Remembering the 1977 Harley-Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster
The 1977 Harley-Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster was one of the most simplistic designs offered by the company. One of the things that made it special was the fact that depending on how you ordered it, you could get the bike in a “stripped down” version, where there was nothing included that didn’t have you don’t really need to be there. On the other hand, you can also order a more aerodynamic version, with flanges and everything that makes it look like it can cut through the air like a knife. Looking back to 1977, it’s obvious now that some people loved this bike so much they could hardly imagine riding anything else. Of course, there were others who didn’t really consider themselves fans of this particular bike. That being said, there are still dedicated riders who faithfully keep their Sportsters running smoothly. Therefore, it’s probably not as surprising that there are also more than a few Harley-Davidson aficionados who want to get their hands on one. That’s why it’s so important to remember this dynamic little bike. For those who loved it, it was something truly special to ride, something they remember with a smile even today.
Get to the point
Harley-Davidson made the decision to come out early and do something that many other motorcycle manufacturers had never done before in the making of this particular bike. They did it so it could be customized to some degree, thus officially classing it as both a custom bike and a cruiser. The idea was to reach as many customers as possible and get more people interested in the potential of owning the bike. The base model was relatively affordable, which meant it appealed to even more people. Sure, the price went up as the bike was more heavily customized, but that was to be expected. Overall, the bike had a relatively decent engine, a four-stroke V2 capable of producing around 57 horsepower. This engine was mated to a 4-speed gearbox that shifted relatively smoothly and gave the bike respectable speed. Like most bikes made at the time, the brakes consisted of a single disc brake up front. However, Harley-Davidson decided to do something a little different with the rear brake, incorporating an expansion brake instead of the more traditional disc brakes. This was all done in an effort to help the rider stop the bike more precisely, allowing them to ride at faster speeds and use their brakes more effectively when stopping over short distances. The expanding rear brake was also meant to be more reliable and, in turn, to require less maintenance. Just to keep things simple, the bike was air-cooled. This reduced its curb weight, which meant it got better fuel mileage. Considering the fact that it was only able to hold just under 2.5 gallons of fuel in its tank, it was a smart move. The air-cooled engine also meant there was less maintenance to do on the bike, mainly because you didn’t have to worry about managing a cooling system along with everything else. In short, it was a system that appealed to potential buyers because most of them were looking for something that wasn’t going to cost them an arm and a leg to buy or maintain.
Speed and longevity
The light curb weight and relatively powerful engine combined to make this bike one of the fastest options available in 1977. In fact, this particular bike was capable of a top speed of around 110 mph. A few people dispute this fact, claiming that the bike’s top speed was actually closer to 112 mph. The truth is, no one will really be too concerned about a difference of one or two miles per hour. Thing is, the bike was more than fast enough to get people where they needed to go in no time. In reality, it’s not even safe to ride such a fast motorcycle in most situations, so it’s definitely not a problem for most people. Despite this bike being fast, it also had a pretty decent range, especially for a bike that had such a small fuel tank. Unless you were traveling great distances, there was no reason to assume you couldn’t enjoy the ride by refilling the tank once or twice throughout the day. In 1977 there was a fuel crisis and that was one of the biggest selling points of this bike. People didn’t want to spend a ton of money on gas and running this particular bike meant they wouldn’t have to. Right now, many people find themselves in exactly the same situation and are looking for workable solutions. Isn’t it interesting that the same thing that came to the rescue of some people over 40 years ago could be the same thing that comes to their rescue today?
Find one today
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s possible for you to find one of these little gems today, it definitely is. It may not be the easiest task in the world, but there is nothing impossible. Depending on the condition of the motorcycle you find, you can expect to spend anywhere from just over $2,000 to around $9,000 to make it yours. It’s really affordable, even by today’s standards. The good news is that once you have one of these bikes in your possession, it’s likely to perform almost perfectly despite several decades. One of the main things that made this bike special was the fact that it could take a lot of punishment and keep going. In fact, he had an excellent reliability rating. This is something that still serves him well today. If you are looking for something that is a true classic and is both affordable and reliable, then this particular bike is hard to beat. That’s exactly why it’s worth remembering and if you get the chance, it’s also worth owning.