Right out of the box: Harley-Davidson XLHC Sportster

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The introduction of the Harley-Davidson Sportster to the US market in 1957 was the master plan to counteract the increasingly successful British motorcycles sold in the US. The Sportster was a fast Harley-Davidson OHV with a sprung rear wheel and a lot of power. The 883 cc V-twin mainly had to compete against the Triumph Thunderbird.

The approach turned out to work. The Triumph beater was enthusiastically received by the somewhat nationalist American motorcycle market. The original 883 cc V-twin grew to 1972 cc in 997 to provide a response to the Japanese one-liter engines. The increase in cylinder capacity resulted in a better bore / stroke ratio, making the block run smoother. Such an Ironhead 1000 was - after a run - up to over 170 km / h fast. But then you had to have a big heart and strong neck muscles. However, that speed was important for the competitive position against the British motorcycle brands. In the optimal use of that top speed, both the Sportsters and the British twins were convincingly broken.

Our photo model is a unique item

Following a tip, we found the Harley-Davidson in Leende, at motorcycle shop Joppen. That company has been around for a long time and sells all brands of motorcycles 'with experience'. Sometimes there is a classic. But the XLHC that is now in the showroom in Leende has zero kilometers of experience. The V-twin with its 'Ironhead' block cast wheels and sampled exhaust system has literally never driven. The bike comes from a collector's estate.

Worth the investment

Our photo model is also featured in 'Kies uw motor 1979', the KNMV motorcycle yearbook. Of course it says under 'manufacturer' AMF Harley Davidson. Connoisseurs immediately see a mistake: At Harley-Davidson they are on the hyphen. And 'AMF' was also seen as highly wrong at the time. Under the umbrella of the large steel conglomerate, the quality of Harleys dropped to unprecedented depths. On the other hand, AMF's investments prevented the brand's demise. And we should be happy with the nice - and much better - Harleys from after that time. Likewise, the import was still at the now legendary Maaskant and the engine - including VAT - cost 11.700 guilders.

Such a virgin classic is of course unique

“It is a shame to ride up,” someone said. But damn: That thing was made to ride! When adopting such a wake-up kiss princess, do assume that it is not 'gasoline and a battery in and go'. The tires are heavily out of date, however beautiful they may be. The brake lines are also 100% due for replacement. And it is of course not known how the simmer rings (and if present) the valve caps are. That is why it makes sense in any case to replace all fluids and to spoil the oil with a dose of 'Leak Lock' or another additive with fresh plasticizers for laminated shaft seals. The cables will also be happy with some lubrication. And after that, the machine must of course be run in officially. The price of such a unique find is, of course, a serious case of 'what the fool gives for it'. But usually it is not (much) higher than that of a comparable new machine with the most recent year of manufacture. While the buyer of a really new motorcycle will of course depreciate strongly and just ride a motorcycle 'like so many'.

A carefree future

If the new owner of this Harley behaves properly, treats his pride with respect and maintains it regularly, such an Ironhead block must really be good for about 40.000 (fairly) trouble-free kilometers. With the annual mileage we drive with our classics, that fact must guarantee a very long carefree life.


Give a reaction
  1. Whenever I read something like this, I think that there are many more motorcycles, current or not, from these 70,80,90s, XNUMX, XNUMX, somewhere in the crate. Whether it's bestsellers or ugly ducks be whatever. Are there any enthusiasts who know more about this or is “open sesame” at the right place enough?

    Another tip for museum lovers after Corona: If you are willing to drive a few km, I can recommend the Technik museum in Sinsheim Germany to everyone. take a day for it because it is great! Everything, but everything that our heart desires! (website for orientation)

  2. I can't sleep on stories like this. Such a machine seems to whisper: “I have been waiting for you all this time, yes: you! Governments came and went but that didn't affect me. Come over to me and don't let your partner interfere with the top tick on your bucket list for once. Come as you are and bring enough purple papers. Fill my tank and get me off my position. ” I am lucky this is not my favorite bike! (That's a '650 Yamaha XS 75 Electric)

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The August issue, containing:

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