1977 Sportster

Model Production Numbers

  • XLH 1000 12,742
  • XLCH 1000 4,074
  • XLT 1000 1,099
  • XLCR 1000 1,923
  • Confederate Edition Sportsters
    • XLH 1000 299
    • XLCH 1000 45
    • XLT 1000 15


  • Birch White, Vivid Black, Vivid Blue, Vivid Brown, Charcoal Silver (Confederate Edition), Midnight Blue Metallic, Arctic White or Bright Blue.
  • XLT:
    Confirmed colors for XLT from TSB #M-719 are Vivid Black, Vivid Blue, Brilliant Red, Charcoal Silver and Vivid Brown.
  • Confederate Edition: 1)
    Charcoal Silver.
    Rebel flag decal R(61650-77) and L(61651-77) on each side of the gas tank.
    Front fender decal (59100-77) resembling the insignia that was on the caps of the Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
    Additionally there were a reported 44 Harley Confederate FLH motorcycles and 228 Harley Confederate Super Glide motorcycles. 2)

Vehicle Identification

Frame VIN Numbers

Starting in 1970, the only numbers used for the purpose of identification are on the right neck and frame downtube.

  • The frame is stamped with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)identification.
  • There are still other stampings on the different parts of the frame combined with certain features that can be used to date the frame.
    But the only numbers used to identify the entire bike for ownership purposes is the VIN number stamped in the right side neck.
  • In addition to the neck VIN, an identification label is located on the frame giving the VIN and date of manufacture.
    This label was required by law for identification.3)
  • The serial number is the 3rd through the 7th digit. All serial numbers run consecutively regardless of model year. 4)

Click Here to view Ironhead Frame Identification in the Sportsterpedia for more information.
Click Here for more information on serial numbers and VINs in the Sportsterpedia.

VIN for 1977 Sportsters
Model Code

(first 2 digits)
Serial Number
(next 5 digits)
(second to last digit)
Model Year
(last digit)
2G = XLT
3A = XLH
10,000 and upH = Harley Davidson7 = 1977
Example: (4A13675H7) indicates a 1977 XLCH and is stamped on the right side engine case and on the frame
with the addition of a label on the steering head showing the VIN and date of manufacture. 5)
Example VIN Reads: 4A13675H7
4A 13675 H 7

Engine Serial Numbers

The engine serial numbers were still stamped in the case but longer used for identification purpose of ownership on 1970-up model Sportsters.

  • The engine VIN is stamped on the right side of the engine crankcase between the cylinders.

Related Manuals and Documentation

Below are some suggestions for manuals for your ride.
You should have, at minimum, a Factory Service Manual (FSM) and a Factory Parts Catalog for your year model.

Factory Service Manuals (FSM);
The FSM will have the most accurate information, procedures and specs.
Clymer and Haynes make service manuals also for Sportsters but some of the information is in error to the factory FSMs.
And some of the information in the aftermarket manuals is vague in information or procedures but they may have more pictures.
So it is generally said you can get use from both an aftermarket manual and the factory service manuals but get the factory manual first.
Click Here to view the Factory Service Manual page in the Sportsterpedia.

Parts Catalogs;
The Parts Catalog has part numbers of course but it also has exploded parts views.
And some of the exploded views are confusing or not related to each other on the same pages.
But, all in all, the exploded views do help finding what goes where.
Most of the fasteners listed in the relevant parts catalog individual pages have thread sizes and lengths also in case you need those.
Below is a simple list of original and “latest edition parts catalogs. The in-between year books may show different part numbers for the same year model bike.
Click Here to see the Factory Parts Catalog page in the Sportsterpedia for parts catalog uses and a full list of parts catalog numbers from 1957 to present.
(complete list of other parts catalogs and supplement catalogs that pertain to each year model on the bottom of that page)
Some often acquire several year model parts catalogs and that page will help you decide which ones are right for you.

Suggested Manuals:

  • Factory Service Manual (FSM):
    • Original: 1970-1977 Sportster XL/XLH/XLCH-1000 Service Manual (99484-77)
    • Latest Edition: 1970-1978 Sportster XL/XLH/XLCH/XLT-1000 Service Manual (99484-78)
  • Factory Parts Catalogs:
    • Original: 1954-1977 XLH/XLCH-1000 Parts Catalog Supplement (99451-77A)
      • Issued August,1976.
      • Updates the 1954-1976 full parts catalog (99451-76A).
      • Lists closest to original parts available for 1977 models.
        • Use With: 1954-1976 XLH/XLCH-1000 Parts Catalog (99451-76A).
          Issued May, 1976. Full catalog and lists parts available in 1976 for 1954-1976 models.
    • Latest Edition: 1954-1978 Sportster XLH/XLCH-1000 Parts Catalog (99451-78B)
      • Issued in 1989.
      • Full catalog and lists parts available in 1989 for 1954-1978 models.
      • Includes some parts that were not available in the -78A catalog.
  • Factory Owners Manual:
    • 1977 XL-1000/XLCH-1000 Owners Manual (99466-77)

Pics of Manual Covers.
Below are pics of used manual covers (original and latest editions) related to 1977 model Sportsters.
See the full list of pertinent catalogs in the link above.
Click on any pic below to enlarge:

1970-1977 FSM (99484-77) 1970-1978 FSM (99484-78)
1977 Owners Manual (99466-77)
Parts Catalog (99451-76A)
1954-1977 Parts
Catalog Supplement (99451-77A)
Parts Catalog (99451-78B)

The Ironhead Multi-Year Parts Catalog Curse

Below is a summary of an article on the Sportsterpedia Parts Catalogs page regarding parts book errors.
You can also read the full article from this link: The Ironhead Multi-Year Parts Catalog Curse.
Due to all of the errors and non corrected editions, it's always a good idea to acquire several year parts catalogs surrounding your year model.
Which year catalogs you'll need will depend on many factors but the main Parts Catalog page in the Sportsterpedia will help you decide which ones you need.
Click Here to see the Parts Catalog page. A full chart of all the parts catalogs made for Ironheads is at the bottom of the page.

  • Not all multi-year catalogs will list factory installed parts on your bike.
  • You may need several year catalogs to determine factory installed parts for your year model.
  • Some parts first appeared or only appeared in Parts Supplements, Service Bulletins or other literature
  • Later catalogs may show parts for older models that were never factory installed on them.
  • Some catalogs have missing parts and/or missing models in some parts listings.
  • Some illustrations do not have a part number listed.
  • Drawings may or may not look like your part number.
  • Some exploded parts diagrams show the assembly in the wrong order or missing pieces.
  • There may be misleading information about parts that fit your year model.
  • Fastener lengths and thread pitch may change depending on catalog used.
  • The MoCo knew about and tried to correct at least some of the parts catalog mistakes.

Search the Sportsterpedia

See the Navigation menu on the upper left of this page.
From there you can go to the main Ironhead section menu, the Reference section for general and in-depth procedures, and the Misc Resources for documentation.


The following illustrations are displayed for historic and period specific parts identification only. Refer to the original OEM documents for additional information. 6)
Click on any illustration below to enlarge.

General dimension drawing for 1973-1978 XLH / XLCH frames:


Click Here for the main technical menu in the Sportsterpedia.
Also see the “Misc Resources” section on the bottom of that page for technical docs and information.

Model Designations


The 57-69 service manuals and other literature from HD cover multiple years.
And the 1957-1959 “XL” is included with the information in these manuals up through 1969.
However, the 1970-1978 FSM also includes an “XL” model in the specs but does not refer to the 57-59 XL motorcycle.
Starting in 1977, there were also XLT and XLCR models (these are both included in the “XL” verbiage).
The “XL” noted in 1970 and future literature simply refers to a street legal “Sportster” model motorcycle.
The last XLCH was made in 1979 but both “XL” and “XLH” verbiage was used in manuals and literature up through the 2003 manuals.
(referring to the same bikes).
“XLH” became the mantra for the base 883cc model but the manuals also refer to XLH1100 and XLH1200 Sportsters.
2004-up manuals dropped the “H” altogether. So 2003 is the last year the MoCo referred to a Sportster as an XLH.


  • Wheelbase: 7)
    • XL, XLH, 58-1/2 in / 148.59 cm
    • XLCH, 58-1/2 in / 148.59 cm
  • Overall Length:
    • XL, XLH, 87-3/4 in / 222.88 cm
    • XLCH, 87-3/4 in / 222.88 cm
  • Overall Width:
    • XL, XLH, 35 in / 88.90 cm
    • XLCH, 35 in / 88.90 cm
  • Overall Height:
    • XL, XLH, 48 in / 121.92 cm
    • XLCH, 48 in / 121.92 cm
  • Road Clearance:
    • XL, XLH, 7-1/4 in / 18.41 cm 8)
    • XLCH, 7-1/4 in / 18.41 cm


  • Engine type: 4 cycle Overhead Valves, 45 degree V2 9)
  • Hemi-spherical style heads
  • Displacement: 60.9 ci / 997.5 cc (1,000 cc advertised)
  • Compression Ratio: 9:1
  • Bore: 3.188 in / 81 mm
  • Stroke: 3.8125 in / 96.8 mm
  • Horsepower: 61 @ 6,200 RPM 10)
  • Taxable Horsepower: 7.2
  • Torque: 52 ft-lb @ 3800 RPM
  • 4 Cams
  • Gerotor type oil pump.
    Oil pump pressure (gauge mounted in place of oil pressure switch):
    • Minimum: 3-7 psi (idle)
    • Maximum: 15 psi (60 mph in high gear)
    • Normal riding conditions: 4-15 psi
  • XLH/XLCH Ignition: Breaker Point and Coil Ignition System (points are in the nose cone in the cam cover)
    • Point Gap: .018”
  • Dwell: 140° at 2000 RPM
  • Ignition Timing
    • Advanced: 40° (17/32“) BTDC
    • Retarded: 10° (1/32”) BTDC
  • Spark Plugs
    • #4 for break-in.
    • #5 for everyday use and hard service.
      • Gap: .025“-.030”
  • Fuel System: Keihin (non-cv) Butterfly carburetor.
  • Starter


  • Fuel Capacity: 11)
    • XL / XLH fuel tank 4 gal / 15.14 l
    • XLCH fuel tank 2.2 gal / 8.328 l
    • Reserve: .25 gal / .946 l
  • Oil Capacity: 3 qts. / 2.83 l
  • Transmission Capacity: 1.5 pints / .71 l


  • Multi-Disc wet clutch-pack with alternate steel and fiber friction plates.12)


  • Constant Mesh 13)
  • Left Side Shifter
  • Speeds - 4 Forward
  • Number of Sprocket Teeth (XL / XLH / XLCH)
    • Engine: 34
    • Clutch: 59
    • Transmission: 21
    • Rear Wheel: 51
  • Gear Ratios (XLH / XLCH)
    • 1st: 10.63:1
    • 2nd: 7.70:1
    • 3rd: 5.82:1
    • 4th: 4.22:1


Starting in 1970, Harley Davidson partnered with Goodyear for a new “special” tires and rims for standard “high ground clearance” Sportster models.
Standard or Low Clearance models did not have the “special” rims and use standard tires.
Click Here for the Ironhead tires and wheels page in the Sportsterpedia for more information.

Tire pressure based on 150 lb rider. When weight is exceeded by 50 lbs or more, increase the rear by 2 lbs and front by 1 lb.
Repeat for each additional 50 lbs of weight. 14)
Tires: (both the Special Goodyear and the Yokohama tire brands are all obsolete now)

  • Standard Sportster Models;
    • Front 3.25/3.50 x 19
    • Rear 4.00 x 18
  • High Ground Clearance Sportster Models: 15)
    • Front;
      • Goodyear MM90-19T (3.75×19) Sport Rib (tire pressure 18 psi / 1.24 bar) 16)
    • Rear;
      • Goodyear 4.25×18 All Traction (tire pressure 30 psi / 2.06 bar) 17)
  • Low Ground Clearance Models:
    • Front 3.25/3.50 x 19
    • Rear 3.50 x 18


XLT 1000 Touring


  • Wheel Base: 58-1/2“ 18)
  • Overall Length: 87-1/4” 19)
  • Overall Width: 35“ 20)
  • Overall Height: (windshield) 58” 21)
  • Road Clearance:7“ 22)
  • Saddle Height: 29” 23)


  • Primary Drive: Triple- Row Chain
  • Primary Drive Front Gear: 34 Teeth 24)
  • Primary Drive Rear Gear: 59 Teeth 25)
  • Primary Drive Ratio:
  • Final Drive: Secondary Drive Chain
  • Final Drive Transmission Sprocket: 21 Teeth 26)
  • Final Drive Rear Wheel Sprocket: 51 Teeth 27)
  • Final Drive Ratio:
  • Transmission- Trap Door Style, Constant Mesh Type 4-speed 28)
  • Gear Ratios (overall)
  • Performance
  • Engine Torque Testing Method:
  • Engine Torque: 52 ft-lb @ 3,800 rpm 33)
  • Lean Angle, Right (deg.):
  • Lean Angle, Left (deg.):


  • Circuit Breaker Points: Gap .018“ 34)
  • Spark Plugs: Break-in - HD #4, HD #5 afterwards with hard service 35)
    • Size: 14mm 36)
    • Gap: 0.025”-0.030“ 37)
  • Spark Timing: Retard 10° (1/32”) BTDC / Advance 40° (17/32“) BTDC 38)

What is the Current KBB Value? 39)

1977 XLT-1000 40)

XLCR 1000 Cafe Racer

What's the Current KBB Value? 41)

XLH 1000

What is the Current KBB Value? 42)

1977 Sporster 1000 Confederate Edition

  • Confederate Edition Sportsters were sold for the 1977 season only.
  • This was a limited edition paint scheme sold on select standard XLH/XLCH and XLT models.
  • There were reportedly no changes mechanically speaking for this special limited addition to the lineup.
    There is very little documentation on the Confederate Edition which is accepted as due to it's controversial overtones.
  • Paint scheme: 43)
    • Charcoal Silver.
    • Rebel flag decal R(61650-77) and L(61651-77) on each side of the gas tank.
    • Front fender decal (59100-77) resembling the insignia that was on the caps of the Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
  • Additionally there were a reported 44 Harley Confederate FLH motorcycles and 228 Harley Confederate Super Glide motorcycles. 44)
  • The Sportster parts catalogs only list the Confederate decals for the XLH and XLCH.
  • However, the total Confederate model production numbers are listed here as: 45)
    • XLH 1000 (299)
    • XLCH 1000 (45)
    • XLT 1000 (15)
  • Claimed power: 61hp @ 6,200rpm
  • Top speed: 115 mph
  • Engine type: 997cc (1000) OHV, air-cooled V-twin
  • Weight: (wet) 220kg (485 lbs)
  • Price then: $3,127
  • MPG: 44


Disavowed by the factory for years, and unknown even to most Harley riders, 1977’s Confederate Editions are a fascinating footnote in the history of Harley-Davidson. 1977 was an interesting time in America. The year before, citizens had been giddy with patriotic pride as the entire population settled into a year-long celebration of the country’s bicentennial. Patriotic expressions were the order of the day, and naturally, manufacturers got into the act as well. Harley-Davidson introduced special “Liberty Editions” of it's bikes featuring red, white and blue detailing, while Ford marketed a special red, white and blue Pinto. As it happens, it was also the heyday of “Southern Rock.” Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Black Oak Arkansas and Marshall Tucker were the new cultural vogue, regularly showcasing their roots in visual shorthand with large confederate flags as backdrops for their stages. The rise of Southern Rock gave the South a new cultural cachet, while also unfortunately spawning Billy Beer, Hee Haw and, in 1979, The Dukes of Hazzard. So what’s this have to do with motorcycles? For Harley-Davidson, it was the motivation behind the most unknown model in the company’s history. In 1976, motorcycle sales were booming, thanks in large measure to a continuing oil crisis. The lion’s share of product came from Japan, the once-great British bike industry limping to a self-inflicted death from outdated technology, short-sighted management and recurring labor strikes. But the Big Four — Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki — were enjoying unparalleled success with their less expensive, technologically superior twins and fours. Harley-Davidson, which held 21 percent of the over-700cc market in the U.S., was already charging Japan with “dumping” — selling motorcycles cheaper in the states than other markets. That’s what John Davidson, then-president of Harley-Davidson, alleged in the early 1970s when the motorcycle business was doing well world-wide. “The Japanese established production schedules that were much higher than mid-Seventies demand for their products,” he contended. “They chose the U.S. to unload their excess production.” (Following strong lobbying from H-D, on April 1, 1983, the International Trade Commission imposed new tariffs on all Japanese motorcycles 700cc and above.) Harley-Davidson was still in an unhappy alliance with American Machine and Foundry (AMF) that would continue until a company buyback in 1981. The 1969 merger with AMF had brought engineering and marketing experience, as well as a generous influx of cash. Unfortunately, federal mandates meant much of the engineering money was directed toward safety and anti-pollution features, not new product development.
More on this article here at the Motorcycle Classics Website

What is the Current KBB Value? 47)

Links to more reading material on the Confederate Editions:


49) 50) 51)

52) 53) 54)

55) 56) 57)

58) 59) 60)

XLCH 1000

What is the Current KBB Value? 61)

Back to Sportster History Index

3) , 4)
HD Service School service bulletin #596 dated September 16, 1969
Shop Dope Service Bulletin #596 dated September 16, 1969
illustrations from various academic journals
Harley-Davidson 1970 Service Manual
HD 1970-1978 Sportster Service Manual
Harley-Davidson 1957 - 1969 Service Manual
10) , 11)
Harley-Davidson 1970-1978 Service Manual
1957-1969 HD FSM pg 4A-3
1970-1978 HD FSM pg 1-1
Harley-Davidson 1970 - 1977 Service Manual
15) , 16) , 17)
Harley-Davidson 1970 Service Manual pg 1-1
18) , 19) , 20) , 21) , 22) , 23) , 24) , 25) , 26) , 27) , 28) , 29) , 30) , 31) , 32) , 33) , 34) , 35) , 36) , 37) , 38)
1977 HD XLT Owners Manual Supplement pg 3
photo by Larry May of the XLFORUM
drawing by Hippysmack
48) , 49) , 50) , 51) , 52) , 53) , 54) , 55) , 56) , 57) , 58) , 59) , 60)
photo by simeli of the XLFORUM
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