’78 Harley Davidson XLCR
It’s no secret, I have a very strong lust for Harley XLCR’s. It’s some sort of sickness. Why would anybody want a slow, heavy motorcycle that vibrates more than the twenty five cent ‘vibro-bed’ in a cheap motel, needs a lot of maintenance, leaks oil everywhere…(this is where I insert the joke..if you tell someone your Harley doesn’t leak, they tell you…because its out of oil!!!), has brakes that Fred Flintstone would think are crappy, and Harley Davidson could barely give away when it came out??!! Tell me why I love these bikes, please help me…do I need a twelve step program?? No, I just need an XLCR, because it has soul.
In the 1970’s and through the Eighties, there was the UJM, Universal Japanese Motorcycle, whether it was Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki or Suzuki…they were all pretty much the same, paint jobs were different but the bikes of the time were very…well, Vanilla. I call them the Kawayamazukida’s of the motorcycling world. Sure you could buy a European bike for something that wasn’t Vanilla, but along with those came a higher purchase price, a level of unreliability and a much smaller dealer network if you did need service.
So, where does the Harley Davidson XLCR fit in? Compared to a UJM, it is a living being…it vibrates, it snorts, it’s temperamental, it will give you fits, it will leave it’s mark on the garage floor every night and it will put a smile on your face every time you ride it somewhere and yours is the only one in a sea of look alikes.
The XLCR was expensive, you could buy a Triumph, Ducati or Moto Guzzi, to which I think the XLCR was trying to aspire, for less money and you would get a much better motorcycle. That friends is why the XLCR didn’t sell. The Motor Company wanted to expand its market and Willie G decided that a Cafe Racer was going to help sales. Ok, he was a little off the mark, at the time, but now, XLCR’s command some pretty serious $$$$. The XLCR has a very strong cult following. So what if it is the same old 4 speed 1000cc Sportster (a lump of a motor) with a wooden suspension and lousy brakes, the styling was unique and it had the Harley soul.
I found a very nice 1978 model on ebay that is actually a really good value at this time. It’s super clean, it’s all original and…so far, under $10K. A clean XLCR can go for a lot more…if you want one, this is the buy. Click on the pics below and see if a ‘little left of center’ piece of american motorcycling history is in your future.