The Harley FXR Line

Harley FXR Men vs Boys

Men or boys. Or, Real men vs not real men. Training wheels or not. Harley introduced the FXR in 1981 as the bike that would separate them. That is, the men and the boys. Actually the first Harley FXR was a 1982 model. We’ll discuss why Harley made the claim a little later.

FXR Models

The Super Glide II was the first bike of the FXR range of bikes. Another FXR was the FXRT Sport Glide in 1983. The FXRS Low Glide and FXRDG Disc Glide became available in 1984. 1985 saw the FXRC Low Glide Custom It was a 1 year limited edition model. The FXRS-SP Sport Edition Low Rider and the FXLR Low Rider Custom showed up in 1987. There are other FXR variations but these are the most commonly known.

harley fxrt-1340 sport-glide-1983

Harley FXR 1


What is The FXR


Harley re-acquires the company from AMF in 1981. Harley needed to restore its reputation. The years under AMF had left Harley with a dismal record of quality and a big debt. Harley had to do something fast to turn this around.

FXR was the first line of bikes introduced to start changing the way Harley was thought of. The FXR line was built around a new frame that the lightest and the most tiff of competing big V-Twin bikes. Powered by the 81.6 cubic inch V-twin made them the fastest Harleys. Also, the vibration was reduced and oil stains on the concrete became just a memory.

The FXR line was also considered the best handling to date of any Harley. Higher ground clearance allowed deeper lean angles. The FXR’s were said to be designed for riders and not for the corporate accountants. They were known as the “ugly” Harleys. But, hell, I would argue that and most diehard FXR owners would too.


Separating the Men from the Boys?

I don’t really know if that’s true. I mean it was a fast line of bikes and the handling did bring out the excitement of the purists. Harleys idea of the men were those that rode Harleys and the boys drove the Japanese and other imports. I just have a hard time supporting the statement. There are lots of definitions of “Men”. I’m reminded of a bike called the “widow maker” that wasn’t a Harley. Widow Maker owners weren’t Men?


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