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Discover about this legendary vintage.

Even though there are quite a few legendary Harley-Davidson bikes, the UMG is just one which is at times talked about but generally misunderstood to a person diploma or an additional. Component of the difficulty is that important several have been preserved in the original trim, if at all, and there’s an intriguing reason for that. One more is that some folks flat-out really don’t understand the origin or authentic use of the bikes. To aid set the document straight, here’s some track record to this basic American motorbike.

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Everybody appreciates the Good Depression was tough for all sorts of organizations, including motorcycle companies. With careers scarce and income restricted, men and women have been keeping onto their bikes or discovering other means to get close to as an alternative of buying a new a person. Combating for new industry niches, Harley-Davidson decided to try stealing some organization from competitor Indian, which had been the sole provider of bikes to the New York Law enforcement Department considering that the Motor-Cycle Squad was established in 1911.


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Instead of just presenting one particular of the existing models, Harley-Davidson was so critical about disrupting this extremely visible, predictable, and for that reason coveted segment of Indian’s enterprise that it made a special model for police service, the UMG. Based on the Model U, which was unveiled in the mid-1930s. That bicycle delivered the basis for the UMG, while various variations produced it a separate design. It would go head-to-head against the Main to vie for regulation enforcement supremacy in the Huge Apple.

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Relatively than just take a radical new tactic, Harley-Davidson took the safer and simpler way, only imitating the Indian Main police motorbike. Powering the Harley was a 74” U-series flathead with a 3-pace transmission. However, for the reason that the New York Police Department had really precise necessities for its fleet motorcycles to guarantee dependability, the enterprise had to incorporate a magneto ignition related to a generator, instead of making use of a battery. In truth, the “MG” in UMG stands for “mag generator.”

Yet another major improve Harley-Davidson experienced to enact to accommodate NYPD specifications was reversing the structure of the motorcycle controls. The throttle was located on the left side, the shifter on the appropriate, and the spark advance was also on the proper. Also, the front brake was on the ideal, which was unusual for a Harley in the 1930s. Even the foot clutch was reverse the ordinary functionality, partaking when the lever actuated backwards in its place of forward, or in other text a heel-to-go clutch.

Finishing the Indian Main-like glance was a great coat of dark purple paint on the fenders, frame, and tank. Even with all that imitation, Harley was unsuccessful at pushing Indian out as the motorcycle brand utilised by the NYPD. It was only the dying of the Indian Motorbike Enterprise in the 1950s which led to Harleys being made use of by officers in the Huge Apple when much more.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a building: image credit: YouTube

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The UMG was designed by Harley-Davidson from 1937 to 1939. As was the circumstance frequently in individuals times, precise documents weren’t stored or at minimum they weren’t preserved, which means no person actually is familiar with how lots of of these bikes were being manufactured. Of class, that has not held historians and bike fanatics from guessing, some estimating about 400 Harley-Davidson UMGs have been in support, having said that others believe it was below 100.

Sadly, only one particular UMG even now in police trim is regarded to exist in the United States today and it is owned by Wheels Through Time Museum, which is located in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Sadly, other people were being wrecked or modified, some thing which is all too frequent with vintage bikes.

To master even extra about the Harley-Davidson UMG, verify out the video tour accomplished by Wheels Via Time. We’re very grateful they are so willing to share this unique, historical bicycle with absolutely everyone else.

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