100% Biker & Trike Magazine Forums

Go Back   100% Biker & Trike Magazine Forums > 100% Biker > Biker Chat


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-08-2006, 02:59 PM
slob's Avatar
slob slob is offline
Talk, Type, Breath, Talk, Type, Breath....
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: larndener in Norf west
Posts: 5,960
Default harley engine names and meanings

Got this off an Ebay review(which has pics): http://reviews.ebay.com/GUIDE-TO-HAR...:-1:LISTINGS:4

This is an 'unofficial' collection of names given to Harley engines (and particulars) over the years. Why write such a thing when this is supposed to be common knowledge among anyone who rides a Harley? Because after 34+ years of this stuff I only just discovered the other day or so that I still didn't have it all down pat! I've been calling for sometime my 2005 FXDL a 'Blockhead' when in fact it's a 'Fathead'! Do I feel like a friggin' KNUCKLEHEAD? Dang straight! So just in case there's anyone else out there that belongs to the same club I do (Dim Bulb M/C) here's the straight poop (hopefully?!).
So here we go, my gathering of H-D names given to the engines by the public for the bike we all pay homage to and worship like a Gawd - and if I STILL got em' wrong may the Harley gawds have mercy on my wretched soul!

FLATHEAD: Refers to the H-D engines that began at the dawn of time and continued on thru World War II. The engines are recognizable by the flat cylinder heads (twins and singles), with cast fins protruding directly out of them (much like your common 4-stroke lawnmower we still have today). The valves are located along side the cylinders, rather then above them (the norm now).

KNUCKLEHEAD: Among the first Overhead Valve V-Twin engines H-D produced, and seriously not a whole hell of a lot different then we have today (use your imagination!). The engine had distinctive HUGE Rocker Arm Shaft Bolts sticking out of the cylinder heads, hence the name. The bike was also renown as being one of the biggest leakers H-D ever made (easily fixed now of course).

PANHEAD: As the name implies, the heads looked like two Sauce Pans. But even more so, it was the only H-D that I'm aware of that followed most standard automotive configurations: the rocker arm assemblies were built on 'top' of the heads (rather then integrated into them) covered by Steel Covers (no rocker arm shaft bolts seen from the side). To service the rocker arms you simply removed the Pan Covers - all others (except the flathead) you have to remove the entire rocker arm / head assembly (pain in the rear!). Probably still considered to be one of the most beautiful engines H-D ever made as well - I know I'd like one someday (the gawds of money allowing!)!

SHOVELHEAD: You really have to use your imagination on these - yes, the heads look like 'shovels'. However the Shovelheads came in multiple flavors: it started out as a 74 c.i. DC-Generator bike - later became an AC-Alternator one - then became a 80 c.i. version (higher compression) then later the compression was lowered. This engine was made from about 1966 to 1984.

BLOCKHEAD: Produced from about 1984 to 1998, the heads look like 'Blocks'. The first (that I know of) H-D BIG-Twin engine to finally get the heck out of the dark ages and make the cylinders out of Aluminum Alloy instead of cast iron!

FATHEAD: Now we enter into the 'fuzzy zone'. The heads continue to look like blocks on the Twin-Cam 88 c.i. version, but seriously nothing much is interchangeable between this engine (with it's HyVo Chain Driven dual camshafts) and the previous 80 c.i. Blockhead version. So unofficially the bike was dubbed the 'Fathead' by the motorcycle publishing industry. Did the name catch on with the public? I doubt it - but there ya' go. The heads are a bit larger, have additional fining area and the external surface castings are different in appearance. But how many of you (truthfully!!!) out there have been calling this version a Blockhead (instead of a Fathead) just as I've been doing for a while? Hmmmmm????
Now just added to the fold is the 96 Cubic Inch (1584cc) Twin-Cam engine with a choice of Electronic Fuel Injection (ONLY). As the heads are virtually identical in appearance to the 88 it replaces, more then likely the engine will retain the unofficial title of 'Fathead' (just as the 'Shovelhead' had previously through the 74 c.i. to 80 c.i transition). Included also would be the '96B' which has a Counter-Balancer for still solidly mounted engines (or so the 'official' factory scuttlebutt has stated).
Be Thee Also Ready
Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2006, 04:20 PM
Bosun's Avatar
Bosun Bosun is offline
Talk, Type, Breath, Talk, Type, Breath....
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: surrey but wanna be in devon
Posts: 22,404

missed the waterhog
Warning: Dates in your calendar are closer than they appear!

Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2006, 04:34 PM
Shaun the Fatman's Avatar
Shaun the Fatman Shaun the Fatman is offline
Been out, but rather stay in!
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Bermondsey, innit
Posts: 1,490
Send a message via MSN to Shaun the Fatman

And the Pisshead... in the 70s they could rival any Brit bike for leaks
Shaun Da Fatman
Reply With Quote
Old 13-08-2006, 12:37 AM
churchill's Avatar
churchill churchill is offline
Jedi Chat Master
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: pendle
Posts: 705

the german harley ..the dunderhead
zymoticys ...and the last word was mine ..
Reply With Quote
Old 13-08-2006, 05:08 PM
mickturate's Avatar
mickturate mickturate is offline
Type like a Twat Me...
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Somerset
Posts: 941
Default hardly moving sons

wasn't it, you were a
Flathead for buying your first harley,
knucklehead cos you were daft enough to buy a second
panhead cos you were using fallen off bits fer doing yer chips, sorry french fries, sorry, patriot fries
Shovel head cos you'd obviously dug a big hole fer yerself when you boughtit and
Evolution to remind you what you missed out on by buying hardleys....?

and Sonny Barger said 'if we had our time again, i think we'd ride big hondas or bmw's......' tell that to mr&mrs concho bank manager at the hog rally!
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 09:15 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.