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Old 11-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Old time Harley tech didn't like FXRs

Today I went with a friend to see his dad who was a county police Harley mechanic back in the day. The discussion turned to what we rode these days, he's way past riding anything with less than 4 wheels.

When I mentioned the FXR's, he was like Blahh. Says that they were too hard to work on and that the frames broke a lot. Some further discussion and the "hard to work on" comes down to harder to get the heads off of, jug bases leaking, and the swing arm pivoting on trans making trans work more difficult. As to the frames, they had to replace cracked frames, not repair. So it was a big job. And accordion to him, the -P scooters had some issues with cracks in the cross-member and kickstand bracket as well as around the bosses where the rear shocks bolted up. He retired in 88 when the county went Asian, so I'm thinking he was well into his fifties when the FXR's came along, and probable set in has ways.

Took me out to the garage and showed me his tools. He has brand new still in wax paper EVO tools. I tried to buy a few, but he couldn't decide what they were worth. He had wall boards with shovel tools on em. All just sitting collecting rust. He had a couple of crashed shovel head police scooters too, but they were real rough from sitting in an unheated garage. Probably since about 88. He had several shovel engines, says they weren't his to sell. Kenny, his son says that they are his, but he thinks he can't sell em because he doesn't have the titles. They looked to be the worse for dust and condensation too.

All in all it was interesting. Lots of stories and stuff from the 60's and 70's.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They may be more difficult to work on, but they sure are fun to ride.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They may be more difficult to work on, but they sure are fun to ride.
Probably why he didn't like them. They had to much fun riding them, and he had to fix them afterwards and he never got to ride them.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Years ago a friend meet a guy that we briefly rode with, he was kind of a RUB, didn't ride much, but he and his wife had beautiful bikes. On the side he also was a bike broker, or so he said, if someone wanted a bike, he'd find it, seemed odd to me. Anyhow, on one ride he got to talking about my FXR at a stop.

"narrow forks - nobody likes those"

"gauges on the handlebars - I couldn't sell a bike with that set up"

"plastic sidecovers - they're just ugly"

I just laughed to myself, he confirmed what I thought of him.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Would have been nice to see some pictures of his stuff.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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is there any resources ath confirms his feeling towards FXR's? Notorious for these things?
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Would have been nice to see some pictures of his stuff.
I guess I could have taken some with my phone. But then again it might have seemed strange or out of place. I'm not sure I would let someone take pictures of my shop.


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is there any resources ath confirms his feeling towards FXR's? Notorious for these things?
Short of asking and getting a response from the MoCo, I think you'll have to go out and talk to some people. I couldn't really say one way or the other.

I have seen some threads where people need to do a little welding when restoring FXR's. And I seem to recall something with upper shock bolts or studs or something on early ones. But nothing that I have any experience with.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hmm...I agree that the reason was probably that they were very hard-ridden bikes. Kinda makes me want to rethink buying a used one, though...
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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after working on customers hogs for a few years the dyna was my lowest choice.
FXRs were a little harder in some ways, but i always felt privileged to work on them.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hmm...I agree that the reason was probably that they were very hard-ridden bikes. Kinda makes me want to rethink buying a used one, though...
You'll be cheating yourself.

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Old 11-17-2012, 05:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You'll be cheating yourself.

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This is true...
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I have to wonder how many -P bikes he really saw on the job? Were they popular back East? Never saw one in service in the West. Any dept's that still bought Harleys stuck with the FL's around here.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The only negative thing I ever heard about them, in police duty, is that the batteries were barely big enough for all the lights, radios, etc. I heard or read that some departments ran 2 batteries on them. I think the problem was mainly being able to idle the bike, during a stop, and power all the extra stuff.

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Old 11-18-2012, 06:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The only negative thing I ever heard about them, in police duty, is that the batteries were barely big enough for all the lights, radios, etc. I heard or read that some departments ran 2 batteries on them. I think the problem was mainly being able to idle the bike, during a stop, and power all the extra stuff.

joe
Those were the days before LED lights, and radios were probably 4x as much draw as nowadays, too.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I have to wonder how many -P bikes he really saw on the job? Were they popular back East? Never saw one in service in the West. Any dept's that still bought Harleys stuck with the FL's around here.
I have no idea. I'm thinking that the county had 25-30 at any given time. They mostly operated down county in the city, so I rarely ever saw them other than the county fair.
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