5 Jan 2011

My fifth bike was a 1958 Harley Sporster

Was a 1958 or so Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCH (this is the 1960 model in the picture), which was over ten years old at the time. A couple of remarks here. First I am no longer a fan of Harleys, as I have already said once, but I owned two at one time once. Well, times change and so do we. Second this a a slightly dishonest entry because, although I did own this bike for a while, I never actually got it on the road. When I bought it, having borrowed the money from my elder brother since I was an impoverished student at the time and was already running my 1945 (or so) Harley 750 WLC as an everyday bike, it looked pretty much like this....

Not having a garage at the time I took it apart some more and kept in in my studio/living room for a while (I was at art school at the time). The plan was, of course, to rebuild it properly, but lack of time, mechanical skills, and cash (the dollar was pretty high to the pound at the time and remember I was a student). When I moved to a posher area in order to be nearer my school, my flat-mate, not to mention girl friends, kind of objected to sharing the new, smarter flat with this thing as well as me, and it had to go. So, to my great regret, I have never actually ridden a Sportster. Maybe one day, but I have to say that it is very far from being top of my "must do some time" list.


  1. I suppose the bike on the picture is a model similar to yours, but not actually yours. Surely, you wouldn’t buy a motorcycle from the Dutch ?
    You can add this post to your archives under the heading: “Blatantly primitive form of racism on behalf of someone who should know better”.

  2. Yes, very similar to the one I owned for a short time. I will let the Dutch deal with you as they think fit!

  3. Quite, David. Do you know how my compatriots (= fellow-countrymen in decent English) used to call Wilhelm van Nassau, Duke of Orange ? The “Bloedhertog”. Hertog is the Dutch (Flemish) for Duke and “bloed” doesn’t need any translation.
    What about Culloden?
    I would hate to finish this post on a sinister note. Therefore: Do you know Christ was a biker, at least for the french? Yes: « Il rentra en triomphe (Triumph) à Jérusalem ».
    The very same humour (?) insists he was a TB sufferer, ‘cause upon him appearing, the mob would go “Au sana*, au sana !”.
    (*: short for “sanitarium”)

  4. Luc, I am not sure that we want to set off another war between Scotland and England, or Frence and England, or Holland and wherever (was there a Belgium when William of Orange/Nassau was about?), or indeed even anywhere vs anywhere else.
    As for JC, your stories have long rather long ears (tirées par les oreilles). Talking about Christ, how did you like my Christmas day wine label present?

  5. All your points are well taken.
    As for Xmas’ juice, I did notice at that time that no tasting notes were available. I know endeavour to be so much of a “faux-cul” as I can. I refrained from commenting because I did not want to offend those among your readers who are fervent believers. Just like another David, I know you’re a kind of DJ and have got believers indeed.
    I intend to start a new blog that will include comments pertinent to the evaluation of anything divine, juices and otherwise. Miss Lewinsky already enrolled.
    I hope it will meet with success, as things ... come and go. Sic transit semen mundi!

  6. To which I am very tempted to reply "aleas ejacula est"!

  7. At first a correction of my typo and then a very short word of approval before I go to bed : I should have written “I now endeavour”. The “k” was not necessary, the more so because they had already given me an “f”. We all remember what that spells ...
    Approval of the idea behind your “latin de cuisine”. It should read “alea ejaculata est”, but it sounds great (and feels even better).
    Incidently, my nightcap is a dram of Ardbeg’s Airigh Nam Beist (1990 single malt albeit from different casks) which drinks best unreduced if you ask me, but with a lot of saliva. This keeps us in the same line as the rest of our comments. Bought it yesterday in Andorra-la-Viella, not cheap but worth every penny. The car was searched by the Spanish customs and they did not object to my bottle (that’s all I had taken). They were out to find, not Bunnahabhain but some cannahabhis and they did NOT.

  8. My latin is more than rusty but at least you got the idea. The whisky sounds good.

  9. That was sad, but I think it’s for the best. I’m pretty sure that you can ride a Sportster soon. Nowadays, there are establishments that restore and sell vintage vehicles and motorcycles. But it would be best to have a newer and better version. From what I gather, Harley’s XL1200X model takes on the classic design with a modern twist.

  10. I agree with Claudio. There’s really a place for old yet classy motorcycles. There are many motorcycle enthusiasts out there that is so willing to spend money for an old bike and revolve them into a better one. If I don’t have cash in future to sustain the needs of my Harley, I would definitely find a person who can keep it in a good maintenance.

  11. Well guys, you may be pleased to know that I am very happy with my rebuilt 1975 Norton Commando that I currently run alongside a new KTM single for up-to-date fun.