MOTORCYCLE: The Making of a Harley-Davidson by William Jaspersohn

MOTORCYCLE: The Making of a Harley-Davidson

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Motorcycles--those sleek, exhilarating, economical two-wheeled vehicles--were invented even before the automobile. . . . And today, Harley-Davidson is the only remaining American manufacturer. . . ."" In words and pictures, Jasper-sohn (Magazine, The Ballpark, A Day in the Life. . .) has things to say, and vivid ways of expressing them. He starts with a single biker, Mike, placing his order; next he switches to the Harley Design and Engineering Departments, and the particulars of how prototypes are tested (by the dynamometer, in the Carburetor Air-flow Lab, the Structures Lab, and the Environmental Testing Lab--all made comprehensible to neophytes). Only then does the process of manufacture begin, with the engine assembly. This is too complex a matter for detailed illustration, short of a manual of instruction, but we do get a sense of individual operations and skills. Building the frame is also shown via selected steps--like the stamping machines producing tanks and fenders, and the electrostatic painting process. (""The parts, suspended from a monorail, are automatically cleaned and prepped, then passed through an electrically charged area which charges them with negative ions. The paint is positively charged."") At the end we see Mike's bike take shape, get its final touches, and perhaps be the one in 20 that gets a 20-minute ""audit fide."" Some of this does sound like gratis advertising for Harley-Davidson--yet Jaspersohn also manages to put across the marvel of building something that works beautifully.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Little, Brown