1959 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster

In America, Cruiser by AbhiLeave a Comment

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Post Sale Update: This XLCH sold for $8,700 after 17 bids on eBay in Cohoes, New York.


This XLCH was restored by the seller 7 years ago, and it was later featured in Issue #330 of American Iron. The seller has suffered a back injury that stops him from kick starting, so he’s letting this go to a new owner who can enjoy it.

In official Harley parlance, the XLCH broke down as follows: XL = the Sportster model introduced in 1957, C = stripped down, and H = high performance. Enthusiasts were known to call the CH by a different name – California Hot Rod or Competition Hot. No matter what you called it, when it was first released in ’58 it was the best choice from Harley for aspiring racers. In 1959, Harley decided to tone it down a little: they kept the performance improvements but added the lights and and mufflers back. It immediately became the best selling XL model option, and continued on until 1972 (when the CH motor got bumped up from 883 to 1000).

The biggest changes between the XLH and the XLCH were a peanut tank and different seat, as well as the removal of electric start and the battery. The motor produced about 55 horsepower, good for a top speed of 120 miles per hour. Wet weight is 452 pounds. For more on the XLCH, check out this article on Motorcycle Classics.

The seller of this example (VIN: 59XLCH1732) rebuilt the top end and magneto, painted the bodywork and frame, and replaced several parts including the brakes, tires, rear shocks, headlight, front wheel, mufflers, speedometer, carb, and seat. He estimates that the machine is 85% original, and says “there are no real problems with the bike although it does tend to sump if left sitting for more than 2 or 3 weeks and, when this happens, there is a little seepage from the crankcase half seals. The tranny main shaft seal also weeps to a minor degree. I have noted that when the bike is run regularly, the sumping seepage stops completely.

Find this Sportster for sale in Cohoes, New York with bidding up to $7,800 and the reserve not yet met

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