1930 Harley Hillclimber

  • 1930 Harley-Davidson Hillclimber. After board track racing became too deadly for racer and spectator, Harley turned to hillclimbing to get their speed fix. Although equally crazy as board track, at least nobody was getting killed on a daily basis. The basic idea behind hillclimbing was, well, pretty basic. Launch your bike up an insanely steep hill as fast as you can. Make it to the top, you win. If more than one racer makes it to the top, the fastest time wins. If nobody makes it to the top (which happened more often than not), the biker who makes it up the highest wins. Simple enough, although the bike design is somewhat more complicated. The essential element is power, of course. But a longer wheelbase and more front-end weight were critical to keep the bike from flipping over backwards. Add to that chains over the rear tire for added grip and you’ve got a hillclimber. Photographed at Wheels Through Time as part of an article on the history of Harley racing.