1979 Harley-Davidson 96ci FLH Classic 

1979 Harley-Davidson 96ci FLH Classic

Two important events in the lengthy development of Harley’s perennial v-twin occurred in the mid-1960s when the 74 cubic-inch (1,200cc) FH and FLH Duo Glide adopted electric starting (1965) and the revised ‘Shovelhead’ engine the following year. Now known as the ‘Electra Glide’ – without question one of the most evocative names in motorcycling history – Harley’s updated cruiser featured a new frame to house the large 12-volt battery and a reshaped primary drive cover to accommodate the electric starter mechanism. Harley was unable to afford the costs of developing an entirely new engine, so made do instead with a revised top end (the ‘Shovelhead’) featuring a larger aluminium version of the Sportster ’head, an improvement that liberated a further 5bhp. The Shovelhead ’Glide continued in production for a further 18 years, gaining alternator electrics, electronic ignition and disc braking as the years progressed.

The motorcycle offered

The 1979 Harley-Davidson 96ci FLH Classic on offer here comes to us from a riding enthusiast, restorer and founding member of the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club. Purchased in need of a mechanical overhaul, he set to work at the heart of the machine, rebuilding the engine with a 96ci top end aboard the original cases and an updated oil system. The original gearbox was also rebuilt, as were the wheels, now laced with black spokes, which, with the addition of a kickstarter, give it that vintage look. A new fintail exhaust was installed with a pogo seat adding to that classic look and feel. The original paint, in a very attractive beige over ivory, is in good condition with just the right amount of patina, creating a bike with all the appeal of a classic Harley with modern amenities, making it a supremely useable machine, bar-hopping or crossing the country.