Harley Fires a Bullet
In the winter of 1920, Harley-Davidson packed up their race team and headed south to Daytona Beach, FL for a week of experimental speed trials. Although people had already started doing speed trials out on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Daytona Beach was still the venue of choice for high speed testing back in the 1920’s. The motorcycle to be tested was one of Harley’s race bikes, powered by a specially designed 61 cubic inch v-twin engine which featured 8-valves. They also brought along a newly designed sidecar, the Model 20-LX. Due to it’s aerodynamic shape, the Model 20-LX was nicknamed “The Bullet”.
Piloted by famed racer Leslie “Red” Parkhurst with Fred Ludlow in the sidecar, the rig set four world records in one pass. After reaching a top speed of 87.52 miles per hour and maintaining that speed for 5 miles, Harley-Davidson set the records for the unrestricted sidecar class in the 1 kilometer, 1 mile, 2 mile and 3 mile divisions. They also set over 20 other records without the sidecar, for a total of 30 by week’s end.