Harley-Davidson Scooters and Mopeds

By: On: August 9th, 200831 Comments »Updated: January 17, 2013

Harley-Davidson scooter adHarley-Davidson scooters, along with other motorcycle companies in the 1960′s, joined in the motor scooters and mopeds craze in the US market.  The time was right for a new civilized form of transportation in the quickly growing suburbs.

Harley-Davidson scooters, named the Topper, were made for only 5 years, beginning in 1960.  Today, these Harley Davidson scooters are very collectible and often restored. 1964 Harley-Davidson Scooter Topper scooters featured a 165cc 2-stroke engine and a variable rate automatic transmission they cleverly named as “Scootaway Drive”.  Automatic transmissions were, and still are, popular on scooters since most scooter riders are not used to riding typical motorcycles.  Gas mileage was advertised as “up to 100 miles per gallon”.

Kick-starting these Harley-Davidson scooters would probably have been too crude for the suburbs, so the Topper engine had a simple pull-start recoil system.  It was started the same basic way that their target market was used to starting their lawn mowers, so it was a fairly acceptable method.

Cushman scooters had been gaining in popularity since almost 20 years before Harley Davidson came out with their Topper scooter.

As funny as it may seem today, you could actually get the Topper scooters from Harley-Davidson dealers with a sidecar added on.  Among Harley Davidson accessories for the Topper was the sidecar option.  This was advertised by Harley in their Topper scooter ads as “swell for commuting, errands and outings”.  Also, they explained “This handy combination will hold golf clubs, fishing or hunting gear, or any fun equipment.”

If you happen to find any Harley-Davidson scooters with an original sidecar, and in very good condition, then you could have yourself a valuable little investment there.  These are selling in the neighborhood of $12,000 in restored condition. But the sidecar was not the only type of side option for the Harley Topper.

Harley-Davidson Topper scooter with sidecar 1963You could also get a side-mounted utility box that mounted in place of the actual sidecar shell.  Harley-Davidson information advertised back then described the side utility box option for the Topper scooter as something a small business could use for transporting “200 pounds of payload”.  Storage space for the Topper utility box was advertised as more than 5 cubic feet cargo space and was suggested “for all types of industry, delivery, courier, messenger and service work”.  Harley-Davidson scooters fitted with a utility box sidecar probably would have been a great way to deliver newspapers too!Yamaha C3 Scooters

Fast-forwarding to today, the new Yamaha C3 scooters seem to resemble the Harley-Davidson Topper scooters with it’s box-like styling.  It may even remind some folks of a cooler on wheels, or “cooler scooter” as shown here. Topper scooters were not the only little Harley-Davidson motor scooters to buzz around on through the neighborhoods with back then, there also was the Harley-Davidson M50.  Around 1960, Harley-Davidson had gone into a 50/50 partnership with Aermacchi.  They are an Italian company located in Varese, Italy that made motorcycles at that time, but began as an aircraft company.  Ameracchi is still very active today making jet aircraft in Italy, but left the motorcycle business back in 1978 after AMF Harley-Davidson could not make money with it and it ended up in the hands of Cagiva.1965 Harley-Davidson M50

By the way, if you are keeping up to date with Harley Davidson scooters information, or just general motorcycle info, an interesting fact is that 30 years later in 2008, Harley-Davidson is back again in Varese, Italy in that same motorcycle factory, after buying MV Agusta from Cagiva.

The Harley-Davidson M50 was more in the style of mopeds with it’s taller wheels and smaller 50cc engine.  They sold for around $225 new back in 1965, and were advertised to young folks as “a way to come and go as you please without asking for the family wheels”.1966 Harley-Davidson M50-S

There were a few different Harley M50 variations available.  The regular M50 had a fuel tank mounted moped-style, at an angle sloping downward.  The M50-S had a more traditional motorcycle style gas tank.  A weird feature of this Harley-Davidson scooter, some may call it a moped, was that the 3-speed transmission was shifted via the left handlebar grip.  The rider had to actually rotate the entire left grip and lever assembly to switch gears.

Harley-Davidson m50 mopedIt seems today the M50 does not hold the value that the Topper Harley-Davidson scooters have held.  Craig’s List recently had a Harley Davidson M50-S for sale in good un-restored condition for $1200. For more Harley Davidson information, general motorcycle information, or to learn about scooters and mopeds, please visit other articles and pages of Motorcycle Information today.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

» has written 130 posts

31 Responded

  1. Harley Davidson Topper, el Scooter americano says:

    [...] información | Motorcycle information; The early Harley [...]

  2. Marvin says:

    Looking for tires for 1965 M50 do you know where to get them?

  3. John says:

    You can get them at motorcycleinfo.org/m50-tires

  4. John Glisson says:

    Just purchased a 1960 H/D Topper ahd a cycle shop check it out , and all is working fine and it runs great. A slight problem getting a tag In Fla. but should have that resolved this week Cheers.. John

  5. ron says:

    I HAVE A 1965 HARLEY M-50.
    I AM TOLD THAT THIS IS AN EARLY 1965.
    THE BIKE IS UNRESTORED AND COMPLETE.
    WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE VALUE.
    THANKS
    RON

  6. Howard says:

    Have 1966 m-50,orginal owner me.need mufler,and I am going to sell it after get it running again, I have orginal title and other papers,anyone have any used parts out there,as I say need muffler and maybe few other thing,thanks Howard

  7. katherine says:

    please contact me when you are ready to sell.
    thanks.
    pagosa springs, colorado

  8. Bucket2008 says:

    I just purchased a M-50S. I do not have it yet as it is 1200 miles away. (road trip) It does not run and the seat is just a frame. I’m sure it needs tires. The rest of the bike looks to be in good condition. Any information that anyone can give me on available parts would be appreciated. Suggestions would be appreciated also. I do not intend to restore it to original condition but would like to get it running and ride it.

  9. Howard says:

    hello katherine,pagosa springs,colorado, Were you refering to me on my m-50 harley ? Please reply if you are. thank you.
    Howard
    classic_copeland@yahoo.com

  10. [...] interesting minis and scooters I hope this is in the spirit of this forum. I remember hearing about a scooter that Harley Davidson made back in the 60s called a Harley-Davidson M50 and the Harley-Davidson M50-S. Has anyone else heard of some interesting minibikes or scooter from companies you would normally not think of haveing built a mini bike or scooter? Here is a link to the Harley-Davidson M50, Harley-Davidson M50-S and Harley-Davidson Topper Harley-Davidson Scooters and Mopeds | Motorcycle Information [...]

  11. Greg says:

    I have a 60s M50 complete that I would love to sell.
    I also have a 1970 m125 I want to sell as well both complete.

    The 1960s M50 is complete, all original parts, including seat (good shape, no tears)woulds be great to restore, only 2500 miles.

    The 1970 M125 is in very good shape, all original 2000 miles, seat is in surprisingly good shape (original) as is the whole bike.

    For more information or pictures, please call 214-434-4545 or email me at ghcowboy@gmail.com.
    Thanks,
    Greg

  12. timstalbans says:

    I used to have a M50S Harley and I think it was a 66. My mom got it for me from the S&H green stamp catalog.(she won a bunch of stamps in a radio contest)in fact we got a lot of Christmas presents from that catalog. lol. We also got a Scat Kitty scooter the year before. That was the coolest thing ever . It had a side car and ape hanger handle bars. As you can tell we were spoiled kids.I would love to have them both. haha

  13. scurvyjoe says:

    I have a 1965 HD m50 and i also need tires. I have been searching for weeks. If anyone has info on these tires it would be greatly appreciated!!! scurvyjoe@gmail.com

  14. timstalbans says:

    As a kid I was always on the lookout for new motorcycles or scooters to show up in my neighborhood. One of the older kids down the block had a brand new white Honda 300 dream. Wow what a beauty! I couldnt wait to get on of those.(never did)
    Another older kid down the street had two fully dressed out Cushman Scooters that they kept on their front porch. It was very exciting to see him and his Dad cruising down the street on those mini dressers together.I found out later in life that that young man was killed in Viet Nam.
    I now ride a 2006 HD Ultra Classic and think of those Cushmans often.

  15. EuGene says:

    Didn’t some version of the M50 (maybe not called M50 but under another model designation) have pedals more in the traditional moped style?

  16. EuGene says:

    By the way, I have a Topper, #60A6622, looks like new, but needs mechanical work. Also, apparently needs a muffler, too, as no chainsaw ever made is so loud!!

  17. [...] you know that Harley makes an M50??? Harley-Davidson Scooters and Mopeds | Motorcycle Information Well they "did" make on anyway. I wonder if Suzuki knew that before that dubbed the [...]

  18. topperpop says:

    Hi Gang! I own a 1963 Harley Topper AU (9 hp) scooter and I am running a honda 4 stroke carb (Maccutti) and I am having a hard time starting the bike. When it does start it runs pretty strong. Does anyone know where I can get either an original carb or if they know of another 2 stroke carb that would work well on it?
    Thanks
    Jerry

  19. Ron says:

    I am looking for a topper or a 50 If any body has a running one for sale let me know thanks Ron

  20. David says:

    My parents got me a few toppers back in the 60′s. also I had a side car too…. I used my toppers for school and etcs… Never had any problems as I would get one ever year….. I remenber the H-D dealer in seattle wa. I got $250.oo for a trade in…

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have an M50S in good condition I’d like to sell.

  22. Chris says:

    I have a 1966 M50 for sale. Needs restoration. all original and beautiful!!!

    CAll chris (845) 454-7727

  23. ken says:

    hi,

    I am looking for HARLEY M50 or M50s.
    Payment is cash.

    Please contact me.

    ken
    email me at ky_usa@hotmail.com

  24. lbigman64 says:

    I have a 1956 harley topper looking for parts!Can anyone help!!!!

  25. clivealive12 says:

    Hi, i have an HD 1965 M-50 S for sale, Massachusetts, or trade for a car?

  26. topshot says:

    Hello..
    I just got a harley-davidson topper scooter,,,
    real rough,,,but thinking of restoring it,,,I have not a clue about it,,,can i get a manual? can you give me any help or info on this machine/
    THANKYOU
    Ken

  27. Russ says:

    Need tire sizes or where to buy for a 1966 HD M50

  28. John says:

    Russ, I believe the M50 came with 2.00 -17 size tires. You can get theme here: M50 tires
    John

  29. jason says:

    i have a 1966 harley davidson m50-s moped. its complete stock and all orginal parts. it needs restoring badly. I was just curious about the worth of the bike..

  30. John says:

    Jason, value of an original Harley m50, without restoration, depends greatly on condition and is too hard to estimate without seeing it. Can you send some pictures?
    John

  31. jason says:

    its actully a friend of mines bike, he found it while gathering scrap metal so the bike is in pretty bad shape. ill see if i cant get him to email me a picture. A guy saw the bike in his yard and offered him $500 but he didn’t take it cause he thought maybe it was worth more just for being a 66 harley moped.