They say you should never meet your idols. Do motorcycles count?
Together with the Laverda 750SFC and Charlie's Angels-era Farrah Fawcett poster, Evel Knievel riding a wheelie on an XR750 completed my boyhood wall of worship.
I grew up at a time when Evel Knievel, together with Muhammad Ali perhaps, were the most iconic people alive. (To me, at least)
I had the cape, the stunt cycle and just about every variation and accessory that went with it.
My man-crush on EK mellowed over the years. My obsession with the XR750 only grew.
As prices for one of the 477 factory-built XR750s constructed by Harley-Davidson between 1970 to 1980 spiked in recent years, opportunities to find one affordably were as likely as Evel jumping the Grand Canyon. Wishful but not probable.
Lacking an inheritance or a wealthy, benevolent relative, patience and continuous searching are the only options. Patience is something collectors learn reluctantly. At least this one.
This 1975 example, delivered by the factory to a dealer in Buffalo, New York, is known as a "Strike Year" XR750. Production of the 100 bikes scheduled for 1974 was interrupted by a labor dispute, delaying completion until the 1975 model year.
Serial numbers of these bikes therefore have a "strike", specifically a slash, through the number 4 (which designates 1974) in their serial numbers with a 5 (for 1975) added.
The core parts of this XR750 are factory original, such as the motor, the (rare factory unpainted) frame, fuel tank, forks, seat and cowl, among others.
This bike was sold by the Buffalo dealer to a dirt track racer in Canada who, like most others made continuous modification and improvement in order to win races. Indeed, by 1980 when HD ceased production of complete XR750 motorcycles the rationale was based on so few of the bikes remaining as configured when they left the factory. After 1980, only factory motors were produced.