From a Prominent European Collection,
1934 Harley-Davidson 34B Single
Frame no. 841251
Engine no. 34B 1112
Indian's launch of the single-cylinder 21ci (350cc) Prince in 1925 prompted Harley-Davidson to return to the roadster singles market in '26 with a brace of similar-sized machines: one side-valve, the other with an overhead-valve engine. Model designations were 'A' (magneto-equipped) and 'B' (battery/coil) for the 'flat head' (side-valve) versions and 'AA' and 'BA' for the overhead-valve equivalents respectively. Looking every inch a scaled-down v-twin, the single featured a similar frame, controls and 'floating' saddle but its engine adopted a detachable cylinder head -- an advance not yet seen on the bigger Harley. A 30.5ci (500cc) 'flat head', the Model C, joined the range for 1930 and by this time a braked front wheel had become a welcome addition to the specification. The Harley singles were instantly successful, over 7,000 being sold in the first year of production, but sales trailed off steadily thereafter. In 1934, the final year of manufacture, only 954 were sold.
Riders in Great Britain, Europe and Australia, goaded by increased road taxes on larger-capacity machines, were the prime audience as were fans of lightweight, maneuverable bikes here in the U.S. It also helped that the AMA had just instituted a 21-inch racing division for 350-class machines. For racers or those who wanted spirited road bikes, 12-horsepower overhead-valve 350s were available in limited numbers. These quickly gained the "Peashooter" nickname for their popping exhaust note. Most of the bikes, though, like this B-model, ran 8-hp sidevalve-design engines.
This 1934 Harley-Davidson Model B is presented in highly original condition, ripe for sympathetic restoration, or alternatively it may be left in its current, charmingly patinated state. Bonhams is advised that the engine turns, the gearbox shifts and the clutch works.
- Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit.