OP
@tor2ga avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
Looking for the next one, probably electric
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3654
Location: Babcock Ranch, Florida
 
Ossessionato
@tor2ga avatar
Looking for the next one, probably electric
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3654
Location: Babcock Ranch, Florida
UTC quote
I have seen an ad for a 1979 Harley FLH with a side car. I have been looking for a new project and preferably a sidecar, and this looks interesting. The pictures look nice, the right things have been said about it. But I have reservations about the Harley. I had a Sportster a number of years ago, but none recently.

I know Harley had some bad years. Is this a worrisome year? Was it made by subcontractors? Was Harley owned by a bowling ball company and run in a gutter? What should I look for? Are parts available?

I know there are some old Harley folks out there, old Harleys, not the folks, what think you?
@tomjasz avatar
UTC

Grievance Farmer
Joined: UTC
Posts: 15921
 
Grievance Farmer
@tomjasz avatar
Joined: UTC
Posts: 15921
UTC quote
Stir up Craig, he'll nail it. (caschnd1)
OP
@tor2ga avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
Looking for the next one, probably electric
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3654
Location: Babcock Ranch, Florida
 
Ossessionato
@tor2ga avatar
Looking for the next one, probably electric
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3654
Location: Babcock Ranch, Florida
UTC quote
tomjasz wrote:
Stir up Craig, he'll nail it. (caschnd1)
Yeah, that's who I'm waiting for.
@capitano avatar
UTC

Addicted
ET4 Pre-Leader 125 "Velocipede" '92 Honda C90 Cub '97 Yamaha 600 Diversion
Joined: UTC
Posts: 625
Location: Brighton, UK
 
Addicted
@capitano avatar
ET4 Pre-Leader 125 "Velocipede" '92 Honda C90 Cub '97 Yamaha 600 Diversion
Joined: UTC
Posts: 625
Location: Brighton, UK
UTC quote
1979 was within the notorious AMF years but the real bad period within those years was the mid 70s not the late 70s.

Whatever, enough time has passed that any AMF Harleys in existence have probably changed immeasurably since they left the factory, so when it was made has less significance than the idiosyncracies of the model itself and how well it's been cared for.

I had a 1990 FLHS with the Evolution motor. A mate had an 80s FLH with the shovelhead motor (like the '79 ). The difference was chalk & cheese.
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7037
Location: Tega Cay, SC
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7037
Location: Tega Cay, SC
UTC quote
I owned several shovelheads. If I was buying again,I would not own another. Rather own a blockhead or even a panhead
@dibber avatar
UTC

Hooked
GTS300ie Super
Joined: UTC
Posts: 384
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN & Sanibel Island, FL
 
Hooked
@dibber avatar
GTS300ie Super
Joined: UTC
Posts: 384
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN & Sanibel Island, FL
UTC quote
Google it or Google HD forms or call a local HD dealer.
@caschnd1 avatar
UTC

Grumpy Biker
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5443
Location: Sparks, Nevada, USA
 
Grumpy Biker
@caschnd1 avatar
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5443
Location: Sparks, Nevada, USA
UTC quote
I wouldn't hesitate to own a '79 FLH (or any of AMF year bikes). Yes, at the time they had some troubles, but all that would have been sorted out on the bike by now. The shovelhead is a good strong motor. Not quite as easy to maintain as a new Harley or the Evo powered Harley that followed the Shovelhead in the mid 80's, but still they can be very reliable with the right person working the wrenches.

If you want to go this route, you'll be happiest if you are a mechanic with reasonably advanced skills. The reason is that it will be harder to find a shop that will work on a Harley of this age. Some shops will take in the work when they really aren't qualified to do so. This can be troublesome. I simply prefer to do all the work I can on my own and closely supervise any machine shop work I have to farm out.

There is a lot of folklore surrounding the AMF years. Yes, AMF was a company better known for making bowling balls. But AMF stands for American Machine and Foundary. They had been doing heavy foundary type work for years for Harley-Davidson before they bought the company. When Harley was struggling in the late 60's, AMF thought it might be better to invest in the company than see it go under and lose their business. AMF had been casting Harley motor cases, heads and transmission cases for years before they bought the company. When AMF bought Harley, they came in and shook things up. They started introducing modern manufacturing processes and this really annoyed the workforce. They did not shutdown plants and move the manufacturing, they simply came in and tried to modernize. They introduced huge improvements to Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Disc brakes, electronic ignition, wider use of electric starting systems, improved suspensions, and better charging/electrical systems just to name a few. I actually credit AMF with saving the company. AMF developed the Evolution motor that was used after the shovelhead years. The Evo motor didn't roll out until AMF has sold the company back to the employees. But make no mistake, AMF developed that motor and it's reliability and power improvements put Harley-Davidson back on the map. A lot of people still like to complain about the AMF bikes, but the problems were largely superficial and not serious design issues.

You don't really mention what you are looking for. But if you are looking for a low maintenance, "never have to work on it" sort of bike, you might want to steer clear. But if you go into it knowing that this is a 35 year old bike and you are willing to put up with a bit of baggage that goes along with that, it could be very satisfying.

A great technical forum for HD is: www.harleytechtalk.org

-Craig
⚠️ Last edited by caschnd1 on UTC; edited 3 times
@mikenpalsie avatar
UTC

Addicted
gt200
Joined: UTC
Posts: 771
Location: morrison, il. u.s.a.
 
Addicted
@mikenpalsie avatar
gt200
Joined: UTC
Posts: 771
Location: morrison, il. u.s.a.
UTC quote
amf harley
I had a 79 flt, verry similar to the flh, same motor, frame etc. just a different fairing, it was a real good bike, I remember putting 33,000 miles on that one and the only issues i had were the motor mount between the cylinders failed 2 times, and the drive chain boot used to leak a little oil, really not a big deal. also the shovelhead motors are reliable but do need some tlc from time to time, but they are not hard to work on.
UTC

Addicted
LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 566
Location: Sartell MN
 
Addicted
LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 566
Location: Sartell MN
UTC quote
Any '79 what's still around will likely only need as much care as any bike that age.

An old friend had a '79 Sporty and it was fine. I've known folks and family with those era bikes and after a few bugs sorted, they were all good bikes.

No, I don't recall what issues there might've been but with this here internet, you'll be absolutely inundated with how-to's if you search out the bike you're interested in.

Craig is the guy to talk about the older stuff. Mine is newish in that it's a '93. All different from the AMF shtuff. But I like em.

Harv
@caschnd1 avatar
UTC

Grumpy Biker
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5443
Location: Sparks, Nevada, USA
 
Grumpy Biker
@caschnd1 avatar
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5443
Location: Sparks, Nevada, USA
UTC quote
I should warn you... When you own an old Harley you will find yourself collecting old parts. A friend in Mineral Wells, TX found these stock bore 1957 cylinders in a barn and called me. They arrived in the mail last week.

It's a sickness...

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text
@aviator47 avatar
UTC

Moderator
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 12955
Location: Paros Island, Greece
 
Moderator
@aviator47 avatar
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 12955
Location: Paros Island, Greece
UTC quote
Totally OT, but I lived in Mineral Wells, TX both as a student and flight instructor and have all kinds of warm memories of the place!
OP
@tor2ga avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
Looking for the next one, probably electric
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3654
Location: Babcock Ranch, Florida
 
Ossessionato
@tor2ga avatar
Looking for the next one, probably electric
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3654
Location: Babcock Ranch, Florida
UTC quote
Thanks to all for the info. It has all been very interesting. I have run down some of the suggestions. Here is the ad that I got interested in:

http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/mcy/4215080087.html

I have been looking for another sidecar rig after selling my '80 P200 with California Sidecar. A motorcycle is OK. Here is another I ran across:

http://sarasota.craigslist.org/mcy/4220289596.html

Craig, I thought you would like to see that one. It's a little out of my price range.

I've got to try moving around some stuff in my garage to find room for one. The Vespa fitted pretty well, but a Harley rig is almost the size of another car.
UTC

Hooked
Joined: UTC
Posts: 314
 
Hooked
Joined: UTC
Posts: 314
UTC quote
Laughing emoticon Laughing emoticon" ....bowling ball company".

They made pool tables too, didn't they?

They have small balls though.

I really wouldn't mind owning a Harley. I just dislike all of the cheesy crap I'd have to wear to be really cool.

Although retired now, I suppose my age is at least right on.
@caschnd1 avatar
UTC

Grumpy Biker
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5443
Location: Sparks, Nevada, USA
 
Grumpy Biker
@caschnd1 avatar
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: UTC
Posts: 5443
Location: Sparks, Nevada, USA
UTC quote
Tor2ga wrote:
Thanks to all for the info. It has all been very interesting. I have run down some of the suggestions. Here is the ad that I got interested in:

http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/mcy/4215080087.html

I have been looking for another sidecar rig after selling my '80 P200 with California Sidecar. A motorcycle is OK. Here is another I ran across:

http://sarasota.craigslist.org/mcy/4220289596.html

Craig, I thought you would like to see that one. It's a little out of my price range.

I've got to try moving around some stuff in my garage to find room for one. The Vespa fitted pretty well, but a Harley rig is almost the size of another car.
That's a nice looking Shovel! Price looks right too.

The older Panhead is a nice looking custom. The price is way too high at $36,000 though. It would need to be original to bring that kind of money and this bike has a ton of extra aftermarket chrome. Looks nice but actually decreases the value.

Robertsfun, you only need to wear the Harley uniform if you are into that. I don't wear any HD emblems on my cloths. And the only HD emblem on my bike is a patent decal applied to the tool box in 1936. It's almost faded completely away at this point.

-Craig
@superk2 avatar
UTC

Addicted
GTS 300 Super - Beau, Honda CTX700 - Big Red
Joined: UTC
Posts: 983
Location: Everett, WA, USA
 
Addicted
@superk2 avatar
GTS 300 Super - Beau, Honda CTX700 - Big Red
Joined: UTC
Posts: 983
Location: Everett, WA, USA
UTC quote
Tor2ga wrote:
Thanks to all for the info. It has all been very interesting. I have run down some of the suggestions. Here is the ad that I got interested in:

http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/mcy/4215080087.html

I have been looking for another sidecar rig after selling my '80 P200 with California Sidecar. A motorcycle is OK. Here is another I ran across:

http://sarasota.craigslist.org/mcy/4220289596.html

Craig, I thought you would like to see that one. It's a little out of my price range.

I've got to try moving around some stuff in my garage to find room for one. The Vespa fitted pretty well, but a Harley rig is almost the size of another car.
I got nothing for you. But that's a purdy bike.
UTC

Addicted
Buddy 125, Scarabeo 150, Scarabeo 500ie, Triumphs, Vespa Sprint 150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 732
Location: Charleston,SC-Knoxville, TN- Sanibel, Florida
 
Addicted
Buddy 125, Scarabeo 150, Scarabeo 500ie, Triumphs, Vespa Sprint 150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 732
Location: Charleston,SC-Knoxville, TN- Sanibel, Florida
UTC quote
"C".....I would think seriously before buying an old Harley!!!!

I've had three Evo Sporties and find them reliable, although the ergos dont fit me well.

The ole Harleys are a project bike.....IMHO......just like my old Triumphs are!!!!

fried okra
UTC

The Host with the Toast
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7199
Location: SoCal
 
The Host with the Toast
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7199
Location: SoCal
@capitano avatar
UTC

Addicted
ET4 Pre-Leader 125 "Velocipede" '92 Honda C90 Cub '97 Yamaha 600 Diversion
Joined: UTC
Posts: 625
Location: Brighton, UK
 
Addicted
@capitano avatar
ET4 Pre-Leader 125 "Velocipede" '92 Honda C90 Cub '97 Yamaha 600 Diversion
Joined: UTC
Posts: 625
Location: Brighton, UK
UTC quote
fried okra wrote:
<snip>I've had three Evo Sporties<snip>
Same here, along with other Harleys and Buells. I worked out that 15 years of my riding life was spent on Harleys, and nearly 10 of that on Sportsters.

I can't tell you why either, because they blatantly don't fit me, and probably never have!

On another note, that ebay one sounds sorted and looks great.
DoubleGood Design banner

Modern Vespa is the premier site for modern Vespa and Piaggio scooters. Vespa GTS300, GTS250, GTV, GT200, LX150, LXS, ET4, ET2, MP3, Fuoco, Elettrica and more.

Buy Me A Coffee
 

Shop on Amazon with Modern Vespa

Modern Vespa is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com


All Content Copyright 2005-2024 by Modern Vespa.
All Rights Reserved.


[ Time: 0.0175s ][ Queries: 3 (0.0042s) ][ live ][ 313 ][ ThingOne ]