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FXR2evo99

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FXR HISTORY
« on: July 23, 2008, 11:46:31 AM »

FXR HISTORY

HELLO TO EVERYONE.....To ALL WHOM MAY BE VISITING THIS THREAD FROM A LINK OR WHOM ARE SIMPLY VISITORS HERE AT THE WEBSITE, AS WELL AS MEMBERS HERE AT CVOHARLEY.COM WELCOME.

Excellent Reference Reading:

Harley – Davidson  Evolution Motorcycles  
Greg Field
MBI Publishing 2001

Illustrated Buyer’s Guide
Harley Davidson Since 1965
Allan Girdler
MBI Publishing  1998

UPDATED: November 24, 2008

The vastness of such a topic must have a beginning point, so where does one proceed when trying to figure out the birth of what many consider to be the very best chassis Harley Davidson has ever created.  Some might go on to say that the FXR could possibly be one of Harley Davidson's most successfully designed light touring cruisers ever.  It's only quite obvious that Harley Davidson's History began in 1903, and charging all the way back to this beginning point would undoubtedly provide anyone with a proper foundation but to go through so many years to arrive where this story begins would be basically pointless given the scope of my interest.  Most assuredly anyone could argue with my beginning point but suffice it to say our story begins with its roots in the middle 70's.  

In 1976, Vaughn Beals joins Harley-Davidson's managment team as Deputy Group Executive of the Motorcycle Group, and is charged with the task of rebuilding the company to improve quality and productivity. Beals would later that year, convene his upper management to a series of meetings which were held in Pinehurst, North Carolina, "dubbed" the "Pinehurst Meetings" with the aim of mapping out a 10-year product plan for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. There it was decided that due to the proliferation at the time of high-tech motorcycles from other countries, and their wide acceptance by American motorcyclists, a redesign of the current 74 (1,200cc) shovelhead engine would be insufficient to guarantee the company's long-term growth. So planners proposed a two-pronged strategy to ensuring Harley's future:

First, because of the established product line's loyal following, they set into motion an advanced V-twin project with the goal of updating the shovelhead Big Twin and Ironhead Sportster. The eventual result was the Evolution engine.

Second, At the same time, an all-new machine with advanced technology would be developed to appeal to riders who wanted more contemporary performance. Harley's engineers laid out a number of concepts on the Pinehurst table, including a series of motorcycles powered by three basic multicylinder, water-cooled engines in six displacements-the Nova family-all incorporating the latest technology. By the close of the Pinehurst meetings, the planners had mapped out Harley's future as a manufacturer of both traditional and cutting-edge motorcycles.

Out of these meetings, the NOVA Project came to life....to read more:

CLICK HERE

The Nova's demise sparked Harley-Davidson's resurgence. Cutting Nova funds was one of the reasons Beals led the so-called "gang of 13" to propose buying the company back from AMF. AMF agreed, and on February 26th 1981, signed a letter of intent to purchase Harley-Davidson from AMF and by mid-June Harley-Davidson became a privately held company. Highly leveraged with an enormous bank debt, Harley's future options boiled down to just two-either continue development of the Evolution V-twin, or build the Nova. The Nova was the long-range hope, the 10-year promise. But air-cooled twins promised the most immediate cash flow. And so the Nova died.

Moving beyond the "Nova Project", It was during the fall of 1979, that Harley Davidson introduced New for the 1980 model year the FLT Tour Glide. This granddaddy of the full dressers had carved itself a dedicated following among Harley-Davidson touring enthusiasts. Until the launch of the Tour Glide, every Electra Glide since the 1963 inaugural year had worn basically the same clothes; the FLT was considered revolutionary for its side-by-side twin headlights in a redesigned frame-mounted fairing. It was born with a 5-speed transmission, hard bolted to the engine.

Also in 1980 the FLT Tour Glide's drive train sported a new enclosed oil-bath chain keeping the rear end clean while more than doubling the chain life itself helping to make the FLT less maintenance intensive than other Harley's of that time.  Other features included new electronic intruments inside of the fiberglass wind-eliminator all aimed at allowing the long-distance rider to stay in the saddle for hours on end. Primary among these add-ons was a CB radio that allowed riders to keep in contact with long-haul truckers along the way.

The new frame of the FLT was the first to use the “exclusive” Harley-Davidson Tri-mount chassis with the three-point maintenance-free automotive type elastomer engine mounted system – one in the front and two at the frame junctions to the transmission which eliminated most of the big twin’s characteristic vibration, revised steering geometry and a fully enclosed drive train which meant higher reliability and lower maintenance helped in taking a huge step forward in reclaiming some of the touring riders who had been defecting.

The Tour Guide’s unique front end arrangement, combined with its remarkable 35 degree lean-angle and computer designed frame, made it the easiest maneuvering, best handling fully dressed tourer currently available at that time.



« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 04:42:57 PM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2008, 11:47:22 AM »

It was later in 1985, that the FLT became the FLHT and received the Evolution engine and a five-speed transmission. The extra gear felt like an overdrive had been installed and upped the FLT's top speed from 98 to 105 MPH. Not as outright plush as current touring rigs, but timeless and capable in its own way.

In part, I am spending these few moments drawing one's attention to the these frames only to highlight as time progresses how the chassis of the FLHT's give rise to our contemporary FLHT models as well as our FLHR models and it's this "parallel" that offers support as to why the FXR chassis is as comfortable to ride as our touring bikes of today. Thus when you hear someone speak about the comfort of their FXR bike, perhaps you will have a better understanding of how Harley Davidson engineered these frames to be congruent to one another.

Once the FLT's production was under way the Motor Company decided they needed to turn their attention to another "segment" of the market place....how could they get even more people riding what was considered a very good touring model....thus a group of HD employees came together, they were:

Mark Tuttle  chief engineer of motorcycles
Steve Pertsch
Bill Brown design engineer
Erik Buell,  NOT AN ORIGINAL DESIGNER BUT WAS ASKED TO CONSULT AND PARTICIPATE IN REDESIGN
READ ABOUT HIS JUNE 2013 HOT BIKE MAGAZINE REMARKS IN REPLY# 11
Rit Booth, engineer
Vaughn Beals

What they all wanted was a “no apologies” Harley, one that would work as well as it “looked”, one that would “handle” like no Harley ever had.  One that didn’t try to shake itself and its rider apart.  One that would offer the rider as much comfort regardless of size.  One that would be lighter and yet nimble enough in maneuvering such distances as from Milwaukee to Los Angeles as it would be from stoplight to stoplight. One that feared no curve.

F =  Big Twin
X = XL (Sportster Front End) Front End
R=  Rubber Engine Mounts.

Thus the emergence of the FXR “Superglide” in 1981.  

Vaughn Beals states that the attention of the motor company was on the newly designed FLT model, but then he is quoted as saying that the motor company realized “we needed a “vibration-isolated” “Sport’s Bike”, as well to “draw new riders into the Harley camp”.  What Beals meant in his reference of a “Sport’s Bike” was to be taken in context of the Harley Big Twin, which essentially goes back to the FX model of bikes at the time.  What he was attempting to more directly relate to was Harley Davidson's need for a lighter cruiser.   So what they began to go after was a bike that was not necessarily a “peg-scratcher” but a “lighter” rubber mounted touring bike which could “cruise”.   Beals, continues, “We were looking for something with better handling than an FLH and something that wasn’t as large and intimidating as the FLT and something aerodynamically desirable.  So the new team was turned loose to create a new machine.  The “FX” was to be the “sport model” of the “FL”.  So essentially the FXR became the “sport model” of the FLT.

What happened according to Mark Tuttle, is that HD did not have the time nor the resources to design anything better as a result the FXR, “really became a chassis program to utilize the FLT powertrain in an FX-type motorcycle” which means they would decide upon using the FLT’s rigid engine-transmission unit with the swingarm bolted to the back of the tranny and design for it’s new frame.

The need for a “prettier” frame turned into a blessing for those engineers and, ultimately for lovers of performance Harley’s.  Since the members of the design team had to create a new chassis anyway, they decided to create it in basically their own idea of a “performance” image.  Obviously stiffer than before.  What they ended up discovering was that the FXR frame was FIVE TIMES stiffer in torsion, which is where it counts, than the old FX/FL frame had been. Which made for better cornering and ultimately a much better ride than can be offered even within the Dyna family that is produced today.....hmmmm very interesting..... They also went after higher “lean angles” ie: lots of “ground clearance”.

Rit Booth is quoted as saying that they were a group of riders who were really “performance oriented” he at the time was riding a Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans and even had the “guts” to ride it to work.  So as he stated, “we wanted the new bike to be even “stiffer” and to have even more of that “on-rails” feel than the current FLT.  Basically, as he goes on, “we started with a “clean sheet” of paper and then decided we’d keep the FLT mounts and build into the new frame all that we’d learned about making a bike go through corners”  It’s Chief Engineer of Motorcycles, Mark Tuttle that continues on by stating that “at a personal level, that he particularly didn’t care for Sportsters because of their lack of ground clearance, you simply couldn’t ride them as aggressively as I wanted to ride, with the “FXR” we solved that particular problem.”  
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 12:45:41 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2008, 11:48:24 AM »

The FXR was never meant to be a “crotch rocket”, always maintaining the goal of working within the frame work structure of Harley Davidson.  At each design level the engineering design team pushed the envelope of “modern performance” whenever possible and where practical, to make it “stiffer and give it more precise steering” affirmed Rit Booth.   The frame was designed using the latest in computer-assisted technology.  In the process known as "finite element analysis", the frame configuration, specifications, and dimensions were fed into a computer.  A “drawing” of the frame could then be brought up on a computer display “terminal”.  The computer then assisted the engineering team in changing the frame characteristics until they were able to come up with the optimum design.  Among other things, the computer assisted them in locating stress points and indicated where the frame needed stiffening.  Using this stress analysis and computer modeling, “Team FXR” designed the new frame for maximum stiffness.  Like the FLT frame, the new frame’s backbone was comprised of two-inch boxed tubular steel with massive stampings to add strength creating a large box-section that linked the steering head to a triangulated rear section and used round tubing at all points where the frame showed.  To make the new frame even stiffer than the FLT’s the engineers added more gusseting between the steering head and both the backbone and down tubes.  In the end, it was claimed to be 5 times stiffer than the old FX frame, yet added nothing in weight. Like the FLT, the FXR Super Glide II mates the smooth and quick 5 speed gear box with a vibration-isolating Tri-mount chassis.  With the vibration eliminated and the wider choice of the shorter gearing of the 5 speed, the FXR would cruise effortlessly.  In fact the gearing and lack of vibration tend to make the motorcycle reach engine speeds that were significantly above those to which riders were accustomed on the traditional HD 4 speed.  Even today as one rides the 1999 FXR2, FXR3, or 2000 FXR4 with 2.925 final gearing the cycle is extremely comfortable at 3,600 RPM and still accelerates strongly beyond.

The Tri-mount chassis adapted from the new FLT also utilized the maintenance-free, automotive type elastomer mounts, one in front and two in the rear at the swing arm junctions with the transmission,  This was a departure from the traditional rigid mounting of the engine to the frame in which case the engine was generally a stressed member of the chassis.  The elastomer mounts basically allows the engine to do its thing (shake) without transmitting that vibration through the frame and on to the rider.  Thus the term, “isolated vibration”.  The FXR Super Glide II featured 6.12 inch of ground clearance and a long wheel base of 65.7 inches.  Rake was 30 degrees, while the trail came in at 4.7 inches all of which led the FXR into any corner without fear.  It would be right here where HD would spend their greatest time modifying the FXR riding experience to capture the greatest amount of riders.  While never modifying the chassis/frame, one year marketing side would cut the fork tubes down and make the rear shocks shorter and as quickly as that was decided upon the engineers would step back in the next year with the tension to take it the other direction, in the end it would be viewed as a sea of compromise one year the engineers would be victorious while yet in another the marketing side would see to it that the bike went to a lower stance.  At no time did this "sea of compromise" affect the uniquely wonderful riding experience in terms of the FXR comfort factor, what was constantly being debated however, was just how aggressive HD riders were willing to become as they entered into the curves with a frame/chassis that knew no fear.  Time and substance out distanced fast and furious and so it is that HD continues to allow us to dream while we cruise.

As one can only imagine at the “alter” of  marriage between the “styling” wing and the "engineering" wing what was being debated within the “Styling” part of Harley Davidson, was the engineers’ insistence on using rear-mounted shocks on the FXR, as they had on the FLT, which made the rear suspension work better and allowed for longer shock travel. Lou Netz and Willie G. Davidson had always wanted the FXR shocks laid down and forward mounted, but as Rit Booth explains, “they were told absolutely no by the engineers, myself included”, thus the union was created at least for a little while.

As has been mentioned above, part of making the new chassis as stiff as possible, involved making the new frame “triangulated” and given the odd-shaped covers to hide the battery and the oil tank, it was this “triangulated” side view look which was ultimately the FXR’s least popular feature design.  

To this end, Mark Tuttle exclaims, we all loved the bike, “You could run it into a corner and tip it over to oblivion and it just all worked”.  
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 11:59:35 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 11:50:03 AM »

The first sales of the NEW FXR's actually occurred during the fall of 1981, however these sales were attributed to the 1982 FXR Model Year, thus:

1982 FXR Super Glide II       Sales Totaled: 3,065
1982 FXRS Super Glide II     Sales Totaled: 3,190

The first year sales for the FXR "model" were quite good, totaling 6,255.  The 1982 FXRS Super Glide II and the 1982 FXR Super Glide II were the Number 1 and Number 2 best-selling "Big Twins" for 1982.  However, as history would point to.....at the end of the day…..sales at best were mixed year in and year out and continued to drop for the FXR, ultimately being defined as too “Japanese” in appearance for the “staunch” traditional “FX” crowd….the conflict of purchasing a cheaper version of the FXR coming from abroad for some combined with the “failed” look of the “triangular” frame resulted in effort by the motor company to go to it’s roots, that of building a bike that could only come from Milwaukee like the “softail”.  As remembered by Mark Tuttle, “we got a lot of “negative” response to the triangular area under the seat, even though we had created what we were indeed after, a very stiff chassis, very neutral handling, and a really good lean angle, which resulted in a fair amount of ground clearance and a higher seat height, and while it was probably the best-handling Harley ever built, Unfortunately, it just wasn’t selling as well as the rigid mounts were”.  

“Best handling” it was and still is, but the original FXR was a whole lot more, first, it was the best motorcycle Harley’s engineers knew how to or were allowed to build.  

Mark Tuttle, states that, “we found that other than a “handful” of riders, nobody was using that “capability” the market would, “rather have had lower seats and more of a low cruiser look than all that “handling capability”.

“IF” the original FXRS bike had started out as an “engineer’s bike”, in 1982, then in 1984 it could have just as easily been stated that the FXR was indeed “recast” into a “marketeer’s bike” with shorter shocks that took away some of that “ground clearance” and “lean angle” that had originally been engineered into it, in favor of a lower seat height that Harley’s marketers thought would revive it’s flagging sales.  

Because the shorter shocks still had to control the same load, fork and shock springs were made stiffer.  The result was a great loss in cornering clearance (now less than that of the Wide Glide or Softail, but noticeable only by the few who actually tried to ride the FXRS the way the original was meant to be ridden and a stiffer ride balanced by a lower, more Harley Davidson like feel.  To emphasize the “charge” in “stature”, the marketeers gave the shorter FXRS a new name, ie: Low Glide.  The “irony” was, once the FXRS was given a “motor” as good as its chassis (evo engine replacing the shovel) the chassis was taken back a half-generation in function. A few noticed and complained, but the majority were pleased their feet were now flat on the ground, and sales went up as well.

Turning from the "chassis" and looking at the power plant of the FXR we see that once the evo engine came into the chassis of the bike, major changes for the evo engine were kept at a minimum until 1992, receiving cases with the oil filter boss out front, and a breather system redesigned to vent through the cylinder heads and then into the carburetor.  The new breather worked well for normal highway or in-town use.  Unfortunately, it became known for dumping oil into the air box under extended high-rpm use.  Carburetors had recalibrated jetting for easier cold-starting.
As a running change in January 1992, the factory switched to an INA-type cam bearing (from the Torrington / Timken B138).  This is an update that stood up well in normal service but NOT so well under “hot-rodding”.  

The evo engine, close to bulletproof from the start, had slowly been refined to the point where it was bombproof.   The major update for 1994 was a revision of the primary ratio from 3.37 final gearing which had begun in 1989 and moved to 3.15 final gearing to put the gearing more in the starter’s favor in turning over the engine.  It could be said this too was another step towards "cruising" and another step away from "aggressive" cornering.  Not only did the gearing move towards the starter's favor, in the end it awakened a even more comfortable vibration free isolated riding experience.  What this all speaks to is the amazing flexiblity of the FXR "chassis/frame" experience as once again not only could one modify gearing to the pleasure of one's own predetermined riding experince, but indeed, the "chassis/frame" of the FXR was proven to be accomodating in which ever direction it's engineers or stylers wanted to explore.  Isn't this the overwhelming evidence that proves and supports when something is as special as the FXR chassis/frame is, that its most wonderful compliments can be expressed through the eyes of so many successfully different riding variations?

Midyear, new cylinder studs and base gaskets were introduced that really helped eliminate base-gasket leaks.  IF you look closely another modification for the 1999 FXR2’s FXR3’s and 2000 FXR4’s were given the same outer primary cover as used on the Twin Cam outer primary for touring models with more “ribs” to stiffen it.  While the Evolution engine was mainly an “update” “from the base gasket up”, the Twin Cam was essentially all new, top to bottom.  (By 1999, though, you could also call the Evo all new from top to bottom, too, because nearly every part of it had been updated between 1984 and 1999.  Though 1999 was the end for the EVO Big Twin engines being only used in the 1999 FXR2’s FXR3’s and the Softail models, the ONLY 2000 model to carry the EVO motor was the 2000 FXR4 produced in the silver powdercoat on the engine cases.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 12:08:52 PM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 11:51:57 AM »

In 1994, Harley Davidson felt it was time to move away from the labor intensive FXR frame knowing too that with the advent of the Twin Cam on the horizon which would result in having to go through a very expensive recertification process with redesigning of the current FXR chassis for the new motor as well as the obvious perceived market resistance to the "triangular" tubing of the chassis it was time to end the run of the "FXR" Harley Davidson.  Thus the last two models of the FXR were produced in 1994, the FXR Super Glide and the FXLR Low Rider Custom.

The emergence of the 1999 FXR2; 1999 FXR3; and finally the 2000 FXR4.

Since we are speaking about the "emergence" of the FXR2's, FXR3's, and FXR4's perhaps here is a good spot to "link" a great thread showing the bikes themselves, so if you would like just click and view, and after viewing you can come right back here and continue with the reading about these bikes.

CLICK HERE AND VIEW

The three most important reasons for the emergence of the FXR after a half a decade of sabbatical were:


a.   Since the end of the FXR in 1994, the FXR had taken on an entirely unique and reestablished life in the after market world of motorcycles.  Many of the best customs were being built on the FXR platform because they were less expensive and more available for “chopping” than any other Harley model.  Ever wonder why you don’t see very many FXRT’s or FXRP police bikes any more?  They were all chopped into the customs.  Same with the FXR Super Glides.  As the supply of these dried up then the aftermarket began offering “stock-type”, as well as lowered and stretched versions of the FXR chassis.  Build an aftermarket motor and the only one loosing is Harley Davidson.

b.   Harley Davidson still had many left over FXR frames available and lying around. EPA was going to make it very difficult to and very expensive process of acquiring EPA “recertification” of the “old chassis” with the “NEW” Twin Cam Engine.  Thus once the evo engine was gone so would the FXR chassis.

c.   In 1998 Harley Davidson realized they would be loosing a military contract to build the single-cylinder ROTAX-powered motorcycle in York, PA in Building # 42, leaving the availability of a “production line” for such an experiment into a “Custom Vehicle Operations” CVO specialized project.   Dan Adams who at the time was the Program Manager for the CVO project, stated that the mission was to provide a “limited-volume, highly accessorized motorcycle to customers who wanted this type of bike. 

The specialized FXR models were assembled by teams of two employees each, who kept the necessary parts and tools for the job on push carts.  They worked their way through six stations on the line until the bike was fully finished.  Adams went on to state that they would have “two people build an entire unit”.  “The same two-person team would move from station to station until the bike would be taken off the line.  They were able to run the assembly line with one to six (2 person teams) teams at a time. Each team was able to make two bikes a day.  According to Jim Hoffman within the Parts and Accessories area of the company addresses the prevailing “rumor” of the day, that Harley Davidson simply had a bunch of unused FXR chassis laying around collecting dust, He goes on to say that the FXR chassis was put back into production along with a number of other FXR components.  Essentially the FXR2’s and FXR3’s are mechanically identical to the 1994 version of the FXR with a few upgrades such as a new wiring harness that used the latest type of connectors, a vacuum operated fuel valve, as well as the new nine-plate clutch fitted to the evo. 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 11:28:19 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 11:53:14 AM »



UPDATED 08-09-08:


GENUINE MOTOR STANDARD ACCESSORIES INCLUDED ON EVERY FXR2:

•   Chrome Oval Bar & Shield Billet-Style Mirrors   
•   Chrome Handlebar   
•   Custom Handlebar Clamp   
•   Chrome Handlebar Switch Housings
•   Chrome Master Cylinder Cover
•   Chrome Hand Control Levers
•   Chrome and Rubber Horizontal Handlebar Grips - Large 
•   Billet Foot Pegs, Wide Band, Small Diameter (3 pair)   
•   Billet Shifter Peg, Wide Band Small Diameter
•   Chrome Lower Fork Sliders 
•   Chrome 21" Laced   Front Wheel Assembly     Unsealed Bearings 
•   Chrome 16" Slotted Rear  Wheel Assembly     Unsealed Bearings 
•   Chrome Front Axle Nut Covers   
•   Pyramid Axle Adjusters   
•   Stainless Steel Braided Brake Line, Front & Rear 
•   Chrome Floating Brake Disc, Front & Rear 
•   Harley-Davidson Caliper Insert, 1-3/4" Diameter   
•   Harley-Davidson Caliper Insert, 1-3/8" Diameter   
•   Chrome Belt Sprocket Cover 
•   Chrome Plated Swingarm     
•   Badlander Custom Seat   
•   Chrome Mini Rail Upright, Passenger Backrest Pad   
•   Chrome Mini-Rail Sissy Bar Upright 
•   Chrome Sissy Bar Side Plates   
•   Detachable Seat Hardware   
•   Chrome Instrument Housing 
•   Chrome Fuel Tank Trim Panel
•   Classic Chrome Head Bolt Covers
•   Classic Chrome Spark Plug Covers 
•   Chrome Carburetor Top Cover 
•   Chrome Dome Timer Cover   
•   Chrome Voltage Regulator   
•   Chrome License Plate Bracket   
•   Flat-lens turn signals, front and rear   
•   Profile Low Rear Suspension   



FXR3 Includes FXR2 Standard Accessory List Plus These Additional Accessories:

•   New Custom Front Fender 
•   New Custom Side Covers
•   Two-tone Paint With Flames
•   Chrome 19" ThunderStar Five-Spoke Cast Rront Wheel Assembly     Unsealed Bearings
•   Chrome 16" ThunderStar Five-Spoke Cast Rear Wheel  Assembly     Unsealed Bearings
•   Chrome Thunderstar 5-spoke Rear Belt Sprocket
•   Chrome Floating Brake Disc Front & Rear To Match ThunderStar Wheel Assembly
•   Chrome Rear Brake Pedal
•   Chrome Upper and Lower Triple Tree Clamps
•   New Custom Style Seat (FXR3 Seat)
•   Short Rail Upright Passenger Backrest



FXR4 Includes FXR2 Standard Accessory List Plus These Additional Accessories:

•   Silver & Chrome Power Train
•   Chrome 19" Laced Front Wheel With Sealed Bearings
•   Chrome 16" Solid   Rear  Wheel With Sealed Bearings
•   Dual Front Disc Brakes With Four-Piston Caliper Brakes  (ie: Twin Cam Style Brakes)
•   Rear Disc Brake With Four-Piston Caliper Brake  (ie: Twin Cam Style Brake)
•   Teardrop Floating Brake Rotors For Front (2) & Rear
•   Chrome Solid Rear Sprocket Cover
•   Chrome Rear Brake Pedal
•   New Custom Style Seat
•   Chrome "Round" Bar & Shield Billet Style Mirrors
•   Chrome Drag Bar On Straight Risers
•   Electronic Speedometer & Odometer
•   New Custom Style Seat (FXR4 seat)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 02:02:06 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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  • This chit ain't ROCKET SCIENCE!!!!

    • CVO1: '07C FLHRSE3, BLACK ICE OF COURSE, CUSTOM 110" TC 6-SPEED +++, "CYBIL"!!!
    • CVO2: '99 FXR3 BRIGHT & DARK CANDY BLUE W/FLAMES, STAGE II 80" EVO 5-SPEED +++, "JOY"!!!
    • CVO3: 4: & 5: '85 FXWG BLACK w/CUSTOM FLAMES, 110" EVO 6-SPEED +++ CVO style!!!; '08 NSMC PROSG CUSTOM FXR BASED PRO STREET BLACK, 89" EVO 5-SPEED, VERY FAST!!!; '09 NSMC HSTBBR CUSTOM RIGID HOISTBOBBER, SILVER METALFLAKE BATES SOLO SEAT & TIN w/BLACK WISHBONE FRAME, 80" EVO (w/Shovelhead bottom end) 4-SPEED! VERY COOL!!!
Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 12:24:55 PM »

Great job! And very thorough! You must remember however that the Super Glide was first introduced in 1971 with a combination of the 4-speed FL frame and the Sporster FX front end. The FXR would replace the 4-speed frames for FX type HD's and was made with fitting new to be introduced Evo in mind. The Evo saved the MoCo and was in the works when HD took back the Co from AMF. Here's some more interesting Super Glide history for youze guys!

"The 1971 Harley-Davidson FX Super Glide motorcycle, Harley's first "factory custom" bike, failed to attract the audience Harley had hoped it would and was a sales disappointment, finding fewer than than 5,000 buyers.

In an effort to compete head-on with the aftermarket suppliers, Harley-Davidson ushered in its first "factory custom" for the 1971 model year. By combining pieces from two popular models, the "Big Twin" FL and the XL Sportster, the company hoped to provide buyers a new breed of Harley.

Stripped of its electric starter, the FX could be fitted with a smaller battery and battery box. The forks and front wheel were taken from the XL's parts bin, as was a smaller-diameter headlight and trademark headlight cover.

The frame, 74-cubic-inch Shovelhead engine, and rear suspension originated from the FL. The dual tanks were from the FLH.

A fiberglass tail section was styled after a similar piece used on the previous year's Sportster, and all the bodywork could be covered with a special Sparkling America paint scheme.

New and exciting as it was, the market failed to respond to the first Super Glide, and only 4,700 found buyers. By comparison, more than 10,000 Sportsters were sold the same year.

The Super Glide returned for 1972, but some of its pieces did not. The tail section disappeared, replaced by a traditional steel fender assembly. In this form, the Super Glide met with greater success, and factory customs would eventually become Harley-Davidson's stock-in-trade."

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    • CVO1: '07C FLHRSE3, BLACK ICE OF COURSE, CUSTOM 110" TC 6-SPEED +++, "CYBIL"!!!
    • CVO2: '99 FXR3 BRIGHT & DARK CANDY BLUE W/FLAMES, STAGE II 80" EVO 5-SPEED +++, "JOY"!!!
    • CVO3: 4: & 5: '85 FXWG BLACK w/CUSTOM FLAMES, 110" EVO 6-SPEED +++ CVO style!!!; '08 NSMC PROSG CUSTOM FXR BASED PRO STREET BLACK, 89" EVO 5-SPEED, VERY FAST!!!; '09 NSMC HSTBBR CUSTOM RIGID HOISTBOBBER, SILVER METALFLAKE BATES SOLO SEAT & TIN w/BLACK WISHBONE FRAME, 80" EVO (w/Shovelhead bottom end) 4-SPEED! VERY COOL!!!
Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 12:25:37 PM »

Some more original Super Glide Pics

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    • CVO2: '99 FXR3 BRIGHT & DARK CANDY BLUE W/FLAMES, STAGE II 80" EVO 5-SPEED +++, "JOY"!!!
    • CVO3: 4: & 5: '85 FXWG BLACK w/CUSTOM FLAMES, 110" EVO 6-SPEED +++ CVO style!!!; '08 NSMC PROSG CUSTOM FXR BASED PRO STREET BLACK, 89" EVO 5-SPEED, VERY FAST!!!; '09 NSMC HSTBBR CUSTOM RIGID HOISTBOBBER, SILVER METALFLAKE BATES SOLO SEAT & TIN w/BLACK WISHBONE FRAME, 80" EVO (w/Shovelhead bottom end) 4-SPEED! VERY COOL!!!
Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2008, 12:25:58 PM »

!
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    • CVO1: '07C FLHRSE3, BLACK ICE OF COURSE, CUSTOM 110" TC 6-SPEED +++, "CYBIL"!!!
    • CVO2: '99 FXR3 BRIGHT & DARK CANDY BLUE W/FLAMES, STAGE II 80" EVO 5-SPEED +++, "JOY"!!!
    • CVO3: 4: & 5: '85 FXWG BLACK w/CUSTOM FLAMES, 110" EVO 6-SPEED +++ CVO style!!!; '08 NSMC PROSG CUSTOM FXR BASED PRO STREET BLACK, 89" EVO 5-SPEED, VERY FAST!!!; '09 NSMC HSTBBR CUSTOM RIGID HOISTBOBBER, SILVER METALFLAKE BATES SOLO SEAT & TIN w/BLACK WISHBONE FRAME, 80" EVO (w/Shovelhead bottom end) 4-SPEED! VERY COOL!!!
Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 12:26:37 PM »

!
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    • CVO2: '99 FXR3 BRIGHT & DARK CANDY BLUE W/FLAMES, STAGE II 80" EVO 5-SPEED +++, "JOY"!!!
    • CVO3: 4: & 5: '85 FXWG BLACK w/CUSTOM FLAMES, 110" EVO 6-SPEED +++ CVO style!!!; '08 NSMC PROSG CUSTOM FXR BASED PRO STREET BLACK, 89" EVO 5-SPEED, VERY FAST!!!; '09 NSMC HSTBBR CUSTOM RIGID HOISTBOBBER, SILVER METALFLAKE BATES SOLO SEAT & TIN w/BLACK WISHBONE FRAME, 80" EVO (w/Shovelhead bottom end) 4-SPEED! VERY COOL!!!
Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 12:27:19 PM »

Last one.

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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 12:30:57 PM »

I will keep this open incase something needs to be added here...

WELL I FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING TO POST AND UPDATE!!!

JUNE 2013 HOT BIKE MAGAZINE  PAGE 36-40
THE SAGA OF THE FXR


A BUEL'S ERRAND

Most conversations about the FXR tend to treat the Harley's Holy Grail, and when it was launched, that was true.  Like the old King Arthur legend though, the pat to this sacred object was fraught with peril.  As Bob LeRoy once said:

"Instead of heavy castings, the FXR frame had a lot of welded-steel parts.  This was before the era of robotic welding, so it all had to be assembled by hand. It was expensive and difficult to manufacture."

Erik Buell, whose input was instrumental in the FXR's development, let HOT BIKE pick his brain about the development process.

Here was the following Q/A:


WHAT WAS THE OVERAL GOAL IN DESIGNING THE FXR GOING IN?
EB:  The FXR was planned to be the FX derivative of the FLT, just as the FX was the FL.   However the FLT was so odd because of it's frame geometry that a new frame was designed with a similar mount system to the FLT.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE FXR?
EB:  I was initially involved in testing the chassis and making it work.
When I got there it had very bad handling.
At that time, H-D Engineering and product planning were trying to improve H-D quality, to modernize the product line because it fell so short of the competition in every way and sales were dropping.  So they were listening to the engineering group.


WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THE DESIGN?
EB:  Me?
I just worked there and did my best to make what they wanted to work as well as I could.
Y'all ought to know by now that big cruisers are not what I like.
I think we made it a lot better than any H-D before.
How would I do a performance cruiser?
Well the would likely will never know!
Well maybe Ed Burke from Yamaha and a few others do, but that's a different story.

WHAT WAS THE GREATEST DIFFICULTY DESIGNING IT?
EB:  AGAIN, I DID NOT DESIGN IT;
I was involved in the re-design.  Initially it handled much wrse than even the FX.  
It wobbled almost continuously around the old Bendix proving grounds.  
You would have to have been there to realize how bad.  Within the constraints we had on size, style, appearance, it was really hard to make it work.
There was a lot of cool things done to make it as good as it became, but they were not evident to the eye.  
To figure out how to fix it, first we had to what was wrong.  
We had some theories, but the biggest thing I did was to design a bunch of data collection equipment that allowed us to understand which of the simultaneous equations that were in play were the dominant ones and to quickly evaluate the value of fixes.


WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE FXR?
EB:  The handling.
We really did get it quite good for such a big bike.  
In my opinion, it also had clean styling lines that I liked on a cruiser.
If it had weighted 150 pounds less and been 10 inches shorter, I woulda liked it more.


WHAT WAS YOUR PART IN ITS GENESIS?
EB:  More than anything I became the voice and push of the other guys working on it who wanted to make it work.
I brought the intensity and skills of a sport bike / AMA expert rider and a passion to make things right.  
I pushed really hard to fix it, both vocally and then by following up proving the fixes worked by building test equipment
and procedures, measuring competitors to set goals, and then doing 80 percent of the performance development bestriding.
I believed it was important to make the bike into a really good one, rather than what we initially had, which was a motorcycle with reduced engine vibration that wallowed all over the road.
Your would have to have ridden one of the prototypes to know how bad it was.
I wish we had a video.


WHO ELSE HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE OVER THE FXR'S DESIGN, INSIDE OR OUTSIDE OF THE COMPANY?
EB:  The look came first, and I know it came out of styling... probably Louie and another young (at that time!) guy there.
But the function, which is the real core of the FXR, came from riders.  
There was a young group of engineers and test guys who actually rode a lot, so we made it a rider's bike.
I remember being approached way back when by some Hells Angels, who thanked me for being part of building the FXR that finally had made a Harley a rider's bike again.
It was definitely a different type of duty cycle than racing, but those guys rode hard and knew that the FXR was built for speed.


WHAT COULD HAVE HARLEY HAVE DONE BETTER ON THE PROJECT?
EB:  I think we did well with it.  
It got by far the best reviews in the magazines that H-D had done for awhile.
At that time the magazines were technically driven, and not lifestyle.
So the improvements in technology really got those journalists' attention.
The original shovelhead engine was awful, but the EVO Motor came soon.
The FXR got H-D through the dark times until the market changed.  
Could we have done more?
H-D was very small and the engineering group more so.
We did everything we possibly could.


« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 12:44:25 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 12:44:03 PM »

WHAT DID HARLEY DO REALLY WELL WITH IT?
EB:  Two Things.
One, they (Harley-Davidson) delayed the launch and allowed us to fix it.
This was hard because they were hurting for sales.
But if the FXR had launched in its original state, it would have been a disaster.
Two, understanding the market situation.
I truly believe it was one man there more than anyone else:
Vaughn Beals
He understood so much about people, and he got that H-D needed to make a statement that there was technical capability and change inside the organization.  
I think if this bike and some others that never made big sales numbers had not been produced, H-D would have gone under.
There was a lot of hate from inside against any change, but we really needed these new products.


OTHER COMMENTS MADE BY THE WRITER OF THE ARTICLE, NOT NECESSARILY QUOTES FROM BUELL:

The sales were not huge, but they turned around, and the sales started going to different group of people.
Remember, H-D sales had dropped to about a third of their peak of nearly 80,000 in 19777, and at under 30,000 units per year, H-D was less than twice the size Buell was in 2009 when it was shut down.  

When the polished FXR hit the street, it had the lightest weight and stiffest frame of any BIG TWIN of its time.
The computer-designed , all-welded frame had a huge box-section backbone, thicker diameter tubing, and massive gusseting around the steering head. That's what made the FXR chassis the stiffest frame Harley ever produced.

The frame teamed with a new five-speed gearbox with a shorter shift linkage for more aggressive shifting.

THE FXR WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED FOR ITS CHASSIS ABOVE ALL ELSE.
--IT WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF THE ENGINEERS LOVE AND ATTENTION.
IT WAS DESIGNED TO USE THE FLT POWERTRAIN IN AN FX FRAMEWITH THE SWINGARM BOLTED TO TEH REAR OF THE TRANSMISSION TO ADAPT THE GUTS TO THE NEW BONES.

--THE NEW FRAME ALSO LED TO HIGHER SPEEDS.  
BETWEEN THE FXR'S GEARING AND RUBBER MOUNTS TO REDUCE VIBRATION, STREET RIDERS FELT MORE CONFIDENT IN THE BIKE WHEN OPENING UP THE THROTTLE.

MUCH LIKE THE STAR TREK FRANCHISE, THE FXR REFUSED TO DIE AFTER CANCELLATION.  IT CAME BACK IN 1999 WHEN HARLEY LAUNCHED IT'S CVO (CUSTOM VEHICLE OPERATIONS) PROGRAM WITH TWO MODELS:
THE 1999 FXR2, WITH A 21" LACED FRONT WHEEL
THE 1999 FXR3, WITH A 19" CAST FRONT WHEEL.
THE 2000 FXR4, WHICH MARKED THE REAL END OF THE FXR PRODUCTION.


        =====================================

1981 - 1994 FXR HISTORY CHART INCLUSIVE OF 1999 - 2000 CVO

UPDATED 08-21-2008

Just click and view chart that is attached as a microsoft word document below shaded in light blue just below the line NEXT TO THE PAPER CLIP

C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Charted Years For FXR Model.doc
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 12:14:05 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2008, 12:49:12 PM »

In 1981,
and in time for the 1982 model year, H-D announced what was known at the time as the Superglide II. The letters were FXR, with the
F = the 80-cid engine and 5 speed gear box from the Big Twins:
X = representing the one-piece fuel tank, lighter front suspension, and wheel and small headlight from the Sportster thus the XL front end.
R = for the new frame "AND" a version of the isolation-mounting system PIONEERED by the FLT. Thus the rubber engine mounts.

What H-D discovered was that the FXR frame was FIVE TIMES stiffer in torsion, which is where it counts, than the old FX/FL frame had been. Which made for better cornering and ultimately a much better ride than can be offered even within the Dyna family that is produced today.....hmmmm very interesting.....

Even after introducing the new model as the Superglide II, they dropped the name and went to initials.


Thus in 1982,
The BEGINNING OF THE FXR ERA BEGINGS WITH TWO MODELS:
1) 1982 FXR Super Glide II
2) 1982 FXRS Super Glide II
The FXR Super Glide II came with black paint, restrained trim, laced-up wheels, and tube tires.
The FXRS Super Glide II came with contrasting paint panels on the sides of the tank, spoke cast wheels, tubeless tires, a small sissy bar at the rear of the seat, and highway pegs for resting one's feet while leaning back against the passenger who is leaning back against the bar.

The only engine choice was the low-compression 80 used that year because gas quality had declined. The 80 was fitted with the oil-control package: extra drain lines, better valve guides, and better seals. Of course this was known as the Shovelhead motor.


In 1983,
1) 1983 FXR Super Glide II
2) 1983 FXRS Super Glide II
3) 1983 FXRT Sport Glide

the model line reverted to names, with the FXR and FXRS being the Low Glide. MOST OF US would think the "S" stood for sport....but not to be the case the "S" actually stood for "Low Glide" go figure......Next we find the Moto Company creating a third model, lettered the FXRT which sold 1,458 units. The "T" stood for Touring except there was already the FLT for Touring, so the FXRT was named the Sport Glide and the S was just the extra trim and cast wheels. The FXRT also came with conventional plastic saddlebags meaning boxes outboard and below the passenger seat. It all seems very confusing, let's just say the MOTO company was trying to build bikes but logic wasn't always available....and besides they were trying to keep the FLT and FLHT's as their "TOURING LINE" and didn't want to cross reference the two lines....

H-D thought they would have a winner...something people could tour in without the "bigness" of the FLT....but the "market" (you and I said) the FXRT looked too much like the "imports", especially the fairing and people just didn't find it appealing.

Thus the shovel engine saw it's days last from late in the year of 1981 to 1983 where the emergence of the EVO began.....in 1984 FOR the FXR framed bike.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 11:26:42 AM by FXR2evo99 »
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FXR2evo99

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Re: HISTORY OF THE FXR
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 12:51:01 PM »

In 1984,
1984 FXRS Low Glide
1984 FXRT Sport Glide
1984 FXRDG Disc Glide
1984 FXRP Pursuit Glide: Police Version of FXRT
The FXRDG launched originally mid-year for $8,199 with a total of 853 being built.  "DG" which stood for "Disc Glide" which was a "limited edition" with an alloy disc, rather than spoked rear wheel, and a tank emblem that said: "Genuine Harley-Davidson".  The “Disc” Name Came From the aluminum "disc-Type" rear wheel, also came with a “laced” front wheel


........Of course The advent of the EVOLUTION MOTOR "EVO" occurred this year [1984] as well.

In 1985,
the FXR line got the belt final drive. The models were:
1985 FXRS Low Glide
1985 FXRS "Special"
1985 FXRC Low Glide Custom
1985 FXRD Grand Touring Edition
1985 FXRT Sport Glide
1985 FXRP Pursuit Glide:  Police Version of FXRT
FXRT now considered the "Tourer" which got a second front disc brake, a larger passenger seat and a higher backrest.
FXRS, the basic model.
FXRS option, which at that time didn't get it's own letter or name. But it was in fact the "real" sport version, with a raised suspension and the second front disc.
FXRC Low Glide Custom the "C" standing for custom. This model featured chrome plating for things like the rocker boxes, gear case cover, and the top and side gearbox. The front fender was short and sporting, borrowed from the XR-1000 and the paint was a candy orange with root beer trim.
FXRP for a police model


In 1986,
1986 FXR Super Glide
1986 FXRS Low Rider
1986 FXRS Low Rider Sport Edition
1986 FXRS "Liberty Edition"
1986 FXRC Low Glide Custom
1986 FXRT Sport Glide
1986 FXRD Grand Touring Edition
1986 FXRP Pursuit Glide:  Police Version Of FXRT

FXR, now named Super Glide
FXRS called the Low Rider with options was renamed the “Low Rider" because the FX-Based Model of that name had been canceled at the end of 1985 Model Year.
FXRS Sport Edition, with taller suspension and dual front disc brakes
FXRC Low Glide Custom  
HD Continues To Work Towards The Completion of This Previous Offering From 1985 With The Conclusion Of 1250 Units However These Units Featured A Different Paint Scheme ie: Red.  These Units Were Also Identified By Their Numerical Order With A Inscribed Plate At The Location Of The Handlebars.  It should be noted that HD never placed this particular model in any of it's sales/brochure literature.
FXRT plain touring model
FXRD, the "D" stood for "Dresser" according to Rit Booth, with a sound system, top box (fairing) and dual exhausts...another attempt at the "baby" FLH market. These bikes were fitted with such luxuries as footboards, for both rider and passenger, a wider and more plush seat, trunk with backrest for the passenger, chrome rails for the saddlebags, two-into-one exhaust, special paint and graphics, more gauges, and a standard AM/FM/Cassette stereo with CB monitor with controls for the system on the handlebars.  The FXRD was a "great" "sport-touring" bike, with all the handling, braking ability, ground clearance, & long-legged grace of the FXRT, but with MORE COMFORT & ELEGANCE!  Unfortunately it wasn't a great seller.  It was priced at $9,474 which at the time was only $100.00 more than a 1986 FLHT. These FXRD's continued sitting on the show room floors until they were heavily discounted and finally sold, in some cases years later.  The FXRD was canceled at the end of 1986.
LIBERTY EDITION, also this was one more model, which was a limited edition, celebrating the statue.


In 1987,
1987 FXR Super Glide
1987 FXRS Low Rider
1987 FXRS-SP Low Rider Sport Edition
1987 FXRC CUSTOM
1987 FXLR Low Rider Custom
1987 FXRT Sport Glide
1987 FXRP Pursuit Glide:  Police Version Of FXRT


FXRC CUSTOM  And Once Again It Apppears HD Continues To Work Towards The Completion of This Previous Offering From 1985 With The Conclusion Of 750 Units However These Units Featured For The First Time A Painted Frame Matching the Painted Body Work Of The Bike. These Units Were Also Identified By Their Numerical Order With A Inscribed Plate At The Location Of The Handlebars And For The Very First Time The USA FLAG Was Placed On An Actual Bike, "OLD GLORY" Had Arrived And Was Proudly Displayed.  It ONCE AGAIN should be noted that HD never placed this particular model in any of it's sales/brochure literature.

The newest model was called FXLR, the Low Rider Custom, the Front tire was a 21" with a "laced wheel", as first seen on a stock Harley on the 1980 Wide Glide. Also the tank instruments were moved to the handle bars. The rear wheel was solid , as per the earlier Disc Glide.

There were only two models provided with 39mm front forks and they were [All other models remained with 35mm front forks]:
1) 1987 FXRS-SP Low Rider Sport Edition
2) 1987 FXLR Low Rider Custom

The FXRD was dropped from the line up because it wasn't selling.  


« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 01:21:05 PM by FXR2evo99 »
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