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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 14th February 2008
ericfreeman's Avatar
ericfreeman ericfreeman is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: Ironhead XLH Sportster
Sportster/Buell Year: 1978
Sportster/Buell Model #2: Ironhead XLT Sportster
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1977
Other Motorcycle Model: Honda CBX 1000
Other Motorcycle Year: 1979
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Default Another Reason I Love My Ironhead

I was looking through a few biker magazines recently and I realized that there must be at least a dozen manufacturers of Big Twin engines (S&S, JIMS, TP, etc., etc.) including modern versions of the Knuckle/Pan/Shovel head models. Very few of the custom bikes are using real HD motors anymore and when you see a BT you never know whether they're running a real HD motor or not. With Ironheads, you KNOW they're authentic and not some new knockoff. And, you also know that someone, the owner, an indie or maybe an oldschool dealer is spending the necessary time and money to keep this engine running. Lot of history here that is authentic, not a fancy copy of the original. Sure, the new BT motors are probably more reliable with less maintenance, but I'd rather have the REAL Raquel Welch, not someone wearing a rubber mask of her!! Just my opinion.

Eric
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  #2  
Old 14th February 2008
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good points, eric. now i love mine even more.
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  #3  
Old 14th February 2008
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Agreed! Anyone can buy anything with enough money. You can ride around something someone else dreamed up and built, and stretching, chrome, fat tires, billet, and wild paint are the best way to blend into the crowd. It takes something special to catch someone's attention nowadays. There's just something special about someone taking personal interest and making a commitment to either keep something going decades after it was built, or building something with their own two hands. All original ain't my style, but it commands respect. A man who decides to modify old iron, take the road less traveled, commands appreciation for taking a machine and making it his own. You just know that old iron didn't just make through the decades on a whim. Someone loves that machine, and you can't buy that in a bike!
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  #4  
Old 14th February 2008
RRB RRB is offline
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Every time you see old iron, you are seeing an affirmation of the longevity of the breed and the value that the owner sees in keeping the older machine running. When I see an old bike well kept up and running, I see a testament to the fact that these bikes have a resilience that a lot of others didn't. This is not true only of HDs, but of Triumphs, Indians, BMWs, and other lines.

Old Sportys are a breed apart, in some ways. They were the American Super Bike of the fifties and on into at least the mid sixties, if not later. They were fast, torquey, and many if not most of them were "rode hard". That so many are still on the road says something about their intrinsic value, and their ability to weather time, demanding owners, and the durability of the design.

I think that part of the good reputation that Harley-Davidson has is built upon the older bikes that are still running and testify to the fact that some of the bikes can outlive the owners. "Quality" doesn't only date back ten years. I wish more of the dealerships and their salesmen would publicly recognize that fact. I also wish that BT owners would recognize that the Sportster still has a lot of cachet, no matter what the vintage.

Sorry, Eric, I didn't intend to hijack your thread with a minor bitch. Your point is well taken and appreciated.
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  #5  
Old 14th February 2008
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Well said.
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  #6  
Old 14th February 2008
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Sportster/Buell Model: Ironhead XLH Sportster
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Other Motorcycle Year: 1979
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannonball View Post
Well said.
I'll second that. What's equally as impressive as the machines themselves are the dedicated owners who have the passion to keep old iron alive and kicking.

Eric
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  #7  
Old 14th February 2008
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I only hope I can keep my bikes "rubber-mask", errrr I mean "rubber-mount", running for that many years.

Respect for keeping it running, I take pride in my ride too.
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  #8  
Old 14th February 2008
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Default Couldn't keep my big mouth shut!

I bought a 75 xlch not too long ago. I bought it as a fixerupper and planned on selling her as soon as I had it bolted back together. I know a lot of people say there is no resale value in these bikes and I knew I would be looking for "the right buyer" but thats all right by me because my strategy on selling her is to keep her on the roads and running. Which means plenty of road time for me!!! I have never bought a car in my life that was not registered and being driven and feel that is a testament to it being road worthy. So somewhere along with the cracks about it being an amf and people saying they arent worth anything "ironheads that is" I learned a very valuable lesson. This 30 year old perfectly functional bike is a really great machine and although I did really buy it with the intent of choppin it up and makin it a for sale bike I am having second thoughts about sellin her and have even looked for another one to build after shes gone. These are really great machines not exactly what I am used to seeing that I ride a big twin most days but the iron has it's merits all the same. And although my fatboy stands out in a croud I get the same attention on the iron and astounded as I may be at all the negative I hear about iron heads especially amf years I would buy another one in a heartbeat. eric and cannonball are spot on!!! They are great bikes and they are in a class all by themselves. My iron may not get me to the pub club or coffee pit as fast as my fatboy but when I get there I will always arrive in style. I have acuired an apreciation for these quirky machines and a true love of the quad cam design it really looks great and in noodleing around with mine I have even been working on some parts of my own to fit them. Here's the clincher I know if I make and design parts for iron heads ill never make big bucks with it the demand just is not there. so why would i do it you ask ? For love of the ride I think I have just about heard it all by now and for every comment i hear about how bad they are or how poorly the quality I only have 1 reply "IF AMF MADE SUCH A CRAPPY BIKE OR IF THE EARLIER ONES WHERE BUILD SO POORLY THEY WHY THE HELL IS THIS ONE AND SO MANY LIKE IT STILL HERE. AND BY THE WAY WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW A 40 YEAR OLD GSXR? They are in a league all their own with a sound that is bar none the true harley sound. Others have tried to duplicate it but none can. Ironhead sportsters are the best and with their destinctive features and class will continue to rock the motorcycle world for decades to come. It is the bike I always wanted as a kid but never could afford. And yhea your paint and fat back tire might look great parked on the street next to starbucks but not only does my iron look great at starbucks it looks equally as great if not greater going down the road with some lil hotttie holdin on fer dear life on the long island expressway as well.
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Old 14th February 2008
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I don't have any friends that have
70s model Sportsters now, but I did back then. Sportsters from the 70s and before had a presence that other bikes, and later model Sportsters don't have. I have a friend that has a late 82 model XLH, but it doesn't really have IT. I think the last model to have IT, was probably a XLX. After that something happened. None of the EVO Sportsters have, IT. My own Sportster as nice as I think it is, and as much as I love it, it doesn't have that IT that the Irons from the 70s and before had. As long as bikes ride the roads I hope they will always be with us. Thank god for the men that love them, and keep them amoung us till the end of time.
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  #10  
Old 14th February 2008
black06883 black06883 is offline
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I've never seen a forty year old Gixxer probably because they are only 23 years old. Ha ha

But seriously, all points well made and taken. My first Harley (notice I didn't say Sportster) was a 72 XLCH. What a way to become one of the family by only being able to kick your bike to life. A truely incredible feeling. I loved the bike, but I became clouded. New bikes are IT I thought and went out and bought a brand new sporty. BIGGEST mistake a have made in a long time! Nothing against the bike. It runs good and has been reliable, but so was my 72. The new one most certainly does not have IT. It feels like a Honda. Doesn't sound like a Harley (can be kinds cured), doesn't smell like a Harley (unless something is wrong), and doesn't feel like a Harley (again, unless something is wrong). The new bikes have their place I guess. Its not for me. I feel cheapened and ripped off. Not by the dealership but by Harley itself. They sanitized the 'experiance' in order to sell more product. Nothing against them for it, but at least advertise that it isn't the same. I will probably get flack for my comments, that's ok. I feel what I feel.

I ended up giving up on the new bike after two years. I just don't love it. I have come back. Its not going to be my first, it never is, is it? But it will be damn close. My project is almost done being bolted together, something you don't really do on a new bike unless you want to, and I can't wait to fire it up for the first time!

Ironheads are special and the owners have to be grouped in there with them. After all, if not for the owners then they wouldn't be around now would they.
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