Impossibly Low-Mileage1977 Harley-Davidson XLCR Cafe Racer for Sale
The sinister black Harley Davidson XLCR brings to mind Spinal Tap’s infamous Smell The Glove album cover: “It’s like, how much more black can it be? And the answer is none. None more black.”
It’s a very menacing beast, and looks ready to tear your arms out the moment you twist the throttle. But, although the bodywork was very racy, the XLCR was all show and not so much go: it was standard Harley underneath, meaning four speeds in the box and pushrods working the valves of the 998cc not-particularly-sporty Ironhead Sportster motor: internals and fueling were all standard. An antiquated frame made of bits from several models, spindly forks, and fairly primitive suspension didn’t do it any favors in the corners either. Aside from the exhaust and the triple-disc brakes, this was a very conventional parts-bin special.
But that’s not necessarily a problem, since bikes made with proven, relatively inexpensive parts can be great to ride and good for the bottom line. Ducati’s evergreen Monster is proof of that, the sales of which actually kept the company afloat for quite a few years.
And the XLCR certainly looks the part, so it’s surprising it didn’t sell well. Or maybe not: Harley has become relatively notorious for endlessly looking towards the past for inspiration, and perhaps the cafe-racer trend wasn’t old enough at the time to appeal to the very traditional Harley enthusiasts, who didn’t want any European influences spoiling their rides…
Or maybe it was just the high price and limited performance that kept buyers of Italian, British, and Japanese performance machinery away.
From the original eBay listing: 1977 Harley Davidson XLCR for Sale
All original in new condition with 2 miles. Never restored or ridden. It’s been in my collection for the past 4 years and I have had it displayed my living room. I have clear title and comes with AMF keys. Your chance to own a piece of Harley Davidson History in museum condition. This bike has never been on the road!!! It will need to have the carbs cleaned before taking her riding. Absolutely a gorgeous bike!
Regardless of why they didn’t sell well at the time, there aren’t all that many of these around. Which is a shame, since it’s a very handsome machine, with perhaps my favorite Harley exhaust. I really dislike the traditional, staggered exhausts on sporty[ish] HD’s, but this unusual, siamesed treatment is graceful and tough at the same time.
So the XLCR is not really a café racer in anything but name, but that’s okay: it’s a vintage machine, and riders should be expecting vintage performance. The XLCR’s dynamic limitations are a little more acceptable these days, and they’ve got style by the bucketload. At the time, it was considered an odd duck, not accepted by Harley fans, not fast enough for the racer crowd. Now, its classic style and rarity make it a collectors item. This one is beautiful, although the extremely low miles suggest it might be better in your living room than your garage.