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A Brief History of A vision Realized: Handmade Re-creations of Iconic Motorcycles

Classic American motorcycles represent the essence of a rich and storied riding culture. OSMC honors that tradition with its modern recreations bringing together the most iconic designs of the past with the most innovative technology of the present. 

How to fundamentally change the outdated mechanics of these motorcycles without losing the vintage beauty of the design? How to truly have the best of both worlds? 

Our vision of the answer to this question led to months and years of research and re-engineering in our quest to achieve not a mere replica but a true recreation of these machines with all the nostalgic beauty and style of the 30s and 40s but with the benefit of modern comforts and reliability. 

This meant building bigger and taller engines (93 cu. inch vs. 61 or 74 cu. inch). This, in turn, necessitated the fabrication of larger frames developing our own proprietary process based on the rigid frame types of the old 30s and 40s models. These steel alloy frames with cast parts and shaped in molds and then welded for strength using modern methods for improved durability. Of course, every component had to be designed and fabricated to fit the re-created models precisely to produce the final product: the “horseshoe” oil tank, the exhaust pipe, the fenders, the engine guard down to the finely balanced handlebar controls, the leak-proof oil lines, the fine definition of the brackets…. etc., etc., etc. changes to operations, the latest company softball game – or the industry you’re in. General business trends (think national and even international) are great article fodder, too.

A Brief History: The Classic Springer the “Knucklehead” is Born

One of the most coveted classic American motorcycles ever made was the Classic Springer. When the 61E series model was introduced in 1936 it was its distinctive engine housing that gave it an unmistakable appearance that earned it the now-famous nickname, “The Knucklehead.” 

A Brief History: The “Panhead” is Born”

The OSMC Time Traveller PG-58P is a re-creation loosely based on the 1958 “Panhead.” The first “Panhead” model FL, both the 61 and 74 cu. inch models, hit dealer showrooms in 1948 right in the middle of the postwar motorcycle boom. The first FLs incorporated an EL bottom end and transmission but the real innovation was when “Knuckleheads” were re-tooled with massively finned cast-aluminum heads that were capable of dissipating heat much more efficiently. Harley upgraded the oil pump to further improve cooling and lubrication to prevent oil leaks and enclosed the rockers and valve springs under one big, pie-pan-shaped cover….hence the “Panhead” nickname! 

In 1949 the venerable spring front end was replaced by a hydraulically damped telescopic fork and the FL was aptly named “The Hydra-Glide.” Motorcycle touring became a popular pastime. 

Within 4 years 100,000 mile pins had been awarded to 73 riders by the Harley-Davidson Mileage Club…many riding “Panheads”.

In 1958 the “Duo Glide” was designed with a rear suspension feature that improved the comfort of the ride and saw the end of hand-shift/foot clutch. By now the “Panheads” weighed 700 pounds and the hydraulic drum brakes were introduced to handle the weight. The Harley-Davidson twins didn’t win races, but they had staying power and enough torque to eat up mountain passes in high gear. The comfortable seats and floor boards, the hand clutch and foot gear changes, made the “Panhead” tough to beat for long haul touring …and history was made.