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Harley-Davidson Sportster: The End

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Someone who thought he knew everything about everything had of course also drawn up an iron definition of “What Now Actually Is Classic”. I've lost the list for a while, but one of the properties of a True Classic was that it was no longer made. So a 1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster was not a classic, as Sportsters were still being built at the time of the ruling.
We usually do not pay much attention to such prophets because we feel they have too small a frame of mind. And that you can still buy a new Sportster today?

The end is in sight

That is an ending matter: The end of all Sportster Europe is in sight. With the transition to Euro5 type approval in 2021, Harley will stop with all V-twins of 750, 833 and 1202 cc. In addition, Harley - which of course is no longer '100% American Steel' - is closing the gates of the Harley-Davidson factory in Bawal. And Bawal is not a forgotten American state, but is located in the Indian state of Haryana. From there were the newly developed 'Street Harleys'; the Street 750, the Street Rod sent into the world.


More Roman than the Pope

The Sportsters will remain available for markets that are more lenient with the emission rules. And now they are the textbook example of the fact that you also have to write off on Harleys. In addition, the Sportsters until 1985, the Ironheads, are considerably more classic and less reliable than the Evo models that followed. With those Evo Sportsters, the models from before 1991 are 'classic' because they still use a secondary chain instead of the belt-drive used afterwards.

A good Ironhead or Evo gives you a very nice, characterful motorcycle. And a nice indication of how 'good' such a machine is, is how 'standard' it is.

The reputation

Because a large part of Harley's bad reputation is due to the fact that just about everyone changes after purchase. And practice has proven that many of those changes are done inappropriately. Simply screwing on all kinds of exhaust systems and carburettors plus the many enthusiastic, but not thoughtful, key work on these machines is of course inviting because the Harleys were very 'simple, key-friendly' machines before they went through the axles of the electronics.

Cheap, original parts

The joke of all that home industry is that there are many original standard parts for low prices. And that makes the purchase of a basic not sawn or welded Sportster interesting. Because the supply is greater than the demand, and we know from experience that asking prices can be very relative if the seller has been waiting for a buyer for six months or more.

Look before you leap

Buy a good workshop manual and a set of suitable tools before then. And remember, a Sportster's basement is more complicated than a superstructure. It has four camshafts. With blocks that are 'done' it often happens that the crankshaft bearing is not drilled in line.

3 Comments

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  1. And Sporty's are just very pleasant to deal with, because playful enough for crawling-through-sneak-through traffic and man enough for the autostrada.
    And the time that you were looked at affably by 'the big boys', because 'ladies bike' and only 900 cc is behind us.

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