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General Information

Harley Davidson
FXRS-SP Low Rider Sport
Bought used in 1990 with 11k miles, it was basically stock except for a Screaming Eagle carb, ignition module, coil, and Kerker exhaust. Being that the motor is rubber mounted, it's very smooth and comfortable, it's easy to ride for long periods. The FXR's are considered the best handling Harley's, the FXR frame was the best frame the company ever produced. This is the "Sport" version of the Low Rider, which means it dual disc brakes in front, (rather than a single) low, superbike style handlebar, (rather than buckhorns) taller suspension for more lean angle, speedo/tach mounted on the handlebar (rather than on the tank) and different seat, which by the way is extremely comfortable. My riding consisted of some commuting, lots of weekend day rides through New England, with a few yearly 2 and 3 day trips. I also did an 8 day trip to the Canadian Maritimes, and a trip to the Carolinas. Other than a flat tire, the bike is extremely reliable and has never left me stranded.

I averaged 9k miles per year for the first 11 years, doing just maintenance and repairs, but very little upgrading. The Kerker pipe never mounted very well and was replaced after the first year with a set of Cycle Shack pipes. The two regular repairs that needed to done about every 30k to 40k miles were stator and base gasket replacements. At 84k miles the belt final drive was replaced and the cam was beginning to pit and was replaced with an Andrews EV27. After installing the new cam I added a Python III pipe, this along with the cam and other engine mods made for a sweet running motor.


I always thought the weakest part of the bike was the rear suspension and went through a few sets of shocks to try to remedy this problem. The original shocks literally died, if fully compressed they would lock up wouldn't rebound, it became an instant hardtail! A friend gave me an old set of Sportster shocks to use until I could upgrade to something else. The first shocks I got were a set of Progressive 412's, these were they're cheapest shock, and though they look good they were torturous functionally. They seemed to be heavily oversprung and over dampened, even 2 up, your kidneys would be hurting within 50 miles. I sent them back to be reworked, but there was no improvement, the Sportster shocks went back on for a few more years. Five years later I bought a set of Progressive 418's these were half way up the food chain in the line up, they came with adjustable rebound dampening, however I never noticed much change from setting to setting. These gave a pretty compliant ride and I felt they were an improvement, but considering what I had been using that's not saying much. Unfortunately, after 20k miles the ride began to deteriorate and they are not rebuildable, so I decided to go back to a set of oem shocks since I wasn't having luck with the aftermarket. After about 5 years I decided to try again and ordered a set of Works Performance shocks custom built for my weight with dual rate springs. These improved the handling at the expense of a compliant ride, they had very limited adjustability. I sent them back twice to be reworked, but they never gave a very good ride, so I was back to the oem shock which is what I am currently using.


In October of 2001 I had a little accident and laid the bike down. Since the bike had 108k miles and I contemplated between repairing the bike or just getting a new one. The repair estimate was just a bit below blue book value, and the insurance company decided not to total it and to pay for the repairs. At this point I decided to rebuild the bike, but to upgrade everything that was being replaced since they insurance check would cover most of it. The bike needed a whole new front end along with fenders, tank, and frame. The first thing I upgraded was the forks and brakes, instead of the original I went with the fully adjustable cartridge fork from the current Superglide Sport. This allowed (forced) me to mount the new 4 piston calipers. I always wanted wire spoke wheels so I added a set of Revtech's. At this time Harley was offering a motor rebuild program, you send them your motor and they rebuild it. It was much cheaper than having it done by a shop, and since the motor was already out of the frame I did this too. I was also able to upgrade the motor from the current bare aluminum version, which I never liked, to the black and chrome version for a slight upcharge. Harley's paint work is really good and you can order tanks and fenders with factory paint in oem colors or any custom color you can imagine, for at least half the money a paint shop would charge. So instead of going with the original black I decided on a black & teal that Harley offered on a limited run of bikes the year before, again it was a small upcharge over black. Of course I went a little overboard and had to shell out another $5k, but I had the bike with the custom touches I always wanted, and much of the bike was new again.

Since the rebuild I added a set of Leatherlyke saddlebags. These are plastic, waterproof, lockable, and quickly detachable. I also visited and toured R&R Cycle, a local company that builds high performance V twin motors and does a lot of performance mods on Harley motors. It was pretty impressive so I decided to have the heads worked on to increase flow, new Weisco pistons, and a Mikuni HSR42 carb. This really woke the bike up on the top half of the RPM range, the bike felt explosive, a lot of fun. The down side is that I think I lost a little power at lower revs, the revs that I typically ride around in. The bike was also a good deal louder, which eventually wore me out. I went back to my old Cycle Shack pipes to quiet it down a bit, I got most of the lower RPM power back, but lost much of the top end. Looking back I wouldn't do this mod again. In 2010 I developed a problem with my left hand that made pulling in the clutch of motorcycle very difficult and painful. After 2 years off the bike I decided to install a centrifugal clutch the worked off of RPM's. the idea being that you didn't have to pull in the clutch. It didn't quite work as advertised, but lightened the clutch enough that I could ride the bike again. At this point my FXR has 185k miles on it and is still going strong!

Here's a video of the bike and a little FXR history:
1987 Harley Davidson FXRS-SP Low Rider Sport (Teal)


Heads flowed, Weisco pistons, EV27cam, Mikini HSR42 carb, Accel ignition module and coil, Cycle Shack pipes.
Repainted Teal & Black, misc chrome, saddlebags.
FXDX adjustable cartridge fork.
Wheel and Tire
Rev Tech wire spokes with aluminum rims.



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