The 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster was one of a kind

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Everyone knows Harley Davidson. Since its formation in 1903 in Milwaukee, it has dominated the motorcycle market with a hallmark of power, speed and beautiful motorcycles. Nowhere is this more evident than its Sportster series, which has been around for decades.

But, did you know that this series was once threatened by competitors? To that end, we tell you the story of the 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster. Back in the day, it was gorgeous, a blend of clean design and power that turned it into a street racing car that everything. the world coveted.

In this article, we cover this bike, from its specs to its place in the culture. In our final section, we’ll take a look at why this Sportster was the last of its kind due to economic pressure from other foreign motorcycle companies. Let’s get started.

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The XLH Sportster Specifications

Harley Davidson XLH Sportster

Via Mecum

If there’s one thing you need to know about the 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster, it’s that it was really, really fast at the time. With a V2, four-stroke engine, a carbureted fuel system and overhead valves, this bike simply flew.

The The XLH addition is called “Super H” and cost at that time $ 1,765. The XLH model has been deceived. It came with a new standard stacked muffler exhaust, a brake light switch on the front brake lever.

The XHL came with two option packages: the Luxury Equipment Package and the Highway Cruiser Group Package. All the bikes came with a black wrinkle and a white stripe. The complementary colors were black, orange, gold, burgundy and blue.

On January 3, 1969, engineers changed the size of the two ignition timer weight springs so that the motorcycle’s acceleration was smooth and gradual, rather than fast and all at once. In the end, the car was sleek, beautiful, fast, and popular.

It quickly impacted the market. And soon, it would be the same for American culture.

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Cultural impact

Culture Harley Davidson XLH Sportster

Via time

There has always been a mystique: the lonely American riding his motorbike on American highways, freed from the limits of everyday life, half nomad, half explorer, a free bird so to speak, representing a different way of life.

While this can apply to almost any biker and the bike they ride, it’s especially true for the Sportster when it was released. With a speed that defied conventional wisdom about Sportster performance, he quickly got into the discussion of Harley Davidson’s most alluring and dangerous motorcycles.

Why was this the case? In the end, it was about speed. This 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster was fast making it a dangerous street bike. This would start a trend, entering the 1970s and 80s when various racers used Sportsters to set ground speed records for stunts like the motorcycles used by Evel Knievel.

He also made his way in pop culture. From 1969 to 1970, Then Came Bronson, a show starring Michael Parks, starred the main character traveling to America as a nomad, in search of meaning in the existence and the handlebars of his Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 1969.

Was there a downside to this Sportster? If you spoke to bikers back then, yes. And that was due to the Sportster’s relatively light and small design. Some riders referred to this Sportster as a “sissy bike” rather than the bikes they used, which were heavier and supposedly more “masculine”.

Although used at the time (research also suggests that this insult was made out of jealousy), it has little reach today. The 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster is considered a class and in many cases priced at $ 18,000 for one in excellent condition.

Related: 20 Facts Every Biker Should Know About Evel Knievel

Price and economy

Harley Davidson XLH Sportster red

Via YouTube

Unfortunately, this Sportster was the last of its kind. Why?

There were two reasons. The first is that a group called American Machine and Foundry (AMF) bought Harley Davidson in a takeover. If some think that the Sportsters under the leadership of the AMF are the best, the detractors are numerous. The AMF made many changes to the Sportster range, which some customers did not approve of.

The last termination is economical. Beginning in the 1970s, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers began to gain power in the US motorcycle market. The Americans may not have wanted to buy the product from a foreign manufacturer, but there was little disagreement as to which had the best specs.

Japanese motorcycle makers had designed their products with better and more advanced technology. Their motorcycles were lighter and faster, which made them both intriguing and dangerous for street racing. Of course, the element of danger for these bikes was part of their plot.

As such, the Sportster had to adapt, first under its new owners and then later to compete with Japanese motorcycle models.

In the end, the 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster was the last of its kind. Motorcycle enthusiasts appreciate this and appreciate the bike for its beauty and speed. It is truly an attractive motorcycle that has gained in value over the years.

What do you think of the 1969 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

Next: 15 Weird Things Only Harley Riders Do


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