Hardtail Motorcycles – Not Just for Iron Butts

So last week a buddy of mine across state lines called me up and had just dropped a wad on a new old bike.

Actually, it was a really old, beat up one that he’d found in the classifieds – he showed me the ad – “Old Harley-Davidson. Needs work but engine turns over and chrome and paint are in decent shape. $6500. Call …”

What he found when he pulled up to the old man’s house was an untitled early sixties hardtail that was covered in dust and grime (which probably did protect the paint and chrome) showing 34,521 miles on the odometer.

True to the ad, the engine did turn over, the seat was torn and the springs in the seat were pretty well shot.

He offered the old man $4,000 cash right there and loaded it into the trailer.


That got me to thinking, though, so I rode over to his house to see the new bike and in less than 48 hours, he had torn it down and gotten it running. Sort of. The carb was leaking like a sieve, the seat was covered by an old t-shirt, and the tires were only holding about 10 psi.

But it went down the driveway.

By the time I was putting this article to post, my buddy had sent me a video (and threatened to load it onto Youtube – I’ll keep you posted) where he’d gotten the carb rebuilt and the handful of springs for the seat were in transit to his house. Seat was at the upholsterer and was supposed to be ready by the time you read this. The gas tank was being boiled out at the radiator shop and the shop felt that they could save the paint on the tank to preserve the bike as a survivor.

The worst part is that the wiring harness, as little as it is, was in great shape. He’s got plug wires ordered and with the new battery, new lubricants in the gearboxes and crankcase, and some new spark plugs, he’s into a classic Harley for a little over five grand.

Makes me want to throw up.

But all this got me thinking – how many of us would choose a hardtail? Sure, I know that plenty are built as bar hoppers, but taking that down the back roads (or even the “good” roads around here) is supposed to rattle your kidneys loose, especially if you put on some long trips.

But I figure for $5,000, I could take that chance. Look for a complete ride report in the near future once he gets the bike on the road and we’ll find out just how good old iron can be!

Keep the shiny side up.

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