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Basem Predicts Water Cooled Harleys?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
That Basem Wasef at About.com - Motorcycles is a witty guy. I got a good chuckle on April Fool’s Day when he published an article about Harley-Davidson breaking from tradition and equipping its 2012 motorcycles with water-cooled engines. Basem’s notorious for putting up good prankster articles on April 1, but he almost had me going for a few lines.

The rumor of Harley’s switching to liquid cooled engines comes and goes like the ebb of the tide. This topic is once again buzzing around the internet thanks to the release of a patent Harley filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office back on Nov. 18, 2009.

The topic is ripe for discussion. Harley’s getting ready to release its 2012 lineup so speculation is high, Uncle Sam wants our pipes running quiet and clean, and guessing The Motor Company’s next moves has become a national pastime for keyboard jockeys. Companies are continually applying for patents. Many of them never make it into production. Seeing it in a diagram doesn’t mean it’s gospel. Harley is all about tradition and its V-Twin has been air-cooled for over 100 years now. But we confess – the new pictures are intriguing.

We like the fact that the diagrams show Harley isn’t planning simply on slapping a hulking radiator between the downtubes. The system utilizes small twin radiators with electric cooling fans and a small water pump. Tubes snake in and around the exhaust valves in the cylinder head, but that’s it. Most of the engine would still rely on cooling fins. The patent shows the system being tucked away in the leg fairings on an Electra Glide but exactly how it would be mounted in bikes without the fairing lowers is unknown. The design of the small radiators and fans does allow for flexibility in mounting though. The water pump, shown mounted down low on the frame rails in front of the engine, can be repositioned, too. These are simply ideas The Motor Company is tossing around right now. But the components demonstrate a system that is easily adaptable for various applications.

Seeing the diagrams, I’m now wondering if that sly dog Basem was privy to insider information from his vast network of resources or is he simply a visionary? He’s posted another blog saying he was just kidding when he wrote the April Fool’s article, but I don’t know. I’m keeping my eyes on you, Basem. Are water-cooled engines on the horizon for Harley-Davidson? I can already envision the reaction of the Harley purists. And you thought they rioted in Vancouver.

Harleys water cooled engine with radiator plumbing
Here's a diagram of Harley's iconic pushrod V-Twin equipped with the twin radiator water cooling system.
Harleys water cooled engine would run tubes around the exhaust valves.
The system routes the plumbing around the exhaust valves in the cylinder head.















Harley radiator system for water-cooled engine
Twin radiators with small electric cooling fans and a water pump allow for a variation of mounting options.
Harley radiators tucked away in leg fairings
A diagram shows the system mounted in the lower leg fairings of a Harley tourer.

Post Tags: Harley-Davidson, Harley, Harley's Water Cooled Engine, water-cooled Harleys, Harley water cooled engine patent
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Comments
TonyDee June 26, 2011 08:16 AM
irksome, These's nothing that the American worker can't acomplish when he(she) puts their mind to it.
irksome June 23, 2011 04:04 PM
This'll work out as well as when GM converted a gas engine to diesel.
irksome June 23, 2011 04:02 PM
@TonyDee; "It's time for Harley to lead instead of follow..." Now THAT is April Fool's Day material!
ltiilika June 22, 2011 01:12 PM
This reminds me of when Harley went from carburetors to fuel injection. For a while you could get either; now it's only fuel injection. Same thing when they went from 5-speed transmissions to 6-speeds.
TonyDee June 22, 2011 11:43 AM
Not going to laugh at the diagram(s) but a new designed head and cylinder with the water jacks built-in would be the best way. No one in their right mind would also place a radiator like a dirtbike on a cruiser unless you live in Alaska. Harley has a water-cooled engine in the Vrod already. I've read that it works and was a big step foward for the company. With the baby-boomers all about gone now, and a new generation raised on crotch rockets and technology, it's time for Harley to lead instead of follow in this new global economy.