Bigger and Better: Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Evo Sportster — Classic American…

12 Мар 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Bigger and Better: Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Evo Sportster — Classic American… отключены

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Harley-Davidson XLH1100

Years 1986-1987

Claimed Power: @ 6,000rpm

Top speed: 104mph test)

Engine: 1,101cc OHV 45-degree V-twin


Weight: 494lb (dry)

then/now: $5,200 (in 1986)/$3,000-$5,000

tradition is a core tenet at it still seems surprising the … length of its XL engine has unchanged since the introduction of the Sportster in 1957. So when the all-aluminum alloy “Evolution” and 1,100cc Sportsters arrived in their pistons rose and as they had for 29 years, by 3-13/16 or 96.8mm. Tradition retained.

however, was the XLH1100’s enlarged bore, giving a swept of 1,101cc, up from previous of the big Ironhead. New aluminum alloy heads used larger a narrower included valve and more efficient port for more power, while lifters replaced the iron adjustable rockers in the valve Inside the crankcase went a new crankshaft (replacing the previous unit) and lighter pistons.

Under the smart new aluminum cover, primary drive to the clutch was still by chain the new belt drive on the 1,340cc Evo Big introduced in 1984. In all, more than half the engine’s components were or modified, making for smoother and clutch operation, reduced train noise and quicker, gearshifts.

The unit-construction engine was mounted in a dual-downtube steel frame with twin shocks controlling the rear while a Showa fork 35mm stanchions provided suspension. Cast alloy were 16-inch diameter at the and 19-inch at the front, with a 11.2-inch disc brake and rear. Dry weight snuck in at less than 500 pounds.

its power boosted from the engine’s 50-odd horsepower to a 63, the new Sportster turned in 13.5-second quarters at 97mph respectable, but a slower than the contemporary Virago 1100.

Yet while it may been slower than the competition, more important, World wrote in 1986, was the of power the Sportster had. that brute, thumping, style of power that is so of big V-Twins When the 1100’s is rolled open anywhere 2,500 and 4,500rpm, the engine accelerates with enough to make downshifting its 4-speed seem totally redundant.”

The tester was less kind the Sportster’s “intense vibration, the of which comes through the Unfortunately, the vibration peaked in the mid rev at about 55-65mph, “the often used cruising Cycle World said, that the buzzing through the was bad enough “to put your to sleep.” Motorcyclist magazine’s agreed, adding, “The vibration combined with the seat brought most to the pain threshold within 20

The Sportster’s handling, though, was a point. A low center of gravity, light weight, and strong power allowed for spirited though lines had to be carefully But once leaned over, the was pronounced “… stable.” said, both Cycle and Motorcyclist found the front springs under-damped, with the bottoming out on sharp bumps.

In of a low seat height, the rear offered just 3 inches of which, combined with seat padding, gave the “a buckboard ride” on roads.

Also criticized were the ergonomics, with an overly reach from the bars to the levers; awkward placing of the and passenger footpegs around the cover; and the positioning of the air cleaner, also touched the rear head, ensuring the rider’s leg got and burned at the same time.” And the brakes required a lot of pressure on lever and pedal, they well: it was “possible to lock up wheel,” Cycle World “but you have to be trying hard.”

Concluded Cycle “The 1100 Sportster as a much better bike its 883cc or 1,000cc predecessors. only makes sense: greatly improved in some and no worse in the others, so the end result is a motorcycle perhaps the best ever. But it’s also as traditional a motorcycle that to exude the kind of classic that the Japanese companies to strive for and generally fail to the maintenance of this tradition the bike a, well, a Sportster.”

The lasted just two years, by the XLH1200 in 1988. Limited doesn’t add up to high value, as Evo Sportster 1100s don’t as collectibles. Yet.

Contenders: V-twin rivals to Evo twin

Years Produced:

Claimed Power: 70hp @

Engine: 1,063cc air-cooled 75-degree V-twin


Weight: 514lb (dry)/35-50mpg

then/now: $4,499 (1986)/$2,500-$4,000

The made its first appearance in as a 750. The 1,100cc version for 1986 followed its smaller as an air-cooled, 75-degree, single-crankpin with single overhead and two valves per cylinder, a 5-speed and shaft final drive.

The was suspended from a backbone giving the Virago clean while the distinctive styling included low, slash-cut big eye-level gauges, a slender, front and dual rear The distinctive engine was embellished chrome and even gold-colored and quality of finish was exemplary.

Honda, Yamaha was hoping to get a of Harley’s big cruiser market. Its weight and revvier, oversquare gave the 1100 Virago a advantage in its class, setting second quarters at about

Sadly, the wheels came off in the and comfort was also compromised: ground clearance caused to touch down too easily, “a poorly padded and borderline shocks that are too in their response to bumps,” World said, while noting that the bike’s wheelbase contributed to a cramped position.

Yet while relatively inexpensive, it the Virago wasn’t what the really wanted, which was a

1985-1990 Honda Shadow

Years Produced: 1985-1987 series)

Claimed Power: @ 6,500rpm/115mph

Engine: 1,099cc SOHC 45-degree V-twin


Weight: 550lb

Price then/now: $4,198

Big Red builds the benchmark bike in classes, but then as now, all comparisons start in Milwaukee. So how did make out?

The 1985 Shadow grew out of its 750cc and borrowed its overall plan: a 45-degree, dual spark with single overhead three valves per cylinder and a transmission with shaft drive. And like the 750 (but any H-D), the Shadow used two crankpins, giving the engine primary balance which at the time denied it a Harley-like beat.

In true Honda the Shadow 1100 was hard to in fit, finish, performance and though a lack of ground severely restricted cornering and limited suspension adjustment comfort on rough roads.

Cruiser cred, though, is styling, and here Honda up short. Firmly rooted in the era with exhausts on both the Shadow’s looks were compromised by a huge radiator in of the front frame downtubes. A makeover in 1987 moved exhausts onto the right boldly slicing their way to the axle.

Better but still Honda had the “big” Sportsters in its sights with the big Shadow, but in of cachet, it seemed the Shadow always be playing catch-up. MC

Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Sportster
Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Sportster
Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Sportster
Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Sportster
Harley-Davidson XLH1100 Sportster


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