Tag Archives: harley davidson sportster

1979 Harley Davidson Cafe Racer

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 7.01.15 PMA while back I applied for a job at a Harley dealer. The general manager, the owners wife and I were having a good interview until I said the only Harley I really wanted to own was an XLCR. If you put your money on me not getting the job, you win.Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 6.58.39 PM

I remember when the XLCR showed up in 1977. It was Wille G Davidson’s first design job and I, being a Brit bike guy, was stoked! We all know that the AMF years were not Harley’s finest (mechanically) but we did get the XLCR and the original ‘Superglide’. Not too bad. But really, the bikes were junk. “Hardley Abelson”, “Hardley Driveable” and other names were applied that I can’t print here, but it was a good design time. Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 6.59.02 PM

The XLCR was a modified Sportster…same lump of a motor, some slight chassis changes and some cool styling. But…according to the purists it wasn’t a Harley. It was the Redheaded stepchild. Thats why it only lasted a couple of years. But, I still want one. I got the next best thing…a Buell.

I found a really cool 1979 XLH Sportster on ebay this morning that a guy, who just like me wanted an XLR, built a better one. This is one sweet Harley Davidson. Good upgrades, a beautiful tank and tail section…all of it. Yeah, you’re going to have pay attention to it…there is an old adage about vintage British bike, “Ride it for one hour…Work on it for two”, well this bike is probably right in there as well. But I think it will be worth it.

Click on the pics below for more info and pictures

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Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 6.39.22 PM1979 Harley Davidson Cafe Racer

1967 Harley Davidson Sportster

If you’re not picturing Elvis and Ann Margaret on this bike you’re too young to buy it, go to another website. Unless, if your parents have brought you up properly, you can stay.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 7.43.49 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 7.39.16 AMI love Sportsters. I love the free revving, the quick throttle…Sportsters are just plain fun. Thats what they were designed to be in 1957. Think about it, the Sportster has been around for nearly 70 years. It has evolved but at its heart, a Sporty is still a Sportster. My daily ride is a Sportster powered Buell…I love it! Well, the electrics kind of suck but a couple thousand dollars later and…nevermind, I love the motor.

Over the decades Harley Davidson has tried everything to increase their market…Italian singles (I still want a Sprint 350…what a great Cafe Racer platform!), off-road two strokes (I really did love the Baja 100…what a blast to ride!!), the little Hummer two stroke (post world war two) and the partnership with Porsche for the V-Rod. But, the basic design, the feel and the ride since God was a child (no blasphemy here…) is what makes a Harley Davidson a Harley Davidson. They know their market.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 7.39.32 AM

I found a super cool Sportster on ebay this morning. It needs some love but not much I hope. It’s a runner, looks great and would be a great ‘Sunday Go to Meetin’ ride. Honestly, this is just a very cool bike…I love LOVE the white seat!!!

Click on the pics below for a bit more info and the pics. Oh, and yeah I know the picture of Ann and Elvis aren’t on a Harley but you really can picture can’t you?

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Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 7.52.51 AM1967 Harley Davidson Sportster

Vintage Harley Davidson Mother Lode

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 8.35.49 AMI don’t quite know where to start here…what an amazing collection of bikes and parts. I mean, really, if you are into old Harley Davidson’s either for your own use (now that requires a full psychiatric evaluation) or you own a motorcycle salvage business (which may also require professional counseling…my daughter is a licensed therapist her number is **&^%$U&% she can help she has been around this sickness long enough) or lastly you build custom Harley’s. I mean you get all these parts and complete bikes and the 20′ container they are stored in. It doesn’t get any easier.Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 8.37.25 AM

Honestly, it’s a lot of money to buy this container but from what I have seen on the market lately, so far, it’s a hell of a deal.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and more info. This really is somebody’s idea of heaven!

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Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 8.22.45 AMVintage Harley Davidson Mother Lode

Classic leather…

…just in time for Christmas.

Picture 25I don’t know about you but each year there is always someone on my Christmas gift list that deserves a lump of coal in their Christmas Stocking, usually it’s one of my kids. I found that lump of coal today on ebay.

Here’s the deal though, the person I think deserves it (not one of my kids, but I do think it would be hilarious to see my son in this) would really like it?! So why is it a lump of coal? Because any sane person would never be seen in public wearing it! On the other hand, all you have to do is go to the Sturgis Rally (or pick any of a hundred such rally’s) and it becomes a perfectly, socially acceptable piece of attire. This jacket really is a piece of classic American Motorcycling.
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Let’s see…Harley Barbie’s, blow up dolls…I love the lifestyle.

Click on the pictures below and if you hurry you might just be able to get it under the Christmas tree.

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Picture 21Classic Harley Leather Jacket

1977 Harley Davidson XLCR

Picture 9It’s that time of year that I start searching for, working on and writing about ‘winter projects’. Here in Southern California winter is all about having to switch from shorts to long pants and maybe a long sleeve t-shirt. OK…I said that just to make all of you that live in colder climates a bit jealous but the truth is, it does get cold here for us motorcyclists and though we may not have heated basements to build bikes in, my journalistic hero Peter Egan has the best, but we do have to warm up the garage at night to work on bikes.

It’s no secret that I love the Harley Davidson XLCR, it really is one of the few Harley’s that I really do lust after…note here…Santa (wife) are you listening??? The XLCR was not one of ‘The Motor Company’s’ shining moments, at the time, but it has become quite a cult classic. XLCR models in beautiful condition are selling for upwards of five times their original selling price!!! Honestly, Harley dealers were selling them at ‘fire sale’ prices two years after they quit making them. A little less than 2000 of the CR models were made and as I have said before they went over like a fart in church. It’s too bad to because a number of the features that went into XLCR ended up helping make the standard Sportster a much better motorcycle.Picture 13

Willie G. Davidson penned this bike from the ground up. He went after the BMW R90S and the Ducati SS. The XLCR was the quickest and fastest of the Sportsters. THe CR was 5hp up on the basic Sporty, it was under 500LB’s (which the BMW was not) and had a top speed over somewhere a bit north 110mph (which in itself was really not that big a deal at that time). Willie G. pulled some of the chassis design straight off Harley’s own flat track dominating XR750. But, to the faithful, it was not a real Harley. Yes, there were the AMF quality issues with the bike but all told, the XLCR was a good bike. Harley tried the Sportbike market again decades later with Buell but again pulled the plug. Harley knows their market.

Back to winter projects, I found an XLCR on ebay this morning, that if you’re brave enough, will be a great winter project. It’s pretty rough, it’s not a basket case but, it is rough. This is a bike that is going to need a lot of love and elbow grease. The seller is very honest about what has and hasn’t been done to/for the bike, what parts he has, the condition of said parts and what he wants to keep off the bike for his collection and what goes with it. Some of the stuff is good, some is questionable but all in all if you want a good winter project, this is pretty good choice. The bike is a runner so that in itself gives you a good starting point. With this XLCR you have a really have an easy choice to make…clean it all up (but leave it a little ratty), piece it back together and ride it. Or…go the full restoration route and invest a whole lot of money, that you will never get back if you want to sell it, and it will be a really cool motorcycle for a collection. And with a little work, it could end looking like this one…
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Click on the pics below for a lot more info and more pictures.

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1977 Harley Davidson XLCR

1976 Harley Davidson Sportster

Picture 91976 was a really tough time for ‘The Motor Company’, they had been bought up by AMF and quality control was pretty low on the priority list…bowling balls and pool tables were more important than motorcycles. I’m guessing that American Manufacturing and Foundry Company needed a tax write off? Everybody has heard this story many times so we won’t beat a dead horse here.

To be fair here though, many think that it was AMF that actually saved Harley Davidson from fading away as Indian did. Well, Indian didn’t ‘fade’, it limped. AMF Harley’s did have reliability problems but I think part of that was that AMF was trying to modernize the production process and as we all know, major changes don’t always come that easy.

In my humble opinion, the Sportster motor has always been Harley’s best. The BIG twins have the allure but the Sporty has Spunk! The Sportster was built to compete with the British twins and it did an ‘admirable’ job. It didn’t have the handling prowess of the brits but in a straight line…The Sportster was king. Americans loved drag racing and the Harley fit perfectly.Picture 10

I found a really nice ’76 today on ebay that I think would be great just as it is or build it out. It is stock condition, even still has the gas tank sticker!? It has been completely serviced by the dealer and is ready to ride…push the button and ride off into the sunset…or the sunrise, whichever way you want to go. This is a really nice Ironhead Sportster that will give you a lot of miles of smiles. Just take good care of it.

Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures.

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Picture 141976 Harley Davidson Sportster

One last parting comment about the AMF years. As I said earlier, AMF was a bowling alley company, here’s proof. And thank goodness Willie G and a few friends bought the company back.
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1972 Harley Davidson Sportster

Picture 17 In 1957 Harley Davidson was not really in trouble compared to Indian. A few years before the Beatles arrived there was the original ‘British Invasion’. Soldiers had returned home from the war in Europe and were buying motorcycles. Triumph, BSA, Norton, AJS, Enfield, and others were all building light and fast motorcycles while Harley and Indian were still building big, heavy and slower bikes. Indian tried to compete with the Brit’s by building bikes powered by the Enfield twin and, Harley went to Italy looking for lightweights. None of that worked for the American builders.

Indian rode themselves into the sunset while Harley Davidson decided to go head on with the Brits with the technology and success they already had. “let’s take what we already know how to do just make it lighter and faster and give it a good name”. Enter the Sportster.

Picture 22The 1957 Sportster had the new Overhead Valve Ironhead engine but was stuck into an older KH model chassis and truthfully, for all of Harley’s good intentions, it was not a sporty motorcycle and had no chance of competing with the motorbikes from across the pond. When dealers first saw it they were less than impressed and convinced Walter Davidson to build the KR race bike with the new Sportster engine, which he did, rather begrudgingly, and the Sportster is now the longest running, continuously made model in motorcycling history.

The Sportster was considered America’s first ‘Muscle Bike’. Over the years it was steadily changed, not necessarily improved, but changed. The 1958 model had the smaller 2 gallon ‘Peanut’ tank, bobbed fenders and straight pipes. This is what buyers wanted.

In 1972 AMF was building Harley Davidson’s and honestly, quality went right down the drain. That is not just my opinion but one widely held by everyone. In 1973 Cycle magazine did a six bike comparison and the Sportster came out dead last. Still, the Sporty continued to sell. It was even a TV star!Picture 24

I am a fan of the Sportster. Yeah, I know, it’s called the ‘girls Harley’, or the ‘baby Harley’, or the ‘wanna be a Harley’ but I believe that the reason it stills sells well is because it works. The Sportster has gone from 883cc to 1000cc back to 883cc up to 1200cc’s and currently there are about a half dozen models of the Sporty at your local Harley dealer. In my humble opinion, the Sportster is Harley Davidson’s best motorcycle and I think Harley thinks the same way. Why? Because they are still building it more than fifty years later. Enough said.

I found a really nicely updated 1972 Sportster on ebay today. This one has been set up to look more like the XLR than the XLH it is. The owner has given the motor a good overhaul, nice new Borriani wheels, new seat and pillion pad, tires and sweet paint job. It is ready to ride home today. This would be a really fun bike to ride. It has the look it should and the upgrades it needs. Nice.

Click on the pics below for more info and pictures.

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Picture 211972 Harley Davidson Sportster