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,
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org