Technical: Finishes
Various Authors

Request For Comments

1953 Standard Solo Group

The retail price of a K-Model was the base price PLUS the Equipment Group. All the years from 1952 to 1956 featured the Deluxe Group. Only in 1953 was there a second choice - the Standard Solo group. The 1953 Base Price was $875, so a Deluxe was $942.50, and the Standard Solo was $897.75 - a savings of $44.75

The Standard Solo group was probably an attempt to bring down the price of a K to meet the competition from British imports - like the popular 500cc BSA A7 or 500cc Triumph TR5 Trophy. Those bikes sold in the $775 to $875 range.

The Standard Solo group was not popular, and few, if any, are extant today. RogerM saw one at a swap meet a number of years ago, and tried to convince the owner of what a rare bike he had. The owner, however, was insistant about returning the bike to its “proper” finish. It may have been the last one standing...

The Standard Solo was dropped in 1954. In fact, the alternative-finish parts are only listed in the 1953 Spare Parts Catalog – none are listed in the 1954 Spare Parts Catalog. It seems like Harley just wanted to forget this fiasco.

The September 1952 Enthusiast and the 1953 Season Order Blank tell very different stories - and neither one is correct! The Enthusiast version is pretty close. (1) “Rigid handlebars” - it is believed these were rubber mounted, as there is no listing in the Spare Parts Catalog for a “rigid bushing”; (2) Steering damper adjusting knob - is is believed that these were all polished, as there is only one listing (see below).

The 1953 Spare Parts Catalog lists the Standard Solo parts – they are all numbered -53.
They are shown as "Used On - 1952 & 1953-Model K", but that is not corrrect - they only appeared on the 1953 Standard Solo.
Note that the handlebars changed in 1953 to a new "quicker acting" spiral, so those chrome -53's are for the Deluxe Group.

These parts were painted Black.
These parts were painted the color of the tank and fenders.
However, as spare parts, they were provided black. The local dealer would have to paint them to match the color of the bike.
These parts were finished in cadmium instead of chrome.
These parts were finished in brushed finish instead of polished.
Front and rear brake side covers - it is believed that the 1952 and 1953 covers were not highly polished
like 1954 and later years, so the “brushed” or “Not polished” ones must have been pretty rough.

We are not sure about this part.
The September 1952 Enthusiast says "Brush finish".
The 1953 Season Order Blank says "Polished" for the Deluxe Group, but is silent for the Standard Solo.
The 1953 Spare Parts Catalog does not list a -53 part.