I really love different (some may call ‘weird’) motorcycles. If there is something unique about it, I find it really interesting. Granted, riding friends I have had over the years have always questioned my taste in motorcycles but occasionally I have converted a few from ‘mainstream’ to a little left of center. Lucky for them?
A bike that has always interested me is the Harley Sprint. I love small displacement motorcycles, I believe they offer the highest giggle factor your money can buy. I have traveled a good portion of the Western United States on a Honda 350 and still have four of them. I’ve had singles, twins; four strokes and two strokes…I love ’em all. But why I want a Sprint is beyond me…maybe it’s because it’s just weird enough.
I have written plenty of times about the ‘Italian’ Harley’s so I won’t do it again and besides there is so much info on the net that you can learn more than you ever wanted to, and waste a whole day that you are supposed to be working, just going from website to website and still not really care all that much. Unless, you dig those ‘un-Harleys’…like me.
The Sprint is definitely one of those cult bikes, you either love it or hate it. Compared to its competition at the time; the Honda CB350, Yamaha R5, Suzuki X6 and Kawasaki Samurai, it was slow, heavy, only had a 4 speed transmission, the kickstart lever on the wrong side, and until 1973 was kickstart only, and on top of all that it would vibrate the fillings right out of your teeth. But at that time, what Harley wouldn’t?
But, here’s the thing, these bikes have become really popular in Vintage Flat Track and Roadracing. Why, because there are still plenty of parts available (because they are popular), and in their classes, quite competitive. Most everybody that raced the Sprint 250 and 350 back in the day, got their racing parts from Europe, not here. The Motor Company was working on building their mid-size bike business, not racing mid-size bikes. Sadly, in the late sixties and early seventies it was all about horsepower baby! Mid-size bike sales were declining and Harley just didn’t fit into that market no matter how hard they tried.
However, I still think the weird looking, good handling, slow, horizontal cylinder Italian Harley is a very cool bike.
I found a really nice Sprint 350SS on ebay today that would take (it appears) so little to be rideable. Bought at an Estate sale, a complete bike…looks to me that all you have to do is the basics…Clean it up,(and by that I mean you need to pull the bike apart…not ‘restoration’ apart, just clean all the electrical connections and oil lines…) change all the fluids, a pair of new tires, a new battery and really, you’re good to go. Well, there are some mods you can make that will really make this ‘Un-Harley’ really fly and embarrass many bigger more modern bikes. The Sprint’s are a lot of fun to ride and wherever you go, people will gather around.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and info. This is a pretty neat bike at a pretty good price.