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1982 Harley Davidson FXRS - First year FXR - Mine!

My 1982 Harley Davidson FXRS – First year FXR

Start her up

My current personal interest is focused on the early FXR models since I now own and ride an 82 FXRS.  However, I don’t want to restrict the blog topics to only the early years (known as the holy grail to some.)  I found mine (pictured above) on eBay just a few weeks ago.  I got it from a  fellow in Kentucky I will refer to as “the winner” since he definitely had the most toys of anybody I have ever known!  A Ducatti road racer, a Beamer and 4 Harleys.  An authentic AC Cobra 427.  A Mercedes pumping out 680 HP.  A Segway (It) and many more rich boy toys.  I couldn’t count the number of rooms in his house (overlooking the golf course in a posh gated community near Louisville, KY.)  This poor fellow has been stricken with Parkinsons desease and can no longer ride.  He put all of his bikes on eBay where I was fortunate enough to come across my FXRS before somebody else bought it.

My HD History

1954 FLH Panhead Chopper

This is my seventh Harley.  I bought my first one at age 18.  A 1954 panhead with 18 inch over wide glide front end with turned lower legs (no fender), one inch of rake in the neck, rigid frame, six volt electrical system and a set of bicycle “stingray” handlebars shimmed appropriately with bear can shims at the riser so they wouldn’t fall out!  The guy wanted $500 for it.  I gave him $350 and fired it up and rode it off.  A year later it was stolen by a “friend” (yes, beware who you consider a trusted friend – I learned the hard way.)  How I wish I still had that motorcycle!

1968 XLCH Sportster

That was in 1973 and it kind of burned me out on “bikers” for a while.  A year and a new wife and son later I came across a 1968 Sportster that had been parked in a garage for a long time.  It was twelve inches over on the tubes with stock rake, tires and shocks.  I could barely reach the ground.  I got it for $1500.  Rode it for many years safe in the knowledge that hard core clubbers wouldn’t bother stealing a sportster.  By the time I traded it in it was full custom in a hardtail with wrap around oil bag, kick starter, magneto and a late model disk brake front end.

1978 1/2 FXS Low Rider and 1984 FLHTC

Traded it in (got my $1500 back out of it) on a 1978 1/2 Low Rider that had been involved in a slight front end collision.  Bent the tubes and egged the lower legs.  Got it for $4000 in 1979.  Rode the wheels off of it for the next 10 years or so.  Planned a trip out west and decided I needed some room for gear for the ol’lady and me so I traded it in on an 84 FLHTC fully dressed.  First year of the Evolution motor.  I hated that bike and treated it like crap.  I didn’t even wash it once in the year that I owned it.  The windshield looked like an artist’s pallet with all the bug guts on it.   Though I hated the bike I loved the Evo motor so I did the ultimate.  I traded for a brand new 1989 FXSTS Springer Softtail.  What a bike.  God was in direct contact with the engineers that designed the softtail and the newly designed springer worked flawlessly.

About 1985 I somehow managed to swap some computer stuff and got back my same 78 1/2 Low Rider.  Thought that was cool to own the same bike again.  Somebody had been really rough with it while it was out of my hands and soon it was completely disassembled in the garage.  I traded it (in pieces) for a Dodge Dakota pickup truck.  It went to Germany.

Club life

I rode with a national 1%er club (that will remain nameless) for several years in this period.  I reached the honorable position of national vice president and mother club member.  I loved my brothers and was always there when the call came.  Politics plays a big role even in 1%er clubs and after a major falling out with the national president further compounded with serious issues at home I chose my family over my patch.  I quit the club and lost my enthusiasm for the wind (where do you go from being a 1%er?)  Sold the springer in 1994 and hung it up – I was done with the scooter tramp life.

Time passed.  More time passed.  I started hearing the rumble I had been ignoring for 14 years and finally answered the call when one of my former club brothers and oldest friend (whom had also left the club and sold his bike shortly after I did) bought a 75 FLH on eBay.  “Don’t you want to ride again Dan?” was his question.  My mouth was watering.

My Turn on eBay

The ad read “1982 FXLR in great shape.  28,000 miles.  Being sold by the original owner.  Buy it now for $5000.”  I bought it now without hesitation.  I figured that the bike would be “all there” with bald tires, worn out chains and sprockets and who knows what wrong with the motor/tranny.  Oh well, what ever the problems they were mine now!

I called up my old friend and former club brother and we planned a trip to pick her up.

“The winner” was a racer and he had this bike built with some cool enhancements.  The stock Harley electronic ignition was replaced with a Crane HI single fire ignition.  A pair of 3 ohm coils feeds the dual plug heads.  I don’t know what cam is installed or if the motor is stroked or not.  He wasn’t saying what all had been done.


Turns out that the only thing really accurate in the eBay posting was the “in great shape” statement.  It wasn’t an FXLR it was an FXRS.  It didn’t have 28K, it had 41K.  “The winner” was the second owner, he  had bought it in 1985.  But, it WAS in great shape.  Tires – new.  Drive chain – new.  Paint – excellent.  Front and rear fenders have been bobbed (probably wrecked.)  The front brakes were useless – almost couldn’t get the damned thing to stay on the trailer long enough to tilt it down and lock it into place.  The rear exhaust actually shook off the bike on the trailer ride home!  Glad I was with it enough to realize that trying to ride it home would have been a mistake.  Top gusset on inner primary is broken.  Turns out that both exhaust clamps were also broken (the threads in the heads were still good though so it’s ALL good!)  She started right up and ran strong.

How it all ends up

She is home now and I have got almost a thousand miles on her in the past three weeks.  I have rebuilt both front calipers and the front master cylinder (brakes are good – I like having them.)  Replaced the front motor mount with a VelveRide polyurethane mount.  Replaced the leaking overhead oil lines seals (now I see that some of the oil leaking on the motor is from the tappet blocks so have something new to toy with.)  Replaced all the filters and fluids.  She has an annoying vibration that comes and goes on the road.  Somebody on the Westcoast Bikers forum has suggested to me that this year had issues with the front sprocket working loose so I guess that primary will be coming off soon.  She rides straight and rolls through curves like she is on rails.  She is tried but not yet true.  Regardless, the way it all ends up is that she has a new permanent home.  NOTHING sounds like a shovelhead!!!

You’re invited

I now invite you all to join in the discussions.  You can register to contribute by clicking the Register link under the Login widget on the left sidebar.  Everyone is welcome.  Hopefully we can provide each other with ideas, solutions, personal experiences, insights and maybe even some pictures of the machines that make us who we are – iron horse cowboys.  Live to Ride, Ride to Live.

Ride safe.

The End Result 2 Years Later

After two years of dealing with this beautiful shovelhead I decided that it and I were not the best match.  It really wants to go fast for a short distance (ie. through the 1/8 or 1/4) and I really want to go at a moderate speed for a lot longer distance.  This spring I shook all sorts of attachments off the bike in just 350 miles of riding.  Really got under my skin and the next thing I knew:

My 2006 88 CI Twin Cam Heritage Standard

this was in my  driveway. Nothing – absolutely nothing – sounds like a shovelhead and I will always love that loping rumpity-rump sound.  I’ll think about it while I am blasting down the highway, NOT vibrating my ass off trying to hold on, NOT shaking pieces and parts off all the time, NOT worrying about cracking inner-primaries – enjoying the ride for what it is – that wonderful taste of freedom.  1200 hundred miles in the first two weeks and haven’t shook a damned thing off of it!  Vance and Hines exhaust,  free breathing intake, HD-255 cams, ported and polished heads.  Its a new day in DanLand!

And then came a new hobby.

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