The Harley-Davidson Sprint was unlike any other model in the Harley line.
In the 1960s and ’70s, U.S. manufacturer Harley-Davidson imported some Italian Aermacchi bikes and sold them under the Harley name. The first to be imported in 1961 was the Sprint. This light and agile little bike was popular in Italy and used for daily transportation. However, compared to U.S. bikes it was a lightweight and didn’t prove durable enough for most users. In addition, while the 250cc engine was considered a serious engine in Italy, it wasn’t in the United States, where many kids’ motorcycles had engines that size. Sprints can still be found today and are popular in clubs like the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA).
Production and Design
Produced by Aermacchi in Italy and imported by Harley-Davidson between the years of 1961 and 1968, the Sprint was a small, compact and lightweight bike that maneuvered well and was quite agile. It weighed in at only 271 pounds.
Harley-Davidson claimed the Sprint’s power was 21 hp at 7,250 rpm. According to Motorcycle Classics, “Cycle World” tested the Sprint H in 1962, which produced a 0-to-60-mph time of 15 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 19.2 seconds, with a top speed of 76 mph.
The engine for the Sprint was a 250cc horizontal four-stroke. This proved to be too small for U.S. users and was eventually replaced by a 350cc engine on the SS model. The Sprint averaged between 45 and 55 miles per gallon, explaining why it was a popular commuter motorcycle in Italy.
Retail price for a 1967 Sprint, according to Motorcycle Classics, was $750; a cherry Sprint will run between $1,800 to $4,000 as of October 2010. Many Sprints, however, require partial to full restoration because of their age.