The Harley Davidson FXS Lowrider
Harley introduced the FXS Lowrider in 1977 at Bike Week in Daytona. The first of Harley’s “Factory Custom” line proved to be one of Harley’s most popular series. The original 77 Lowrider had raised white lettered tires and mag wheels. The exhaust was a dual into one set up that set the bar for lots of copy cats.
The first models in the FXS line came with the tried and true 1200 V Twin for the first two years. In 1979 a 1340cc engine added additional horsepower and torque.
The Lowrider got its name as you would expect. The lowest seat height in Harley’s lineup. Slightly less than 26 inches. The low seat height and custom look styling caught the eye and fancy of riders everywhere. A 32-degree Rake enhanced the look and was the spec for 29 years when it was changed to 29 degrees.
The Changes Of The 80’s
A major change was made in the 80’s when Harley introduced its rubber mounted chassis. Before that it had been the standard solid chassis. The S in FXS was change to R to denote the change in chassis. Other changes included dual disc brakes and a popup seat along with low rise handle bars.
During the 80’s after migrating to the rubber mount chassis big changes to the 1340cc twin began to evolve. It marked the end of the shovelhead power plant availability except for police bikes. This was a good thing. The shovelhead had a dismal reputation. They were known for being leaky and unreliable and were one of the main reasons for Harley’s bad reputation during the 70’s. Author’s note: And the main reason why I elected to buy one of those Japanese bikes.
After the middle 80’s things began to change at Harley. The Lowrider saw the benefits of those changes. But that’s another story and the newer Lowriders are among some of the best bikes on the planet as far as I’m concerned. The Lowrider has evolved from a pretty damn good machine ( despite it’s shortcomings ) to a motorcycle legend.