72 Harley Sportster


The Harley Sportster is one of the most recognizable motorcycles in the world. First introduced in 1957, it quickly gained a loyal following of riders who appreciated its durability, power, and classic style. The Sportster has undergone numerous changes over the years, but it has always remained true to its roots as an American-made motorcycle that is built to last.

In 1972, Harley-Davidson released a new version of the Sportster that would become an instant classic. This model featured a redesigned frame that improved handling and stability on the road. It also had a larger fuel tank and bigger brakes for better stopping power.

The ’72 Sportster was powered by a 1,000cc V-twin engine that produced around 60 horsepower. This was more than enough power to make it one of the fastest bikes on the road at the time. Riders loved its smooth ride and responsive handling, which made it perfect for long distance touring or short trips around town.

Over the years, many riders have customized their Sportsters with aftermarket parts or custom paint jobs. Some have even turned them into choppers or bobbers with stripped-down frames and minimalist styling.

Despite all these modifications, however, one thing remains constant: The Harley Sportster is still one of the most iconic motorcycles in existence today. Its timeless design and rugged dependability continue to attract new fans every year.

History of Harley Sportster

The Harley Sportster is a line of motorcycles that has been in production since 1957. It was originally designed to be a smaller, lighter version of the larger Harley motorcycles, and it quickly became popular with riders who wanted a more nimble ride.

Over the years, the Sportster has gone through many changes and upgrades. In the 1960s, it was given an electric starter, which made it much easier to start than earlier models. In the 1970s, it underwent significant design changes that gave it a sleeker look and improved performance.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Harley introduced several new models of the Sportster, including versions with higher engine displacement for greater power. These new models also featured improved suspension systems for better handling on rough roads.

Today’s Sportsters are true classics in every sense of the word. They have remained popular with riders around the world for their classic styling and reliable performance.

If you’re looking to own your own piece of motorcycle history, consider getting yourself a ’72 Harley Sportster – one of the most iconic models ever produced by this legendary American motorcycle manufacturer!

Design and Features of 72 Harley Sportster

The 1972 Harley-Davidson Sportster was a part of the company’s longstanding line of motorcycles that boasted exceptional styling, reliability, and performance. The bike featured a classic design with its dual headlamps mounted on a wide front fork, coupled with distinctive tank graphics that are still iconic today.

The groundbreaking feature of the ’72 model year was its new five-speed gearbox – a first for any mass-produced motorcycle in the world. It gave riders more control over their ride by providing an additional gear to help them adjust to different speed ranges. This design innovation quickly became industry standard.

Another significant improvement made during this time was the introduction of rear disc brakes on some models – such as the XLH variant – which replaced outdated drum brake technology. The braking system was also updated to include an anti-dive feature that improved stability while riding at higher speeds or making abrupt stops.

Additionally, other changes included an upgraded electrical system to better support accessories such as heated grips or auxiliary lighting installed by owners, as well as improvements in suspension systems for smoother handling around curves and corners.

Beyond these advancements in functionality and mechanics, however, there were no major cosmetic updates made during this period; instead sticking closely to its tried-and-true aesthetic appeal that continued to win over loyalists year after year. With timeless styling that remains popular even today among vintage enthusiasts and collectors alike – it’s evident why this era is beloved by many Harley-Davidson fans worldwide!

Engine and Performance

The 1972 Harley Sportster was equipped with the classic Ironhead engine, which had been in production since 1957. This V-twin engine featured two cylinders set at a 45-degree angle and a displacement of 1,000 cc (61 cubic inches).

The Ironhead engine was known for its distinctive sound and high torque output. It used overhead valves instead of the more common side-valve design found on older Harley models. The pushrod-operated valves allowed for better breathing and improved performance.

In terms of power output, the Ironhead engine produced around 50 horsepower and 57 lb-ft of torque. This may not seem like much by modern standards, but it was plenty for a bike weighing around 500 pounds.

One downside to the Ironhead engine was its tendency to overheat if pushed too hard. This could lead to warped cylinder heads or even cracked cases in extreme cases. However, proper maintenance and careful riding could mitigate these issues.

Overall, the combination of classic styling and reliable performance made the 1972 Harley Sportster a popular choice among motorcycle enthusiasts. Today, it is still revered as one of the most iconic bikes from that era.

Suspension and Handling

The 1972 Harley Sportster featured a suspension system that was designed to provide riders with an optimal balance of comfort, control, and responsiveness. It had a telescopic fork front suspension system with hydraulic damping that provided excellent shock absorption and ensured smooth handling even on rough roads.

At the rear, the bike came equipped with dual adjustable shocks that were designed to provide superior performance and handling. The shocks were adjustable for preload and rebound damping, allowing riders to fine-tune their ride to suit their individual riding style and preferences.

Overall, the suspension on the 1972 Harley Sportster was well-balanced and provided riders with a comfortable ride while maintaining excellent stability at high speeds or during cornering maneuvers.

In addition to its advanced suspension system, the 1972 Harley Sportster also featured exceptional handling capabilities. Its low center of gravity made it easy to maneuver around tight corners or navigate through heavy traffic.

The bike’s rigid frame also contributed significantly to its outstanding handling characteristics by offering enhanced stability during high-speed runs or sharp turns. Additionally, it provided excellent traction when accelerating from a stop or powering out of turns on twisty roads.

All in all, the combination of advanced suspension technology and superb handling characteristics made the 1972 Harley Sportster one of the most sought-after motorcycles in its class among serious riders who valued both comfort and performance.

Brakes and Wheels

The 1972 Harley Sportster was equipped with a drum brake system, which was commonly used during that era. The front wheel had a single leading shoe (SLS) drum brake while the rear wheel featured a duo-servo type of drum brake.

The SLS front brakes on the 72 Harley Sportster were known for their reliability and durability. They provided ample stopping power when compared to other motorcycles of that time period. However, they required regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

The rear brakes on this model utilized dual hydraulic cylinders, which made them more efficient than previous models. This design feature helped improve stopping power while also reducing the likelihood of locking up under heavy braking.

When it comes to wheels, the ’72 Sportster came standard with wire-spoked rims and Dunlop tires. These tires were specifically designed for use on motorcycles and offered excellent grip in both wet and dry conditions.

Overall, the braking system and wheels on the 1972 Harley Sportster are reliable components that continue to be highly sought after by motorcycle enthusiasts today. While newer bikes may have more advanced features, these classic components have stood the test of time and remain popular among vintage motorcycle collectors worldwide.

Riding Experience

The 72 Harley Sportster is a classic motorcycle that provides riders with an unforgettable riding experience. From the moment you start the engine, the rumble of its powerful V-twin motor can be felt through your entire body. The sound alone is enough to make any motorcycle enthusiast weak in the knees.

As you take off down the road, you’ll notice how responsive and nimble this bike truly is. It’s designed for quick acceleration and excellent handling, making it perfect for weaving in and out of traffic or taking on twisty mountain roads.

Despite its smaller size compared to some other Harley models, it still packs a punch with its 1200cc engine that delivers impressive torque and horsepower. This means you can easily overtake slower vehicles on highways or climb steep hills with ease.

One unique feature of the 72 Harley Sportster is its low seat height, which makes it accessible to riders of all sizes. You also have plenty of customization options available if you want to make this bike truly your own – from different handlebars and exhaust systems to custom paint jobs and more.

Overall, if you’re looking for a classic ride with modern performance capabilities, look no further than the 72 Harley Sportster. Its iconic style combined with unbeatable power make it a must-have for any serious motorcycle enthusiast who wants an unforgettable riding experience every time they hit the open road.

Maintenance and Upgrades

Maintaining your 72 Harley Sportster is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Some of the basic maintenance tasks you should perform regularly include:

Oil Change

Regular oil changes are necessary to keep the engine running smoothly. The recommended interval for oil change on a 72 Harley Sportster is every 3,000 miles or at least once a year.

Tire Inspection

Inspecting your tires regularly will help prevent unexpected blowouts or punctures while riding. Check for any signs of wear, cracks, or cuts on the sidewall.

Brake System Checks

Your bike’s brake system needs regular checks to ensure they’re working optimally. Check for worn brake pads and rotors, loose connections in hydraulic lines, and fluid leaks.

Chain Adjustment and Lubrication

The chain connecting your rear wheel to the engine also requires regular attention. It must be adequately lubricated with motorcycle chain lube and adjusted when it becomes too slack.

In addition to these maintenance tasks, you may want to consider upgrading some components of your 72 Harley Sportster for better efficiency or performance. Here are some common upgrades you can make:

Air Filter Upgrade:

Upgrading your air filter can increase airflow into the engine resulting in improved horsepower output without sacrificing fuel economy.

Exhaust System Upgrade:

Replacing your standard exhaust system with an aftermarket one can give you more power by increasing airflow from the engine while also creating a unique sound that makes heads turn as you ride by.

Suspension Upgrade:

If your suspension isn’t cutting it anymore—maybe because of age or rough terrain—you might want to upgrade it by installing new shocks that provide better handling capabilities during rides.

By performing regular maintenance on your 72 Harley Sportster, you’ll ensure that it remains in good condition for years to come. And by upgrading some components, you can improve its performance and make it stand out from the rest.


In conclusion, the 72 Harley Sportster is a classic motorcycle that has stood the test of time. It has a unique style and design that appeals to both vintage and modern riders. The bike’s powerful engine and sturdy frame make it perfect for long-distance rides, while its lightweight construction allows for easy maneuverability in traffic.

The 72 Harley Sportster also boasts an impressive history, having been used by law enforcement agencies such as the California Highway Patrol during the 1970s. This only adds to its allure and charm.

Overall, the 72 Harley Sportster is a great investment for anyone looking for a reliable motorcycle with timeless appeal.


We highly recommend considering the 72 Harley Sportster if you are in search of a classic motorcycle with exceptional performance capabilities. However, before making your purchase decision, there are several factors to consider.

Firstly, you should ensure that you have adequate experience riding motorcycles before investing in this powerful machine. The bike’s advanced features may require some level of skill to operate safely.

You should also take into consideration your budget when purchasing this bike as it can be quite expensive compared to other models on the market. Additionally, maintenance costs may be higher due to its age and unique parts requirements.

Lastly, we advise conducting thorough research on reputable dealerships or sellers who specialize in selling vintage motorcycles like this one. This will help ensure that you get value for your money while minimizing risks associated with buying from unscrupulous individuals or companies.

Overall, provided all these considerations are taken into account; owning a 72 Harley Sportster can provide an unparalleled riding experience that few other bikes can match!

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