What Was The First Harley Davidson Carburetor Made Of?

You must be familiar with bike carburetors, right? Engine power is produced by carburetors, which combine fuel and air into a combustible mixture. Since 1903, Harley Davidson has been a renowned American producer of iconic bikes. There is a curiosity among the riders: What Was The First Harley Davidson Carburetor Made Of?

The original Harley-Davidson motorcycle featured a single-cylinder engine with a top speed of 25 mph and a carburetor made out of a tomato can. A single-cylinder engine powered the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which resembled a bicycle in design. Presently, carburetors use molded bodies composed of lightweight alloys or aluminum in place of the traditional tomato-can carburetor.

If you are interested in more history behind the Harley Davidson bike carburetor, keep reading. We have more stories about the tomato can and Harley Bikes.

What do I need to know about Harley-Davidson?

everything to know about harley-davidson

Harley used a tomato can carburetor initially, but they also had some other big influences. Let’s look at some of the documentation you need to know about them.

  • Harley bikes were used in World War 1.
  • For the army, they produced dual-cylinder engines. In 1909, the first Harley V-twin engine was created.
  • This company produced the original racing superbike.
  • keeping a variety of industries in many states.
  • Perhaps the first movie to feature a Harley is “The Wild One.”
  • In less than 20 years, Harley-Davidson reached the top position in the motorcycle industry.
  • Harleys are known as “hogs” because Ray Weishaar, a member of the Harley racing team, owned a piglet that served as the group’s mascot. Members of the team may undertake a victory lap with their porcine mascot after winning the championship.

The Story of the Harley Davidson Empire (Hog Heaven)

Hog Heaven highlights the history of Harley Davidson, beginning with the first carburetor made from a used tomato can and ending with the invention of the V-Twin engine. Jay Leno and Peter Fonda from “Easy Rider” are just two celebrities that love to tear across the open road on their Harleys.

There is a lot of carburetor mythology that dominates the discussion of that initial engine. The curious mind also asked, “Is it true that when Harley Davidson 1903 made their first motorcycle, they used a tomato can for the carburetor?”

But most of the historical background about Harley says it was made from a tomato can, as the legend has it. Though it’s quite strange to make a motorcycle with a tomato can. They have shown and given how seriously they take their work and how much time and effort they spend creating precise designs and patterns.

Despite living nearly 3 miles apart, the Harley and Davidson families are sometimes described as neighbors. The company’s original “factory,” a shed measuring 10 by 15 feet in the Davidsons’ backyard, was either made by a kind father for his boys or taken by those sons from a stubborn parent.

The First Harley-Davidson – 6 Notable Facts

  1. Harley developed cartoons, and Davidson created models.
  2. The original Harley Davidson motorcycle prototype was created in 1903 by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson.
  3. The first two bikes made were strikingly similar to the Harley-Davidson Model No. 1, the company’s first production bike, which was launched in 1905.
  4. The engine had a displacement of 167 ccs and produced approximately 2 ps. It was built using the De Dion-Bouton design system (1.5 kW).
  5. The original Harley-Davidson had a drive chain constructed of a leather band, a carb built from a tomato puree can, and a bicycle frame as its primary frame.
  6. Aside from the myth about the carburetor and tomato can, this device’s original engine produced three horsepower.

Where Is The Carburetor Located On A Harley-Davidson?

On motorcycles, the majority of the carburetors are positioned in the middle, behind the engine. A short cylindrical tower can be seen rising out of the bowl’s backside of the CV-style Harley carburetor’s bottom-rear outlet. A soft metal insert covering the mixture screw serves as a stopper for the tower.

The exclusive Basic Renewal Kit for early model 89-91 Harley CV style carburetors is now available. The kit includes the high-quality seals that are most frequently changed and are necessary to replace the Harley CV carburetor. Use with 1989–1991 XL models and 1990–1991 FL/FX Big Twins equipped with the 2-piece bowl covers for early Harley CV 40 carb.

When was the last carbureted Harley made?

Every engine that Harley-Davidson built entirely all years, including the more recent Evolution and Twin Cam engines, as well as the aged Panhead, Knucklehead, or Shovelhead engines, was linked with a carb.

Fuel injection, therefore, was an optional feature for Harley FL-category Touring bikes beginning with the 1996 model, but it became standard on every Twin Cam engine bike in 2007. The Sportster version maintained the carb Evolution engine, remaining true to its legendary heritage.

Carburetors were likewise eliminated from the 2008 model year in benefit of Harley-Electronic Davidson’s sequential fuel-injection setting, and the carburetor era has ended.

Why Did They Stop Using Carburetors?

harley davidson carburetor

Carburetion is a simple system where you won’t have electronic packages that need specialized mechanical care. Through optimal fuel management, no calibrated EFI systems produce more peak power. Using carburetors has been phased out due to the pressure the Environmental Protection Agency put on the factory.

Also, fuel injection allows more precise fuel-air mixture management, which lowers emissions. So, they stopped using carburetors on the bikes.

Related carburetor: Homemade carburetor cleaner

Standard Harley Carburetors

The tomato can carburetor used by Harley Davidson was later followed by models made by Schebler, Linkert, Tillotson, Zenith-Bendix, and Keihin in that order. Numerous companies created carburetors for Harley motorcycles.

Sportsters began receiving the Keihin CV CVK 40 in 1988, and the large twins began receiving it in 1990. The CVK 40 is likely the last carburetor that will ever be mounted on a manufacturing Harley because of the phase-out of carburetors. From idle to fully open throttle, Mikuni’s smoothbore, flat slide with roller bearings, and acceleration pump system deliver the best performance, according to Harley.

Related Article: Best carburetors for Harley Davidson


1. What is the origin of Harley-Davidson motorcycles?

The first “motor-bicycle” model was designed and built in 1903 by William S. Harley in collaboration with Arthur and Walter Davidson.

2. What year did Harley switch to fuel injection?

For the Electra Glide’s 30th anniversary edition, the Harley brand introduced EFI, or electronic fuel injection, in 1995. On both Sportster versions, the carbs were also modernized with fuel injection in 2007.

3. What was the first Harley ever made?

The first two bikes made by Harley-Davidson were almost identical to the Model No. 1 bike, which was introduced in 1905. The initial attempt was to sell 38 copies at a 200 US dollar buy price.

4. What year was Harley’s first V-twin?

Single-cylinder motors were used to power the original Harley-Davidson machines. The Harley-Davidson Model 7D was the company’s first commercially successful v-twin in 1911, and it marked the beginning of an engine design for motorcycles that the Milwaukee Motor Company has used.


Though it’s kind of weird, it’s true that the first Harley Davidson carburetor was made from a moderate tomato can. Their bicycle-type first model was used to link up with this kind of carburetor. So, we hope you understand What Was The First Harley Davidson Carburetor Made Of and how it was rejected in 2008.

Anyway, you can also check on their modern bike models with excellent technology as they are the most successful automobile brand in the world and they have some history. Leave your curiosity topic below and we will try to come up with new content about Harley for you.

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Hello, this is Adam Willam, the owner and author of the website- "motobikekit.com". I have been passionate about biking since I was a child and have always been fascinated by the mechanics of how bikes work. When I became old enough, I started my own business of repairing and customizing bikes. By doing this I have quickly gained a reputation for being the go-to guy for bike repairs and customizations and have been running my shop successfully for many years.

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