Easy Rollers – Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review

Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

By Tyler Greenblatt – No matter how much money we may like to spend on our bikes, there might be no expense as important as that spent on the handful of square inches that actually makes contact with the ground. Not only do your tires allow for your motorcycle to actually roll down the road, but they provide an excellent opportunity to extend and enhance your ride.

I recently had the opportunity to test Bridgestone’s new Battlecruise H50 tire designed specifically for American V-twins. While some tire companies brag about extreme mileage capabilities or sticky canyon carving performance, the Battlecruise does both exceptionally well in its attempt to simply be the ultimate American cruiser tire.

Creating the Battlecruise H50 started back at Bridgestone headquarters using the Ultimate-EYE (U-EYE), a high-tech testing facility that’s part of the Bridgestone Research and Development Group. The Battlecruise is only Bridgetstone’s second tire to go through the advanced U-EYE process, meaning we’ll probably see more and more from Bridgestone down the road. U-EYE essentially measures all sorts of real-world figures that matter not only to the engineers but to the riders actually running the tire. Developers can better understand a variety of features to see how a tire tread reacts to various speeds and conditions, and they can also better target the optimal combination of compound, tread design, construction, and tire profile. U-EYE can also track contact patch pressure distribution at various speeds, loads, and slip angles to ensure the greatest amount of contact as often as possible.

When it comes to a tire’s performance, either on the highway or on the track, one of the biggest factors is the contact patch and how the motorcycle’s weight is distributed. Since American V-twins tend to have a greater weight distribution between front and rear tires (among other differences) than most other types of motorcycles, Bridgestone developed specific front and rear tires. The Battlecruise rear tire has a larger crown profile which increases the size of the contact patch and improves load distribution, while a newly developed compound extends mileage drastically. The front tire was built in similar fashion, with the emphasis on cornering and handling ability and reducing force required to maneuver.

Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review

AIM Garage Editor Tyler Greenblatt said his biggest takeaway from testing the Battlecruise on a Softail Slim was that it provides a noticeably smooth ride.

Bridgestone claims that its front tires require 40 percent less operating force than its “main competitor.” Especially when it comes to stock Harleys, a set of tires can play a big role in shock absorption and vibration damping, and Bridgestone had that in mind when developing the Battlecruise. By placing strategic reinforcement on the carcass and envelope of the tire, developers targeted the appropriate balance of heavyweight, long-lasting rigidity and comfortable shock absorption. The goal is to make a long ride that much more comfortable, because for some people being able to go an extra 50-100 miles is the difference between camping for the night on the side of the road or at the Buffalo Chip.

Okay, but how does the Battlecruise perform in real-world riding, far from the high-tech laboratory? Even on a short ride, the Battlecruise advantage is clear. Low rolling resistance, light turn-in, and confident outer tread grip are the hallmarks of the H50 and some of the most important aspects of a heavyweight cruiser tire. Additionally, wet grip performance remains a key factor, and although Bridgestone has the science to back it up, our group wasn’t able to test this function in sunny Orlando, Florida.

My biggest takeaway from testing the Battlecruise on a Softail Slim was that it provides a noticeably smooth ride. Tiny pebbles and imperfections in the road had no repercussions through the bike, and low-speed maneuverability was also noticeably easy. And while each potential customer gets to decide if the looks of the tire work on his bike, I was pretty pleased with the appearance on my open-tire Slim test bike.

Bridgestone has released a bunch of front and rear tire sizes for a variety of Harley, Indian, and Victory cruisers and plans to release even more to cover baggers next year. AIM

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Sources

Bridgestone
844/218-5420
BridgestoneTire.com

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Like what you see? Find this article in American Iron Magazine Issue # 347 along with features on Blings’ Custom Indian, Team American Iron’s 1915 Harley Daytona Racer and a review on the 2017 Sportster Low! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, please visit Greaserag.com.
 
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2016 Victory Hammer 8-Ball Review

2016 Victory Hammer 8-Ball

The 2016 Victory Hammer 8-Ball wears its fat backside well, the 250mm rear a longstanding feature of the Hammer.

A drag bike for the street

It’s ok. You can admit it. You sometimes catch yourself riding your motorcycle from stoplight to stoplight pretending to be an NHRA pro drag racer. Clutching as fast as you can and banging up through the gears is always fun, but what’s even more fun is doing it on the right motorcycle. After much serious research, I believe I may have found that motorcycle in the Victory Hammer.

Right off the bat, the Hammer doesn’t conform to the usual format of a motorcycle that tries to be as many things as possible and fit as many people as possible so that it can be marketed to as many people as possible. Victory makes other motorcycles that suit the needs of the all-around rider (and the marketing department), but the Hammer series, the 8-Ball tested here and the newer S, is for a specific type of rider whose first add-ons aren’t going to be a windshield and saddlebags. The Hammer is a street cruiser that can take on any challenger at any stoplight or any local bike night.

Victory's Hammer looks sharp dressed in the 8-Ball treatment.

Victory’s Hammer looks sharp dressed in the 8-Ball treatment.

Swing a leg over the 26-1/2″-high seat and the bike’s drag racer stance begins to make its presence known. The pullback handlebars require a healthy forward lean (even for my 6’1″ frame), while the foot controls are comfortably forward for cruising, yet still allow for a confident knee bend. It’s not quite the extreme clamshell positioning found on other muscle cruisers, but it represents the best of both worlds. Your upper body can tuck in confidently while your legs can rest practically ahead of you.

Although it’s not quite clear to the eye at first, the Hammer also rocks another key cruiser trait in that it’s equipped with passenger equipment in the way of footpegs and a back seat. Lifting the plastic café racer bump seat cover reveals the second seat. There’s no place to stow the plastic cover, so if you think you might get lucky, just leave it at home. And just like that, the purpose-built Hammer displays a dose of practicality as it becomes a two-up cruiser. Actually, a quick glance at Victory’s complete cruiser lineup finds the Hammer 8-Ball and S as the only cruisers to come factory-equipped with passenger equipment. The level of comfort on either seat isn’t anything to write home about, but that likely isn’t a top priority for the Hammer rider. The seat looks cool since it flows perfectly with the lines of the bike instead of appearing slapped on as an afterthought, and the comfort is plenty for typical riders.

Hammer 8-Ball wheel

I just can’t get enough of the looks of a blacked-out inverted front end on a hot muscle cruiser,” said American Iron Garage Editor Tyler Greenblatt.

Although the Hammer’s design follows that of fast straight-liners, the suspension and chassis were designed for the kind of twisty roads most riders like to spend time on. The Hammer, once again, is the only Victory cruiser to sport that killer inverted front end with 5.1″ of travel and superior rebound and damping abilities. And I just can’t get enough of the looks of a blacked-out inverted front end on a hot muscle cruiser.

For the full ride review, custom bike features, tech stories and more,
CLICK HERE American Iron Magazine issue 340

Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital

Victory Hammer 8-Ball Speedo

Victory keeps it clean and simple with an analog speedo mounted dead center.

Harley-Davidson Editor’s Choice Bike Show Sturgis 2016

Willie G and Bill Davidson Sturgis 2016

Willie G and Bill Davidson helped host the Harley-Davidson Editor’s Choice Custom Bike Show in Sturgis.

The biggest, most diverse collection of custom motorcycles seen so far at this year’s Sturgis Rally turned out for the Editor’s Choice Bike Show held for the first time at the Harley-Davidson Rally Point.

Nearly 100 stunning customs turned out for the event with hopes of not only scoring a trophy, but a magazine feature story as well. In addition to the hot new location on Main St. in downtown Sturgis, several of the industry’s biggest names were on hand to look at bikes and give out their own awards for which one they’d most like to ride home. Taber Nash, Dave Perewitz, Bobby Seeger, John Shope, and Eddie Trotta added serious celebrity power to the event, surely helping to coax even more bikes to the show. Willie G. and Bill Davidson also attended the event to talk to rally goers and hand out several awards.

One of the most talked-about bikes at the show was a full-blown XG750 custom built by Custom Works Zon, a Japanese builder. Big-wheel baggers, hardtail Ironheads, FXRs, choppers, and just about every imaginable style of custom showed up, including a couple Volkswagen-powered trikes.

Custom Works Zon Harley Street 750 Sturgis 2016

We love this take on a Street 750 by the crew from Custom Works Zon out of Japan.

One motorcycle stood out to me, however, as one of the most original takes on the FXR platform I’ve ever seen. It’s a 1982 FXR built by Matt Anderson, manager of Gilby’s Street Dept. based out of River Falls, Wisconsin. It rocks a raked and extended front end, gorgeous paint, and a two-rear-cylinder Shovelhead engine where the exhaust pipes both go straight back like an XR-750. Stay tuned for a full feature in an upcoming issue of American Iron Magazine.

2016 Harley Low Rider S First Ride Review

2016 Low Rider S Review

NEW BIKE REVIEW by Tyler Greenblatt  Photos by Riles & Nelson

There’s fast, and then there’s 110” Screamin’ Eagle Dyna fast

You know you’re in for a fun ride when fleet center manager Alan has to replace all the ground-down footpegs on the test bikes from the previous day’s grouping of motojournalists. I promised to take care of the fresh pegs on the new 2016 Low Rider S when my day came to ride it, unlike the local Los Angeles hooligans who had been riding that day. After about 30 seconds of riding the FXDL-S, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to keep my promise.

Walking up to the S for the first time, it takes a second to recognize it as actually being a Low Rider as so much is physically different between the two machines that share a name. Gone is the chrome and metallic look from the original Shovelhead Low Riders. The back half of the rear fender is noticeably missing, and the handlebars are entirely different. At first glance it looks more like something coming out of a Southern California custom shop than a factory Harley. That defining look is the first complete bike to be headed up by H-D Director of Styling Brad Richards, who started at Harley just over a year ago and whose name you’ll be seeing a lot.

2016 Harley Low Rider S

The Low Rider S is equipped with “Premium Ride nitrogen gas-charged emulsion shocks and a Premium Ride cartridge fork.”

The split, five-spoke Magnum Gold cast aluminum wheels look as though they were pulled from the 1982 FXSB, while the gold tank badge was pulled directly from the 1977 XLCR. The drag bars, speed screen, side-mount license plate, bobbed rear fender, and deep-scoop solo seat are all modern takes on the traditional high-performance Harley.

It’s impossible to discuss high-performance Harleys without making mention of the legendary FXR motorcycles of the 1980s and ‘90s, which mixed a stiff, triangulated frame and sporty suspension with a rubber-mounted Big Twin. FXRs have grown in popularity in the past few years, and with that resurgence came a subsequent rise in Dyna interest. But today’s twin-shock enthusiast isn’t looking for the same chopper-esque feel of Willie G’s Shovelhead FX creations. The name of the game today is speed, around corners as much as in a straight line, and the ability to stop. The 2016 Low Rider S delivers on all fronts.

2016 Harley Low Rider S Screamin' Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine

The latest addition to Harley’s Dyna range is equipped with the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, a forward-facing Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather performance intake and Fat Bob-style 2-into-2 exhaust.

The Low Rider S sports a set of premium adjustable emulsion-type shock absorbers at the rear and a premium ride cartridge fork suspension at the front, good for 2.13″ and 5.1″ of travel respectively. Although rear travel seems short, the premium adjustable shocks held their own while carving California’s canyons for over 100 miles. Unlike typical stock shocks, these didn’t bottom out once on me, and they kept the rear of the Dyna tracking through turns as if it were on rails. The improvement in the front isn’t as obvious, but undoubtedly aids in the bike’s road manners.

The Low Rider S sports 28-1/2-degree left- and 27-1/2-degree right-lean angles, which leaves some lean room to be desired, although as I found out you can go right up to and past the pegs around turns. In fact, after about an hour of spirited riding, your pegs should be worn down enough to increase those angles. Any new buyer should just consider footpegs a regularly replaceable maintenance item thanks to the 4.1″ of ground clearance. That low center of gravity and 27″ unladen seat height also make the S easy to control and predictable even when sparks are flying. The sticky Michelin Scorcher tires still have some tread left once you run out of bike, which further improves confidence.

2016 Harley Low Rider S first ride

Tyler cracks the throttle on the 2016 Low Rider S and said he likes the Twin Cam 110 platform in this Dyna. 

Wait, there’s more! For the full ride review, custom bike features, tech stories and more,
CLICK HERE American Iron Issue 338

Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital

Harley Low Rider S Dyna

“Riders have been asking when Harley-Davidson would build another aggressive, performance-based bike like the legendary FXR models,” said Harley-Davidson Director of Styling Brad Richards.

TECH: Rekluse EXP Auto-Clutch Install (Intro)

Rekluse Clutch Install

Our opening shot has our 2006 Road King up on a bike lift with its primary cover, shifter levers, front and rear left floorboards removed. A H-D oil drip pan is under the bike to catch the old primary fluid.

Captions by Chris Maida / Photos by Chelsea Maida

Breeze through traffic without pulling the clutch lever

I got to spend some riding time with aim ad sales representative Ken McCurdy at the 75th Sturgis rally this past summer. If you were there, or even read about it, you have an idea of the crowding that almost a million motorcyclists descending on a small town with three roads can cause.

So there we were, sitting in traffic on I-90, waiting to exit for Black Hills H-D along with thousands of others, with my clutch hand starting to get a little sore. So, I would shift my Limited test bike

Rekluse Clutch friction disks and EXP disk

The Rekluse clutch friction disks and EXP disk must soak in new primary oil for at least five minutes before installation.

into neutral for a few seconds, stretch my hand, kick back into gear, and move forward another few feet. That’s when I noticed Ken coolly and comfortably moving forward without even kicking the shifter or using the clutch. He would just give a little throttle as we duckwalked our bikes forward. His clutch must be broken, I thought, so I asked him about it. Turns out, he had recently equipped his 2006 Road King with a Rekluse EXP 3.0 clutch kit (#RMS-6203C/$799), which prevents engine stalling by using centrifugally driven technology.

The Rekluse EXP clutch system allows the user to take off and stop in gear without having to use the clutch lever, allowing for precision maneuvers at extremely low speeds while the rest of us are balancing clutch, throttle, and rear brake to get around a tight parking lot. The Rekluse kit comes with a whole new TorqDrive clutch pack that has a higher torque capacity than stock and can transfer power faster.

Besides the obvious difference, using a Rekluse EXP clutch is no different than regular clutching. You still pull the lever when changing gears, and shifting feels no different. The clutch can still be used at any time, too, so some situations where a clutch is needed (like rolling the bike backwards) can be done. As an added benefit, since the greatest wear on a clutch occurs in stop-and-go traffic, your clutch will run cooler and last longer. The cool part is that using the clutch is totally optional. You can if you want, don’t have to if you don’t.
As for Ken, he loves it!

Installing a Rekluse auto-clutch involves nothing more than changing out the clutch pack, and no modifications are required. Not that you’d want to, but you could swap your stock clutch back in at any time, like if you decide to sell your bike! The accompanying photos and captions show Editor Chris installing the Rekluse EXP clutch in just a few hours on Ken’s 2006 Road King. Next year, you can be the envy of just about everyone, except Ken, at Sturgis! AIM

Harley stock clutch friction plate removal

Pull all the stock and steel friction plates from the clutch housing. These will not be reused.

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SOURCES

Rekluse

866/735-5873

Rekluse.com

Like what you see? The full article with all steps, tips & tricks, and tools needed, is in American Iron Magazine issue # 334! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
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Rekluse Clutch review

Install the Rekluse spring ring with its tabs engage with the notches on the spring and its holes aligning with the holes in the clutch hub. We used the light lever spring ring since we have a stock motor.

Tech – Love Jugs Install (Intro)

Love Jugs

Love Jugs says its two-fan device will drop engine temperature of a Harley-Davidson by 100 degrees in four minutes. We put that claim to the test in our Love Jugs install and review.

Intro by Tyler Greenblatt/Photos by Chelsea Maida

The first time I heard of Love Jugs I thought it was the title of a porn movie. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have told you that. But what I should definitely tell you is that a set of Love Jugs fans provide extreme cooling power directly to your Harley’s combustion chamber and exhaust valve area. For this added charge of coolness, we installed the original Love Jugs Slots system (#SD-320/$399) on our 2006 Road King. Practically, we all know that increasing air flow over an air-cooled engine will lower its overall temperature. Your front cylinder runs hotter than the rear because it’s mostly getting the hot air flowing from the front cylinder. Of course, there’s no air flowing over the whole engine when you’re sitting in traffic on a hot day.

Love Jugs achieves its massive cooling potential by flowing 504 CFM of air from a pair of electric fans (252 each) directly to where it’s needed most, whether the engine is sitting at idle or out on the open highway. Love Jugs are available in a chrome or black powdercoat finish and are made entirely from aircraft-grade stainless steel. The outdoor-rated electric fans are entirely waterproof to the degree that they can actually run underwater. This may seem like overkill to the casual rider, but long-distance riders know how important weatherproof equipment is.

In addition to a cooler top end, Love Jugs, by default, also keeps a Harley’s oil much cooler as well. Cooler, more viscous oil leads to a longer-lasting engine and less wear and tear.

Several different Love Jugs designs are available, as well as vibration dampening options, and come with everything you need for the installation. All Love Jugs models will fit 98 percent of all Harley-Davidsons ever made as long as there’s a horn mount on the left side of the engine. Love Jugs makes some pretty hefty claims about its product, so we decided to do our own test, conducted by Editor Chris, as we reported in an earlier issue and have included in this article in an accompanying sidebar. If you’ve been looking for a way to improve the cooling of your Harley-Davidson, check out the step-by-step install to see exactly how to make that happen!

Love Jugs installation

Using a 1/2″ deep socket, remove the acorn not that holds the stock horn to the bike. Then pull the horn from its ribber vibration isolator.

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SOURCES

Love Jugs

Love-Jugs.com

For phone contact, e-mail your number to info@love-jugs.com.

 

Like what you see? The full article with all the steps, tips, tricks, and tools needed is in American Iron Magazine issue # 334! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
Follow American Iron Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
To subscribe to the PRINT edition, click here. To receive DIGITAL DELIVERY, click here.
 
Love Jugs nameplate

We installed the chrome Love Jugs nameplate assembly to the stock horn bracket using some blue Loctite and a 1/2″ socket.

 

TECH: Progressive Suspension 944 Ultra Tour Shocks (Intro)

Progressive 944 Ultra Tour Install

Here’s our 2005 Electra Glide (sans saddlebags) on a bike jack with its rear section lifted just enough to take the bike’s weight off the rear shocks. We’ll show you how to do the left side, which is the same as the right except for the air line valve we’re going to remove.

Captions and photos by Chris Maida

Our 2005 Electra Glide had already received 1-inch lower than stock Progressive Suspension monotubes, so this go-round we’re installing 1-inch shorter rear shocks to keep the bike’s stance, and, therefore, its rake and trail, the same as stock.

We took our 2005 Electra Glide over to Bayside Harley-Davidson in Portsmouth, Virginia, to complete the full suspension makeover. It’s impossible to over stress the advantages of a performance suspension system, and it’s become one of the upgrades Harley owners do when the stock units are worn-out. In the case of our Electra Glide, one of the taller offerings from The Motor Company, many owners choose to lower it for improved confidence on the road and while stopped. In fact, this is such a popular change, H-D introduced Low versions of the Ultra Classic and the Limited.

For most of us, buying a new motorcycle for that reason isn’t exactly in the cards. But new front suspension and rear shocks probably are, and can definitely lead to a better-performing bike at the same time. And that’s exactly why we turned to Progressive Suspension, which offers kits for both the front and rear. We installed the 1-inch lower monotube cartridges last month, while this month, we’re going with a pair of Progressive’s 13-inch 944 Ultra Ultra-Touring shocks with heavy heavy-duty springs (#944-4020UT/$759). But wait, you might ask yourself, aren’t the stock shocks 13 inches? They are, but Progressive has designed the 944 to sit 1-inch lower than the stock air shocks while retaining the same amount of travel. The Progressive spring design gives the bike a 1-inch lower stance not only when loaded, but also when sitting on the sidestand and it uses the company’s Frequency Sensing Technology (FST) for a smooth ride. Progressive also has an Ultra-Low version of the 944, which is a 12-1/2-inch shock that sits at 11-inches.

With this front and rear suspension package, our Electra Glide sits just as it did when it came from the factory, without one end higher than the other. But now, it has the added advantage of a lower stance combined with a higher level of performance. As he did with the front, Service Technician Jesse Dietz at Bayside Harley-Davidson did the step-by-step install.

Progressive Ultra Tour 944 Install

Jesse secures the top of the new Progressive Suspension rear shock to the frame using a 3/4″ socket and blue Loctite. He leaves this bolt just snug for now.

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SOURCES
Bayside Harley-Davidson
757/397-5550
BaysideHD.com

Progressive Suspension
714/523-8700
ProgressiveSuspension.com

Like what you see? The full article with all the steps, tips, tricks, and tools needed is in American Iron Magazine issue # 332! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com.
 
Follow American Iron Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
To subscribe to the PRINT edition, click here. To receive DIGITAL DELIVERY, click here.
 

Daytona Bike Week: Is it motorcycle season yet?

It’s true what they say, Daytona Bike Week really is the beginning of the motorcycle season. In Connecticut, we’re starting to get some sunny 50 degree days here and there, and yesterday was one of them. While running my usual Sunday morning errands I saw around 20 bikes rumble by on the other side of the highway. Just about all of them were Harley motorcycles. There were a few baggers, a few Sportsters, a bunch of Softails, and a Dyna or two. I was actually pretty surprised to see so many different models cruising down the highway together. I was also pretty surprised to see so many open face helmets, it was still only 50 out! And it certainly doesn’t feel like 50 when you’re doing 60!

All I wanted to do was go home, throw on my gear, and start the season on my own Sporty. I decided that the season would start today, Monday, with my commute to work. Of course, it was raining and cold this morning! Just like mid-March in Connecticut; gorgous one day, awful the next. I officially have the bug now, I think it’s time to start the riding season, what about you?

Motorcycles in Florida for Daytona

Today’s my first day back in the office after taking a couple days off to go to Florida. I flew in on Wednesday, and drove back Saturday morning and most of Sunday. I should probably preface this post by saying I don’t go to Daytona for Bike Week. Someone’s got to put out American Iron Magazine when Buzz, Chris, and Joe are there! I can say from firsthand knowledge, though, that it’s already shaping up to be a great event. Driving past Bruce Rossmeyer Harley-Davidson and the J&P Cycles building, I saw staff busy at work prepping for Bike Week. I also learned that the term Bike Week can be used pretty loosely. There were tons of Harleys riding around with out-of-state plates while I was down there. And, on the way back, there were a bunch of groups riding on the other side of 95. That got me thinking, if possible to get away for two weeks, that’s the best way to do Daytona. Spend the first week racking up the miles, then partake in the fun activities of Bike Week. Especially for those coming from Northern states, you might as well give yourself as much time as you can to ride Florida’s roads so you won’t mind taking time away from riding to check out all the fun off-bike events going on (like our Motorcycle Bagger bike show). Also, if you get a chance, throw updates on our Facebook page or Harley Forum and let us back at the office know how Bike Week is going.

-Tyler

An American Motorcycle Sportbike

I was browsing our Harley forum today and came across a post about Motus Motorcycles, an American motorcycle company, producing an experimental V4-powered sportbike. I always wondered why there wasn’t more direct competition with Japanese and Italian sportbike manufacturers from here in the United States. Buell managed to hang in there for a long time, but unfortunately is now a part of motorcycle history. Harley itself even came out with the XLCR Cafe Racer back in 1977 and 1978 to compete with the Japanese, Italian, and British imports. The Motor Company stopped production after just two years, and today the XLCR is one of the most desired Sportsters ever made. I think it’s safe to say that Americans buy and enjoy sportbikes, they’re all over the place. But why don’t Americans seem to want an American-made sportbike? Is the V-Rod really as far as the limit can be pushed? I’d like to hear some input on this, especially from those who ride both a Harley and an import sportbike.