1977 Harley-Davidson XLCR

XLCR-Main

Harley-Davidson Design Director Willie G. Davidson brought us some interesting motorcycles in the 1970′s, machines that took a new styling path for Harley-Davidson. His first was the Super Glide which hit showrooms in 1971, already in the works when AMF acquired Harley-Davidson in 1969. Looking at performance and styling trends and engine and chassis available, Willie next set his sights on designing a sportier Sportster.

Using a modified Sportster frame that mounted the shocks more rearward, low bars, rear-set footpegs, a blacked-out engine and exhaust, Morris mags and triple disks, a sleek fiberglass tank, seat and fairing, also in black, Davidson created what has become an iconic Harley, the XLCR or XL "Cafe Racer."

XLCR-Second

It’s important to see what else was available in the early to mid-1970s that may have influenced Davidson as he sketched the XLCR and what it competed with it on American roads. The Kawasaki Z1, and Z1R plus the Z1R Turbo were probably king of the hill. Honda’s aging CB750 had been mildly re-styled into the "CB750F" a quasi-cafe racer form with a four-into-one pipe. Suzuki was about to launch its GS series of 550, 750 and 1000 four-stroke DOHC machines. But just as important were earlier influences from Europe in 1973/1974; BMW brought us the R90S with bikini fairing and decked seat,  and Ducati offered their race-winning 750 Super Sport also with some streamlining, sport controls, even solo seating.

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The XLCR hit a couple of barriers. Notes say only 3,123 were made in 1977 and 1978. For one the XLCR was somewhat foreign to the traditional Harley customer, even to dealers and Sportster riders. And it was quite behind the curve in handling and track or straight line performance up against European and Japanese offerings.  Some considered it too little too late, but sport bikes have never proved to be Harley’s niche. So it lingered on the showroom floor. But today it’s greatly appreciated. An XLCR in excellent original condition it’s worth nearly five times its $3600 price when new in 1977.

Specifications:

Engine……………………45 Degree OHV Twin

Displacement…….61 Cubic Inches/ 1000 cc’s

Bore & Stroke………………..3.19 x 3.8 Inches

Compression ratio……………………………9 : 1

Horsepower………………………………………68

Carburetor……………………………………Keihin

Primary………………………………………..Chain

Transmission……………………………4-Speed

Electrics………12 Volt/ Battery/Coil & Points

Frame……………..Steel, Double Down Tube

Suspension…Telescopic Fork/Twin Shocks

Wheels/Tires……………3.00 x 19 / 4.00 x 18

Brakes…………………………………Triple Disks

Weight…………………………………515 Pounds

Top Speed……………Approximately 110mph