Steve Ricketts 1942 Harley WLA 45" Flathead


Slow Progress
One Big Family
Kade's Bikes
Back In The Day

This site is dedicated to the construction of a 1942 (mostly) Harley-Davidson WLA 45" Flathead that my son, Kade, and I built together.  Construction was from the frame up, starting with a bare frame, most of the engine parts in a box, and a few pieces of sheet metal so its been an interesting journey starting in the fall of 2002.

After acquiring most of the parts and getting it 90% together, it sat untouched throughout 2004 and half of 2005.  One of the big hang-ups was the fabrication of the belt drive motor pulley.  After finally getting it made we put it on, put gas in it, kicked it a couple of times, it fired, and it ran like it just returned from the tune-up shop and had been running all it's life... no adjustments, no tweaking, perfect!  That was June 17, 2005.

The objective was to take one of the world's most classic bikes and blend the old with the new to create a one of a kind motorcycle that's just plain fun to ride, cool to look at, and gives us endless stories to talk about.   We used many new reproduction or NOS parts to keep the old-school look and feel while adding some new-school touches.

bulletRebuilt motor with WLDR cams
bulletOversized pistons and machined, high compression heads
bullet4-Speed BSA A-10 transmission 
bulletExposed, 40mm belt-drive primary 
bulletNorton-style clutch and pressure plates
bulletHand clutch, custom forward controls, left-side foot shift
bulletMikuni 34mm carburetor, conventional petcock with reserve
bulletMagneto ignition, high-capacity condenser, keyed lights and kill switch
bullet12 volt generator, lighting, solid-state regulator, battery eliminator
bulletHydraulic front disc brake, new chrome rear drum
bulletChrome reproduction rear wheel, Yamaha front, matched Maxxis Classic tires
bulletBig Twin springer fork with sealed roller bearings in neck
bulletDesert Camouflage paint (US Army does Tribal flames and clearcoat)
bulletCustom solo seat, springs, and Master Sergeant's bars and rockers pattern

This bike cost far more in time, money, and patience than either of us expected, but it was... and is a heck of a nice bike and we had a hell of a lot of fun in the process.  Kade has become quite the machinist, painter, and upholsterer and really did an outstanding job with all the different aspects of this bike.  Thanks to the folks who still sell parts for this thing... we've come to know them well.


45 Parts Depot


45 Restoration Company




Hackasaw & Co




Rask Cycle


NOS Parts

All in all, it turned out to be exactly what we wanted... A motorcycle classic, a head turner, a conversation piece, and a super fun, dependable bike to ride.


Michigan Motorcycle Operators Manual

Harley-Davidson Technical Manual, War Department October 1943 (5.3mb)

Harley-Davidson Service Manual Servicar and SV (28mb)




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(c)Copyright 2002 Velocedge, Inc.
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