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XLB Sportster

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Post Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:07 pm

Posts: 51
Location: felton,Ca.USA
Anybody ever seen a sportster with this motor id? Suspect it is an export model.A friend just bought this from a fellow who claims he brought it back from Thailand. Supposedly had some connection with the Thai royal family and was used in motorcade duty by the police.

Post Sun Jul 22, 2007 2:03 pm

Posts: 2677
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I know a guy who exports motorcycles all over the world. I was at his place in MI last year and he had a new Sportster broken down into major parts. Engine, frame, fork, swing arm, ETC.
He was putting it into 5 different crates to be shipped to Thailand to make it exempt from duties and tariff's. It seems the Thai. Govt. doesn't want any American motorcycles on their roads so they make them cost prohibitive.

Post Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:51 pm

Posts: 5
Location: Germany

i have a XL B 1960

mike100m wrote:
Anybody ever seen a sportster with this motor id? Suspect it is an export model.A friend just bought this from a fellow who claims he brought it back from Thailand. Supposedly had some connection with the Thai royal family and was used in motorcade duty by the police.

Post Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:32 am

Posts: 5
i am the owner of a XLB sportster 1965, harly-davidson gave me the date of fabrication, if somebody can help me , i am searching for other xlb owners to talk about options, colors, utility etc, by the way my XLB comes from bangladesh..

Post Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:07 pm

Posts: 3
I just posted on the other string on this forum regarding XLB. Mine is a '64 that supposedly came from Thailand.

Post Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:03 pm

Posts: 2677
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Here is 1967 XLB3465.

Post Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:44 pm

Posts: 1
Hi Guys,
I might eb the contact HD said they had with someone in Australia. I have a 1962 XLB and I managed to get contact with Kathy Olenskie, the research officer at the time, with HD. She initially denied they had ever made XLB's as she had no records regarding them. She asked the oldest employee working there at the time abd he couldn't remember them ever building them. But she did go and pull the build sheet when I gave her my engine number - and there it was !

What I know. I ran into a man, Pat (can't recall his last name just at the moment), who imported a bunch of bikes from Indonesia many years ago. Amongst them were several XLB's. They story he told me was that they were "Parade Duty" bikes for the Indonesian Air Force. His understanding was that they had purchased either one or two batch's of twelve XLB's. So either 12 or 24, not sure there. My own suspicion is that they also purchased replacements or "Spec bikes" in the later years. This would account for the relatively high number of 1960 XLB's and the lower numbers of the others.

I also suspect that the bikes picked up in Thaland and Bangladesh were first imported into Indonesia, then later sold into the other countries, Australia included.

With HD initialy denying the existance of XLB's (more on that in a minute) and several noted authors not so much as mentioning their existance most people have no idea they exist, don't know what they are and tend to disbelieve you have what you say you have.

Kathy Olenskie may well have not known of the existance of the XLB's. HD certainly made no official mention of them in their own records. Why wouldn't they do that ? This might be political. You have to remember that back in the 60's Indonesia was run by a dictator. Not a particularly bad one as in Stalin or Pol Pot's league but nevertheless a violator of human rights on a grand scale. However, most countries (Governments) Kow Towed to the man. And for business reasons HD certainly weren't going to knock back orders for potentially hundreds of bikes. But HD wouldn't want the general public knowing that they were doing business with a man like that. So they just didn't mention it officially anywhere. And took the money. Certainly other companies when they make sales to Foriegn Governments or armies like to mention that fact in their advertising. If you nade a product that was accepted as "Good enough for the military" or "Military Spec" you would crow about it. Unless it was to someone like Robert Mugabe and then you might just like to keep it on the QT.

So. What we need to do here is to form a register of XLB's. And then contact someone like Alan Girldler and ask him to include some information regarding these bikes in his next revision. Or any other author who would like a "scoop" and to become the new "Authority" on Sportsters.

Why would we do that ?

Becuase we have what are undoubtably the rarest of the Sportsters made. I haven't been able to find another 1962 XLB in the entire world. I may have the only remaining example. Now if this was a Corvette it would be known as a 1 of 1. They made a couple Corvettes like that. And they bring prices in the hundreds of thousands just becuase of their rarity. Chevrolet made a lot of very limited production cars. Some known as COPO, or Head Office Only vehicles. Made for GM's managment team. These cars are rare and worth money becuase of it.

Supply and demand works for everything. I have no doubt that some day XLB's will be recognised as very rare Sportsters and command a premium in the market place. They aren't really getting that at the moment and I hate people telling me I don't really know what I have. That it's either an XLR and I can't read the number properly (wish it was - I Race bikes) or has an altered number B/C they have owned Sportsters for years and never heard of an XLB so it can't be true.

We could start with just a very simple compiled list of known bikes and their general location. No one wants information about where they or there bikes are published on the internet - I know that. But just idea of how many they are and a central location fr any other owners to make contact. It would also allow us to get some recognition possibly (best of all) from HD themselves.

Any takers ?

Post Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:48 pm

Posts: 2677
Location: Los Angeles, CA
If you think the XLB is rare try finding a XLA.
Most all Sportsters that wound up as Police or Miltiary machines in Vietnam were also XLB's. I saw them in the flesh when I was there and I also have factory photos of them. See the photo of the XLB Vietnamese Police model I posted above.

Post Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:18 am

Posts: 36
There is an XLA getting around here in Cairns, Australia. Owned by a member of the local Cairns Motorcycle Restorers Club. I have seen the engine number so know it is an XLA, but forget what year it was. Never seen an XLB though.

And not sure where this pic comes from. Some have suggested Malta from the old Nortons in the background. But I know such Nortons were used throughout southeast Asia by police and army too, as in the 70s they were still banging around the streets in the hands of civilians, when I was there.


And I think this is an XLB belongs to a guy in Europe. (Found it on gooogle images ages ago when discussing on the


Although, I notice the bikes in my pics have the earlier type gas tanks, not the turtle tank picutred in the XLB pic, so I would guess all these are XLAs?

Post Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:10 pm

Posts: 159
Yes they all seem to have landed in Oz. Here's another one of a friend of mine thats been civilianised.Image

Post Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:05 am

Posts: 587
Location: Crewe, Great Britain

Hi Hopper,

The 3 bikes in the breaker's yard are from the Portuguese army, so as you say, probably proper XLAs...

There's at least one XLB in Great Britain that I know of.


Post Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:36 am

Posts: 1
Here is my 1965 original XLB sporty. Purchased Daytona Auctions 1993 and shipped to Australia by my mate.
Screen has POLICE decal with eagle above and stars below. Amber lights ,long seat and colour coded panniers.
I was led to believe it was a military Police Parade bike used in USA. Maybe someone can enlighten me.
It,s a regular rider but a bit rough on the suspension. Can someone advise a upgrade to the front sagging fork springs.
I am never going to "restore' it as I love the patina look.
Roger Albury Australia
My 1965 XLB

Post Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:25 pm

Posts: 159
There are longer rear shocks with the appropiate chrome covers available in different lengths.Go for an inch longer maybe.

Post Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:19 pm

Posts: 5
Well, as i see ,the gang is growing ,my 65 XLB is under complete restoration, i will put pictures on my next intervention,somebody talked about a kind of XLB club to make an inventory, i would be ready to put my bike on it. se you later. Jean Lippe quebec canada.

Post Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:44 pm

Posts: 5
Here are some pictures of the restoration of my XLB 1965 , it will be finished this winter. Jean Lippe
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Post Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:20 pm

Posts: 2677
Location: Los Angeles, CA
xr-750 wrote:
Here are some pictures of the restoration of my XLB 1965 , it will be finished this winter. Jean Lippe

You have the cylinder base studs screwed in too far. There should be a thread and a half protruding out of the nut.

Post Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:13 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5547
Location: Ohio USA

The bike is looking absolutely astounding !

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