1926 Harley-Davidson Model BA

Photo by Preston Ray (

In 1925, the AMA rolled out a 21 cubic inch engine class for racing. Competition officials considered the 350cc singles more appropriate for board tracks and dirt ovals than big twins and other multi-cylinder bikes.

Harley-Davidson decided to get in the game, joining Indian and Excelsior, which already produced 21-inch models. The Motor Company’s response was this 1926 model.

The Model BA featured overhead valves, a coil ignition and aluminum pistons. It had a three-speed, hand-shift transmission, a 3-gallon fuel tank, weighed about 265 pounds and made a claimed 12 horsepower.

Produced until 1929, the Model BA wasn’t intended for just racing. This motorcycle also represented Harley-Davidson’s overseas ambitions, primarily in Japan and Europe where compact motorcycles for individual transportation were popular. This 1926 Model BA featured the European specification for the headlight, foot pegs, hand controls, front wheel stand and metric gauges.

While Harley-Davidson continued to produced motorcycles based on the 21-inch single, including the Model S race bike, through the mid-1930s, the company dropped the smaller bikes and focused on larger, more-powerful V-twins for its core American market.

This 1926 Harley-Davidson was purchased in Austria by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer John Penton. Penton later donated the machine to the Hall of Fame.


Click here to download a centerspread of the featured 1926 Harley-Davidson Model BA that is suitable for printing as a poster.


American Motorcyclist December 2018