Bought on Bike-urious – Project with Race History – 1972 Harley-Davidson XR750

In Bought on Bike-urious by AbhiLeave a Comment

It’s time for another round of my favorite posts to share: Bought on Bike-urious. This time we’ve got a XR750 project that was extensively raced in the 70s and 80s. Now it’s in the garage of reader John B!

Here’s John’s side of the story – based on this shot, it looks like this XR750 has found a good home…

“I’ve always had a thing for XR750s because I admire their single purpose minimalist design and of course their three decade long domination of the AMA Grand National Championships. I first saw this bike on Bike-urious and instantly fell for its “as raced” patina. Your website highlighted the eBay auction currently underway after it failed to meet reserve at the Bonhams auction at the Barber Museum in October of 2018. I ended up purchasing it on eBay for what I thought was a very fair price. The seller was very knowledgeable and helpful.

When the bike finally arrived I was pleased that it was exactly as described and presented. It hadn’t run since 1997, when it last raced at Ascot Park in California and has Ascot dirt on it! I fully intended to get it running and rideable, as all my bikes are, but I recognized the need to proceed with care as it hadn’t run in 22 years. I checked the basics and it failed – no spark, so I sent the magneto out to Morris Magneto for a rebuild. They were enthusiastic to help get this old race bike running again and rebuilt the magneto to the most recent specs XR750 racers have been using. Upon the return of the magneto I took the bike next door to Creative Performance where my friends Bill and Alan do a lot of performance work on Harleys, and conveniently they have a chassis dyno which would be very helpful in getting it running as we can power the bike electrically on the dyno drum.

Photo from previous owner.

We set it to the ignition to service manual specs of 45 degrees static advance (holy crap!) and let the dyno turn it over with the plugs out to verify spark and make sure the engine turned over properly, and that the oil came up to the right level. Once that was done we put some gas in it and fired it up on the dyno. It was very rewarding to hear that thing bark to life for the first time in 22 years. Shortly after that I took it for a few careful laps around our facility. On the final lap I lit it up and I must say it has some serious balls up top! It lofts the front wheel in 2nd, which really gets your attention when you don’t have a left foot peg or a front brake!! Anyways, I now have it so it bump starts fairly easily and my plans are to put a left foot peg on it take it out for an occasional local short hooligan ride.

If it wasn’t for your website and daily email feed I wouldn’t have this wonderful bike. Thanks again and keep up the good work.”

Congrats to John for his new bike, and thanks for sharing your story!

Have you bought a motorcycle we’ve featured here on Bike-urious? We’d love to share the good news – and we’ll throw you a t-shirt for your troubles.