(Note old Yamaha boat anchor in rear of pic-the Cunnermen took it away this week after I put a "free" sign on it)
I really wish that I could pass up a deal sometimes. When this 2000 Harley-Davidson 1200XL Sportster was offered to me for the price of a well-worn dirtbike, I had to jump. Never considered myself a Harley type of guy...then I rode it. Now I know what all the hype is about. True, this is a newer model-Evolution engine is rubber-mounted on the frame, and a lot of the roughness has been smoothed out of the line. But there is still the satisfying rumble that is American V-Twin.
I grew up around Harley-Davidson-kind of. As a kid, The Old Man had a Harley/AMF snowmobile. While the AMF years are regarded as some of the worst for H-D, as I kid I didn't know any better. Our sled was red, white and blue, and our helmets festooned with the Stars and Stripes "#1" logo.
(AMF went into all kinds of new fields with H-D's brand-snowmobiles and dirt bikes was one.)
This would have been cool enough, but at the time a certain idol of mine, yes, an American Idol of a much different kind was burning up the nation on a Harley of his own. That's right, none other than Evel Knievel rode a Harley in many of his famed stunts. Any kid who grew up in the Seventies and ever crashed a Schwinn Stingray off a scrap lumber ramp has a little bit of Evel in him. I sat through hours of hype and talk on Saturday afternoons as ABC Sports covered the latest Evel stunt. I wanted to be him-shit, I was for Halloween. I had the posters, the records the toys...and of course, my red, white and blue Harley helmet-NUMBER ONE!
(A pre-Misery Evel shows his pearly whites-photo courtesy of his official site.)
(Bad-Ass in the Seventies was having your name on a pinball machine!)
(Portrait of The Daredevil as a Young Man.)
Of course, times have changed-Evel has grown old and is a miserable bastard-his son Robbie claims he was always a bastard. As a kid, I never knew my idol was pretty much a turd. I saw the recent documentary on his life and it made me cry. Today we'd have to pay $75 to watch him on Pay-Per-View if he were around. A sad part of growing up is knowing your idols are all dead or pieces of shit.
But anyway, back to the bike. It runs like a dream-seems to be all low-end, but it's nice for blipping the throttle around town. Not nearly as scary as my Magna, but maybe part of that is from having owned the Magna. She's comfy up until about 80mph, then she really starts to vibrate and wander, kinda like a big old dildo left turned on, across a linoleum floor.
I'm not crazy about purple, so I talked to my friend Wee Paul, who is an absolute wizard with bike paint. I've seen him rebuild absolute wrecks into show bikes. I was thinking silver-my helmet is silver with flames that fade from red to yellow. The silver is approximately the color of the Yamaha R1s. Paulie has sprayed this on at least two bikes that I know of, and I've seen black and silver look pretty damned good on a Sportster. We are going to design something and see what we can do.
Paul's buddy Tom has the same bike, with the exception of the wheels-his are steel spoked. He's got a spare front wheel I'd like to con him out of, I think it would dress up the front. At this point I'm so ahead of the game on price, I can afford a little bling. Truth be told, I'd like to keep it subdued, more like a Night Train:
Note how the motor is almost totally black, save for the hardware and jug fins. Subtle, yet screaming "BAD-ASS" all at once. this one is a custom, but you get the idea. I think I'd like the tank to be silver where this one is black and vice versa. Any ideas?