Sportster History

Sportster History
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Sportster History
Table of Contents
Sportster History ................................................................................................................................... 1
Look Up Sportsters by Specific Year ............................................................................................... 1
Sportster Year Model and Specification Changes Through History ........................................... 1
1957 ................................................................................................................................................... 1
1958 ................................................................................................................................................... 3
1959 ................................................................................................................................................... 5
1960 ................................................................................................................................................... 6
1961 ................................................................................................................................................... 6
1962 ................................................................................................................................................... 7
1963 ................................................................................................................................................... 7
1964 ................................................................................................................................................... 8
1965 ................................................................................................................................................... 9
1966 ................................................................................................................................................... 9
1967 ................................................................................................................................................. 10
1968 ................................................................................................................................................. 10
1969 ................................................................................................................................................. 11
1970 ................................................................................................................................................. 12
1971 ................................................................................................................................................. 13
1972 ................................................................................................................................................. 14
1973 ................................................................................................................................................. 15
1974 ................................................................................................................................................. 16
1975 ................................................................................................................................................. 17
1976 ................................................................................................................................................. 17
1977 ................................................................................................................................................. 17
1978 ................................................................................................................................................. 19
1979 ................................................................................................................................................. 19
1980 ................................................................................................................................................. 20
1981 ................................................................................................................................................. 21
1982 ................................................................................................................................................. 22
1983 ................................................................................................................................................. 22
1984 ................................................................................................................................................. 24
1985 ................................................................................................................................................. 25
1986 ................................................................................................................................................. 25
1987 ................................................................................................................................................. 26
1988 ................................................................................................................................................. 27
1989 ................................................................................................................................................. 28
1990 ................................................................................................................................................. 28
1991 ................................................................................................................................................. 29
1992 ................................................................................................................................................. 30
1993 ................................................................................................................................................. 31
1994 ................................................................................................................................................. 31
1995 ................................................................................................................................................. 32
1996 ................................................................................................................................................. 33
1997 ................................................................................................................................................. 33
1998 ................................................................................................................................................. 34
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1999 ................................................................................................................................................. 34
2000 ................................................................................................................................................. 35
2001 ................................................................................................................................................. 35
2002 ................................................................................................................................................. 36
2003 ................................................................................................................................................. 36
2004 ................................................................................................................................................. 36
2005 ................................................................................................................................................. 37
2006 ................................................................................................................................................. 38
2007 ................................................................................................................................................. 38
2008 ................................................................................................................................................. 39
2009 ................................................................................................................................................. 39
2010 ................................................................................................................................................. 40
2011 ................................................................................................................................................. 40
2012 ................................................................................................................................................. 41
2013 ................................................................................................................................................. 41
2014 ................................................................................................................................................. 41
2015 ................................................................................................................................................. 42
2016 ................................................................................................................................................. 42
2017 ................................................................................................................................................. 42
Sportster Parts Chart ........................................................................................................................ 43
Sportster Model Years in Production ................................................................................................. 43
Sportsters by Specific Year ................................................................................................................ 44
Model K .............................................................................................................................................. 44
1950s .................................................................................................................................................. 44
1960s .................................................................................................................................................. 45
1970s .................................................................................................................................................. 45
1980s .................................................................................................................................................. 45
1990s .................................................................................................................................................. 45
2000s .................................................................................................................................................. 46
2010s .................................................................................................................................................. 46
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Sportster History
Sportster History
Look Up Sportsters by Specific Year
Click here to see a year by year catalog of Sportsters with pictures and specifications for
each model Sportsters By Specific Year
The listings are under construction and incomplete at this time so please excuse our progress. You
can help us populate these pages by contacting the Sportsterpedia Admin Team at any time by
clicking on the 'contact' button on the lower portion of the Main Page or logging on to The
XLFORUM.net and posting in the Sportsterpedia section of the forum. We would like to hang a
picture of your 'factory original' ride in the catalog pages. You must own the pictures in order for us
to use them. Please provide year, model and any small modifications that deviate from factory
conditions.
Sportster Year Model and Specification Changes Through
History
Below is a summary of the progression of early to present day Sportsters. Included here are
general year model changes from models to engines, tires etc. For detailed information on a
specific year model go to the link above.
Some parts below are excerpts from the book “Harley Davidson Data Book” by Rick Conner
published by MBI Publishing Co. 1996. This book does have some errors in it and as the errors are
found, they are corrected.
'THE HISTORY OF THE SPORTSTER' contributions by: docjimbob, Tim Schumacher, Tom Riccio, &
Kev Maher and Bruce's Harley Page (check for History on all HD models). 1)
Other sources are referenced accordingly with footnotes.
1957
MoCo notes:
Willie G Davidson designed a new HD tank logo before actually joining the company.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police receive a new model FLH.
Production Information:
XL (1,983), $1,103
The Sportster XL was introduced as “a modern, up-to-date power plant” and weighing in at 204 lbs
and making 42 Horsepower at 5,500 RPMs. 2)
Wheel base 56-1/2“
Overall length 87”
Overall width 34“
Overall height 40-1/2”
Saddle height 26-7/8“ to 29”
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Road Clearance 2-1/2“ to 4-5/8” 3)
55cid 7.5:1 Compression, hemi-spherical style heads, 90 degree valve angle, OHV V-twin, 4
cams 4)5)
48 ft-lbs of torque at 3600 RPMs.
1-11/16“ Dia. intake valves 6)
3”x3.8“ bore and stroke
Piston Displacement (883cc) 53.9 cu. in.
Kickstart only
18” wheels standard
Speedometer designed into the sheet metal of the fork shroud.
Telescoping front forks
Fuel tank capacity 4.4 gallons.
Oil tank (3 quarts) located under the seat on the right side using a recirculating oiling system
Two brush generator w two-unit voltage regulator powering a six volt system
Coil-over shocks
'Jubilee' trumpet horn mounted on the right side of the engine, power pack on the left side
Paint color, 'HD 100' enamel
Standard solo seat
Options included
Windshield
Saddlebags
Dual seat
Front drum brakes (operated by a lever on the left handlebar)
Rear drum brakes (operated by a foot pedal on the left side)
Rear swingarm with Timken bearings at pivots.
Short-barrel Linkert Carburetor
Engine ID numbers on a pad located on the left side between the cylinders
Straight retained bearings on gear shaft
Roller valve lifters were called (High Speed Racing Tappets)
Spark plugs were air cooled and could be dis-assembled
Cams ramped on both closing and opening side
Stellite-faced exhaust valves
Aluminum alloy pushrods extend up through the covers to reach the rocker
Cam-ground aluminum pistons w/ chrome plated top ring, non plated center ring and u-flex
lower oil ring
Aluminum rocker boxes enclose valves and rockers
Cast iron barrels and heads
Single-unit construction of engine and transmission
Four speed transmission with a foot shifter on the right side
Seven plate clutch (operated by a lever on the left handlebar)
Primary chain and transmission are lubed by an oil bath separate from engine oil.
Double tapered Timken roller bearings on sprocket shaft
Only Year:
Woodruff keys for camshaft gears
6 splines on drive gear/ second gear shaft
Choke control operated by a left side lever
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Sportster History
Davidson name over it, press riveted to the tank.
1958
MoCo notes:
Gross sales for the year total $16,390,000
Racing notes:
Jack Hellar (private rider) sets Salt Flats record of 134.881 mph on a Sportster.
Production Information:7)
XL (579), $1,155
XLH (711)
XLC was a first and only year production Sportster.
XLCH (239)
XLRTT (26)
XL redesigned with:
New oil tank cap gasket
Camshaft gears became integrated with the camshafts, eliminating the need for a woodruff
key.
Drive gear and second gear support shaft was enlarged .125 in and had 8 splines (instead of
6).
Choke control lever moved from left side to the air cleaner.
Heavier clutch cover and new gasket.
New oil resistant clutch hub seal and gearshaft o-ring.
Non-valanced front fender
Tank emblem redesign to a round plastic disc with two gold and two black quadrants with a
red 'Harley Davidson' over it.
Optional 1“ extended shock absorbers
XLH (H designates High compression) was introduced with all the features of the XL and higher
compression with the same weight of 204 lbs but running 55 horsepower at 6,300 RPMs. 8)
Wheel base 56-1/2”
Overall length 87“
Overall width 34”
Overall height 40-1/2“
Saddle height 26-7/8” to 29“
Road Clearance 2-1/2” to 4-5/8“ 9)
3”x3.8125“ bore and stroke
53.9 c.i. (883 cc) piston displacement
Optional turn signals and 1 in over suspension.
Compression ratio 9.0:1
The XLC (C stands for Competition) is an off-road version of the XL featuring:
55ci 883cc medium compression engine
Four-speed transmission
Peanut gas tank (2.25 gallons)
Tank emblem is a large 'V' with a checkered flag in and between the name Harley Davidson
in the area behind.
The new XL eight splined drive and second gear shaft
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Choke control lever on the air cleaner
Magneto ignition
Stamped steel primary cover
lightened tappets
No speedometer
Wide ratio gearing
Short dualies with no mufflers
No lighting and bobbed fenders
Discontinued after the 1958 model year.
The XLCH (CH stands for Competition High compression) was also an off-road version of the XL with
a lower weight of 188 lbs running 55 horsepower at 6,300 RPMs.10) featuring:
Wheel base 57”
Overall length 83-1/4“
Overall width 29 1/2”
Overall height 42“
Saddle height 30 1/2”
Road Clearance 4-1/8“ to 6-1/2”
55ci 883cc high compression engine
Compression ratio 9.0:111)
Four-speed transmission
High domed pistons
Light ended tappets
Magneto ignition 12)
Larger ports and valves
Peanut gas tank (2.25 gallons)
Stamped metal primary cover
Small section semi-knobby off-road tires
Short dual pipes without mufflers
Roller lifters
Choke control lever mounted to the air cleaner
Optional 1“ shock extension and allow rims
Sprung solo seat
Kick start
No lighting and bobbed fenders
Tank emblem is a large 'V' with a checkered flag in and between the name Harley Davidson
in the area behind.
Only year:
No speedometer
No headlight
No battery
Staggered dual exhaust without mufflers
XLRTT (Tourist Trophy Racer) was a specialty model with the 55ci 883 OHV V-twin engine
Paint colors:
Skyline Blue tank top w/ Birch White sides
Sabre Gray Metallic tank top w/ Birch White sides
Calypso Red tank top w/ Birch White sides
Black tank top w/ Birch White sides
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Sportster History
Mudguards (fenders) any standard color
Option packages offered for Sportsters in the Deluxe Equipment Group: SP-1, SP-2 and SP-3
1959
MoCo notes:
John Davidson joins the company.
Honda comes to America to “meet the nicest people” and become a stiff competitor.
Production Information:
XL (42), $1,175
XLH (Super H)(947), $1,200
XLCH (Super CH)(1059), $1,285
XLR (5)
XLRTT (13)
Changes for the XL and XLH include:
4.1 gallon fuel tank
New dual exhaust with twin mufflers
Sheet metal nacelle headlamp with new Trip-O-Meter speedometer mounted in the nacelle
Nylon chain tensioner
Valanced front fender
Single switch ignition mounted on the back of the left fork.
End relieved connecting rod bearings.
Arrow-Flite tank emblem designed with an oval red ball behind a chromed arrow with 'Harley
Davidson' name in red on arrow shaft.
XLH also receives high lift intake cams and re-contoured exhaust cams.
Optional redesigned buddy seat and dual exhaust with stacked mufflers.
Last year of the XL as a standard sportster line.
First year XLCH was designed to be street legal.
5-3/4” diameter headlamp mounted under an eyebrow mount.
New electrical system including a generator, headlight and stop/ tail light.
Horn moved to the left side of the engine.
Trip meter speedometer mounted behind the handlebars.
High lift intake cams and re-contoured exhaust cams.
High mounted 2 into 1 exhaust system with un-muffled dual exhaust optional.
Laconia chrome rubber mounted handlebars are standard.
Handlebar clamp cover, standard.
Steering damper adjusted from bottom side of fork bracket.
Nylon chain tensioner.
End relieved connecting rod bearings.
2.25 US Gallon gas tank
Magneto Ignition System mounted in a fixed position producing advanced spark timing only—— 13)
Option packages offered for XL and XLH in the Deluxe Equipment Group: SP-1, SP-1A, SP-1B, SP-2
and SP-3
Color option changes:
Skyline Blue: Tank top Skyline Blue with Birch White side panels
Black: Tank top Black with Birch White side panels
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Calypso Red: Tank top Calypso Red with Birch White side panels
Hi-Fi Turquoise: Tank top is Hi-Fi Turquoise with Birch White side panels
Hi-Fi Red: Tank top Hi-Fi- Red with Birch White side panels
Any standard solid color was done at no extra cost
14.5 sec ¼ mile (90 mph)14)
1960
MoCo notes:
Harley Davidson purchases half of the bike division of the Italian Aermacchi Company
HD International (HDI) is established to provide better control in the overseas market of their
motorcycles and accessories
Overseas expansion of the company becomes focal point
Racing notes:
Last year Daytona motorcycle races are held on beach sand.
Fuel notes:
Tetramethyl lead introduced as an additive to automotive fuel which changed the face of
Tetraethyl lead in place since 1923.15)
Production Information:
Total of 2,765 Sportsters sold
XLH (Super H) $1,225
XLCH (Super CH) $1,310
XLRTT
XLH and XLCH received new re-calibrated shock absorbers, similar to Big Twin 74s.
XLCH now has standard 19“ front wheel, rear is still 18”.
Option packages offered for Sportsters in the Deluxe Equipment Group: SP-1, SP-1A, SP-2, SP-2A
and SP-3
Paint Options:
Skyline Blue with Birch White side panels on the tank
Black with Birch White on the side panels of the tank
Any standard solid color without side panel change
At extra cost:
Hi-Fi Blue with Birch White on the side panels of the tank
Hi-Fi Red with Birch White on the side panels of the tank
Hi-Fi Green with Birch White on the side panels of the tank
1961
MoCo notes:
John Davidson joins the Dealer Relations Department
William H Davidson is named Chairman of Aermacchi.
Sprint models are on assembly line at the Varese, Italy factory. Introduction of the Sprint
model. 16)
Production Information:
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Sportster History
Total Sportsters sold 2,014.
XLH (Super H) $1,250
XLCH (Super CH) $1,335
XLRTT
Both the XLH and XLCH received a standard dual (double duty) seat and a new tank decal, long
oval containing a long pointed star divided into four quadrants with the name 'Harley Davidson'
across the top.
No more option packages for the Sportster.
XLH changed to a 3.75 gallon fuel tank
Creased edge on fuel tank.
Paint colors
XLH
Solid Pepper Red or Solid Black. Hi-Fi Blue, Hi-Fi Green and Hi-Fi Red available at extra
cost.
XLCH
Pepper Red with White panels or Black with White panels. Hi-Fi Blue with White panels,
Hi-Fi Green with White panels and Hi-Fi Red with White panels available at extra cost.
1962
MoCo notes:
HD acquires 60% stock in Tomahawk Boat Company and establishes their Tomahawk Division
in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. H-D recognizes the rising relevance of fiberglass in motorcycle
production, and begins manufacturing its own components. As a result, the Tomahawk
Division is established.17) That 35,300sq-ft bldg. is now responsible for all golf cart bodies,
windshields, saddlebags and misc motorcycle components manufactured.
Production Information:
Total Sportsters sold (1,998)
XLH (Super H) $1,250
XLCH (Super CH) $1,335
Both XLH and XLCH receive a new aluminum upper triple tree and oval shaped tank badges.
Sprocket teeth for all models: Clutch - 59, Rear Wheel - 51, Engine - 34. 18)
XLH transmission sprocket - 21 teeth, High gear ratio - 4.21 19)
XLCH transmission sprocket - 20 teeth, high gear ratio - 4.42 20)
All 1962 and future XLCH models, beginning with the engine numbers 62 XLCH-2549, starting Sept.
15, 1961 are provided with an oil level dipstick attached to the oil tank cap (part no. 62625-62). It
was recommended to install these in previous year Sportsters. 21)
XLRTT disappeared for TT racing this year.
Paint colors, both models
Black and White or Tango Red and White. Hi-Fi Blue with White, Hi-Fi Red with White and HiFi Purple with White available at extra cost.
1963
MoCo notes:
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The Tomahawk Division is established and is operational as a Harley-Davidson facility by
1963. 22)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (432), $1,270
XLCH (Super CH) (1,001), $1,355
XLRTT is back
Both XLH & XLCH got 1.323:1 3rd gear ratios (were 1.381)
Final ratio 5.56:1 on the H
Final ratio 5.85:1 on the CH
XLH got new a new style starter pedal and the tank emblem is a stylized version of the Bar and
Shield with the bar stretched out to the rear
XLCH got the same as XLH,new style starter pedal and the tank emblem is a stylized version of the
Bar and Shield with the bar stretched out to the rear
Plus a rubber mounted sealed beam headlight with a dimmer switch mounted to the handlebar
Improved magneto/coil with ignition key lock on the magneto
“shorty duals”
Option packages offered for Sportsters
Deluxe Equipment Group: XLH got the SP-1
Highway Cruiser Group: XLH got the SP-2
Optional Group: XLH got the SP-2
Optional Group: XLCH got the SP-3H (Low road clearance kit)
Paint colors
Black and White, Tango Red and White and Horizon Metallic Blue and White. Hi-Fi Turquois with
White, Hi-Fi Red with White and Hi-Fi Purple with White available at extra cost.
14.3 sec ¼ mile (92 mph)
1964
MoCo notes:
The three-wheeled Servi-Car becomes the very first Harley-Davidson motorcycle to receive
an electric starter. 23)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (810), $1,295
XLCH (Super CH) (1950), $1,360
XLRTT (30)
XLH and XLHC both got a new full width die-cast aluminum brake drum in the front and aluminum
tappet guides.
XLCH in addition received a chrome panel for the lower fork bracket and a chrome plated primary
chain guard.
New graphic for the XLH (oil tank).
Only year with wide White tank panels for both models
Option packages offered for Sportsters
Deluxe Equipment Group: XLH got the SP-1
Highway Cruiser Group: XLH got the SP-2
Optional Group: XLH get the SP-2A
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Sportster History
Equipment Group: XLCH got the SP-3H
Paint colors
Fiesta Red with Birch White and Black with Birch White. Available for an extra cost were Hi-Fi
Blue with Birch White and Hi-Fi Red with Birch White
1965
MoCo notes:
Gross sales for the year total $30,560,000
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (955)
XLCH (Super CH) (2,815)
XLRTT (25)
XLH and XLCH received
12 volt electrical system (2- 6 volt batteries).
High fidelity horn mounted on the left side of the engine (XLH lost the “Jubilee” horn)
Racing-type ball end levers. *
XLH also got
Two brush generator with a 2 unit voltage regulator
3.7 gal fuel tank
Magneto Ignition System now mounted on a movable plate allowing for advanced or retarded
spark timing 24)
Adjusting cam for setting shock pre-load.
Option packages offered for Sportsters
XLH got Deluxe Equipment group: SPH-1, Highway Cruiser: SPH-2 and Group SPH-3.
XLCH got Deluxe Equipment Group: SPH-1
Both also received new-style tank panels (this year only)
Paint colors
Black with White tank bottom panels and pinstripes along the panel edge
Holiday Red with White tank bottom panels and pinstripes along the panel edge
Police Silver (Police only) and Birch White (Police only)
Available at extra cost were: Hi-Fi Red with White tank bottom panels and pinstripes along
the panel edge and Hi-Fi Blue with White tank bottom panels and pinstripes along the panel
edge
1966
MoCo notes:
The first of the “Shovelhead” engines is introduced on the Electra-Glide models, replacing the
Panhead. 25)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (900) $1,415
XLCH (Super CH) (3,900) $1,411
XLRTT (25)
XLH and XLCH received
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“P” Cams,
Dual venturi “Tillotson” diaphragm carb with an automatic economizer, positive-action
acceleration pump and a large capacity air cleaner. 26)
“Ham-can” air cleaner introduced due to EPA regs
Patented insulator that isolated the carb from the engine heat
Advertised increase of 15% more power
Option packages offered for Sportsters
XLH got Deluxe Group SPH-1, Groups SPH-2, SPH-3, SPH-4, SPH-6, SPH-7, and Highway
Cruiser SPH-5.
XLCH got Deluxe Equipment Group: SPH-1, Group SPCH-2, SPCH-3 and SPCH-4
Hexagonal tank badge
Race developed intake ports, jumbo valves → 60 hp
All early Sportsters up until 1966 were kickstart only. 27)
Last production year for the XLRTT
1967
MoCo notes:
John Harley becomes active in the Parts and Accessories Division
March 6th, Gordan Davidson passes away.
New York based 'Bangor Punta' attempts buyout of HD stock.
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (2,000) $1,650
XLCH (Super CH) (2,500) $1,600
XLH got an electric starter. Case redesigned to allow for it.
From 1967 to 1969, the factory was making two cases for the Sportster, one for the kick-start XLCH
and the other for the electric start XLH. 28)
Both XLH and XLCH received new revised shocks.
Option packages offered for Sportsters
XLH got the Deluxe Equipment and the Highway Cruiser Group.
XLCH got the Standard Equipment Group and the Deluxe Equipment Group.
In 1967, the frame on the XLH was doglegged (kicked-back) just above the swing arm pivot to
accommodate the new battery box and electric start. The XLH swing arm was lengthened
accordingly. The long frame has the seat post tubes set 1.5 inches towards the rear, so the upper
shock mounts, fender rail mounts got moved rearward. Up through 1969, the XLCH had the early,
inch-shorter frame and swing arm. Note that it was common for the Motor Company to use a
previous year's frame to build a present year bike, simply because they were already made. 29)
1968
MoCo notes:
HD faces a financial crisis. With negotiations and meetings with American Machine and
Foundry, HD voted on Dec. 18th to merge with AMF.
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Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (1,975) $1,650
XLCH (Super CH) (4,900) $1,600
Both XLH and XLCH got new M-125 Rapido hydraulic forks 30)(damping and 1“ extra travel) and the
fork boots were canned.
All models now equipped with a new clutch and brake control cable anchor pin. The notch for
inserting the cable is now in the side of the new anchor pin instead of at the bottom. 31)
Kick start was dropped from the XLH.
Peanut tank was an option on the XLH
Option packages offered for Sportsters
XLH got the Deluxe Equipment and the Highway Cruiser Group.
XLCH got the Deluxe Equipment Group.
Restyled primary cover?.
Beginning on May 1, 1968, all oil is being drained from oil tanks prior to shipment to dealers to
prevent wet sumping. If dealer had the bike an extended period of time, they were instructed to
drain the oil again and tag it as empty. 32).
1969
Some have written that this was the beginning of the Dark Ages (reference to the Era of AMF
(American Machine and Foundry) ownership of Harley Davidson from 1969-1981) where sales
dropped as well as did the reputation of bikes with some claiming they weren't real Harley's
anymore. However, the “Dark Ages” is a matter of opinion, not a fact.33)
Sales did NOT drop during the AMF era. Sportster sales actually soared during the AMF era.
Sales fell to dismal lows in the decade before the AMF merger. AMF picked them up again, by
a factor of about 10 in the end.34)
AMF's reputation can't have been too bad if they were selling that many new bikes compared
to the previous decade when HD's reputation was supposedly still unviolated.35)
One interpretation of the facts indicates that AMF quite probably saved HD from extinction.
They spent millions on machinery, plant and tooling that HD had never invested, and never
would have. In fact, they brought HD manufacturing and marketing methods OUT of the
“Dark Ages” that dated back to the 1920s and '30s and into the modern world. That included
the special gear-cutting machines that made the first 5-speed transmission possible and
most of the R&D that led to the Evo models.36)
Yes there were quality control problems, mostly early in the AMF era, due in part to the rapid
expansion in production numbers and also to labor relations problems related to the adopting of
new more efficient work methods etc. (EG, 100 day strike in about 1972). But by the mid to late
'70s most of these problems had been addressed and quality was comparatively good for the era,
as the continuing rising sales figures testified.37)
One good source for this particular stuff is “Harley Davidson: An Official History”, published
circa 1984 by the MoCo, author David Wright. 38)
MoCo notes:
HD was family owned until the buyout from AMF. 39)
January 7th, AMF shareholders approve purchase of a major portion of HD Motor Company for
$21 million dollars.
Rodney C Gott becomes chairman of AMF/ HD
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October, HD petitions the AMA Competition Committee to sanction a new Class C Race,
allowing OHV engines.
All motorcycles shipped after Jan 1, 1969 are equipped with a stoplight switch on the front
brake control lever to conform with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards 40).
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (2,700) $1,765
XLCH (Super CH) (5,100) $1,698
XLH and XLCH both received
New standard exhaust with stacked mufflers and separate headers and the first use of the exhaust
crossover pipe with stacked duals
Redesigned plastic lens on the tail light
Late XLCH got a new 19 tooth transmission sprocket starting 11-04-1968 with engine serial number
(69XLCH 5921) 41)
Option packages offered for Sportsters
XLH got the Deluxe Equipment and the Highway Cruiser Group.
XLCH got the Deluxe Equipment Group.
Paint colors
XLH
Black with Black Wrinkle on panel and White strip, Jet Fire Orange with Black Wrinkle on
panel and White strip or Birch White with Black Wrinkle panel.
Available at extra cost were Sparkling Burgundy with Black Wrinkle panel and White strip,
Sparkling Blue with Black Wrinkle panel and White strip or Sparkling Gold with Black Wrinkle
panel and White strip.
XLCH
Black with White Strip, Jet Fire Orange with White strip or Birch White.
Available at extra cost were Sparkling Burgundy with White strip, Sparkling Blue with
White strip and Sparkling Gold with White strip.
Last year of the magneto ignition system on the XLCH
Increased hp by 5 to 58 hp ?
New head castings.
Safety bead wheel rims.
1969 was the last of the original XLCH engine cases (one for kickstart, another for electric start) 42)
Starting on models on June 9th, 1969, a 1/16” vent hole was added to the Sportster and Electra
Glide models filter cup in the side 1/4“ down from the cup opening to relieve any possible pressure
build-up in the tank (which forces oil from the tank when the cap is removed) and to prevent
possible siphoning of oil from the tank into the engine after the engine is shut off(wet sumping). It
was also suggested to retro-fit earlier motors with this modification. 43)
1970
MoCo notes:
Start of production of snowmobiles with limited availability.
HD (#1) logo is designed to celebrate Mert Lawwill's win as the AMA Grand National
champion.
US Environmental Protection Agency is created.
Racing notes:
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Sportster History
On the Bonneville salt flats near Wendover, Utah, racer Cal Rayborn breaks the world record
for land speed set by a motorcycle. The vehicle is a sixteen foot streamliner powered by a
single Sportster engine, and averages just over 265 mph. 44)
Fuel notes:
US auto makers develop catalytic converters and as it was found that the leaded gas was
poisoning the converters, fuel manufacturers were ordered to begin building engines to run
on unleaded gasoline by 1975.45)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (3,033)
XLCH (Super CH) (5,527)
XR-750
Magneto ignition on the XLCH replaced by the XLH points and coil ignition
XLH and XLCH both get an optional boat tail (fiberglass seat/ fender combo) also in 71.
XLH got the headlamp eyebrow of the XLCH
First year for XR-750 as a specialty model with a 45ci OHV racing V-twin. In consideration of new
AMA rules for Class C racing, a new Sportster®-based motorcycle, the XR-750 racer is introduced.
46)
The XR750, which in basic design was a destroked iron cylinder Sportster engine. The engine was
housed in a proven KR-style swingarm chassis with Ceriani forks.The striking orange and black
bodywork was the design of the Wixom Brothers. The engine made competitive horsepower, but
the heat it produced led to self-destructive tendencies. Though the bike scored a respectable
number of victories from 1970-’71, it also broke a lot. While stop-gap measures such as oil coolers
and reduced compression helped, the factory knew what the trouble was and was concurrently
building the improved “alloy” engine model. When it debuted in 1972, there were still teething
problems to solve, but the basic package was a winner. The MoCo produced small batches of the
complete machine in 1972, 1975, 1978 and 1980. Since then, only the engine has been available,
with the customer choosing an aftermarket frame from manufacturers such as Knight and C&J
Total Production – Approximately 530 between 1972 and 1980, Aluminum Barrels, OHV, Bore
and Stroke – 3.125 X 2.98 Inches, Displacement – 45 Cubic Inches, 750cc, Brake Horsepower
– 90, transmission – 4 Speeds, Wheelbase – 56.75 Inches, Weight – 295 Pounds, Wheels – 19
Inches, tires – 4.00 x 19, Brakes – Rear Disk .47)
Starting with 1970 production model Sportsters, a rocker arm gasket was added between the
rocker box and the head to prevent possible oil leakage caused by slight differences between the
two surfaces. There was no gasket installed here in prior years. This following the use of this gasket
on Electra Glides from May 8, 1969. This gasket could be retro-fitted back to 1958 Sportsters. 48)49)
Global paint colors were Birch White or Hi-Fi Sparkling Blue.
MoCo started stamping corresponding VIN numbers into frames. *
1971
MoCo notes:
First year of the AMF/ HD logo
William J Harley, engineering vice president passes away
John Davidson named executive vice president
William H Davidson named chairman
AMF moves assembly plant to New York Plant
Engines and transmissions now built at the Capitol Drive Plant
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Full swing production of snowmobiles
Begin of partnership with Evel Knievel
First year of publication of Easy Rider Magazine 50).
In response to the customizing craze, Harley-Davidson introduces the FX 1200 Super Glide®,
which combined a sporty front end (similar to that of the XL series) with the frame and
powertrain of the FL series. A new class of motorcycle, the cruiser, is born. 51)
Fuel notes:
In regard to low leaded or unleaded gas, in HD 2 & 4 cycle engines, the octane rating is
lower than regular or premium leaded gasoline, therefore not recommended for use.
The new fuels contain additives such as phosphorous which replaces tetra-ethyl-lead
and test results reveal that these additives may not provide the same type of
performance and engine protection received from leaded gas. Extensive use of low or
non leaded gas may cause piston damage in 2 or 4 cycle and accelerated wear and
scuffing of the valves in 4 cycle engines. 52)
Production Information:
XLH (3,950)
XLCH (6,825)
XR-750
XLH and XLCH receive
Wet clutch system with single spring.
Points and condenser moved behind plate on timing case cover.
Global paint colors were still Birch White or Hi-Fi Sparkling Blue.
Tillotson Carburetor
1972
MoCo notes:
The new, more powerful, more reliable aluminum alloy XR-750 debuts. It becomes the
dominant dirt track racer through the next three decades. 53)
Racing notes:
Mark Brelsford wins Grand National Championship on a XR-750 54)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (7,500) $2,120
XLCH (Super CH) (10,650)
XR-750 (200) 55)
XRTT-750 (10) 56)
XLH and XLCH both get
New engine bore size (3.18”). The 61 cid (called a 1000cc) XL replaced the 900.
Rated for 61 hp, 9:1 CR, 110+mph, 13.38 sec ¼ mile (97.7 mph), and 43 mpg.
Changed to Bendix/Zenith carb.
Wet clutch.
New oil pump.
Oil tank placed near chain
Seat is thinner w/less padding.
Global paint colors were Birch White or Hi-Fi Sparkling Blue.
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Sportster History
XR-750 debuts with two versions including a dirt track and a road racer model. 57)
45 degree V-twin OHV 4 cycle 750cc (45ci)dry sump engine and 4 speed transmission 58)
10:1 CR, Bore/Stroke 3.125“ x 2.983” maxed at 8,000 RPM.59)
Rod length 6.438“ 60)
42 mm / 33 degree intake and 35 mm / 35 degree exhaust valves 61)
“E” cams
Cam gear assemblies comprised of a shaft and a one piece cam / gear unit
Engine weight: app 150 lbs.62)
Rocker arm ratio 1.5 63)
Primary drive ratio 20/59 64)
Ceriani front forks with 4.40” travel65)
Dirt Track Version: 66)
Overall length 83“, width 33”, height 31“
Wheel base 56.75” with a minimum ground clearance of 7“ on 4.00” x 19“ tires
front and rear
Steering head angle 26”, trail 3.44“
Rim profiles are WM-3 front and rear
Brakes: front not required and not supplied for the rear
Total dry weight of 295 lbs.
Fiberglass and Team Colors: Jet Fire Orange and Black
2 gallon gas tank
Oil tank holds 2.75 quarts
Road Race Version (one year only in production) 67)
Overall length 78”, width 21.5“, height 28”
Wheel base 54“ with a minimum ground clearance of 8.25” on 3.25“ x 18” tires
on front, 3.5“ x 18” on the rear.
Rim profiles are WM-2 on front and WM-3 on the rear
Front drum brakes: 4-shoe, 250mm dia.
Rear (10“ dia.) disc brakes
Steering head angle 27”, trail 3.62“
Total dry weight of 324 lbs.
Fiberglass color: white
Team Colors: Jet Fire Orange and Black
6 gallon gas tank
Oil tank holds 4 quarts
1973
MoCo notes:
William H Davidson, chairman, retires from the company. John O'Brien (AMF production
expert) takes his place.
John Davidson named president
The Juneau Avenue Plant is turned into a huge warehouse/ office complex combo. Motorcycle
production is upgraded when all assembly operations are moved to a modern 400,000
square foot plant in York, PA. All other production operations remain in Milwaukee and
68)
Tomahawk. The Capitol Drive plant in Milwaukee begins production of engines.
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Racing notes:
After winning at Daytona in 1969, the road racing program struggled as the motorcycle
manufacturer entered a period of financial difficulties and could no longer support a team.
Though the company would continue to dominate dirt track, and would make a brief return to
Daytona in the Battle of the Twins in 1983, Harley-Davidson effectively said goodbye to road
racing in 1973. But it was just a matter of time before it returned. 69)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (9,875)
XLCH (Super CH) (10,825)
XLH and XLCH get
Single disc front hydraulic disc brakes 70)
Japanese “Kayaba” brand front forks
Plastic switch housings for handlebars
Global paint colors were still Birch White or Hi-Fi Sparkling Blue.
First AMF production Harley
Mandatory turn signals.
New 35mm Kayaba forks, single disc front brakes.
Initial production of '73 models XL, XLCH-1000 were made without a retaining clip to hold the wires
to the fender near the tail light bulb socket which allowed the wires to loop outward into the tire
well. To keep from instancing a traffic hazard due to possible wires rubbing into tires and short
circuiting the tail light, a safety defect bulletin was issued for dealerships to fix this issue by
installing the proper retaining clips.71)
Some cases of frame breakage, poor handling and possible loss of control prompted HD and in
compliance with the National Motor Vehicle Safety Act, to issue a safety defect notification on 1973
XL and XLCH frames. All affected vehicles required welded reinforcing braces to be installed to
prevent possible breakage at the welded junction of the frame tubes and the rear fender and shock
absorber bracket. With this gremlin plus an earlier safety defect bulletin regarding tail light wiring
within the same VINs, it was decided upon to repair both at the same time. 72)
Affected motorcycles:
XL, XLCH VIN 3A or 4A from 40000 - 50772 73)
XL, XLCH VIN 3A or 4A from 60000 - 71568 74)
1974
MoCo notes:
Union goes on strike for 101 days over the cost of living wage increase
Plant security tightens with stricter security procedures in place following the then -current
employee, John Buschman, for major theft.
Last year of business partnership with Evel Knievel after failed Snake River Jump on Flash
Gordan rocket.
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (13,295)
XLCH (Super CH) (10,535)
XLH and XLCH throttles now given return springs.
Global colors now include Birch White, Vivid Black, Sunburst Burgundy or Sunburst Blue
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Sportster History
1975
Fuel notes:
New US car models made with catalytic converters which require unleaded gasoline.75)
All current HD motorcycles require the use of “Premium Grade” leaded gasoline of 98 octane
or higher (this is usually equivalent to 95 Road Octane which is usually posted on service
station pumps). Regular leaded may be used as temporary until premium can be located in
case certain stations are out at the time. HD still cautions against the use of low or no leaded
gas. 76)
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (13,515)
XLCH (Super CH) (5,895)
XR-750 (100) 77)
XLH and XLCH both got a new shifter linkage to put foot shift on the left side and a new rear brake
linkage to put brake on the right side. (Fed mandated)
Global colors include Birch White, Vivid Black, Sunburst Burgundy, Sunburst Blue or Sunburst/ Vivid
Orange
New 35mm Showa forks.
XR-750 (dirt track) rim profiles changed to WM-2 in front and WM-4.5 in the rear 78)
1976
MoCo notes:
John Harley, son of founder William H Harley, passes away.
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (12,844)
XLCH (Super CH) (5,238)
XLH Super H Liberty Edition
XLCH Super CH Liberty Edition
Liberty editions of XLH and XLCH were offered in Black Metal Flake paint with Red, White and Blue
decorations.
Standard paint colors were, Birch White, Vivid Black, Sunburst/ Vivid Orange, Vivid Blue, Vivid Red,
Vivid Brown or Champagne Silver.
Pre-1977, There is a timed breather valve built into the oil pump drive, which vents crankcase
pressure into the cam timing chest. A six-inch metal tube hanging down from the timing cover near
the generator drive, at the 6 o’clock position vents that controlled pressure to atmosphere. A metal
disc on the end of the generator drive gear centrifugally separates oil from the air as it is
discharged overboard. 79)
1977
MoCo notes:
Vaughn Beals named President
Rodney C Gott HD Museum opens
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First year of HDOA, HD Owners Association, organized by Carl T Wicks
HD controls 21 percent of the 750 cc and larger motorcycle market
Harley-Davidson introduces the FXS Low Rider® to the public in Daytona Beach. With drag
style handlebars, unique engine and paint treatments, the Low Rider lives up to its name by
placing the rider in a lowered seating position than was typical.80)
Willie G. Davidson's dynamic version of the Sportster, the Cafe Racer, is released. 81)
Racing notes: Jay Springsteen wins Grand Nation Championship and a Number 1 Plate running a
XR-750
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (12,742)
XLCH (Super H) (4,074)
XLT (1,099)
XLCR (1,923) $3,623
XLH and XLCH got
New cases to accommodate the left side shifting.
Frame designed for removal of oil pump with engine in frame.
XLT (touring version of XLH) became available, included
Thicker seat
3.5-gallon tank
Touring handle bars
Saddlebags from the FLH
Higher gearing
Windshield
XLCR (Café Racer) was introduced at Daytona (available again in 78) featuring
Morris cast aluminum wheels
Fiberglass tail section w/solo seat
Wrinkle black engine paint
Bikini fairing
Black siamese exhaust
Rear disc brakes
Dual disc front brakes
Low bars
Wheel base measure 58.5”
Gloss Black paint scheme [on everything]
Four speed transmission
Rear-set foot pegs
4-gallon gas tank
61.00 HP (44.5 kW)) @ 6200 RPM 82)
70.51 Nm (7.2 kgf-m or 52.0 ft.lbs) torque @ 3800 RPM 83)
Max 6800 RPM 84)
Bore/ Stroke 81.0 x 96.0 mm (3.2 x 3.8 inches) 85)
10“ front and rear brakes 86)
New oil pump design using gerotors instead of gears.
Carburetor Changed to Keihin non-CV 87)
Paint colors were, Birch White, Vivid Black, Vivid Blue, Vivid Brown, Charcoal Silver, Midnight Blue
Metallic, Arctic White or Bright Blue.
68 horses, 9:1 compression, 110 mph
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Sportster History
1977-78 only, The timed breather on the oil pump drive was dropped. An external non-return valve
was plumbed into that vent tube sticking down from the timing cover at the generator drive. This
allows air out, but not in. It is sometimes referred to as the foo-foo valve. Searching
http://xlforum.net for foo foo or foo-foo will lead to extensive discussion of this mystical device. 88)
1978
MoCo notes:
HD celebrating 75th Anniversary
The last year of business connection with Aermacci Company in Italy and HD. HD closes the
factory down in June
Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (11,271)
XLH Anniversary Model (2,323) $3,127
XLCH (Super CH) (2,758) $3,370
XLT (Touring)(6)
XLS (Roadster) (2)
XLCR
XR-750 (83) 89)
XLH Anniversary model (HD 75th Anniversary Addition) featuring a Midnight Black with Gold trim
paint scheme limited anniversary graphics, and aluminum wheels finished in Gold.
XLH, XLCH and XLT all got
Dual disc front hydraulic brakes
Electronic Ignition
Siamese exhaust systems
Battery and oil tank moved inboard
Revised frame with the XLCR rear section
Optional cast wheels including retro-fit to prior years down to 1954, XL & XLCH on rear and
down to 1974 for front 90)
XR-750 engine got a bigger (44mm) intake valve
Last year for the XLT *
Optional dual seat for XLCR, also last year for the XLCR
Paint colors
Birch White, Vivid Black, Brilliant Red, Charcoal Silver, Arctic White, Concord Blue, Chestnut
Brown and Black Cherry
Last year of the Battery Ignition System
1979
MoCo notes:
The heavyweight models receive first priority
Sales in the USA fall to less than 4% of motorcycle market
Introduction of the FXEF Fat Bob, “Fat” because of the dual gas tanks, “Bob” for the bobbed
fenders. 91)
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Production Information:
XLH (Super H) (6,525)
XLCH (Super CH) (141)
XLS Roadster (5,123)
XLCR Café Racer (9)
Last year for the XLCH
XLH and XLCH get
Rear drum brakes replaced with disc brake and master cylinder 92)
Brake system placed where kickstand was
Kick starter was dropped as a standard feature but left as an option.
First sales year for the XLS (later named Roadster). A new model based on the 'Sportster' version of
the FXS Low Rider and features
Extended forks
16” rear tire
Siamese exhaust system
Drag bars on 3 1/2“ riser
Sissy bar with leather pouch
Highway pegs
2 - piece seat
Chromed rear sprocket
Paint colors
Birch White, Vivid Black, Brilliant Red, Concord Blue, Chestnut Brown, Classic Tan, Classic
Chreme, FXS Silver and Charcoal Gray.
Last year of XLH and XLCH (Super) mantra
Last year of the “P” cams. 93)
A breakerless electronic ignition added 94)
1979 -1985, The external foo-foo valve and the six-inch metal vent tube at the front of the timing
cover were done away with. Instead, a one-way foo-foo valve was built in inside the timing cover. A
rubber breather hose then ran from the generator drive area of the timing cover, at the 9 o’clock
position. It connected to the stock air filter so that any oil mist was fed back through the engine,
making the EPA pollutocrats more happier than they were with the idea of engine oil spraying out
into the atmosphere. 95)
Maximum permissible level of 0.13 g of lead per liter of gasoline established thru a ruling from US
Court of Appeals in March of 1976.96)
1980
MoCo notes:
US Government asked the MoCo to 'complicate' their identification numbers due to an
increase in theft.
In April, Charles K Thompson named president and deputy group executive of HD.
Harley-Davidson debuts the FLT with its vibration dampening, rubber-isolated drivetrain and
unique trailing front fork. The engine and five-speed transmission are hard bolted together.97)
A kevlar belt replaces the chain as the final drive. The belt is cleaner running, and needs less
adjustments and maintenance. It isn't long before belt final drive is standard on all HarleyDavidson® motorcycles.98)
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Sportster History
Harley-Davidson releases the FXB Sturgis model, employing belt drive, black chrome
appointments and 80 cubic inch engine.99)
The FXWG Wide Glide is introduced for the 1980 model year. 100)
Production Information:
XLH 1000 (11,841) $5,867
XLS 1000 (2,926)
XR-750 (180) 101)
XLH gets an optional Hugger package with shorter shocks and thinner seat.
Paint colors
Birch White, Vivid Black, FXS Silver, Charcoal Grey, Rich Red, Bright Blue, Saddle Brown and
Candy Red
New Magnavox Electronic Ignition system (all models) with a full electronic advance
New “Q” cams installed. 102)
A 16 in wheel replaced the XLH 18 in.
First year that the carburetor idle mixture screw is set and sealed off at the factory due to EPA regs
103)
XR-750 (dirt track) got new Marzocchi front forks with 5.31” travel and a 2.5 gallon gas tank 104)
Also last year model of the XR-750 as a full motorcycle production bike. Engine kits (only) were sold
from 1990 to 2003 105)
1981
MoCo notes:
Feb 26, Vaughn Beals heads up a group including Charlie Thompson and Wilie G Davidson
and ten other HD executives who sign a letter of intent to buy HD back from AMF. 106)
June 16, HD history is made when they successfully buy HD back from AMF. HD shareholders
celebrate with a York to Milwaukee ride.
Close to 200 clerical positions are eliminated. 'The Eagle Soars Alone' slogan is born.
A gold dipstick was inserted by Vaughn Beals into the first non-AMF motorcycle to roll off the
assembly line at York, Pennsylvania.
Racing notes:
Scott Parker begins racing for team Harley-Davidson on the AMA dirt track circuit. He will
become the most successful racer in Harley-Davidson history, accumulating 93 career
victories and, more incredibly, winning 9 Grand National Champion titles in a 10-year period.
107)
Production Information:
XLH 1000 (8,442)
XLS 1000 Roadster (1,660)
XLH and XLS both got an optional wire or cast wheel option 16“ or 18” rear wheel and
XLS also got
Buckhorn handlebars,
Shorty dual exhaust
3.3 gallon gas tank with an optional 2.2 gallon tank
XLH got
Shorter front forks
Optional 3.3 gallon gas tank
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Longer wheel base (60“) 108)
1982
MoCo notes:
First year application of MAN (materials as needed) or just in time for production.
HD celebrates the Sportster's 25th Anniversary
First year of new custom paint program
HD petitions the International Trade Commission for tariff relief from Japanese motorcycles
US President Ronald Reagan imposes a five year tariff on all Japanese 700cc or larger
imports.
Lay-offs total 1,600 out of 3,800 employees
Aggressive program initiated to clean up all bootleg HD merchandise.
In May, more than 100 riders leave the Capitol Drive Plant on protest ride to Madison in
response to Wisconsin State Police using Kawasaki motorcycles.
Advertising budget is estimated at about $3 million.
Production Information:
XLH 1000 (5,015)
XLS 1000 (1,261)
XLHA Anniversary Sportster (932)
XLSA Anniversary Roadster (778)
Both XLH and XLS got
Lighter frame and longer wheel base
Wheelbase XLH (60”)109)
Wheelbase XLS (60.76“) 110)
Oil tank repositioned
Battery re-positioned
Thicker head gasket to lower compression ratio (to 8:1 for XLS)
Larger rear disc
Paint colors
Birch White, Vivid Black, Classic Tan, Classic Creme, Metallic Blue, Light Red, Dark Carmine,
Orange, Brown, Emerald Green, Red, Pewter or maroon.
Both anniversary models came with 25th anniversary graphics and special paperwork about the
bike's history signed by Chairman Vaughn Beals, President Charlie Thompson and Styling Vice
President, Willie G Davidson.
1983
MoCo notes:
Factory sponsored 'Harley Owners Group' (HOG) is founded.
International Trade Commission levies a five year tariff on Japanese motorcycles 700cc and
over.
Dick O'Brien, long time manager of HDs factory race team, retires.
Production Information:
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Sportster History
XLH 1000 (2,230)
XLS 1000 Roadster (1,616)
XR-1000 (1,018) $6,995
XLX-61 Sportster (4,892)($3,995)
A Vacuum Operated Electric Switch,(VOES), added to the ignition system on all Models.
XLH got
High bars
3.3 gallon gas tank
New seat
Less restrictive exhaust
New model XLX-61: Striped down version of the XLH and built to sell for $3,995, featured
Solo seat
Peanut gas tank
Staggered shorty dual exhaust
Low handlebars
Speedo only, no tach
9 spoke cast aluminum wheels
Satin finish cases.
Only year
Six coil springs in clutch
156 watt generator mounted at the front of the cases
Loose output roller tranny output shaft
Output shaft oil seal secured by a bolt on cover
3 generator drive gears
10” dual front disc brakes
Wheel base (60“) 111)
New model XR-1000, based on XLX chassis. Engine is a hybrid or cross of the XR-750 and
XL-1000 matched to an identical XL 4 speed transmission.
Aluminum XR style heads w/intake ports on right, exhaust on left, heads ported and
polished by Jerry Branch
Helicoil inserts where rocker boxes bolt to head
9:1, XR aluminum pistons
Light aluminum pushrods
Eccentric rocker shafts adjust valve lash
Iron cylinders (shortened half an inch to make room for the 'Branch' heads)- w/through
bolts
Vacuum advance-V-fire III breaker less ignition
Twin 36mm Dell'Orto carbs with accel pumps
Satin textured cases
Left side high megaphone dual mufflers
9 spoke cast aluminum wheels
Oiled felt air filter
New designed cailpers
Paint codes
Birch White, Vivid Black, Classic Tan, Classic Crème, Pewter, Maroon, Indigo Blue,
Claret Red or Slate Gray Metallic
The XR-1000 had 71HP @ 5,600 rpm, 125 mph, 490 lbs, 2.5 gallon gas tank and a 2.5 quart
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oil capacity
1984
MoCo notes:
The new V2 Evolution engine introduced on many Big Twin models is more oil tight,
maintenance free, lighter in weight, cooler running and more powerful.
Also witnessed is the debut of the Softail design and its trend-setting method of “hiding” the
motorcycle's rear shock absorbers. 112)
Bill Davidson, Willie Gs son, joins the company overseeing the National Demo Ride Program.
HD wins California Highway Patrol contract with 155 motorcycles ordered.
HD receives a US Navy contract for production of gun shell cases.
HD brand beer is sold.
Fuel notes:
City of Chicago first to order end of all leaded gasoline sales since New York City ended ban
on leaded gas in 1928.113)
Production Information:
XLX-61 (4,284)
XLH (4,442)
XLS (1,135)
XR-1000 (759)
Generator replaced by the Alternator. (mid year)
XLH, XLS and XLX began the use of tubeless tires on the cast rims. 114)
XLH
One large front disc brake
Diaphragm clutch spring (mid year)
Alternator (mid year)
Used the Peanut tank again.
XR 1000
Improved brakes
Orange/black HD racing colors option
XLS Roadster got
One large front disc brake
Diaphragm clutch spring (mid year)
Alternator (mid year)
Shortened wheel base (60”)
XLX-61 Sportster got
One large front disc brake
Diaphragm clutch spring (mid year)
Alternator (mid year)
Paint colors
Birch White, Vivid Black, Classic Tan, Classic Crème, Indigo Blue, Claret Red, Candy Purple,
Rose Metallic or Slate Gray Metallic.
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Sportster History
1985
Last year of the Iron Head engine
Production trimmed in anticipation of the Evo XL.
Production Information:
XLH 1000 (4,074) $4,795
XLS 1000 Roadster (616) $5,599
XLX-61 1000 Sportster (1,824) $4,695
Paint colors Birch White, Vivid Black, Classic Tan, Classic Crème, Slate Gray Metallic or Candy Blue.
1986
MoCo notes:
June, HD goes public to refinance and pay off debts with $2 million in company shares of
common stock. The Motor Company is listed on the American Stock Exchange, the first time
Harley-Davidson is publicly traded since 1969, the year of the AMF merger. 115)
Harley-Davidson releases the Heritage Softail®. 116)
December, to diversify its holdings, HD purchases the Holiday Rambler Corporation,
producers of quality motor homes.117)
Fuel notes:
Japan became the first nation to fully phase-out leaded petrol.118)
Sportster Fuel Requirements: 89 Octane or higher (leaded or unleaded)119)
Production Information:
XLH 883 (8,026) $3,995
XLH 883 Deluxe (2,322)
XLH 1100 (3,077) $5,199
XLH 1100 Liberty (954)
Beginning with the following crankcase numbers, a new crank pin bearing set and revised flywheels
were installed.120)
883 (1786 083 003)
1100 (1886 090 012)
Beginning of the EVO era
Sportsters had an all new Evolution V-twin engine and updated chassis
XLH 883
Engine: 883cc OHV V-twin with 3 x 3.81“ bore and stroke
Aluminum heads and cylinders
Hydraulic roller lifters
Standard 34 mm fixed venture Keihin carburetor
Redesigned and powder-coated frame for the new engine
Four speed transmission
Cast aluminum wheels: 19” in front, 16“ in back
Solo seat
Low bars
Speedometer only
Single disc front brake
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Peanut tank
Final drive is single-row chain
Turn signal that double as running lights
Seat height is30”
Wheelbase is 60“
weight is 478lbs
Upgrade package Deluxe offered with special paint and trim
XLH 1100 same as 883 with deluxe trim
Engine: 1100cc OHV V-twin with 85.1 x 96.8mm bore and stroke
Turn signals double as running lights
XLH 1100 Liberty edition
1100 version with Statue of Liberty graphics on tank and front fender and certificate of
ownership
Paint colors
Birch White, Vivid Black, Candy Red, Slate Gray Metallic, Candy Blue, Candy Pearl and Signal Red.
Deluxe Model Mid-year Introduction
Laced Wheels
Dual-seat
Passenger Pegs
Dual Gauges (added Tach)
1987
MoCo notes:
March, Richard Teerlink named president of the motorcycle division
HD exports 1,600 motorcycles to Canada, 1,200 to Western Europe and 1,300 to Japan.
HD again wins California Highway Patrol contract.
March 17, HD moves to have 5 year tariff lifted earlier than expected, sending a message to
Japan that HD can compete.
Production Information:
XLH 883 (4,990)
XLH 883 Deluxe (2,260)
XLH 883 Hugger (2,106)
XLH 1100 (4,018)
XLH 1100 Anniversary (600)
Sportster's 30th Anniversary celebrated with an anniversary edition XLH 1100 with 30th
anniversary graphics on both the front fender and gas tank.
Hugger Model - Mid-year Introduction
Fork tubes shortened 2”
Revised shock angle by lengthening Swingarm 1/2“
Softer seat at 26.75”, (1.75“ lower than standard)
All models have a new crankpin and revised flywheels 121)
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1988
MoCo notes:
August, Richard F Teerlink named President and CEO of HD
August, James H Patterson named President and CEO of the motorcycle division
First year of the HD traveling museum pulled by a Peterbilt tractor. The museum displays HD
memorabilia and seven motorcycles
HD, celebrating 85th anniversary with a Homecoming in Milwaukee attended by over 60,000
enthusiasts, organizes a ride (app 6,000 riders) for muscular dystrophy. Proceeds total near
$600,000. 122)
H.O.G. membership totaling over 90,000
The springer front end returns in the FXSTS Springer® Softail®. 123)
Production Information:
XLH 883 (5,387) $3,995
XLH 883 Hugger (4,501) $4,199
XLH 883 Sportster Deluxe (1,893) $4,428
XLH 1200 (4,752) $5,875
XLH 883 got
40mm constant velocity Keihin CV slide carb as a standard component
Taller shocks
Longer swingarm
Stiffer 39mm front fork tubes replaced the older 35mm unit
Solo seat and cast wheels
XLH 883 option package included
Two tone paint
Spoked wheels
Dual seat
Extra chrome
Tach
XLH 883 came with a Hugger option including
Lowered suspension
Lowered seat
Buckhorn handlebars
First year for the XLH 1200 (replacing the XLH 1100) featuring
1200cc Evolution OHV V-twin with 3.498 x 3.812 bore and stroke
39mm front forks
Two tone paint
Dual seat
Buckhorn bars
Speedometer and tach
Paint colors
Vivid Black, Bright Cobalt Candy Blue, Bright Candy Plum, Candy Brandywine, Brandywine
and Crimson, Bright Cobalt Candy Blue and Brilliant Silver, Candy Crimson, Candy Bronze and
Crème, Vivid Black and Crème, Metallic Blue and Cadet Blue Metallic or Champagne Gold.
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1989
Racing notes:
The HD 883 Twin Sports Road Racing Series begins with full sanctions from the AMA.
Production Information:
XLH 883 (6,142)
XLH 883 Hugger (4,467)
XLH 883 Sportster Deluxe (1,812)
XLH 1200 (4,546)
XR-750 Engines Only (37) 124)
XLH 883 and XLH 1200
Aluminum intake manifold
New air cleaner element
Offset piston pins
Protective coating added to battery positive cable
XR-750 engines got an upgrade 125)
12:1 CR 126)
37mm exhaust valves 127)
Primary drive ratio 25/59 with optional 30/59 128)
Cam lobes and gears are now pressed onto the shafts individually and then welded. Gears on
#s 2&4 shaft assemblies are locked with a grooved pin.
Max 9,200 RPM 129)
Paint colors
XL 883 and XL 883 Hugger: Vivid Black, Metallic Blue, Candy Brandywine, Bright Candy Plum.
130)
XL 1200 Hugger: Vivid Black, Metallic Blue/ Silver, Candy Brandywine, Candy Crimson/ Candy
Brandywine, Bright Candy Plum. 131)
Kickstand repositioned further rearward
1990
MoCo notes:
The European parts and accessories warehouse opens.
Upon its introduction, the FLSTF Fat Boy® almost instantaneously becomes a modern legend
of motorcycle design.132)
Racing notes:
Nigel Gale wins the Twin Sports Championship.
Production Information:
XLH 883 (5,227) $4,250
XLH 883 Hugger (4,040)
XLH 883 Deluxe (1,298)
XLH 1200 (4,598)
XR-750 Engine Kits (only)
XLH 883 and XLH 1200 received
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New paper air filter and paint options
40mm Keihin carb - constant velocity with an accelerator pump
XR750 engine kits (only) were sold from 1990-2003
Paint colors
XL 883 and XL 883 Hugger: Vivid Black, Bright Candy Plum, Bright Candy Ruby, Bright Candy
Hi-Fi Blue. 133)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Bright Candy Ruby, Dark Candy Ruby/ Bright Candy Ruby, Candy Hi-Fi
Blue/ Silver. 134)
1991
MoCo notes:
HDI offices are moved from Connecticut to Milwaukee which triples the staff.
Production begins on a new $31 million state of the art paint facility at the York, PA, factory.
It becomes fully operational in 1992. 135)
June, European H.O.G. rally in England.
Bill Davidson named director of operations of H.O.G. and it's 135,000 members with 650
chapters worldwide.
Motorcycle exports up over 30%.
June 1st, HD stock splits 2 for 1 to almost $56
HD earns 62% market share of 850cc and larger motorcycles.
HD sponsors 'The Moving Wall', Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The Dyna line of motorcycles debuts with the 1991 FXDB Dyna Glide Sturgis®. 136)
New assembly line for 883cc and 1200cc Sportster engines at Capitol Drive Plant results in
relief on old line and overall improved quality.
Racing notes:
Scott Zampach wins Twins Sport Series and US Twin Sports Championship with Nigel Gale
placing third.
Fuel notes:
Sportster fuel requirements changed: 87 Octane or higher (unleaded)137)
Production Information:
XLH 883 (4,922) $4,359
XLH 883 Hugger (3,487)
XLH 883 Deluxe (3,034)
XLH 1200 (6,282) $6,245
All models receive
5 speed tranny replaced the 4 speed
Hydraulic lifters were replaced with automotive type units
Oil pump given internal cast feed lines
Breather system moved from the crankcase to the heads with (umbrella valves) in rocker
boxes
Alternator moved from behind clutch to the crankshaft
Primary cover redesigned for easy removal
New rubber mounted rider foot pegs
Old Dunlop k-291 tires replaced with K402's
Turn Signals became self-canceling with signals from speedo
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Right side timing hole
Tappet blocks, rear motor mount, oil filter integrated with case
One piece push rod tubes
5/8” hex Champion spark plugs
40 oz fluid level for primary/ transmission
New primary chain adjuster
Jiffy stand re-located further back on frame
XLH 883 and XLH 883 Hugger has o-ring chain final drive
Belt drive replaced chain on 883 deluxe and 1200 models
Paint colors
XL 883 (all models): Vivid Black, Wineberry Pearl, Bright Sapphire Metallic, Vivid Yellow,
Bright Candy Ruby. 138)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Dark Sapphire Metallic/ Bright Sapphire Metallic, Vivid Yellow/ White,
Dark Candy Ruby/ Bright Candy Ruby, Candy Sapphire Sun Glo. 139)
1992
MoCo notes:
World wide licensing of trademarks and logos
The last year of Japanese made carbon canister emission filters.
$32 million robotic painting system set up at the York Plant.
HD stock worth almost 7 times original price.
Miss HD, Krisann Whitley, is crowned at Daytona.
Racing notes:
Scott Zampach wins the Twin Sports Championship with Nigel Gale in second place.
Production Information:
XLH 883 $4,499
XLH 883 'Hugger' $5,075
XLH 883 'Sportster Deluxe' $5,559
XLH 1200 $6,400
All Models receive
Improved brake pad material
New style grease fittings
New halogen headlight assembly
Standardized Sportster hand controls
Re-located ignition switch, now preventing scratching of the horn cover
Continuously vented gas tank
Harder plunger in neutral switch
New style horn featuring more power
XLH 883 also has O-rings chains
XLH 883 Hugger model now has a thinner seat and lower suspension
XR-750 now has a key (replacing the splines) to drive the pinion and oil pump gears
Paint colors
XL 883 (all models): Vivid Black, Bright Candy Ruby, Red Voyage Metallic, Candy Sapphire
Sun-Glo. 140)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Bright Candy Ruby, Turquoise/ White, Dark Candy Ruby/ Bright Candy
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Ruby, Candy Sapphire Sun-Glo. 141)
1993
MoCo notes:
Now using an American made carbon emission filter manufactured by Miniature Precision
Components in Delavan, Wisconsin.
HD buys into the Buell Motorcycle Company, expanding it's capacity to further research and
development. Erik Buell created the Company to manufacture American sport motorcycles
using Harley-Davidson® XL 883 and 1200 engines.142)
New Buell/ HD model on the drawing board, the “Thunderbolt”.
June 12th, for 90th year reunion, first time an interstate highway was ever closed down
specifically for HD motorcycle riders. An estimated 100,000 people ride in a parade of
motorcycles. 143)
June 12th, Willie G leads 15,000 strong, 35 miles North from the airport in Kenosha to the
90th year reunion held at Milwaukee's Summerfest grounds.
Racing notes:
Scott Zampach wins the Twin Sports Championship
Production Information:
XLH 883 $4,775
XLH 883 Hugger $5,420
XLH 883 Deluxe $5,820
XLH 1200 $6,800
All models
Belt drive now on all Sportster models
Finger tip “blade” profile brake and clutch levers on all models
Paint colors
XL 883 (all models): Vivid Black, Mandarin Orange, Scarlett Red, Bright Victory Red Sun Glo,
Bright Aqua Sun Glo, Bright Aqua Sun Glo, Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Scarlett Red. 144)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Scarlett Red, Dark Victory Red Sun-Glo/
Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Bright Aqua Sun Glo/ Silver, Bright Wineberry Sun Glo, Silver/
Charcoal Satin Bright, Candy Sapphire Sun-Glo. 145)
1994
MoCo notes:
Harley-Davidson enters Superbike racing with the introduction of the VR1000, a dual
overhead cam, liquid-cooled motorcycle. 146)
The classically-styled FLHR Road King® is introduced. 147)
Las Vegas Metro Police unit now totals 8 HDs in their fleet
June 1st, Michigan State Police return to riding Harleys on the freeway
Racing notes:
In 1994, HD returned to the top level of pro road racing with the VR-1000 Superbike Race
Team. Despite memorable performances during its eight-year run, including a pole position in
1996 and podium finishes by Pascal Picotte in 1999, Harley-Davidson concluded in 2001 that
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the VR 1000 was at the end of its development cycle and was no longer competitive in the
AMA Superbike series. While the program was ended following the 2001 season, the VR 1000
Superbike racing program helped Harley-Davidson develop and refine technologies such as
liquid-cooling and electronic fuel injection. The program also led to the development HarleyDavidson's first production liquid-cooled motorcycle, the 2002 VRSCA V-Rod. 148)
Production Information:
XLH 883
XLH 883 'Hugger'
XLH 883 'Deluxe'
XLH 1200
Oil tank revised (visually identified by relocated oil drain line which now runs to the frame instead
of nipple on underside of battery tray)
Replaced small Derby cover with large 4-bolt full Derby cover and quick-release clutch cable
Revised rear struts – straight w/ chrome steel covers
New electrical system (wiring harness/weatherproof electrical connectors
New electrical component tray under the seat
883s got an aluminum lower triple clamp which was previously stock on only the 1200’s
Interference-fit carburetor float pin pedestal on all models
Paint colors
XL 883 (all models): Vivid Black, Aqua Pearl, Bright Victory Red Sun-Glo.149)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Aqua Pearl/ Silver, Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Dark Victory Red SunGlo/ Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Aqua Pearl. 150)
1995
MoCo notes:
October 1st, HD announces plans to double production to 200,000 motorcycles annually by
the year 2003 (100th anniversary)
HD announces the probability of building a new plant to accommodate the proposed increase
in production.
The 30th Anniversary Ultra Classic® Electra Glide® becomes the first production HarleyDavidson motorcycle to include sequential port electronic fuel injection. 151)
Fuel notes:
December, US phases out leaded gasoline for road-use vehicles.152)
Production Information:
XLH 883 $4,995
XLH Hugger 883 $5,700
XLH Deluxe 883 $6,120
XLH 1200 $7,200
New Larger 3.25 gal gas tank on 1200 models (Bigger Peanut Tank - crimped bottom)
New Vacuum operated petcock - Located on leftside of tank
Ignition switch moved to steering column (because of petcock location)
New electronic speedometer with resettable trip-meter
Paint colors
XL 883 (all models): Vivid Black, Aqua Pearl, Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Nugget Yellow,
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Burgundy Pearl. 153)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Aqua Pearl, Aqua Pearl/ Silver, Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Dark Victory
Red Sun-Glo/ Bright Victory Red Sun Glo, Nugget Yellow/ Vivid Black. 154)
1996
MoCo notes:
Jan 22nd, sale of the Holiday Rambler Recreational Vehicle Division to the Monaco Coach
Corp. for $50 million.
Feb 5th, Initial attempt to trademark the 'Harley' (Potato-Potato) sound. Company spokeman
Steve Piehl “We don't want the sound of our motorcycles to become the generic sound of
motorcycles”.
A new, state-of-the-art Parts and Accessories Distribution Center opens in Franklin, WI. By the
beginning of 1997, all inventory is moved from the original warehouse at Juneau Avenue to
the new 250,000 sq. ft. facility. 155)
August 24, HD breaks ground for a new production center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Production Information:
XLH 883 $5,095
XLH Hugger 883 $5,760
XLH 1200 $7,360
XLH 1200C Custom $7,910
XLH 1200S Sport $8,360
All models received a larger gas tank now 3.3 gal w/rounded bottom edge on 1200 models
XL 1200S is a new model based on the XLH 1200 featuring adjustable-damping front forks,
adjustable rear shocks and a slight power increase. The Sport was first to have
fully-adjustable front & rear suspension
dual front floating-disc brakes
XL1200C, also based on the XLH 1200, features dual staggered shorty pipes, laced front 21“ wheel
and cast disc rear wheel with slots
Handlebar switches revised to more rounded style
Cast Wheels upgraded to 13-spokes
First year for 1200 Custom and Sport models
Paint colors
XL 883 (all models): Vivid Black, Patriot Red Pearl, States Blue Pearl, Platinum Silver,
Mystique Green. 156)
XL 1200: Vivid Black, Patriot Red Pearl, States Blue Pearl, Violet Purple, Two tone Victory Sun
Glo and Platinum, Two tone Violet and Red Pearl, Platinum Silver and Black.157)
1997
MoCo notes:
A new 217,000 sq. ft. Product Development Center opens next to the Capitol Drive plant in
Milwaukee. The building is dedicated to Willie G. Davidson. 158)
Powertrain Operations at Capitol Drive expanded its capacity by moving FL engine and
transmission production to a newly purchased plant located in Menomonee Falls. XL engines
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and transmissions, as well as Genuine Parts Manufacturing, remain at Capitol Drive.159)
A new 330,000 sq. ft. plant in Kansas City produces its first Sportster. 160)
Production Information:
XLH 883
XLH 883 ‘Hugger’
XLH 1200
XLH 1200C ’Custom’
XLH 1200S ’Sport’
Larger gas tank (3.3 gal) on 883 models also
1998
MoCo notes:
HD celebrates its 95th Anniversary. 140,000 plus riders are warmly received by Milwaukee to
161)
help with the celebration.
A new assembly facility opens in Manaus, Brazil, the first operations outside of the U.S.162)
HD buys a remaining 49% interest in Buell Motorcycle Company. Erik Buell is named Chairman of
Buell operations. 163)
Production Information:
XL 883
XL 883C 'Custom'
XL 883 ‘Hugger’
XL 1200
XL 1200C ’Custom’
XL 1200S ’Sport’
Jiffy Stand gets replaceable bushings
New ignition module (still dual-fire) - All in nosecone (except 1200S)
First year for Bank Angle Sensor (BAS) (External - All models)
XL883C introduced with the standard 883 powertrain on a 1200C chassis.164)
XL1200S received upgrades:
1200S only - Single-fire ignition module (underseat) & quad-output coil
1200S only - Dual-plug Buell Lightning heads (with hotter 'W' cams)
1200S only - Manifold Air Pressure (MAP) Sensor (NO VOES)
1999
MoCo notes:
The Touring and Dyna motorcycle families receive the new Twin Cam 88® engine. 165)
Production Information:
XLH 883
XLH 883 ‘Hugger’
XLH 883C ‘Custom’
XLH 1200
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XLH 1200C ’Custom’
XLH 1200S ’Sport’
2000
MoCo notes:
The FXSTD Softail® Deuce™ is introduced .166)
The 2000 model year Softail® models are outfitted with the Twin Cam 88B™ engine, a
counter-balanced version of the Twin Cam 88. 167)
Buell introduces the Blast®, a single-cylinder motorcycle. 168)
Fuel notes:
European Union bans leaded gasoline at the pump.169)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883 'Hugger'
XL883C ‘Custom’
XL1200
XL1200C ’Custom’
XL1200S 'Sport'
First year for sealed wheel bearings
First year for 4-piston calipers
Pressed together flywheel assembly (supposed to be stronger and hold it’s trueness better)
2001
MoCo notes:
The VRSCA V-Rod® is introduced for the 2002 model year. Inspired by the VR-1000 racing
motorcycle, the V-Rod is Harley-Davidson's first motorcycle to combine fuel injection,
overhead cams and liquid cooling, and delivers 115 horsepower. 170)
Harley-Davidson announces expansions at the Product Development Center (Milwaukee), as
well as Tomahawk, WI, and York, PA, facilities.171)
Racing notes:
Harley-Davidson Racing announces the latest addition to the team: 17 year old Jennifer
Snyder, the first woman to win a national event in the Formula USA National Dirt Track
Series. 172)
Production Information:
XL 883
XL 883 'Hugger'
XL 883C 'Custom'
Xl 1200
XL 1200C 'Custom'
XL 1200S 'Sport'
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2002
MoCo notes:
The Buell® Firebolt® is introduced.173)
The Open Road Tour debuts in Atlanta, GA, in July to celebrate the upcoming Harley-Davidson
100th Anniversary.174)
Racing notes:
HD launched the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Pro Stock Motorcycle team in 2002 with
rider GT Tonglet to compete in the NHRA Drag Racing Series. Harley-Davidson teamed with
Vance & Hines Motorsports, winner of 23 NHRA titles, to develop a V-Twin engine that would
be competitive with the four-cylinder engines prevalent in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. 175)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883 'Hugger'
XL883C ‘Custom’
XL883R 'Roadster'
XL1200
XL1200C ’Custom’
XL1200S 'Sport'
First year of 883R 'Roadster'
First year for bullet-style turn signals across the line
2003
MoCo notes:
Buell Motorcycle Company introduces the Lightning® XB9S. 176)
More than 250,000 people come to Milwaukee for the final stop of the Open Road Tour and
the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Celebration and Party. 177)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883 'Hugger'
XL883C ‘Custom’
XL883R 'Roadster'
XL1200
XL1200C ’Custom’
XL1200S 'Sport'
New style mirrors.
Special HD 100th Anniversary paint/badges
Last year for 1200S 'Sport' models
Last year for solid mount engine-to-frame on all models
2004
MoCo notes:
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For the 2004 model year, the Sportster® family models receive rubber engine mounting, a
new frame, and a wider rear tire. Some Sportster® models receive a redesigned gas tank. 178)
The FLHRSI Road King® Custom is introduced. With its low rear suspension and wide
handlebars, the FLHRSI brings a beach look to a classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle. 179)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883C ‘Custom’
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200R 'Roadster'
Rubber Mount Engine in redesigned frame
883 heads have minor changes
1200 Models get Buell XB-style Heads and 'W' Cams
First Year cylinders have larger fins
First Year for oil squirters for new piston design
First Year all models have Single-Fire Ignition & Coil
First year for Crank Position Sensor (CKP)
Bank Angle Sensor (BAS) integrated into Turn Signal Module (TSM/TSSM)
Trap door transmission eliminated (cases must now be split to access transmission).
Oil tank is mounted further under the seat
Seat height is lowered by an inch
Rear tire width increased to 150 mm
Custom models get 4.5 gallon gas tanks
New air cleaner cover
New 2-Piston Brake calipers
Brake calipers & master cylinders are Sportster only versions
Switch housings & handgrips are Sportster only versions
2005
MoCo notes:
The XL 883L Sportster® 883 Low brings a lowered seating position to the Sportster® line.180)
The FLSTNI Softail® Deluxe adds a sleek look to the Softail® line and a paint scheme
reminiscent of 1939 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Also, the FLSTSC/I Softail® Springer®
Classic revives looks from the late 1940s. 181)
Harley-Davidson and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) mark the 25th anniversary of
their partnership. 182)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883C 'Custom'
XL883L 'Low'
XL883R 'Roadster' – Mid year intro
XL1200C ’Custom’
XL1200R 'Roadster'
Swing arm & rear wheel re-designed to 1″ rear axle.
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2006
MoCo notes:
The first of the 6-speed transmissions are made available on 2006 model year Dyna™
motorcycles. Also joining the Dyna™ family is the FXDB/I Street Bob™. 183)
The 2006 model year includes the all-new FLHX/I Street Glide™, a lower profile touring
motorcycle.184)
Harley-Davidson unveils plans for an all-new museum in Milwaukee, scheduled for opening in
2008. 185)
Harley-Davidson appoints Beijing Feng Huo Lun (FHL) as the first authorized Harley-Davidson
dealer on mainland China. 186)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883C 'Custom'
XL883L 'Low'
XL883R 'Roadster'
XL1200C ’Custom’
XL1200L 'Low'
XL1200R 'Roadster'
First year of 1200R (black engine)
Last year of carbureted engines
2007
MoCo notes:
The XL 1200N Nightster is introduced with black rims, fork gaiters, and a side mount license
plate holder. 187)
The new FXCWC Rocker introduces Harley-Davidson’s first swingarm-mounted rear fender
and 2-into-1 Trick seat. 188)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883C 'Custom'
XL883L 'Low'
XL883R 'Roadster'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200L 'Low'
XL1200R 'Roadster'
XL1200N 'Nightster'
XL50 50th Anniversary of Sportster- Only 2000 Produced - Only This Year
First year for Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
First year for Neutral Switch & Clutch Switch Interlock - Prevents starting if in gear and not holding
clutch disengaged
EFI Ignition implementation means some parts from 04-06 won't fit anymore including seats and
rear fender due to ECM location
883 models receive 'W' cams also
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883L lowered further
883 & 1200 model heads each have minor changes - including modified intake manifold mounting
surfaces
Introduction of 1200N mid-year (model different in some markets including taller shocks in Europe,
no cut fender or side-mount plate in Canada)
Last year of 833R Roadster in the US
Last year for 3.3 gallon tank on 1200R
2008
MoCo notes:
The Touring family now has an all new frame, providing longer wheelbase, lower seating
position and better maneuverability. 189)
The all new Harley-Davidson Museum opens in Milwaukee on July 12. Located at 6th and
Canal streets, the Museum showcases hundreds of classic and custom motorcycles,
interactive exhibits and never-before-seen films and photographs.190)
Hundreds of thousands of riders from around the world converge on Milwaukee to celebrate
Harley-Davidson’s 105th Anniversary. Riders and dealers raise more than $6.7 million for
MDA. Entertainment includes the Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen. That same weekend,
HOG marks 25 years with its own party. 191)
Financial notes:
The U.S. Great Recession of 2008, also known as the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, is
considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great
Depression of the 1930s. U.S. households lost on average nearly $5,800 in income due to
reduced economic growth during the acute stage of the financial crisis. 192)
Production Information:
XL883
XL883C 'Custom'
XL883L 'Low'
XL1200C 'Custom
XL1200L 'Low'
XL1200R 'Roadster'
XL1200N 'Nightster'
(HDI only) XL883R 'Roadster'
(HDI only) XR1200
Only year 1200R had 4.5 Gallon tank (in US)
Intro of hollow axles – front changed to 1”
Last year for base 883 and 1200R in the US
Last year 883 cylinders can be bored for 1200 upgrade
Intro of XR1200 in Europe
2009
MoCo notes:
Harley-Davidson announces expansion into India. 193)
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The 2009 model year brings the first three-wheeler for public purchase in the new FLHTCUTG
Tri Glide Ultra Classic. Also new is the history-inspired Cross Bones, a bobbed factory
custom.194)
Production Information:
XL883C 'Custom'
XL883L 'Low'
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200L 'Low'
XL1200N 'Nightster'
XR1200
(HDI only) XL883
(HDI only) XL883R 'Roadster'
First year of XR1200 in US (Limited edition 750 models)
First year 883N Iron - Blacked Out similar to Nightster
Front fender revised - closer to tire
2010
Production Information:
XL883L 'Low'
XL883N 'Iron
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200L 'Low'
XL1200N 'Nightster'
XL1200X '48'
XR1200
(HDI only) XL883C Custom
(HDI only) XL883R Roadster
(HDI only) XR1200X
Revised Oil Tank, Electrical Junction Box and ECM
ECM relocated behind rear jug (allows seats and rear fenders from 04-06 to fit)
First year of XL1200X 48
Last year of XR1200
(HDI only) Intro of XR1200X - an XR with floating discs, and adjustable front and rear suspensions
(including Showa Big Piston forks)
2011
Production Information:
XL883L 'SuperLow' (re-engineered Low)
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200L 'Low'
XL1200N 'Nightster'
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Sportster History
XL1200X '48'
XR1200X
(HDI only) XL883R 'Roadster'
SuperLow replaces 883L 'Low' (first stock XL with radial tires but on smaller wheels with more
shock travel - seat height slightly higher than previous 883L)
First year of XR1200X in US
Last year of XL1200L 'Low'
2012
Production Information:
XL883L 'SuperLow'
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200N 'Nightster'
XL1200X '48'
XL1200V '72'
XR1200X
2013
Production Information:
XL883L 'SuperLow'
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200X '48'
XL1200V '72'
2014
Production Information:
XL883L 'SuperLow'
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200T 'SuperLowT'
XL1200X '48'
XL1200V '72'
First year of XL1200T 'SuperLowT'
Significant changes for 2014 195):
All 2014 Sportsters will utilize the “HDLAN electrical system” (aka CANBus).
The BCM (Body Control Module) controls all things electrical; including the horn, headlight,
and starter.
The BCM eliminates the need for separate TSM/TSSM modules.
Eliminates the need for load balancer for running LEDs.
Marketed that there are less wires and fuses needed.
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Exhaust changes:
All US/Domestic models now have catalyst in the mufflers.
Welded cross over pipe.
Brake system changes:
The front calipers change from dual 25mm pistons to 34mm.
The rear brake is now a dual 35 mm piston.
ABS optional.
Bikes fitted with the security system will be shipped for “keyless” operation and ignition
switch eliminated.
The rear swing arm mounting changes.
Oil Tank changes.
2015
Production Information:
XL883L 'SuperLow'
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200T 'SuperLowT'
XL1200X '48'
XL1200V '72'
2016
Production Information:
XL883L 'SuperLow'
XL883N 'Iron'
XL1200C 'Custom'
XL1200T 'SuperLowT'
XL1200X '48'
XL1200V '72'
2017
MoCo notes
February 2nd, 2017 Harley executives rode to the White House to meet President Donald
Trump.
.
.
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Sportster History
Sportster Parts Chart
This is a chart of the variation in parts that appear on different years of Sportsters… For instance, the
size of the axles -and- the various brake pads used… 196)
Sportster Model Years in Production
Additional information needed to complete the Ironhead chart 197)
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Sportsters by Specific Year
Model K
General Info198)
1952
1953
1954
1955 Sportster
1956 Sportster
1950s
1957 Sportster
1958 Sportster
1959 Sportster
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1960s
1960 Sportster
1961 Sportster
1962 Sportster
1963 Sportster
1964 Sportster
1965 Sportster
1966 Sportster
1967 Sportster
1968 Sportster
1969 Sportster
1970s
1970 Sportster
1971 Sportster
1972 Sportster
1973 Sportster
1974 Sportster
1975 Sportster
1976 Sportster
1977 Sportster
1978 Sportster
1979 Sportster
1980s
1980 Sportster
1981 Sportster
1982 Sportster
1983 Sportster
1984 Sportster
1985 Sportster
1986 Sportster
1987 Sportster
1988 Sportster
1989 Sportster
1990s
1990 Sportster
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Sportster History
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1991 Sportster
1992 Sportster
1993 Sportster
1994 Sportster
1995 Sportster
1996 Sportster
1997 Sportster
1998 Sportster
1999 Sportster
2000s
2000 Sportster
2001 Sportster
2002 Sportster
2003 Sportster
2004 Sportster
2005 Sportster
2006 Sportster
2007 Sportster
2008 Sportster
2009 Sportster
2010s
2010 Sportster
2011 Sportster
2012 Sportster
2013 Sportster
2014 Sportster
2015 Sportster
2016 Sportster
1)
, 4) , 12) , 14) http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=32308
2)
, 3) , 8) , 9) , 10) , 11) 1959-1964 HD Sportster FSM pg 1A-3
5)
, 7) Credits to the Harley Davidson Data Book by Rick Conner 1996 MBI Publishing Company
6)
1972-2003 HD Shop Dope Service Bulletin No 392 11-27-1957
13)
, 24) -1985 Clymer Sportster Repair Manual pg 215
15)
, 45) , 75) , 96) , 113) , 118) , 152) , 169) http://www.lead.org.au/Chronology-Making_Leaded_Petrol_History.pdf
16)
, 17) , 22) , 25)
https://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/museum/explore/hd-history/1960.html
18)
, 19) , 20) HD Shop Dope Service Bulletin No 455 December 6, 1961
21)
HD Shop Dope Service Bulletin No 454 December 4, 1961
23)
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/sportster_history:start
26)
Shop Dope Vol 4 Service Bulletin No 518 Sep 10, 1965
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27)
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Sportster History
, 28) , 29) , 42) http://www.classic-motorcycle-build.com/sportster-history.html
30)
Shop Dope Vol 4 Service Bulletin No 563 Nov 29, 1967
31)
Shop Dope Vol 4 Service Bulletin No 572 June 10, 1968
32)
HD Service School service bulletin #570 dated May 21, 1968
33)
, 34) , 35) , 36) , 37) , 38) Hopper from the XLFORUM
http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=2002757&page=8
39)
1970-2010 Haynes Sportster Service and Repair Manual pg 0.5
40)
Shop Dope Service Bulletin #588A dated October 9, 1969
41)
Shop Dope Vol 4, Service Bulletin No 582 Dec 17, 1968
43)
Shop Dope Service Bulletin #592 dated June 17,1969
44)
, 46) , 51) , 54) , 68) , 80) , 81) , 91)
https://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/museum/explore/hd-history/1970.html
47)
http://www.nationalmcmuseum.org/featured-bikes/feature-bike-harley-davidson-xr750-cut-away-bike/
48)
Shop Dope Service Bulletin #593 dated June 17, 1969
49)
HD Sportster Parts Catalog 99451-78 pg 5
50)
http://www.paisanopub.com/internal/about.php
52)
HD Service School service bulletin #625 dated August 2, 1971
53)
https://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/museum/explore/hd-history/1970.html
55)
, 56) , 77) , 89) , 101) , 124) 1972-2003 HD XR750 Service Manual XR 750 Production Schedule pg 69
57)
, 58) , 59) , 60) , 61) , 62) , 63) , 64) , 65) , 66) , 67) , 78) , 104) , 125) , 126) , 127) , 128) , 129) 1972-2003 HD XR-750 Service
Manual pg 3
69)
, 148) , 175) http://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/events/racing/racing-history.html
70)
1954-1978 HD Sportster Parts Catalog pg 89
71)
HD Service School Service Bulletin #650 dated May 15, 1973
72)
, 73) , 74) HD Service School Service Bulletin #656 dated February 11, 1974
76)
HD Service School service letter dated July 23, 1975
79)
http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=518948&highlight=wet+sumping
82)
, 83) , 84) , 85) , 86) http://www.bikez.com/motorcycles/harley-davidson_xlcr_1000_cafe_racer_1977.php
87)
2010 Haynes Sportster Service and Repair Manual pg 3.1
88)
, 95) Hopper from the XLFORUM
http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=518948&highlight=wet+sumping
90)
HD XLH, XLCH 1000 Sportster Parts Catalog pg 91 (99451-78B)
92)
1979-1985 HD Parts Catalog pgs 63,65
93)
, 102) 1979-194 Sportster FSM pg 3-35
94)
1985 Clymer Sportster Repair Manual pg 225
97)
, 98) , 99) , 100) , 106) , 107) , 112) , 115) , 116) , 117) , 122) , 123)
https://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/museum/explore/hd-history/1980.html
103)
1959-1985 Clymer Sportster Service and Repair Manual pg 79
105)
1972-2003 HD XR-750 Service Manual pg 69
108)
, 109) , 110) , 111) 1979-1985 HD FSM
114)
1979-1985 HD Sportster Parts Catalog pg 73
119)
1986-1990 HD XLH FSM pg 1-6
120)
, 121) 1986-1990 XLH FSM
130)
, 131) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-58
132)
, 135) , 136) , 142) , 143) , 146) , 147) , 151) , 155) , 158) , 159) , 160) , 161) , 162) , 163) , 165)
https://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/museum/explore/hd-history/1990.html
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133)
, 134) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-50
137)
1986-2003 Clymer Sportster Repair Manual
138)
, 139) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-42
140)
, 141) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-34
144)
, 145) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-26
149)
, 150) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-18
153)
, 154) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-10
156)
, 157) HD 1989-1996 Painted Parts Book pg 1-2
164)
1998 HD Sportster Parts Catalog pg 135
166)
, 167) , 168) , 170) , 171) , 172) , 173) , 174) , 176) , 177) , 178) , 179) , 180) , 181) , 182) , 183) , 184) , 185) , 186) , 187) , 188) , 189) , 190) , 191) ,
193)
, 194) https://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/museum/explore/hd-history/2000.html
192)
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2010/04/28/the-impact-of-the-september-200
8-economic-collapse
195)
http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showpost.php?p=4545852&postcount=162
196)
, 197) Chart by IXL2Relax of the XLFORUM
198)
http://www.harleykmodel.com/
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