’55 Harley Davidson Model 165ST
Harley Davidson’s history is all over the map, literally and figuratively. Getting designs from post World War Two Germany, building motorcycles in Italy, buying Italian motorcycle manufacturers, The Motor Company just couldn’t stand staying at home in Milwaukee. Little 2-stroke street bikes from Germany, horizontal singles from Italy, 100cc dirt bikes from Italy (the HD Baja 100 is universally acknowledged as one of the worst dirt bikes ever built) all the way up to 1000cc Superbikes from Italy as well. I think the HD boys liked pasta better than schnitzel?
After WW2, as part of the Reparations Act, certain technologies were turned over to the Allies, one them being a motorcycle design from the German firm DKW. DKW was well known for making small motorbikes for the European market. After the war America was looking for economical transportation and Harley jumped on the bandwagon.
The first of the baby Harley’s was the model 125 in 1948. A mind bending 3 HP little 2 stroke roadbike. Sales of the 125 were not great but also not bad. In 1953 Harley upped the game with the new 165 ST. The 165’s 5 1/2 hp would send you hurtling down the road at breakneck speeds, scaring women and children, dogs would hide under the porch and the police wouldn’t chase you because they figured they would never catch you…that last part might be a bit of an exaggeration? The baby Harley’s were reliable, economical little roadbikes that just didn’t sell all that well. America wanted economical transportation yes, just not from Harley Davidson. What we wanted from Harley is what we still want, big motorcycles, not toys.
I like small motorcycles for lot’s of reasons and this morning I found this neat little Harley on ebay. A 1955 Model 165ST. It has been almost fully restored and probably wouldn’t take much more to finish the job. There isn’t a whole lot of description or details given by the owner but, he does have a good story about the motorcycle and how he got it. The owner also seems fairly adamant that this is NOT a ‘Hummer’. What’s a Hummer? it is an updated, somewhat stripped down version of the 125 model that also came out in 1955. As I looked at this bike something stood out, look at the gas tank, it’s the ‘peanut’ style tank that in 1957 made it’s way onto the Sportster…cool huh?! It’s got a very steep ‘buy it now’ price, but if you want a Harley that is American made, just a whole lot smaller, give this bike a good look. Click on the pics for more.