The Harley-Davidson XLCR 1000 parked in the sun

Harley-Davidson XLCR 1000: once ignored, now cherished


it might have been a damp sales squib, but this Harley-Davidson looks great

We’ve never been Harley Heads here at Influx Towers.

That thumping noise. That vibration. That rough build quality.

But of late we’ve been gushing over Harley’s vaguely caffed-out seventies lowrider: the Harley-Davidson XLCR 1000.

Nods to cafe racer styling aside, it was hardly a roundabout-to-roundabout champ. That long wheelbase and low-slung stance, with front forks reaching out way out front, meant that it was by all accounts a lethargic performer with “narcoleptic” handling. Which just didn’t cut it in a market that favoured faster, cheaper Japanese models.

And sales reflected that. Fewer than 3,500 were ever made, and production only ran for two years – 1977 to 1979 – before they lost favour entirely.

But the unusual exhaust system catches our eye, and, though it might not have helped the gases escape particularly efficiently, it certainly looked the part and lent to the bike a customised, purposeful aspect.

We’re not the only ones who feel this way. The XLCR has had something of a resurgence, with many bikers gaining a new-found appreciation for the old cafe racer style. Nowadays, these bikes are sold for way over the original sales price – and we’re embracing this change; bring back the 70s sportster, we say.

Really, we think the XLCR 1000 was simply before its time so wasn’t given the recognition it deserved. But the bike lives on and now serves as inspiration to many retro-style cafe racers and custom builds.

The whole issue chimes with the current times. It looks, raw, simple and sexy – and reminds us of a kind of Moto Guzzi Le Mans wrought in Milwaukee.

What’s NOT to like about this knucklehead?

Old advert for the Harley-Davidson XLCR 1000 named Caviar on Wheels