Service Manuals

Harley-Davidson published Service Manuals sporadically before 1959. There were no service manuals published from 1950 through 1958 - therefore, there are NO Service Manuals for the K-models.

Starting in 1959, H-D began publishing manuals, or update pages, every year. There were two kinds of Service Manuals - "Model" manuals for a specific model, such as Sportsters, and "Master" manuals which covered the full range of motorcycles.

Manual Part No. Net List
Master Service Manual 99480-59 $15.00 *
1959 Duo-Glide Model Manual 99482-59 4.00 5.00
1959 Sportster Model Manual 99484-59 4.00 5.00
1959 Servi-Car Model Manual 99486-59 4.00 5.00
1959 Model 165 and Hummer 99488-59 3.00 4.00

Here are the covers of some Master and Sportster manuals. If you have a Service Manual we don't have shown, please let us know - and we'd love a scanned copy of the cover.

Harley-Davidson gave us permission to reproduce the Spare Parts Catalogs, but NOT the Service Manuals, so we are only providing the covers. Our purpose is to document which Service Manuals were published, so you are not searching for something that doesn't exist. Hopefully, one day we can provide the insides of these manuals.

The Service Manuals came in two formats - “Binder” and “Perfect-bound”


The individual pages were three-hole punched, and mounted in a generic Service Manual binder cover, with a large ACCO-type fastener holding it all together. These covers were “generic” - there were no Master/Model or year notations. There were two style of binder covers.

The “Colorful” binder cover was very heavy card stock paper, printed in blue and red, and the section separators ("Product", "Chassis", "Engine" et cetera) were similar.

The “Blue-White” binder cover was heavy card stock paper, and had the same section separators as the “Colorful” style.


The “Perfect-bound” format is like a paperback book - the pages are glued together at the left edge, then the cover is wrapped around and glued to the spine. Back in the days when our motorcycles were new, about the only things that were perfect-bound were paperback novels. It wasn't until more modern times that perfect-binding became the norm for large manuals and other books.

We've seen Binder-format examples through the early 1980s. So we think that Service Manuals printed in the 1950s through the 1980s were Binder-format, and copies printed in later years were perfect-bound format.

Some Blue-White perfect-bound examples have been found, although not for Sportsters - the example below is Hummer. Manuals currently being sold on eBay and other places are probably being reproduced and sold under license from Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Master Service Manuals

“The Master Service Manuals has no list price - its sale and use is restricted to Harley-Davidson dealers because it contains confidential information”. We're not sure what was so “hush-hush” about these. There was a “Dealer Information” section that wasn't in the Model Service Manuals, but nothing we'd consider “non-public”

In each section (“Chassis”, “Engine”, etc.) the Master Service Manual had sub-sections for Big Twin, Servi-Car, Sportster, Hummer - basically combining all the Model Service Manuals into one.

Model Service Manuals

There was a Model Service Manual for each of the model groups. No surprise here. We show the covers for the years we've seen. We're missing 1960, 1961, and 1962 - but these years may have been implemented by issuing a group of “update pages” to the 1959 or 1963 manual rather than a complete new manual. We'll keep looking.

Section Dividers

Here are the section dividers. The Master Service Manuals had an index page, and a Dealer Information section, which the Model Service Manuals did not have.