1977 Harley-Davidson XLCR Cafe Racer


A design from the great Willie G. Davidson, the XLCR was made for only two years, 1977 and 1978.

Taking design cues from the sleek, minimal and wildly successful 1970 – 1980 XR750 dirt track production racer, Willie G. designed the XLCR Sportster to compete with the sport bikes coming out of Japan at the time. But Willie also went a more traditional route with frame design when he used shock locations from the XR750, a bit farther forward, and got some room for the oil tank and battery. Flat bars, rear-set foot-pegs and cast aluminum wheels also broke new ground as they borrowed from road racers of the period. But compared to the competition, the 1950’s design XL motor was down on power and handling was only good.

Oddly, combining XR750 and Sportster legacy, the Cafe Racer was still a bit foreign to most of the Harley-Davidson customer base and dealers and never really caught on. Soon relegated to “collectible,” low miles machines are highly desirable today.

After about five years in the Harley-Davidson Design Department, Willie G. Davidson was promoted to Vice President of Styling in 1969. The boat-tail design, one of his first, appeared as an option available on 1970 and 1971 XLCH and XLH Sportsters and was part of the Super Glide design, and the XLCR followed a few years later. Although the Buell line arguably filled this niche very well, with Buell gone some say Harley-Davidson should do this model over again using current chassis tech and a new engine and make a machine similar to the just announced Indian FTR1200.


  • Engine: 45 Degree Overhead Valve V-Twin
  • Displacement: 61 Cubic Inches / 1000 cc’s
  • Bore & Stroke: 3.19″ x 3.81″
  • Carburetor: Keihin
  • Compression Ratio: 9:1
  • Horsepower: 68HP
  • Primary: Triplex Chain
  • Clutch: Dry, Multi-disk
  • Transmission: 4-Speed, Foot Shift
  • Ignition: 12V Battery, Points & Coils
  • Frame: Steel, Double Down Tube
  • Suspension: Telescopic Fork, Swingarm / Dual Shocks
  • Brakes: Disk, Front and Rear
  • Wheels/Tires: 3.00 x 19 / 4.00 x 18
  • Wheelbase: 58.5″
  • Weight: 515 Pounds


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  1. David Van Grinsven

    I’m not really a Harley Davidson guy but if I was to own one, this would be the one. I saw mock up’s of other models at the Harley Davidson museum that I wish they had made but they stick to the formula and keep guy’s like me out of the show room.

  2. Greg M

    Very cool bike. They should make a modern era version based on the Superglide. Oh, I guess they dropped that model too.

  3. Alan Williams LM 0041

    Love this bike and wish I had one in my garage!

  4. Greg Martinich

    I owned one,a 1977.Bought new in 1980.They did not sell well.The only thing the XLCR did well was look good.Slow,poor brakes,handled horrible.I rode it to Harley events.For everything else I used my BMW!

  5. Bob Simmons

    I thought they were an odd looking duck when they first came out and time has not shown the XLCR any kindness.
    I have a 1981 XLH Sportster that I would not trade straight across for a XLCR unless maybe if it had been Willie’s personal rider, and then only maybe.

  6. Tom Roskop

    I owned an AMF Superglide. What a mistake! Nothing but problems. AMF should have stuck with bowling.

  7. Tommy Puckett

    I have ridden one of these. Retro Tours has one that you can do a multi-day trip on.
    It was amazing to ride for a short ride, and an experience that you can’t forget for long distance.

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