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Old 04-15-2006, 12:09 PM   #1
Desert Dave OP
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Location: Tracy, CA
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Aermacchi/Harley M-50S

I figured it was about time to show you guys some pics of an old project of mine, jus because some of you like this kind of stuff. I wasn't sure whether to put this in old school rides or here, since this is officially a motorcycle, but it was really designed to compete with Vespas and such, and functionally pretty close. Besides this will be my first thread in Battle Scooters, so enjoy or toss it somewhere else


I was doing some clean up on it today so I took a few pics as well, first digital photos I have of this bike. Here she is in the garage:



And the other side



This is a 1966 Harley Davidson M-50S, which was made by Aermacchi and rebadged a Harley. So does this count as owning an Italian machine and an American legend at the same time How cool.

I'll give you the readers digest version of how I aquired it. About 10-15 years ago I got a phone call out of the blue from a guy I hadn't talked to in years. He had heard from some mutual friends that I was still into bikes. He told me on the phone he retired and was moving and had some kind of "Harley scooter" in the garage. He's not a bike guy. Basically he wanted someone to take it off his hands as he didn't want to deal with it. Needless to say I got in a truck and drove an hour to his place.

Seems he aquired this bike in 1968 with intentions of riding it but it sat in the garage, got buried and collected dust ever since. I wish I had some pics of it when it was really rough but I don't. He gave me a bill of sale for $10 as junk value and wouldn't even accept $10 from me. What a guy.

First inspection was that everything was there. It had been lightly crashed and a few bumps from the garage storage left some marks and a cracked fender but overall good condition considering. Lots of rust, grime and a frozen locked motor. My work was cut out for me.

Everything was siezed up. I couldnt even get the tank cap off. I could get the petcock off, so I poured in some Marvel mystery oil and let the tank sit upside down. Every day after work I'd try to turn the cap with no luck. Finally after a few weeks the cap budged, and then came off. I was so excited with this little moral victory.

The top end came apart with not to much trouble. I had to make a jig to get the stuck piston freed up. I found a guy selling NOS rings, so a set of those and a quick hone was good enough for now, as well as a good decarbonize. I was able to clean the jets in the carb, and use NOS gaskets as well to put it back together. All in all the those are the only parts that aren't original and the only part that isn't NOS is a NGK spark plug I had to get for it.

I got it to run well with some carb tuning and adjusting the oil/fuel mixture. Man was his a unique ride. It has Twist grip shifting, pull in the clutch and turn the grip to actuate a pair of push/pull cables to the transmission. I could get it up to about 27-28 mph on the flat, which wasn't to bad for a bike that claims 3/4 of a horsepower.

Now I have a runner.

More pics in just a minute..............
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Old 04-15-2006, 12:35 PM   #2
Desert Dave OP
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I debated a full restoration, or to try an salvage the original. I decieded to go with the best I could get the original back to. After buffing out the paint I was suprised how good it came back, for me there's somthing neat about knowing that THIS is the paint that it came from the factory with.

I still have the original Pirelli tires on it....with original tubes, and they hold air! Lots of tread but plenty of cracks. Some good armor all treatment brought therm back to almost new look. Obviously I'm not bringing this back to be an everyday rider

In fact the only real ride its been on was around the block and when I lived in the east bay I would ride annually to a hot rod show about a mile fro my house, escorted by a friend riding a bike with little details like lights that work and registration more current than 1968 . The local law enforcemet would just smile as I rode up in all my Harley gear, you know beanie helmet, leather vest etc and a "don't mess with me" look on my face. Everyone always asked if it REALLY was a harley.

Yes it's really a Harley, just look at the case cover



Check out the authentic italian tires



80 MPH I don't think so...




And here's where she sits today, eye candy in my den. Doesn't everybody keep a motorcycle in the house?




Sure it's not the most classic of bikes, but only 10,500 of the 50cc "S" versions were made. Since these were throw away bikes in the day, wonder how many are still around, let alone able to run.

How many of you guys that have been around awhile remember seeing these, or even had one?

I'm no expert on all the ins and outs of these, like a few websites I've seen devoted to Aermacchi bikes, just a guy with kind of a neat project. By the way I found all the stuff for this bike without the advantage of the iternet, what a chore! Makes me thankful for the info we have at our fingertips today!!
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Old 04-15-2006, 03:17 PM   #3
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Very nice job!
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:42 PM   #4
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Most excellent!!!!

I worked with a guy who had an Aermacchi/HD of some sort. Every day he'd tell me that he didn't know what he was going to do with it...and I would downplay it and simultaneously beg to "take it off his hands". The ploy never worked.

I didn't know they had twist-grip shifting like on the Vespas. Cool!

Thanks for posting this...what a neat bike.
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Old 04-16-2006, 09:20 PM   #5
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What a cool little machine! Great job with it! Some dude at my first duty station had a little Aermachi motorycle, I'm sure he had no idea what it was, but he rode the snot out of it and left it to rust the rest of the time...Well, that's how they get to be rare, eh?
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:21 PM   #6
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And the horsepower has just been improved on thanks to the V-Rod........
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