Have you ever thrown a leg over a vintage/classic motorcycle, started down the road and within one block your only thought was “what a piece of junk!” You know you have. I was wondering if the friend that loaned me the bike didn’t like me anymore or, did my girlfriend take out a life insurance policy on me. I was expecting a spiritual experience, a life transformation but instead here I was on a bike that is making me wonder if I’d make it to breakfast.
But…after two tanks of gas, breakfast and lunch I returned the motorcycle to the good friend that loaned it to me and told him that this day was a Zen experience. The bike I rode was a late ’60’s model, it clunked and thunked like hell but once you get used it…you get used to it. I was raised on British bikes and compared to those, the Sportster was as crude as a stone axe but there was something about the Sportster that I really enjoyed. It didn’t handle like a Brit bike, didn’t stop like Brit bike, and the bike vibrated so badly it would rattle the fillings out of your teeth, but once I settled into what the Sportster was about I became one with the bike. Well, not really one…but close.
The Sportster is commonly known as the “Girls Harley” or the “Baby Harley” but honestly, I think it is the most fun of The Motor Company’s bikes to ride. Would I ride across country? No. Would I ride to work everyday? Yes. Sunday rides? Oh yeah. Grocery store runs (throw on a saddle bags)?yep. Pick up Chinese take out? probably not. Wait a minute, I completely forgot that Jim Bronson rode his Sportster all around the country, so I guess it can be done!
Over the years I have ridden quite a few Sporty’s, from stone stock to chopped and even helped a friend build a cafe racer out of one and though family and friends will tell you I’m not a big Harley fan, I do like Sportsters…sort of. Two things here, I would dearly love to own an XLCR (the bastard stepchild of Harley world) and if I could afford one I’d buy it in a minute and just not tell anyone, and I currently own a Buell (powered by a modified Sportster motor). Sportster motors are fun.
I found a really nice 1971 Sportster on ebay this morning that is pretty much somewhat original. It is an XLCH model , the XL designates Sporster, the CH designates Competition Hot. This bike has upgraded wheels but the originals come with the bike, it has the Mikuni carb conversion (which actually does make the bike easier to start and ride..and by the way, this is a kick start only model) the original Tillotson carb does come with the bike. There’s some good story with this bike and I love the white seat. Whoever buys this bike…don’t change it! Please. The bike does run, it has about 40K miles on it, yes it looks it’s age but thetas part of the beauty of owning a Vintage motorcycle, you get to ride it and not worry about riding through a water puddle.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and info. This is a pretty cool bike for the casual rider or a platform for a very cool custom build. I wonder if the wood block under the kickstand comes with it?