These are two motorcycles, from two different continents, one before and one after a world wide financial event, and only separated by 5 years. But because of all these factors, you have two very different motorcycles. One with an engine design which surpassed future designs in power, and the other using a design which had been around for many years. The surprising thing is that the older is newer, and the newer is older.
1929 Harley JDH small tank model. Features speedster handlebars and many OEM parts. First and foremost this motor is OEM Harley and has correct 29 cylinders. This IS NOT a reproduction bottom end. This bike has undergone a 14 month ground up restoration which was completed in January 2012.
OEM parts include: correct frame and forks for 29, correct wheels, large spoke rear hub and rim which is unique to the JDH, 18″ clincher rims, headlights, handlebars (OEM option), coil, generator, distributor/timer correct for 29 only, primary cover, rear fender, tail light, carburator inlet/air cleaner, and other misc.
The JDH from Harley Davidson came in either a 1000cc or 1200cc twin cam engine for 1928 and 1929. In the larger form it would produce 28hp from the factory, but had so much more potential. According to Wheels Through Time museum, after speed trials in the early 1930’s the older Twin cam was faster then the current Knucklehead Harley’s. So much so that Harley may even had put pressure on the AMA to keep the older twin cam from competing in sanctioned races. The unique twin headlight were short lived, as the story goes, oncoming traffic making left turns mistook the twin headlights as a car further down the road instead of a closer motorcycle.
The bike offered from Coventry was designed to help the company survive the depression. The Coventry company had been known to produce large, powerful motorcycles, like their Flying 8. This was a bike that was compared favorably to the Brough Superior. After 1930, a change was made.
I’m just toying with the idea of selling or trading one of my prize possessions. This is a 1934 Coventry Eagle Silent Superb motorcycle. Coventry Eagle was the Harley Davidson of its time and the maker of the Coventry Eagle Flying Eight. The depression finally took its toll on the Coventry Motorcycle Company and forced them to close their doors in 1939. The bike has all the bells and whistles from the leg guards to the skirted fenders. It’s equipped with a 247cc Villiers motor and aAlbion3 speed gear box. I would consider trades for cars and trucks from the mid 30’s and early 40’s.
Two stoke engines were simple to produce. The Eagle appears to have a pressed steel frame, where metal sheets are pressed into shapes and welded or riveted together. Both the engine and the frame are some of the least expensive methods for building a motorcycle. To bad this did help Coventry make it as a manufacture past 1939.
These two motorcycle caught my eye because of their age. But when when the seller of the Coventry mentioned Harley Davidson , I started to see how these motorcycles compared in reality. There may only be 5 years difference, but it could easily be more. The Harley is more advanced, and the Coventry reverting back to a earlier, simpler design to survive. BB