Cushman Harley – Is That a Cushley or a Harman?

Cushman Eagle with 883cc Harley Sportster engine

Cushman Eagle with 883cc Harley Sportster engine

Every now and then one of these pops up for sale, a Cushman scooter with a Harley engine. This one is a 1960 Cushman Eagle with a 1970 Sportster 883 engine. We saw one about 5 years ago with a 1200cc swap, but I think the 883 will do just fine.

Cushman Eagle with 883cc Harley Sportster engine

Cushman Eagle with 883cc Harley Sportster engine

It's kick start only with a magneto ignition and generator for lights. The seller mentions the popular Briggs and Stratton Vanguard conversion which is also a V-Twin, and there's one of those for sale, too, but if you're doing the V-Twin swap, why not go all the way?

I really like these combinations. Don't know what they would be like to ride, but I think you would get your money's worth in fun.

Link: Cushman Harley on eBay


  1. jimmy says

    Great looking swap,and a shovel head to boot, cool. Looks like it would turn some heads at cruise night.

  2. alain cavagna says

    just remove the fenders , bolt a couple of normal sized wheels ( 16 inches will do well)and you have a hardtail 883

  3. Art says

    Granted, I’m prejudiced against cruisers, but I can’t help thinking there’s an unintended comment there that the best use for a HD motor is in a scooter.

    It’s cute, though, and I like unusual stuff, so this fits right in with that.

  4. rohorn says

    There are some Mustang scooters out there with old Triumph twins in them.

    The reborn Mustang from California Scooter Co. is begging for an engine swap.

  5. says

    Sorry, can’t say I’m lovin’ anything about this… I don’t see the point. Not sure if I think it’s a waste of a good motor or a good scotter… 😉

    • Fred M. says

      Don’t assume that the good motor was wasted when they replaced it with the Harley motor. It might have gone to restore another Cushman.

  6. B50 Jim says

    This was the stuff of my fondest dreams (motorcycle-related, that is) when I was a kid, not realizing how that Sporty motor would overstress a spindly frame designed for 8 hp. But until it breaks it would be a real hoot to ride. I like the Vanguard conversion much better — it’s more in line with the stresses the frame can handle. Put the Sporty engine in a nicely-done chopper, and have fun with both scoots.

  7. pushr0d says

    A guy here did the 1000cc Sporty motor injection a few years back. He called it a ‘Sportsman.’ It was a tank shift, and he said it was terrifying to ride with any kind of throttle. Especially when you had to let go of one handle to shift!

  8. Tin Man says

    Very nicely done, nobody says you have to use all the power, buts its there if you need it. A lot of youngsters here have never rode or drove anything with bottom end torque, they don’t know what their missing. There is a good reason American Muscle Cars and Harleys have a huge following, its the Torque.

    • todd says

      I grew up riding my bicycle. The kind of torque I could generate on that would put any Harley to shame. Too bad some people do not understand gear ratios and how they affect torque. Case in point; a BMW 1000RR has 83 ft-lb of torque @ 9750 rpm. A 1700cc Harley has 100 ft-lb of torque @ 3250 rpm.

      Most people assume this means the Harley is more powerful – wrong. Torque is not power. On the road at, say, 60 mph the BMW has as much as 939 ft-lb of torque at the rear wheel whereas the 70% larger Harley has a maximum of 400 ft-lb at the wheel. It’s all simple math from published values, math that can be felt in the seat of the pants. I could either bore you by listing all the calculations that explain how this works or I can just tell you that the BMW has 185 rwhp and the H-D has 66 rwhp.


      • todd says

        I meant to say they have that much torque AVAILABLE at 60 mph. Both bikes are generating roughly the same amount of rear wheel torque at that speed (as is any bike). You want that kind of force you just need to crack it WFO.


      • B50 Jim says

        Todd — the torque you applied to your bicycle was at the crankpin. Once it got stepped down through the sprockets and out to the wheel, it was seriously reduced. You never could out-acellerate a Harley, even with an 18-speed mountain bike. just look at the diameter of the rear wheel in relation to the diameter of rear sprockets, and you’ll see why this is so.

        • todd says

          Exactly. Torque is always measured at the crank pin. It says nothing about what happens at the wheels. That is why you can easily have a bike with “25 ft-lbs” run away from a bike with “100 ft-lbs”. Torque numbers on their own don’t tell you squat about performance. Regardless, people continue to perpetuate the myth that torque equals power.


          • john says

            I’ve never heard anyone confuse torque with horsepower. Torque is more important than horsepower to the ordinary person though…and more important to people who are annoyed about an engine that needs to be downshifted all the time. My Harley will accelerate up hill in top gear from 1500 RPMs. Your BMW can’t do that.

            As far as I’m concerned, the most impressive motor ever built was a John Deere Two cylinder diesel Tractor. You go look up the torque specs on that motor and then tell me why you think its so pathetic.

            • todd says

              I don’t own one of the new BMW’s, not really interested. However, I am duely impressed. Just looking at the numbers, without a bike to compare to you claims, sure, it would have no problem – in fact the BMW is still putting more torque to the ground at 1500 rpm than the 103 cu-in Harley.

              From what I can find the BMW is making 35 ft-lb at the crank at 1500 rpm. 6th gear overall ratio is 5.391:1 so that means it has 188.7 ft-lb of torque at the rear wheel at 1500 rpm. A 103 Harley (1700cc) has around 60 ft-lb at the crank at 1500 rpm. It’s 6th gear overall ratio is 2.86:1 giving you all of 171.6 ft-lb of torque at the rear wheel at 1500 rpm. The BMW wins again.

              If you don’t like to shift much, you’re on the wrong bike. First gear on the BMW is good up to 90 mph. First gear on a 103 H-D is good for 41 mph. So far, everything I can find shows that the 1000cc BMW puts more torque and power to the road in any gear, at all RPM than Harley’s 1700cc motor.

              Oh, and it weighs half as much, which should count for something.


              • john says

                Your numbers aren’t much good. My Harley has a 5 speed transmission and a 114inch motor with a hard to find “torque cam” in a stripped down dynaglide, for one thing. For another, I typically leave a red light in second gear, then shift to 5th unless I’m trying to go fast. So I guess your analysis isn’t worth much.

              • todd says

                Yes, I hadn’t taken into account modified (1868cc!!) Harley engines. I wonder how your bike would compare to Korry Hogan’s 1300-hp Suzuki…

                What’s the fascination with low RPM? I try to keep engines around their max torque RPM for best efficiency and acceleration.

                Anyway, your bike sounds great, thanks for the banter.


  9. todd says

    Or as I once so crudely explained it to a friend;

    “Torque is the size of your balls, Horsepower is the size of your load.” (sorry for that)


  10. B50 Jim says

    Horsepower is merely a mathematical expression of torque and rpm.: torque in lbs/ft x rpm/5252. That’s why dyno tests always show torque and horsepower curves crossing at 5252 rpm, which always seemed a bit bogus to me. A better measure is kilowatts, which is a “real” measure of power. James Watt was responsible for measuring horsepower, and the watt is a measure of electrical power named for him, so why not? But the torque vs. horsepower argument never will be settled. Let’s just say the bigger the numbers the more fun (thanks, Todd), and have it done.

    • todd says

      Hire two guys to dig a hole. One guy shows up with a small spade shovel the other guy shows up with a snow shovel. Well, you think, this is no contest; the guy with the big shovel is going to have the hole dug first. Well we weren’t counting on the fact that the guy with the spade can dig four shovels full for every one that the snow shovel guy digs. Imagine that. The spade is half the size but moves twice as much dirt in the same time as the snow shovel. He’s done twice the work. Besides, the guy moving the snow shovel has been emptying my beer fridge…


  11. whylie says

    Hmmmm! let see, breaks that couldn’t stop a hamster wheel, effectively no suspension, a piddling little tank, 50’s styling and an engine that was just about past it by the time Noah built his boat. Its just like every Harley out there only with tiddley little wheels.

  12. B50 Jim says

    Noah rode a Harley to round up all those animals. When he finally got them all aboard, he ignored his wife’s protests, rolled the Harley up the gangplank and parked it on a lower deck. That’s why we have Harley-Davidsons now.

    • todd says

      its added weight down in the lower deck was so affective at stabilizing the arc that it originated the use of a keel. It is also where we get the term “boat anchor”.


      • B50 Jim says

        Well, they must be doing something right. The company is making sales and their numbers are good. Plenty of riders want boat anchors, apparently.

  13. Tin Man says

    Todd, I contend that Torque at Low RPMs is very pleasing to use, If I wanted to wind an engine up to 9,000 to make power I would buy a Crotch Rocket. Have you ever driven a Diesel pick up truck?? Compare that to a Ferrari and tell us which is better for everyday use!! On a race track or with illegal speeds on a highway Horse Power wins every time, but the street is ruled by TORQUE, why do you think the Asians are copying the V-Twins in an attempt to sell some torquey cruisers??

    • todd says

      The most enjoyable bike I’ve ever spent much time riding was a ’75 Honda XL350. So I obviously don’t care much about torque OR power.


  14. Scotduke says

    It’s amusing but what’s it for? As various people have pointed out, that’s a big heavy motor that generates a fair amount of torque bolted into a lightweight frame designed for a smaller, lighter and less torquey engine. A small Kohler motor would’ve been cheaper and more suitable for the running gear, and the Sportster engine could’ve been kept for a bobber project.

  15. meowy84 says

    This HD v. high revving jap/euro bikes reminds me of the old Ford v. Chevy rivalry a bit. When I was a kid my dad had Chevys exclusively so naturally since my dad was my hero the Chevy was the hero too. That is until a neighbor gearhead/dragracer set me straight when he said “Kid, an engine doesn’t know what brand it is and I’ve blown up as manyy Chevys as Fords.” But I digress……Personally I love ALL things mechanical and can appreciate a low revving toruey V-twin as well as a screaming I-4, both for different reasons.