Harley-Davidson’s recent trademark filing for “Milwaukee-Eight” set off all the alarm bells here at MO HQ, and our crew hypothesized about what this new name might mean for Harley. This morning Chief MO Investigative Reporter Dennis Chung has uncovered Top Secret engineering drawings that reveal interesting new technology.
The US Patent and Trademark Office asked Harley for more information, specifically asking if “Milwaukee” or “Eight” hold any meaning or significance in regards to engines. Harley’s response was that Milwaukee only happens to be where the company is based, and that “the number eight, and other numbers, are sometimes used in the automotive and motorcycle industries to indicate the number of valves or cylinders in an engine.”
Yeah right. Further investigation reveals that Milwaukee Eight in fact refers to a group of eight early 20th-century American artists now on exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, whose collective style was all heavily influenced by the beer that made Milwaukee famous, Schlitz. “They were some of the biggest hopheads on the American art landscape at the time,” says Museum Curator Aimee Knotgood, “and I mean literally on the landscape. They were usually all napping in public by lunchtime.”
As part of Project Rushmore two years ago, Harley introduced the Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103, which used a pair of small radiators and introduced liquid cooling to that motor. It was easy enough to conceal that plumbing on a touring bike with lowers, but how would H-D bring liquid cooling to its unfaired machines? Now we have the answer, and it’s rumored to be called Project Swillmore.
We’re pretty certain it will work like this: In addition to a special cloisonne key fob, one-year pass to the H-D Museum and a T-shirt from the new H-D Rally Point in Sturgis, each buyer of a Project Swillmore bike will receive a twelver of Schlitz. While the buyer consumes eight of the Schlitzes and wanders through the Parts and Accessories and Motorclothes departments, the other four will be dealer-installed into his engine: Rather than routing coolant to the hottest parts of the engine, the genius of the new design is that the coolant will already be inside the pistons, eliminating the need for radiators or hoses, which it appears will remain on all the Project Swillmore bikes anyway because market research seems to have revealed that many H-D target consumers thought that stuff looks pretty cool after all. Beer cans really are a classic American design motif. While the two external Schlitzes are only for show, having a spare set of pistons along is never a bad idea.
From a marketing standpoint, the tie-in with Schlitz couldn’t be more perfect. Rumors leaking from the brewery indicate that a completely new formulation designed to reduce foaming and taste great while being less filling has been in the works for some time, but that a special forged “controlled expansion” can was needed to keep the Schlitz pistons (we believe H-D has filed a trademark for the term “schlitstons”) from expanding too rapidly.
While other factories experiment with variable valve timing, we hear that H-D may indeed be on the edge of inventing Fully Adjustable Compression-Ratio Technology (FACRT): As the Schlitz heats up and the schlitstons expand, compression rises, increasing power and torque up to the point at which it’s all released in one big, gaseous cloud of beer steam — the sound of which Harley is also reportedly attempting to trademark along with its bikes’ distinctive exhaust note. At that point, the rider can either install the spare “schlitstons” from the “cooling system” or stop at a convenience store for a fresh twelve-pack.
It’s all conjecture at this point, but rest assured you’ll read it here first as new information becomes available. We’re already delving more deeply into the current Schlitz formulation here at MO HQ to get to the bottom of things, and we may find out more after our morning nap. Stay tuned for further details.