Top Five Underrated Harley-Davidsons

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By John Burns

Picking out underrated Harleys is tough, sort of the moto equivalent of writing up the five least-attractive Playboy centerfold moles, the five least-cute puppy breeds, the five least-popular iced beverages at the Death Valley Golf Club in August. Even the most ignored Harleys have their own loyal and possibly violent contingents. But fearlessly tackling this type of project is why they pay me the big money. And thanks to the miracle of social media crowdsourcing, it actually winds up being kind of fun. I learned some stuff. Sadly, none of my FB friends are much older than I am, so we’re not going all the way back to 1903 to pick five. We are going back to 1974 to kick things off.

1974 SX-250

I’d forgotten all about these until former Cycle World/ Motorcyclist EiC Brian Catterson jogged my memory. In 1974, all the colorful multi-line Japanese dealers were veritable candy stores, but my prepubescent self did not know where a Harley dealership even was. Harley was primed for success here, since it already owned half of the Italian Aermacchi factory. That Italian company’s old-fashioned overhead-valve four-stroke Singles had been powering H-D’s Sprint street machines since 1960. The swingin’ baby-boomer ’60s were when motorcycles really took off in America, with the 1968 Yamaha DT-1 250 turning the spark into a conflagration. “Enduros” were all the rage, and H-D jumped in in 1973 with a fresh Aermacchi two-stroke powered SX125. Next came the 1974 SX175 (above, left), and then the SX250 (same bike bigger bore).

Weighing in at about 275 pounds, the SX was a bit heavier than the Yamaha, but it had all the right components, including oil injection (oil was carried in the steel backbone tube), and even some cool features like a quick-disconnect rear …read more

Source:: Top Five Underrated Harley-Davidsons


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