5 Facts About The Harley Davidson XA
The XA model by Harley-Davidson was designed for the US Army and it was manufactured during WW II. It was a FT (flat-twin), shaft-drive bike designed by Harley-Davidson.
Development and Production:
In the year 1942, Harley Davidson XA was displayed at the Automobile Museum in California. During World War II the United States Army asked the company to design a particular model bike that should match something like BMW, which was used by the Army forces in Germany. The shaft drive motorcycle comes with a boxer engine and it has a range of other incredible features. This made the BMW exclusively consistent and very low maintenance machines. Harley has already worked on the WLA, established its conventional 45degree V-twin, but the US Army particularly wanted the one special feature that the WLA model did not have, which is a shaft drive. That is why the company decided to produce the XA model where the drivetrain and engine were established on the flathead BMW R71 vs. the OHV (Overhead Valve) BMW R75.
The company produced 1000XAs for assessment. By the time the company started manufacturing the XA, the Army made it clear that the Jeep became the choice as a general purpose vehicle. The Army stopped the XAs order after the first order of 1000 bikes. They believed that the affordable and less advanced WLA was sufficient for their restricted roles.
At the beginning of WWII, the motorcycles were still considered as useful transportation for the combat zone. That is why the Army asked the Harley Davidson to create less maintenance and more durable bike, and they asked the company to develop shaft-drive motorcycle for an estimate. However, in the year 1942, November 14 HD XA from the MDC (Mike Doyle Collection) crossed the stage in Anaheim, which gave the opportunity to collectors to bid on the limited models of wartime Harleys.
1942 Harley-Davidson XA:
Harley Davidson looked for solutions instead of clearing off everything. They found reverse engineering solutions for the existing models. The R71 BMW model had earned a cosmological reputation for consistency in the severe climates like the North African deserts, where the motorcycle has been in Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps service. The basic design was created in 1923 for the BMW, when the German maker introduced its R32 motorcycle, five years before it started making automobiles.
Harley Davidson designed 738cc based on the BMW R71 with a horizontally opposite, side-valve two-cylinder engine along with shaft drive. Like any other Harley Davidson models, the XA was air cooled; however, the placement of the cylinder in the airstream apparently generated oil temperatures approximately 100degrees cooler than the WLA military specifications. This gave an output of 23-horsepower and the XA motorcycle’s top speed limit was 65mph, with seven-inches of ground approval assured that sorted roads were not a requirement.
As per the specifications of the military, the XA is designed to operate with the left-hand throttle so that the riders can use their right hand for sidearm or to use the submachine gun. Also, the right hand is needed for the clutch when the shifting was required, and that is why the company came with a solution by using the foot the rider can work the clutch. The XA is provided with a stout skid plate to avoid crankcase damage, and it contains the heavy-duty rear rack to tow a forty-pound filed radio.