By Richard Backus
After languishing for some 17 years, a 1974 Harley-Davidson roars back to life following a sympathetic refurbishment by owner Ken Peters, who sold the bike 19 years ago and just got it back!
With an unbroken production run of 53 years, the overhead valve Harley-Davidson Sportster has outlived all of its early rivals, and is still able to raise its middle finger to the vagaries of the motorcycle marketplace. The Sportster was an instant hit in 1957, but by the Seventies it was showing its age. Imports easily outperformed and outsold it. Even so, reviewers and riders liked its torquey, long-legged highway running and easy in-town traffic manners. They also liked its conservative styling and offbeat engine sound.
The Sportster’s future was being written, not as a competitor to the all-conquering four-across-the-frame Universal Japanese Motorcycle, but as a bastion of American durability and timeless style. For more on the Harley-Davidson Sportster 1000, read Under the Radar from the March/April 2010 issue.
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