1977 - 1979, 1000cc air-cooled 45-degree V-twin
Why you might like an XLCR ...
Looks: Bold. Brave. Brazen. We could look at 'em all day.
Collectability: Very high. XLCR fans will kill to own one.
Wheels: Maintenance free, but ali-alloy, not magnesium.
Fuel economy: Good for 60mpg on a slow cruise.
Engine: Heavily engineered and solid. But prone to oil weeps.
Torque: Plenty on tap. Nice grunty, rattly delivery.
Spares: All the mechanicals are available. Tinware is rare.
Depreciation: Not likely.
Horn: Gives a decent, truck-sized honk.
Seat height: Low enough for shorties. Short path to ground.
Presence: You'll always have eyes on you.
Servicing: Harleys are pretty simple and knowable.
Sound: Nice old school chugging, rattling symphony.
Throttle: Very light. Single carburettor. Easy adjustment.
Tappets: Especially easy to adjust.
... and why you might rather die
Vibration: As bad as anything we've ever ridden.
Weight: Heavy frame. Heavy cast wheels. Heavy engine.
Air filter: Ugly (but practical). Gets in the way of your right leg.
Clutch: Helps develop that left hand, wrist and forearm.
Theft: This is an easy cash cow for the usual lowlifes.
Indicators: Button each side. Hold down each to work. Doh!
Centre stand: Harley-Davidson doesn't know what these are.
Cornering: Gentle curves rather than sharp turns, please.
Handling: With care.
Wheels: They do nothing for unsprung weight.
Starting: Big battery drain, so keep it charged. No kicker.
Oil: Emulsifies easily. Check often. Change often.
Gearbox: Clonky, agricultural, but reasonably predictable.
Brakes: Weak sliding calipers on stainless discs. Oops.
Discs: They quickly show their age and show plough lines.
Finish: Awful on the frame, better on the tin. Wax often. Hope.
▲ "Caviar on wheels?" That soon sounded a little fishy, and clearly HD was hoping to hook a lot of sales, especially in the European market. That didn't happen. The Cafe Racer Sportster was famously a sales flop. But the company was perhaps right when their ad material suggested that "Only one man could have done this," as opposed to a committee. Willie G Davidson was that man. It was a nice try, but maybe a little too late. Or possibly too early. Regardless, the bikes are wanted now.
▲ French firm Mecatwin used to offer an Evo XLCR homage. We think the bike is no longer in production, but here's what it looked like. Features include an 883 or 1200cc Evo engine (c/w belt final drive), decent brakes, superior suspension, far better build quality, and a fat back tyre (that we're not actually that crazy about). Think Harley-Davidson should produce them? We do. But look what happened last time they tried it (see main text).
▲ ... alternately, here's an XLCR Evolution Chrysalis conversion kit. We think this is now out of production too (at the time of writing), but it was offered in two stages: A bodywork kit, and a bodywork/braking kit. No pricing details, but we're looking into it. If we find out, you'll find out. firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Sump Publishing 2015