1959 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH — Classic American Motorcycles — Motorcycle…

16 Фев 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 1959 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH — Classic American Motorcycles — Motorcycle… отключены

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Years produced:

Total production: 947 (1959)

power: 40hp @ 5,500rpm

Top 115mph

Engine type: (53.9ci) overhead valve, 45-degree V-twin

Weight 225kg (495lb)

Price $1,200

Price now:

“I was never into Harleys,” Rick Schaefer. “But one day I saw a in a friend’s barn, and he asked me if I it. I felt I needed a restoration to keep busy, so I bought

Rick didn’t know it at the but what he had bought was a 1959 Sportster XLH, one of 947 made. His for the project was driven by personal His brother had died of …, and six months later his father “I went through the whole depressed,” Rick says. He found the cure to be a classic restoration.

Taking stock in the Sportster Rick found a lot of the stock were missing. The seat had been cut off the frame — minor for a classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle of vintage, as many bikes went through the chopper era of the and Seventies have frames are altered beyond repair — but the was original, even if the forks not. It was a better than the barn find, and a classic motorcycle well worth

Even so, Rick knew the bike would be a challenge, and he he’d need help.

are a lot of people out there who work Harley-Davidson motorcycles — frame magneto experts and sheet artists, wizards who can do wonders even the saddest lump of The trick is in finding them, people who know what are doing — like “Harley” Cunningham — don’t advertise Most of them have all the they can handle.

“I went to the dealer for help. He didn’t anything about old Sportsters, but me to Harley John Cunningham, a Harley-Davidson dealer. I looked up John and showed him the Sportster. help you,’ he said.” The as they say, is history.

1959 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH

The of Rick Schaefer’s labor of started in Texas. The friend who him the Sporty was driving through some years ago, his VW bus broke down in the middle of He walked to a farmer’s barn for and there was the Sportster.

The farmer helped him get the VW going, and he on.

Two years later, Rick’s was driving by the same place. He thanked the farmer for his help, and if the Sportster might be for sale. It he bought it, and he brought it home to New He rode it hard, customized it, and at the time generally ignored it any maintenance.

Eventually, the poor refused to run. Several later, Rick bought it.

John rebuilt the engine and Rick find a lot of the original NOS Rick wanted. Rick period photos of the 1959 XLH based on how the bike looked in decided to have it painted Blue, one of the three stock

“We got it running, and then I had the idea to it,” says Rick. was a mistake. I thought it was the most bike in the world. It looked a piece of art to me, but at the first Antique Club of America show I it to, they told me I had the wrong the bolts were not Parkerized and the plugs were wrong.

Learning the ropes

American Club of America (AMCA) is based on a comparison of the bike in the to the bike as it was originally sold. is a chemical finish, also on gun barrels, that protects parts from rust. was upset by the judging results, but back after receiving offers of help. “AMCA will help with if you ask.

Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black

It used to be you couldn’t to the judges, but they changed which is good. It gives you a to learn.”

Rick and John back to the garage and fixed they could. At the next Rick’s Sporty earned a Second. “They said bolts were wrong and the body needed paint.” shows later, the Sporty is a Circle bike.

“I ride the about 500 miles a year, on how the weather cooperates,” says “I’m getting used to it. John’s been coaching me on the You give it a quarter throttle, the spark with the left turn the gas on and engage the choke. four times.

Turn the key on, but NOT the Put the choke on the first notch and Hopefully, two or three kicks start it, but my leg is often black and after meets.”

Rick sticks to country although he says there are no if the bike is stuck in traffic. He has the clutch to run in transmission oil, a period fix. “The were great back and they still stop the The tires are new old stock, and limit I have new repro tires, but mounted them yet.”

As it out, the bike is clearly happier now, and so is Rick. hard to believe what the once was, the way it looks I would definitely do it again. My and Harley John’s have close, and we celebrate holidays

I have met so many people the AMCA. I have dedicated the to the memory of my brother and father.”


As one of only 947, Schaefer’s immaculately restored Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster is a rare

So when Rick (on the Sporty at offers me some time in the of his Skyline Blue Sporty — on a wet after an unexpected downpour — I’m a bit apprehensive; it’s not easy how you ruined someone’s impossible-to-replace Harley. But Rick, who is excited to see I think of his pride and joy, seem to be giving the weather a thought.

Saving me the embarrassment of failure, kicks the Sporty to life something of an acquired skill), and me the quick drill: left manual advance, right throttle with no return and right side reverse-pattern

By this time the sun is coming and as a fog starts rising from the I lift the shifter into and pull away. My route is a two-lane blacktop through an forested and farmed valley, for familiarizing myself with the meaty twin and ancient

Anyone used to old Brit would find shifting the a familiar exercise. With an down pattern and a long it clicks into gear as long as you shift with The clutch is surprisingly light, and no shudder, just a smooth, feed.

The same’s true of the which feels smaller its 883cc. Throttle response the Linkert carb is surprisingly and the engine’s hefty torque effortless acceleration. Short-shifting the gets the best out of the V-twin, me to focus on the suspension, which is supple. Balanced and light the corners, the pig-like handling I’d is nowhere to be felt. (To be fair, I pushed the Sporty — there’s impossible-to-replace thing again.)

The manual advance and lack of return springs takes getting used to (you to keep reminding yourself to the throttle back during but after a bit even that to feel natural. It’s and every shift reaps the of hearing the assertive bark of the great V-twin.

Compared to modern machinery the Sporty’s are decidedly weak (you by jamming on the rear break and with the front), but about on par a lot of other bikes of the same Overall, it’s an easy to ride; surprisingly competent and friendly.

Much too quickly my comes to an end, and I’m handing the back to Rick. Unstrapping my I hear Rick asking me I think of his Sporty, but as the helmet off he sees his answer; I’m grinning ear to   MC 

Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black

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