8, evolution; Chapter 9, the Twin Cam; and chapter 10, the Milwaukee-Eight.
You might have anticipated that the book would have another chapter between the Twin Cam and the Milwaukee Eight, called “the Revolution,” as the Porsche-designed engine that powered the V-Rod was known. However, it is not there.
This omission is deliberate. As Bergeron explains, “There are a few bikes that I would have liked to include, like the V-Rod, which gave way to the late Street 750 and 500, and also the Destroyer, which is a 9-second shift. -Mile dragstrip only version of the V-Rod. However, I have limited this book to air-cooled engines only and focused on V-twins, as these are the history and heritage of Harley-Davidson. Harley’s racing history is also extremely interesting and has influenced many of its street-legal motorcycles. But that too is another book in itself.
While the V-Rod and other now discontinued liquid-cooled models are not included, Bergeron includes coverage for the Twin-Cooled and Oil-Cooled models, as well as the Pan American 1250 and the all-electric liquid-cooled LiveWire. .
Each chapter is packed with stunning images from a range of sources dating from the company’s origins in the early 20th century to models today. In each chapter, the main models presented are accompanied by well-captioned images, as well as side bars with essential technical specifications: engine, transmission, final drive, wheels, tires, brakes, capacities and dimensions.
Bergeron concludes the book with a look into his crystal ball for some thoughts on the future direction of The Motor Company. He focused on two bikes that represent opposite ends of the spectrum of consistency with his heritage versus his spreads.
On the consistency side, he cited the Electra Glide Revival 2021 from the Icon collection. The bike echoes the style, feel and freshness of the 1969 Electra Glide, while being a decidedly modern machine. On the departure side, he considers the implications of the Livewire, Harley’s first electric motorcycle.
The Electra Glide Revival appealed to Bergeron’s sense of history and nostalgia. The very idea of the Icon collection led him to say, “I can’t wait to see which bike will be next in the Icon collection.”
The LiveWire, meanwhile, earned praise from Bergeron for its beauty, excellent performance, impressive handling and good reviews. However, his analysis was more nuanced, stating: “Directing LiveWire will not be an easy path for a company known for its nostalgic machines.” Since the book’s publication, Harley-Davidson has launched the standalone brand LiveWire.
The Harley-Davidson Sourcebook — All Milestone production models since 1903 is a visual feast with 400 classic and contemporary images in color and black and white, as well as an authoritative resource on key models from The Motor Company. Whether you ride Harley-Davidson, any other brand, or are just interested in motorcycle history, this is a great addition to your rider’s library or as a holiday gift.
The Harley-Davidson Sourcebook — All Milestone production models since 1903 Fast facts
- Author: Michel bergeron
- Posted: December 2021, hardcover, 288 pages 9.25 “x 10.7”, 400 color and black and white images (period)
- Editor: Motorbooks, Quarto Publishing Group, 100 Cummings Center, Suite 265-D, Beverly, MA 01915, USA
- ISBN: 978-0-7603-6190-0
- ISBN of the digital edition: 978-0-7603-6191-7
The Harley-Davidson Sourcebook — All Milestone production models since 1903 Price: $ 50 MSRP