1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL

16 Мар 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL отключены
Harley-Davidson XRTT750 Sportster TT

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Harley-Davidson Sportster XL

Claimed 40hp @ 5,500rpm

Top speed: (est.)

Engine: 883cc OHV 45-degree V-twin

Weight 495lb (225kg)

Price $1,103 / $13,000-$20,000

Fuel 4.4gal (16.6ltr)/50mpg (est.)

was quite a year. Sputnik 1, the satellite, blasted into the Treaty of Rome established the Economic Community, and Chuck Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee and Little Richard rocked and from jukeboxes coast to In sports, Milwaukee won the World and in motorcycle history, Harley-Davidson the Sportster.

The roots of the first Sportster go back to the days after World War II. In order to get in the hands of eager customers who had unable to buy new motorcycles — or cars — the four long years of the Harley, like many continued building essentially the models it offered in 1941 civilian production stopped. bikes were basically technology with hand rigid rear ends and front forks.

Even so, the of new bikes that left the in 1945 and 1946 got snapped up as they arrived at dealer

Bruce Chubbuck was a teenager in his father’s Los Angeles-area Harley after school at the time, and the strong demand for the few new bikes “My father had a list, and when he got a in, he would call the next guy on the If he didn’t answer, he would the guy after that,” Bruce

The British Invasion

This of affairs only lasted for a while, as Harley dealers found themselves competing lightweight, sport-oriented British — with foot shift and forks. With huge war to pay off, Great Britain to foreign markets to sell its and to say British motorcycle manufacturers encouraged to export would be an For British motorcycle companies, it was literally a case of export or and the U.S. was prime territory to pent up consumer demand and an post-war economy.

Harley-Davidson did not an equivalent to the lightweight and relatively Brit bikes, and quickly itself at a disadvantage. Although it did the small and lively 125cc S (basically a Harley-built DKW and effectively to the BSA Bantam, also based on the it had nothing in its lineup to match 500cc Speed Twin or 500cc A7. In response, Harley a two-pronged …. While the

Tariff Commission deliberated on 1951 petition for a 40-percent tariff on imported bikes, — belatedly — began designing a motorcycle to compete with the motorcycles.

The Tariff Commission turned Harley down, but by Harley’s new twin, the Harley-Davidson K was on sale. Harley had introduced its new machine to its dealers in December Bruce had just turned 21 old and was enjoying a beer as he watched the “We had lunch at the Schroeder Hotel in Milwaukee, and then they two white K models elevated up the stage.

The dealers weren’t excited by them. The K model really look like a and it wasn’t sparkly like a Bruce remembers.

Importantly, the K model was a modern motorcycle. It had a hand clutch and shifting was by the right foot, just the competing Brit bikes. The end was telescopic and the rear was a swingarm twin shocks, a first for and in 1951 quite an advance.

Several British makes, Triumph, were still bikes with rigid ends.

Although it still a side-valve layout, the 45 cubic-inch K engine was a fresh design, in unit with the four-speed Harley built this in two versions: the racing KR, which was fast despite a modest 37 and the 30 horsepower street K model, was both heavier and slower the competition. This fact did not sales of the street bike.

In Harley stroked the Harley K to 54 cubic inches (883cc), made it fast enough to up with the BSAs and Triumphs, and it the Harley-Davidson KH. Jim Belland bought a KH San Francisco’s Dudley Perkins and bolted on a small peanut cut down the fenders and replaced the with straight pipes. “I was a at the time, hanging around Perkins and working on my K model,” Jim “In 1956, they hired me as guy — I retired from Dudley 40 years later as general

According to Jim, the average motorcycle enthusiast in San Francisco was “a class guy. Professional were rare. There a lot of sailors interested in bikes. people rode Harleys and and there was a growing British scene.” The Harley KH fit the market Jim says: “It was an all purpose motorcycle. If I to go someplace, I pointed it there and

I put a lot of KR parts on it. I was doing TT races on it and racing, and I went to work on it. I had a time on that bike. At one I was timed on the quarter mile at seconds, with a terminal of 112mph.”

Harley also built a version of the KH, the Harley KHK, in and 1956. Featuring a roller-bearing end, polished ports and hot it was rated at 52 horsepower versus the claimed 38 horses.

Enter the

Through most of its history, has followed a policy of making one improvement at a time. After the K’s shift transmission and swingarm had been proved sound, engineers went to work on the side-valve engine. They up with a new overhead valve top which, in an inspired moment, decided should be called the

Aside from the engine, of the new for 1957 XL Sportster was carried from the K model. The frame, fenders, touring-size tank and suspension were straight the KH, lightly modified to fit the taller valve engine.

The 1957 had iron barrels and heads, a compression ratio, and made 40 at 5,500rpm. Like the predecessor K, valve had its own camshaft and the engine was in with the four-speed transmission. carryovers from the K models a dry clutch, drum brakes and electrics.

The first Sportster was not speedy; a good KHK, for 1957, would blow an Sportster into the weeds, says. List price for was $1,103.

Harley did not have a introduction for the Sportster, but unveiled its new at regional gatherings, instead. San riders were introduced to the new at a local flat track. Jim there were two reactions at the “The guys who rode kind of liked it, but the Sportster big and masculine enough for them.

Harley-Davidson XRTT750 Sportster TT

The guys thought it was … They all thought it needed to be into the kind of motorcycle I had — tank, bobbed fenders.”

In the of 1957, Harley gathered its in Milwaukee to show them the new where the Sportster was a major of discussion. Bruce remembers: “We had our California dealers meeting a or so later. My father and I didn’t go to the but the dealers that did go to the national explained what happened. weren’t a lot of happy dealers.

They expected more — a Sportster. The California dealers, wanted a KRTT (a road-racing of the KR) with the Sportster engine. went to Harley Engineering to sure it would work, and they confronted Walter and demanded he build this Walter Davidson finally ‘OK, we will make 100 of the and if you can’t sell them, we going to make any more!’”

Davidson made good on his and the scrambles-oriented XLCH appeared in along with the XLH, a compression version of the original The first XLCHs came no lights, a 9:1 compression ratio, ignition, straight pipes, fenders and the 2.25 gallon off the KR dirt track racer. It was what the sport guys

Dealers had no problems selling version of the Sportster, and Harley up building about 239 XLCHs year. Harley also a kit to make the bike street For 1959 the XLCH got a little civilized and came with and sold very well.

for everyone?

Dudley Perkins sold a lot of Sportsters to smaller including some pioneering “Our best sellers the big twins,” Jim remembers, “but of smaller stature were in the Sportster. There was always a core of women riders, and a lot of rode Sportsters. Some them as they came, modifying them.”

Jim remembers Sportsters with affection. XLCH straight pipes the most wonderful noise. At stage of my life, noise speed. The handling was pretty by the standards of the day.

The relatively long wheelbase Sportsters relatively lazy which meant you could get with a lot. The forks contemporary K model forks, were copies of contemporary forks. You varied the thickness of the oil to make your forks or softer. The K model guys had to make the K work, and the first was basically the same, with the forks, although it was heavier the K.

“The brakes were the as the K, not particularly bad,” Jim continues. “In the no one sold bikes with good brakes. Vibration? It But the bars were rubber and the seat was on springs, so it wasn’t too

Glenn Bator’s 1957 Sportster

Fifty-four years Harley-Davidson is still selling And not too surprisingly, the first year has developed a  certain cachet. Sportsters also have a attraction for Glenn Bator, a known motorcycle restorer, and broker.

Glenn was born in and the first bike he ever was a 1957 Harley Sportster.

has met a lot of people in his travels, and some become more than contacts. One of these was Giovanni the Harley-Davidson dealer in Milan, Signore Valla bought our bike over the Internet someone in the U.S. and asked to restore it for him.

Glenn to do the work, mostly because he had a spot both for 1957 and Giovanni Valla. Unfortunately, the was in bad shape, with, among problems, cracked engine Compounding the issue is the simple that parts for early are hugely expensive, if you can find and Glenn’s varied business left him little time for the restoration Giovanni wanted.

complicating matters, Glenn was up the restoration of a 1930 KJ four-cylinder and a 1922 Harley Sport

Realizing he was too busy to do it all himself, had someone else rebuild the It came back in worse than it was in when Glenn it out. A second try produced no results. “I guess if you want done right, do it yourself,” says philosophically.

By this time, what locating all the missing correct getting the chrome re-plated and the sheet metal and frame in the correct colors, a couple of had gone by. Giovanni was being and patient, but there was a limit. that he was running out of time, called in Dave Carleton, one of the Coast’s best known experts, to help.

He also into the talents of well Harley machinist/mechanic Dan “Fuzzy” who lent his vision, guidance and to the project. The final rebuild a correct, matching numbers Sportster looking just it did when it rolled out of the factory, as strongly and smoothly as it did when

With the Sportster finally Glenn took it and another Sportster to the 2010 AMA Hall of Concours D’Elegance . winning and second place in the Classic category. Glenn was to send bikes to Giovanni in Milan after the show, but as he was getting to ship the Sportsters, he was notified Giovanni had died. “The remain as a tribute to Giovanni passion and love for American Glenn says. “He will be Elvis and jukeboxes may be gone, but 1957 Sportster lives on. MC

Harley-Davidson XRTT750 Sportster TT
Harley-Davidson XRTT750 Sportster TT
Harley-Davidson XRTT750 Sportster TT


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