Vintage Bike Outtake: Harley-Davidson Hummer

Hummer 1

Displaying an American car or motorcycle to add life to a retail store selling an American product is a common gimmick, but sometimes both the vehicle and the product are a bit off the mark.  One such instance is this display in Singapore’s Changi Airport of a Harley-Davidson Hummer, a 125cc two-stroke single cylinder commuter bike by a company famous worldwide for its big-displacement V-twin touring bikes and cruisers.

As explained in Paul’s excellent history of the Hummer from 2011, Harley-Davidson introduced this line of bikes in 1948 using the pioneering DKW RT 125 of the 1930s as the basis for the design, adding the Hummer name starting in 1955.  By the 1960s, the design was largely unchanged and no longer competitive with the Honda Super Cub and other small-displacement Japanese motorcycles, so Harley-Davidson dropped it after 1966.  This example is nicely restored and well equipped with a plush seat and luggage rack, but being an oddball small model, it is an odd choice when a Sportster or Dyna would look more impressive and occupy only slightly more space.  As for the store …

Hummer 2

…it sells Kiehl’s skin care products, American and certainly high-end merchandise, but hardly the sort of product one associates with motorcycling.  So thousands of airline passengers walk past this display every day, most ignoring it, and those who don’t thinking, “What is that little motorcycle, and what is it doing there?” instead of, “That’s a Harley, there must be high-end American stuff sold there.”  It is a strange fate for this 50 to 60 year old product of Milwaukee, now residing far from its place of birth.