Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I vowed never to own another one. Ive had 5 of the damn things, A 1970 XLH, a 1976 XLH, a 1963 XLCH, 1972 XLH, and a 1972 XLCH. I took a break for a couple of years and had a '80 Shovel, an assortment of BMW airheads, and now I just got ANOTHER 1972 XLCH. It came with an extra motor, frame, wheels, etc. Basically, a giant assorted pile of shit. Its in rough, beat-up shape. Exactly what I was looking for. I finally accepted the fact that Ironheads are dear to my heart. The first motorcycle I lusted after, due largely to the fact that my Dad rode one for years with his club. Some guys buy a Harley to just have a Harley, I always wanted a Sportster and didn't care too much for the other models. I appreciate Big Twins for what they are, don't get me wrong. Ill more than likely get another Shovel someday, but for now, its this.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Sold the Shovelhead a couple months ago. Honestly, I thought I'd miss it more considering how much work I did to her, but I don't, really. It was a great bike, got lots of positive comments and admiring stares, but honestly, big twins are heavy, cumbersome, and good for straight lines and interstate freeways. Thats not a bad thing, but I guess I like smaller, more nimble bikes. Namely, Sportsters! I love them, always have. My girlfriend said to me as the shovel was riding away "Oh well, you're a Sportster guy anyway." I've owned 5 of them, and regretted selling all of them (except the '72 CH, which gave me a permanent limp, haha!). I love the more "standard" stance and aesthetics of old Ironheads. They look more purposeful to me. So, I sold the Shovel and bought a low miles 1998 Ford Ranger. I don't regret the decision one bit, but my '99 Sporty, although perfectly reliable, doesn't fill the void in my soul like a classic ironhead sportster. Hmmm, a guy emailed me about a trading a '72 XLH with extra parts bike for my old '66 F250...
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Thinkin' about bikes I've owned and my old '63 popped into my head. Traded my super clean restored '76 XLH for it. It wasnt running, a beat up purple painted half ass wanna be chopper. I turned it into a stock style Sporty. She was light and fast! I do have a permanent limp from kicker her with the worn out kicker gear slipping(: Sold it to a Japanese guy from LA who bought it without even starting it up. Shipped to Japan. Man, I wish I never sold her...Sayanora lil' XL!
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
But a deal came along I couldn't refuse. I've never owned a new(er) Harley, mostly because I love old bikes and honestly, new Harley's just never appealed to me. While working on my beloved Shovelhead last week, it dawned on me that I really can't depend on the old girl for any long trips. She runs like a raped ape and is the most comfortable motorcycle I've ever ridden, but realistically,I'm too fucking old to be broke down in the middle of Nevada with no cell phone reception and an 700 pound Shovelhead FL. I'm good for a couple hundred miles on her, and that's all. Last summer, the rear brake support came loose, caught on a pothole and almost launched me into a semi at 70mph. I still love it though. I started thinking about what kind of bike I could get that would be cheap, reliable, and still have a little visceral appeal, at least to me. I started looking for used Triumph Bonnevilles, but the cheapest used one I could find was around $5000, so that wouldn't work for my budge, so I started looking half heartedly at Evo Sportsters. They've always been invisible to me, honestly. I've owned 5 old Ironhead Sportys and loved them, so I always looked at the Evos as kinda pale vanilla imitations of Ironheads. I started researching stories and ride reports by people who've toured on Sportys and found quite a few positive reviews and interesting ride stories by people who've put thousands of miles on Sportsters, particularly 883's. I started looking and came across a bone stock 1999 Sportster 883 with 10,000 miles on it. Of course it was an hour away, but the owner wanted $3600. I offered $3000 and he said come get it. When my son and I arrived at his house way out in the middle of nowhere, we waited at a huge wrought iron gate with security cameras. We were escorted by a black Cadillac Escalade up to the 10 car garage and a tall, tanned muscular man came to greet us. This guy, whoever he was, was loaded, as in rich as hell. He walked us to the bike and I was stunned. It looked like it rolled off the showroom floor, that day! We started it up, purred like a kitten, and I just silently handed him my cash. I rode it an hour home during shitty lunch hour traffic and I smiled the whole way home. So now I'm one of the "invisible". Snubbed by Euro bike riders and ridiculed by Harley "bros" (who probably have never turned a wrench on a Harley in their lives and I've restored 7) as riding a "girls bike". I've always found that prejudice ridiculous and confounding. It seems specific to Harley culture, starting in the 70s. Before that, Sportsters were the kings of the drags trip, capable of beating anything on two wheels of the line. Somehow they became discriminated against and the myopic Neanderthal observations of big twin owners were that because it's smaller than a big twin, it must be inferior and therefore "not manly". But, unfortunately, Harley's attract that kinda wannabe macho tough guy. Too bad for them, and great for me! I'm thrilled to own this bike. And it's reliable to boot. Who woulda thought...