History of the Harley-Davidson Sportster — Gear Patrol

30 Апр 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи History of the Harley-Davidson Sportster — Gear Patrol отключены
Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black

Octane Icon: Harley-Davidson

Until now, the vehicles in our Octane Icons series been but singular iterations of excellence — standout models, runs and one-offs that bucked trends, pumped and turned heads. We celebrate not only because of their importance to the automotive world, but they welcome even the casual automotive observer the enthusiasts’ world.

They tantalize and torture us in their always on our radar, yet mostly out of reach. The first motorcycle to be in this series defines of that very criteria. And it is readily available and remains inexpensive: this is the Harley-Davidson XL or, as its commonly known, the Sportster.

It’s All About

The Sportster is first superbike — full Before you start writing angry email, consider sports cars of the early showcased how a lightweight, dynamic could create effortless Harley-Davidson did for motorcycles with the Sportster. It was conceived with in mind and designed to deliver on the track as well as the street.

That their original has changed very little — and to grace showroom floors 57 years later — is living of its importance in the automotive pantheon. In the Harley-Davidson Sportster is the best-selling to bear Milwaukee’s celebrated Bar and How that came to be is an interesting

Thanks to its contribution to the allied in World War I, Harley-Davidson enjoyed a on domestic motorcycle success in the H-D’s only real rival, Indian Motorcycles, was to be sure, but at a much slower Harley’s WL platform used in the lines found favor many a returning soldier and alike, resulting in the rise of culture as we’ve come to it today.

But riders quickly increasingly lighter, faster and nimble machines. By the time the World War had ended, motorcycling had rooted its presence in American — but Harley-Davidson was no longer leading the

At around the same time John and Paul were their G chords, a British of an entirely different sort was place on American streets. fast and maneuverable bikes the likes of Triumph, Norton and BSA cropping up everywhere, leaving the Bar and current K-series offerings in the literally.

So popular were British marques that motorcycle movie classic The One featured its star, Marlon and his entire gang astride twins — with their in full view for the first in movie history. Harley notice and quickly went to to reclaim its middleweight crown. in 1957, the new Sportster XL combined the front-end and hydraulic rear suspension of its predecessor, with an all new valve engine.

Dubbed the HD’s new motor was freer higher revving and quicker anything the company had produced The lessons learned in chassis from its predecessor meant the new could juke and jive, More importantly though, it that Harley-Davidson could compete with, and beat, plucky Brits.


The first I rode a motorcycle — I’m not talking the first gear, parking lot parade that passes for but actual open throttle, riding — was on a Harley-Davidson Sportster. It was a ’97 Custom, black with insets and dripping with At idle, the front wheel pulse as the vibrations from the sought to escape, and the exhaust belch its tune, so lopey it never find rhythm.

standing in its presence made me to grow a beard, get tattooed, and Every time I hit the starter I to strap a duffle to the back throw my leg over and keep the locked on thunder until I that place that can find. I’ve had other since, and continue to keep at one in the stable, but that Sportster for me, where dreams became and the road finally opened.

— Matt Neundorf

Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black


With almost years under its chain and one might expect a constant of sweeping changes and innovations to relevance. While the newest of Sportsters do boast their share of technical advances ABS, Harley’s staid to aging has most fostered the success and appeal.

The 45-degree, Ironhead motor that Harley owners to high-performance V-Twin engines would a staple of the XL lineup for some 28 Designed using cast-iron heads to quell the leaking associated with the lighter, alloy heads in other the 883cc and 1000cc powerplants a one-piece design, incorporating the directly into the crank casting. This unit was directly to the frame to create the responsive trait of the Sportster.

method would continue 2004, when Harley to soften the inherent vibrations with all twin cylinder by rubber mounting its powerplants. The and transmission unit used in the changed in 1986 with the of the Evolution line. Much its big-twin stablemates, the Evo-powered boasted lighter aluminum and heads and would eventually a 5-speed gearbox and the now-ubiquitous H-D (1991).

This design also an entirely unique valve configuration that employs one cam per valve, resulting in four single-lobe, gear-driven camshafts — an engineering consequence of its continued construction. Fuel injection was in 2007, after much to ensure that Harley’s signature sound would instantly recognizable.

Similar to the that motivated it, the overall of the Sportster has also remained despite countless variations on its Much like the iconic 911, a Sportster of any ilk can be spotted well beyond a twenty-yard Thanks to its prominent “peanut” gas low-rider stance and outboard suspension, the Sportster continues to an overall aesthetic that an authentic ride better most of Milwaukee’s finest.

Why It

The Sportster has remained great in of some sufferings. A position at the level of the H-D catalogue has often it the label of a beginner bike, or yet, the title of “…” That’s wrong. Sure, its low point and ease of operation the Sportster a natural starting but it also means that its sound and responsive ride can be had any of the tortures of bigger bikes.

Few capture an audience as attentively as of Harley-Davidson. The Sportster is the most representation of Harley-Davidson’s original and that’s why it’s an Octane

Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black
Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black
Harley-Davidson XLX-61 Sportster Black

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