1920s Harley-Davidson J & JD Replacement Cylinders are almost here!


Replacement cylinder castings for Harley J-models right out of the sand.

Finding good used parts for your Harley restoration can be difficult, and sometimes even impossible.  The combination of low production numbers and primitive design has lead to a shortage of many parts that were once plentiful.  Now-a-days, restorers search high and low for rare and hard to find pieces, often for months or years before finding them.  This has made restorations of particular makes and models nearly impossible, or at the least, very costly to undertake.

The Harley-Davidson J & JD models have long been one of those “hard to restore” models, as sources for good original parts have been exhuasted.  While there have been individuals who specialize in reproduction parts such as sheet-metal,

Cross Section of a JD intake and exhaust port.  Stuart's got these perfect!

Cross Section of an original JD intake and exhaust port. Stuart has replicated these perfectly!

handlebars, and small components, there hasn’t been a good source offer replacements for some of the larger, higher-wear (and harder to find) parts.  Until NOW!

My friend Stuart Ritchie has spent the last several years developing quality cast replacement cylinders for Harley-Davidson J and JD models.  Stuart is from Australia, and  quickly noticed the lack of availability of good usable cylinders for both 61″ and 74″ displacements.  And with the introduction of a third Motorcycle Cannonball this 2014, the last several years also have seen a decline in original cylinder availability here in the United States. It seems like a case of “They’ve simply all been used up!”, and other than those in the hands of a few collectors and hoarders, these old Harley jugs just can’t be found.

But with Stuarts vision, these cylinders will soon be available both in the U.S. and abroad.  Using nearly the same casting process, Stuart first project was to develop perfect reproduction cylinders for 61″ pocket-valve Harleys.  Careful attention was directed towards accuracy of both look and performance, and after testing several prototype sets, the finished product is perfect.  Dyno results indicated slightly better than identical performance, matching the horsepower numbers published in original sales literature.

61 cubic inch replacement cylinders installed and ready to run!

61 cubic inch replacement cylinders installed and ready to run!

Now, Stuart is honing in on finishing replacement cylinders for Harley-Davidson JD models that were offered by HD in 1929.  This cylinder was the most developed version of the pocket-valve cylinder, with larger cooling fins and better breathing capabilities.  For decades, J-model enthusiasts have considered these the holy-grail of pocket-valve cylinders because of their better performance.

After a generous offer from Stuart, we’ll be running a prototype pair of his 74″ replacement cylinders on my 1924 Harley-Davidson JDCA during the half-mile races at Wauseon and Davenport Antique Motorcycle meets.  I’m anxious to feel the performance for myself, and to report the results back to Stuart.  Stay tuned for a full write-up on how they performed and information on when they’ll be on the market.

For more information about Stuart Ritchie and his replacement Harley-Davidson J & JD cylinders, visit his JD Jugs Facebook Page or email him at jdjugs@outlook.com

Stuarts 1926 Harley-Davidson J-model Cutdown, with his 61" cubic inch replacement cylinders.

Stuarts 1925 Harley-Davidson J-Model Cutdown, with his 61″ cubic inch replacement cylinders.

Wall of Death Coming to Wheels Through Time Memorial Day Weekend!!!

wallofdeathwahleThis coming Memorial Day Weekend, the American Motor Drome Company is headed back to Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley to perform America’s original motorcycle thrill show.  Riding vintage Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles, real motorcycle dare-devils will be performing acrobatic and trick riding on a vertical wooden surface 14 feet off the ground. Numerous “Wall of Death” performances will be held from Thursday-Sunday, May 22-25 beginning at 10:00 a.m. each day.

The “Wall of Death” is considered one of America’s first extreme sports, as riders take their machines to the vertical walls of a round wooden building, testing the limits of both man and motorcycle.  During the heyday of “drome racing” in the 1930s, thousands would flock to shows, waiting for their turn to see what was considered the most exciting show on two wheels.

During the 70 years since, the number of groups performing these dangerous thrill shows has dwindled, and the passion of just a few has kept the sport alive.  Riding the very same types of machines on the same surfaces as their predecessors, the American Motor Drome Company has been performing together for almost 15 years, risking life and limb for over 150 people each performance.

outsidethewall“We’re more than excited to have the American Motor Drome Company back at Wheels Through Time for the second year in a row,” said museum curator Dale Walksler.  “This all-American entertainment fits right in at Wheels Through Time, and we’re happy to be able to share this with our visitors.”

The American Motor Drome Company’s first performance at Wheels Through Time came last June during the museum’s special event celebrating the premier its new television series “What’s In The Barn?” on Velocity Channel.  Over 15 Wall of Death performances were filled to capacity, with many visitors returning for a second or third experience.

Performances will be held numerous times daily throughout the weekend, and all museum visitors will receive free admission to each performance.  For more information, contact the museum at 828-926-6266 or visit WheelsThroughTime.com.

To learn more about the Wall of Death and The American Motor Drome Company, visit AmericaWallOfDeath.com

Season 2 of “What’s In The Barn?” Starts June 10th on Velocity!!!

“Whats in the Barn?” Season 2 Starts June 10th!!! from Dale Walksler on Vimeo.

barn wall logo-paths

Big news from Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC.  The museum’s hit television series “Whats in the Barn?” is returning for a second season this summer on Velocity TV. 

Beginning on Tuesday June 10, 2014, Velocity TV will debut eight brand new weekly episodes of “What’s in the Barn?” at 10:00p.m., bringing viewers along as host Dale Walksler criss-crosses the country digging up America’s rarest and most historic vintage motorcycles. 

The series’ first season premiered in late June of 2013 after much anticipation, and followed Walksler on his hunt for barns and outbuildings hiding long since forgotten motorcycles and automobiles. The show immediately garnered a world-wide audience, airing in over 60 million homes and on six continents.

dalepickinOften uncovering history in some of the most unusual places, Walksler spent his life collecting rare American motorcycles and displaying them in his Wheels Through Time Museum. His passion for history is evident in every episode of “What’s In The Barn?”, but a walk through his museum gives an even deeper glimpse into one man’s grand vision of creating a paradise focused on not only the machines of our past, but the sights, sounds and stories associated with them. 

Wheels Through Time displays over 350 all-American motorcycles and automobiles, and continues to grow due to Walksler’s undying effort to connect past and present. Currently, the museum’s feature exhibit displays dozens of “Barn-finds”, many of which were discovered during Season 1 of “Whats in the Barn?”  Walksler has also brought the museum into the 21st century with the creation of various smartphone applications about the museum collection, giving viewers access into the museum’s digital archives.

In celebration of the new season premier on June 10, the museum will be holding special demonstrations and exhibitions of many of the machines on display for visitors each weekend this spring and summer.   

Season 2 kicks off Tuesday, June 10th on Velocity TV with two brand new episodes starting at 10:00 p.m.  For more information, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com or visit Velocity.com.