Carry on, Ginger Beard, I'll be cheering for you. In the fall of 1969, when Then Came Bronson was a Wednesday night favorite on NBC, Cycle Guide released a road test of the Sportster. The test unit had that huge boat tailed fiberglass seat/fender combination, which wasn't very stylish, but the seat was as long and flat as an ironing board. Anyway, the part of the test that stuck in my mind was when they took it off the pavement:
We found ourselves at the bottom of a hill watching a number of other riders trying to reach the top. They could only get about half way up before bogging down. We thought it would be interesting to give the Sportster a try.
We hit the bottom of the hill at about 30 miles an hour, in third gear, and never had to shift down once. At about three-fourths of the way up we passed one poor soul trying to bulldog his motorcycle around. The expression on his face as we rocketed by was one of disbelief. If the Sportster's rear wheel hit a soft spot, you merely rolled the throttle off a bit until traction was regained and then the wick could be turned back up again. It was incredibly simple.
Of course we do not intend for a moment to mislead our readers into thinking the Sportster is a trail bike. The forks and rear shocks are not even remotely adequate for this kind of pounding. Both front and rear suspension units would top out repeatedly. At one point when the going really got rough, the metal to metal crashing sounded as though the forks were ready to fall off the machine. But they didn't, and some how or other the machine did get to the top unscathed.
From Cycle Guide, January, 1970 -- H-D Sportster -- 55 inches of masculinity
By the time Then Came Bronson was in summer reruns I had learned enough about motorcycles to recognize Michael Parks' Sportster turning into a Hodaka going over the jumps, but I've still always wanted to do a Sportster Scrambler. Watching with great interest.