Harley Davidson XLCR 1000 – Vintage Motorcycles Online

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Harley Davidson XLCR 1000 – Vintage Motorcycles Online

Harley Davidson XLCR 1000

Giving a nod to the English Ton Up boys of the 1950s and reacting to a renewed interest in the genera, the XLCR was unveiled as a concept bike in 1975 by designer Willie G Davidson. Looking for feedback and revving up interest for attention-starved Harley, the Sportster-based racer was posed on the cover of prestigious Cycle magazine.

The overwhelming response pushed stodgy AMF to eventually make the XLCR available for public purchase, but much had changed in the two-year span that separated the prototype and production machine. Just over 1,200 examples were manufactured between 1977/78, and while many correctly tabbed the limited-production XLCR as an instant classic, it’s certain the machine would have generated better press if compared against 1975-era motorcycles.

The XLCR differs from the standard 70s issue Ironhead with a revised chassis, speed tuning, new body parts and relocated controls. To gain the desired wheelbase, the front half of the XLCH frame was mated to the racing XR-750 subframe, complete with its upright shock positioning and boxed swingarm. Grafted on was the standard Showa fork, Gabriel shocks, cast alloy Morris mag wheels (19”/18” front and rear, respectively) and triple disc brakes.

Sourced by Kelsey-Hayes, the twin 250 mm front and single 247 mm stainless rotors were an upscale feature, but ruined in application by Harley’s decision to fit an extra-hard pad compound. Certain motorcycles are remembered for certain things, and in the XLCR’s case those feet down Fred Flintstone stops scraped the edge from its image.

Offsetting that substandard braking somewhat was the XLCR’s grunting, all-iron 997cc V-twin. A recalibrated ignition curve, performance enhancing two-into-two exhaust and one less tooth on the counter shaft sprocket allowed the 515-lb XLCR to spool up quicker. Timed near thirteen-flat in the quarter-mile, the XLCR was the fastest production Harley Davidson ever.

And while that shortened gearing limited the CR’s top speed to just over 100 mph, the engine’s ample torque made stirring the standard four-speed gearbox unnecessary. Added to the package was a flat, one-piece handlebar, a buttoned saddle, and rear-sets that required Harley to retool the gearbox due to the shift lever’s rearward position. Responsible for the XLCR’s cosmetic impact, black abounds on the cylinders, heads, exhaust and most of the engine covers.

Gloss black is used on the fairing, tank, fenders and side covers. In this writer’s opinion, the XLCR is Willie G’s finest work, and the most attractive Harley ever.

Entering into a market when fascination for cafe’ style was quickly being replaced by real sporting ability, the XLCR’s was tossed into the ring against the likes of Ducati’s 900 SS Desmo, the Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans, Laverda’s raging Jota triple and Suzuki’s new GS 750. In their 1977 test, the editors at Cycle World praised the XLCR for its comfort and control layout, its roarty torque, power delivery and high speed stability. as long as the pavement was smooth.

With precious little wheel travel, rough patches served to unsettle the XLCR, which also lacked cornering clearance due to its low-slung exhaust. The XLCR’s braking was also heavily criticized. “ As a motorcycle, there are better choices ” concluded the test. “ But as an adventure, the XLCR has no equal ” The list price was $3595.


There’s much more to the Harley Davidson XLCR than being an extraordinary handsome, collectible motorcycle. Like the BMW R90S, the CR was Harley’s own conformation that motorcycling -one that now included Japan’s Big Four and ultra-serious European players- had changed forever. What makes the XLCR different is where it came from.

As the world’s largest (and most profitable) proponent of two-wheel tradition, that the XLCR was ever produced stands as minor, motorcycling miracle. A bright spot for enthusiasts who prefer style and speed, we continue to wait for Harley to make another. Nolan Woodbury

Harley-Davidson Café Racer

Harley Davidson XLCR 1000

Owner: Jim Schantel, Tempe Arizona

Air-cooled, OHV 997cc v-twin

One (1) 38 mm Keihin

Four-speed w/wet clutch

Three (3) Kelsey-Haynes discs

2-250 mm (front) 247mm (rear)

Harley-Davidson Café Racer
Harley-Davidson Café Racer
Harley-Davidson Café Racer
Harley-Davidson Café Racer
Harley-Davidson Café Racer

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