1971 Harley-Davidson Super Glide | Review

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Easy Rider Electra Glide

Diverse parentage often makes for alluring and durable offspring in motorcycles, as well as people. In 1971, motorcycle icon Willie G. Davidson combined the post-Easy Rider custom motorcycle scene with Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide chassis and 1200cc powerplant. That enlightened fusion yielded the original “factory custom” motorcycle, the legendary 1971 Harley-Davidson Super Glide.

A maverick designer who had seen his innovative ideas shredded by timid Harley brass, Willie G. crafted a brash cruiser that lent the production line a dose of the raw style roaring out of custom shops around the country. Davidson took the Sportster’s narrow, chopper-like front end and contrasted it with a fat rear tire, topped by a Euro-style, scooped boat-tail fender.

Photo courtesy of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

Strident in Knievel-esque Sparkling America paint scheme and advertised as the “Great American Freedom Machine”, Willie G.’s bold conception proved to be a potent progenitor in its own right. The Super Glide sired Harley-Davidson’s FX factory custom line, including the 2006 35th Anniversary Super Glide tribute bike, introducing the dominant #1 gene to a whole new breed of riders.


 

 

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