Type 97 motorcycle file photo [21788]

Type 97

ManufacturerSankyo Company
Primary RoleMotorcycle


ww2dbaseType 97 motorcycles were built in Japan derived from the Harley-Davidson Road King design purchased for license production in 1932. Production began in 1933 near Tokyo, Japan with Harley-Davidson employees on-site as consultants. These military bikes proved to be so popular that their name, Rikuo ("Land King" or "Continent King"), a translation of Road King, would become the name of the Sankyo Company subsidiary spun off for production of motorcycles in 1936. They were most often seen with sidecar. These motorcycles saw front line duty in China as soon as they there introduced in 1933, and production would continue until the end of the war. After a two-year pause, the Rikuo company resumed production of motorcycles in 1947, but the heavy Type 97 design was not among those built. In 1951, under new ownership of Showa Corporation, Rikuo resumed production of the design for the civilian market.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2014


MachineryOne 4-cycle, 1200cc, side-valve, V-twin engine rated at 28hp
Length2.70 m
Width1.70 m
Height1.20 m
Weight0.5 t
Range70 km


Japanese military policemen aboard a Type 97 motorcycle, date unknownJapanese Renault Otsu-Gata light tanks and Type 97 motorcycles, Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, date unknownJapanese Type 97 motorcycle with sidecar in China, date unknownType 97 motorcycle, date unknown
See all 14 photographs of Type 97 Motorcycle

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Type 97 Motorcycle Photo Gallery
Japanese military policemen aboard a Type 97 motorcycle, date unknown
See all 14 photographs of Type 97 Motorcycle

Famous WW2 Quote
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944