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Thread: Best sportster Year?

  1. #1
    eastburnz Guest

    Best sportster Year?

    I dont know much about vintage harleys and was wondering if anyone could tell me if there are any years to look for (or avoid) when lookng for a H-D Sportster. I want to have something that when i fix it up there will be very little issues coming from the year or type of engine or any other part of the bike.


    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Greensboro, NC-USA
    Posts
    539
    I think you need to avoid the 1974. It was a b**t**d year if I remember correctly, was '73 like that too?

  3. #3
    I say avoid 2005 and up. HD in their infinite wisdom eliminated the "trap door" for the tranny. All the old Sporty's will rattle your teeth out, but in a good way. Early 60's (and 59) XLCH's are the coolest with the wrap around oil tank.
    Dave Swanson

    1936 VLH
    1936 VD
    1956 FLH
    1956 KHK
    1964 XLCH
    1969 FLH
    1984 FLH

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Puget Sound, Washington State
    Posts
    483
    In the two-year switch over from 900 to 1000 cc there are some one-year-only parts (there's a tweener in there). I think that's 72-73. Circa 1975 models have that funky cross over shift linkage that everyone throws away, otherwise you should be OK with any year. Sometimes guys knock 79 models because the brake master cylinder is in a different place (a lot of exhaust pipes won't fit), but it's not really a big deal and parts are easy to find.

    Most Vintage guys like to restore 1970 and earlier. The XLCHs are somewhat more sought after than the Hs, but because of the magneto ignition (kick only), they can be a bear to start. 67 and later H models have electric start, so if you want an early Sportster with electric, that's the way to go.

    The 57 model is arguably the most sought after Sportster (the 59 CH is also prized), but the parts are commensurately high and rather difficult to obtain. Personally, I like the 59-60 H models because of the locomotive nacelle and beautiful gas tank. I'd also love to restore a 59 CH.

    Good luck with your search. Be sure to report back when you find your bike.
    Last edited by moonwolf; 07-16-2008 at 02:25 AM.
    Moon Wolf

    Possessor of many parts that used to be Harley Davidson Motorcycles and someday soon will be again, including a 1957 XL, 1961 XLH, 1962 XLH, 1965 XLH, 1968 XLH...

  5. #5
    It has always been said the the last half of the '60's XLCH's were the best all around Sportsters. By 1970 federal laws ruined it.
    Chris Haynes
    A.M.C.A. Member
    Costco Member
    I can't Re Member
    http://vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/
    Be sure to register so you can view large photos

  6. #6
    eastburnz Guest

    Thumbs up Thanks

    Thanks alot you guys! I will continue my search but what you have told me will help me narrow my search. I had heard that some of the early 80's bikes had some issues too, and i am not going to be too picky in my search, for as i see it any older harley can be a classic with the proper TLC. Thanks again and keep the info coming as anything will help!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by eastburnz View Post
    Thanks alot you guys! I will continue my search but what you have told me will help me narrow my search. I had heard that some of the early 80's bikes had some issues too, and i am not going to be too picky in my search, for as i see it any older harley can be a classic with the proper TLC. Thanks again and keep the info coming as anything will help!
    I have a AMCA Junior First winner 1965 XLCH with 25,000 miles on it if yer rich.
    Chris Haynes
    A.M.C.A. Member
    Costco Member
    I can't Re Member
    http://vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/
    Be sure to register so you can view large photos

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Viola Arkansas
    Posts
    287
    You will want to stay away from the 1957 Because i want all the spare parts
    1957 Sportster Pic;s Here

    A good friend will come bail you outta jail, A true friend will be sitting next to you sayin "Damn, we f**ked up!!

  9. #9
    The best year for a Sportster is a pre Sportster. 1956 KHK
    Dave Swanson

    1936 VLH
    1936 VD
    1956 FLH
    1956 KHK
    1964 XLCH
    1969 FLH
    1984 FLH

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveSwanson View Post
    The best year for a Sportster is a pre Sportster. 1956 KHK
    I've got a nice garage that you can store that fine looking Sporty in............. as long as the keys are in it.

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