With the new for 1957 XL model line, the “H” for touring, the “CH” as the new for 1958 high performance off road version, Harley-Davidson satisfied the needs of riders looking for lighter, nimbler high performance motorcycles. This is a great almost totally unaltered CH that’s part of the Jill & John Parham Collection.
Following in the tracks of the K model, which remained only in racing form after 1956 as the KR750, the XL Sportster arrived in 1957. The biggest advancement over the K was overhead valves plus eventually electric starting on the basic XLH model. But the XLH options list included saddlebags, a windshield, buddy seat and riders could even opt for two ride heights by specifying 18 inch or 19 inch wheels. Seat options varied from traditional sprung post to rigid mount like on this ’61.
Some new, some as K model carryover, a wide range of racing parts were made available by the factory. The competition-only XLR, made in very small numbers for about nine years, shared few engine parts; a production racer. It became a threat on drag strips, hillclimbs and even in AMA sanctioned TT racing. Stripped, the Sportster served well at the drag strip; men like Leo Payne and his tuner Mike Wilson were even able to tune it for assaults on the Land Speed Record at Bonneville. While it has not played a significant role in the military, or often as a police mount, like its predecessors the K Model and the WL model, the Sportster has been a very universal machine.
After over 60 years in the model line-up the Sportster lives on. Recently with big changes to bring it comfort, 76 cubic inches and more than twice the horsepower and even Blue Tooth technology, it brings speed, smoothness and overall sophistication. The Sportster is as cool as ever.
Plan a trip to the Museum before it closes September 4, 2023, and check out this fine Sportster.
- Engine: 45 Degree Overhead Valve V-Twin
- Displacement: 54 Cubic Inches/ 883 cc’s
- Bore & Stroke: 3.00″ x 3.81″
- Carburetor: Linkert
- Primary: Triplex Chain
- Clutch: Dry, Multi-disk
- Transmission: 4-Speed, Foot Shift
- Ignition: Magneto
- Horsepower: 55
- Frame: Steel, Double Down Tube
- Suspension: Telescopic Fork / Dual Shocks, Swingarm
- Brakes: Drum, Internal Expanding
- Wheelbase: 58.5″
- Weight: 530
- Wheels/Tires: 3.50 x 19 / 4.00 x 18
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Sorry, not an unaltered ch, drag pipes, not, ch exhaust was up along the seat.
Thanks, Jeff. Yes, my comment in the writeup was….
“almost totally unaltered”
Pretty rare to see a Sportster this stock after so many years.
I REMEMBER BILL MAXIE IN ENDUROS ON IT WITH HIGH PIPES FROM ROCKFORD CLUB.I THOUGH THE BIKE WAS THE ULTAMATE KOOLS BIKE EVER.SAD TO HEAR THAT JOHNS DREAM COLLECTION IS SELLING OFF..
I recall there was a fellow who worked at RED HOUSE in Wash. DC. He caste a manifold for two carbs, mounted side by side. My brother had that setup on his 1960 CH. Man, that was a hard starting machine, but when you got it started, nothing in our neighborhood could catch it
That was Larry Schafer, a fairly famous racer. Very smart, and quite a character.
Is this color a Harley color? If so. Does anybody know what it is, or what it could be.
The color if original paint & correct for 1961 would be Hi-Fi Green & Birch White.
Yes that would be correct!
Why is the museum closing it’s doors? Always loved to take people and shoe them our little piece of motorcycle history there.
My brother had a k modle back in the 50s It was fast and loud!Every once in a while he’d have a carb fire but you just kick through it lol I own a 1982 1100 its a 25th anniversary bike and badged as such.Also 1982 was when Harley bought back the company.It also is fast and loud.Sure beats the Hummer i rode in the 60s. The pictured k modle is very nice brings back many memories.Thanks for sharing!
I have the 18th sportster built in 1957 had it over 25 years it has a magneto in it don’t know if it’s factory or not rode once
I had a 69 XLCH,,electric start
with the “turtle” tank,,,(holds
more gasoline) + the quiet
long mufflers,,(but with internals
Bored out,). Lots of extra chrome, I liked that Harley alot,!
Was my first Harley,,! 3 others
since that time,,!! VSAMON134@GMAIL.COM
My father was a Harley dealer in 1957 . I remember that green sportster . I was a Harley dealer till 2020 . 65 years between my father and I . I miss the old days bad not the same now
Very nice I have an 89 sporty want to keep it as original as possible love the article love to go check out the museum