1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Classic short-frame models

1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby MN-HD57XL » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:29 pm

Hi everyone. I bought a 1957 XL from a good friend last fall who procured it from the original owner.
I have all the original paperwork that came with the bike. It was originally sold in Albert Lea, MN at Vandergrift's cycle which remains in business (Harley Davidson dealership) to this day. The bill of sale reads that is was sold in 4-19-58 for the tidy sum of $850. I have the original warranty card as well as the detailed set-up instructions and initial starting guide.

Serial number is XL1111

The bike had been sitting in the old man's garage under a blanket, unused for 40 years.

My intention is to get it back on the road as a "preservation", rather than a full restoration. Likely including small modifications, period ones or usability minded ones.

I am replacing the original 2-into-1 exhaust with duals, for improved sound and looks (in my opinion). My hope is to find original factory parts that have an appropriate amount of "wear" so they suit the bike appropriately. The set I have found is great, but the rear pipe interferes with the kicker location. One of the photos I'm attaching illustrates the problem I am having. Any suggestions on what rear exhaust pipe I need, or should be looking for would be appreciated.

I'll attach some pictures and look forward to learning much from this forum and it's members.

Thanks,

John

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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby Tim The Grim » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:09 am

Welcome, that looks like a nice find.

Please also join us over at the XL Forum Ironhead pages

http://xlforum.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=7

You’ll get good info and advance both here and there.
54KHK, 2013 XL1200V Seventy Two Hard Candy, 97 Honda Valkyrie
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby Lisa » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:57 am

I would leave it bone stock as sold and not do anything to it but modify the oil pump to never vet sump. My opinion If it was mine that is what I would do GREAT find.
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby xlh59 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:28 pm

Whatever you do to that bike will reduce its value ... keep ist as it is -- please. 8-) This is an amazing find, once in a livetime! Buy a second bike to biuld custom bike. In regards to usability, there is (besides fine tuning) not much you can improve in my opinion.
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby Lisa » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:03 pm

I agree with him %100 except for the oil pump modify it so it won't be a pain with oil in the lower end making it harder to start and a mess on the floor. Then it will be better than new in my opinion. That is what I would do not one thing else.
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby hayleyl » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:59 pm

Great bike. What ever you 'modify' to improve looks will only de-value the machine. While it's your ride and you can do what you like to it, don't cry when you go to sell it one day and it's worth half it value compared to an original machine. Cheers Hayley.
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby MN-HD57XL » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:33 pm

I appreciate everyones thoughtful responses to my post - thank you all.

I've been involved with vintage cars and bikes for 30+ years and have never considered them to be an "investment" I've never concerned myself with making money on anything I've owned. How I choose to modify my cars and bikes is suited to my own taste and uses. That said, your opinions are welcome.

I respect the purist attitude of many on this forum, but that's not my inclination. Adapting non-standard exhaust to my bike won't devalue the bike, as it's a simple bolt-on modification -- hardly making it a "custom" bike. The original pipes have been carefully removed and will be stored in my attic in case I ever choose to use them on the bike. Or in the unlikely case that I decide to sell it - they will go with the bike.

I can feel all of your passion and enthusiasm and it's inspiring!

Cheers!

John
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby Lisa » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:54 pm

Sounds reasonable to me Enjoy it and ride it.
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby Ferrous_Head » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:08 am

If you have the correct -62 exhaust pipe it might actually be the kicker that is wrong.
Also, you need the correct -62 support as ell as the right clamps.
There are a lot of aftermarket parts floating around that just aren't right.
"I know only too well the evil that I propose, but my inclinations get the better of me."
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Re: 1957 XL owner - New to the Forum

Postby xlh59 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:23 am

Hi John,

you are of course completely right ... and I would always prefer if someone rides that bike rather than seeing it as an investment or even re-sell it or even part it out.

Speaking for myself, I just wanted to inform you, that this is an incredible find that is almost impossible to find. I live in Germany, here it is impossible (not even almost) -- it takes me years to find simple parts to get it back close to original. Just keep that in mind and (like you stated) keep everything you take off.

If you are looking for a different exhaust system, I would point you to the -61 interconnected duals or even the -58 (non interconnected) predessesors. They look better than the later dual (in my opinion) and work without issues (ok, the -61 is a bit hard to mount on the bike).
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Man, how many 57 have you seen in blue?

Enjoy this incredible bike!

Ra
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