Owning a real Harley-Davidson was not enough for bike nut Peter Manning; he wanted a model of his favorite motorcycle too.
An established and experienced product designer as well as a two-wheeled enthusiast, Somerset, England-based Manning spent two years developing his life-size self-assembly Harley-Davidson kit, which he claims is a world first.
And now the first batch of bikes is ready to hit the streets — even if they will remain, er, stationary.
Manning said: “I obtained permission from Haynes Motor Museum to photograph and take measurements of their classic 1960's Harley Davidson Duo-Glide. I have applied for a patent which is currently being processed.”
“I spent weeks hand-drawing in pencil on drafting film — I do not use a computer — all the components, full size, in front, side and plan elevations. These were so that the two CAD engineers could produce 3-D models of all parts and then assemble on the computer.
“The CAD files took three months and were essential for the production of the tooling,” he added.
The kit, which retails at £525, features more than 50 vacuum-formed ABS plastic parts and more than 180 components, including metal handlebars and side stand.
The vacuum forming has been undertaken by MHP Industries Ltd. in High Wycombe, England, which Manning said was so taken with the project that it invested in his company, Full Size Kits Ltd.
Mark Hipgrove, managing director of MHP, said the company had been working on the bike kit for more than two years, and with Manning for longer than that on other products.
“We've worked with Peter on a number of things over the years. He came in with the idea [of the life-size Harley-Davidson kit] and we thought ‘You're having a laugh'. But we saw that it was an interesting project.
“He brought in some CAD designs to us and our design team remodeled them to make them suitable for vacuum forming. We did some early formings and saw the potential.
“It was a shot in the dark, but it's gaining ground, with growing interest in the U.S. and Europe. The plan is to see how it goes before starting on a model of a Triumph.”
The finished bike weighs in at a mere 16 kilograms, compared with the 272 kg. of the real thing, and according to Manning it can be assembled and painted “by any competent adult with some creative skill.”
The ‘machine' can also be sat on, thanks to supports which prevent the weight of the ‘rider' transferring through the model.
Manning, who is hoping to target the themed bar and retail display market, said orders are already coming in.
“We've had interest from the U.S. and we're looking for partners over there, since the cost of shipping is nearly as much as the kit itself,” he said.
Manning said he hoped to produce a full-size plastic replica kit of a Triumph machine by the end of 2015. Now that is more like it….