1979 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLHC 1000
Know your motorcycle
If you go over a hundred, I found out it breaks the speedometer cable.
Chronic starting problems, mostly due to me not knowing my own bike and bad Wal-mart batteries.
Cable problems shorting out under the seat, which some insulation, a bungee or as we do local style here in Hawaii, a slippah (thong, zorie or go-ahead depending on where you are from).
Other than a 21" front wheel with stainless steel spokes, I have tried to keep this motorcycle pretty stock. It is faster than most big twins, as it is the old iron head motor, and it has never yet let me down.
I once had my HD generator rebuilt by a marine generator specialist and that was probably a mistake as the new after-market Asian generator is much more dependable. I needed to learn that the hundred dollar GEL batteries were worth it as, you get what you pay for.
I try to keep my miles low and mostly stay around town, and when I do go on the big runs here, I get a lot of nice compliments.
Would I do it again? I think so, because as a former boater, I learned to"Know your boat". I have learned the same thing about old motorcycles.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th April, 2007
Yes, knowing your old motorcycle thoroughly is very important. Everyone contemplating motorcycle ownership should take the time to read the book "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance."
I have had my 1972 HD XLH 1000 (her name is Stella) for almost twenty years. The engine top end has been rebuilt twice and the entire engine rebuilt once during my ownership. The last rebuild included a total re-freshening of the entire bike. Anything not aluminum or chrome has been powder-coated. The drum brake front end replaced by a 1990's Hugger front end with dual piston disc brakes, fork brace and steering stabilizer. I can actually stop without planning for it with a calendar, and no more tank-slappers after hitting pot-holes on a curve!
Ignition is now single-fire electronics with dual coils, which has smoothed out much of the vibrations, but there's still enough to keep my girlfriend happy and satisfied;) I tried changing to an aftermarket all-in-one electronic module for the lights and starting system but the ignition module (from current design Harley) isn't up to the task of starting an old iron head. I went back to the old (bulky) mechanical starter relay with reliable results. The newer gel-cell batteries are absolutely worth the extra cost. I used to replace the battery every 1-1/2 to 2 years, but the gel cell has lasted 4 years so far and I don't even have to charge it after winter storage. I also upgraded the starter with a kit from Accell that increased the starter torque.
I too try to keep the mileage down on this 36 year old bike, if the block gets damaged a replacement (if you can find one) is big money, and properly welding cast aluminum is extremely tricky I'm told.
All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed owning my 1972 Harley XLH 1000 and can't imagine a future without it.
I have a 1968 HD XLCH 1000... tough to kick but awesome bike, sparky.