1980 Sportster

Model Production Numbers

  • XLH 1000 11,841
  • XLS 1000 2,926
  • XR-750 180 1)

Colors 2)

  • XLH: Vivid Black, Bright Blue, Saddle Brown, Candy Red. 3)
  • XLS: Fuel tank: Black/Charcoal. Fenders: Black/Gray. 4)

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.5)
  • The serial number is the 3rd through the 7th digit. All serial numbers run consecutively regardless of model year. 6)

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.

9 Digit VIN for 1980 Sportsters
Sportster Model
(first 2 digits)
Serial Number
(next 5 digits)
(2nd to last digit)
Model Season
(last digit)
3A - XLH
4E - XLS
1C - XR-750
10,000 and upJ - (1980 HD)0 - (1980)
Example (3A 11790 J0) designates a 1980 XLH 1000, stamped on the engine right case and right side of the steering head on the frame 7)
Example VIN on Frame Reads: 3A 11790 J0 indicating a 1980 XLH, appearing

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: 1979-1980 XLH/XLCH/XLS-1000 Service Manual (99484-80)
    • Latest Edition: 1979-1985 XL/XR Models 1000cc 4-Speed Service Manual (99484-85)
  • Factory Parts Catalogs:
    • Original: 1979-1980 Sportster XLH/XLCH/XLS-1000 Parts Catalog (99451-80)
      • Written in 1979 and should have the closest list of original parts for 1980 models.
    • Latest Edition*: 1979-1985 XL Models Parts Catalog (99451-85A)
      • Written in 1990 and lists parts available in 1990 for 1979-1985 models.
  • Factory Owners Manual:
    • 1980 XLH-1000/XLS-1000 Owners Manual (99466-80)

Pics of Manual Covers.
Below are pics of used manual covers (original and latest editions) related to 1980 model Sportsters.
See the full list of pertinent catalogs in the link above.
Click on any pic below to enlarge:

1979-1980 FSM (99484-80) 1979-1985 FSM (99484-85) 1980 Owners Manual (99466-80)
Parts Catalog (99451-80)
Parts Catalog (99451-85A)

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. 8)
Click on any illustration below to enlarge.


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

  • Model Designations: XLH-1000, XLS-1000

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.
1979-1985 service manual is titled for XL/XR models and the specs in are listed for XLH, XLCH and XLS models.
2004-up manuals dropped the “H” altogether. So 2003 is the last year the MoCo referred to a Sportster as an XLH.


  • Wheelbase: 9)
    • XLH, 58.5 in / 148.59 cm
    • XLS, 59.6 in / 151.38 cm
  • Overall Length:
    • XLH, 88 in / 223.52 cm
    • XLS, 89.6 in / 227.58 cm
  • Overall Width:
    • XLH, 33.8 in / 85.85 cm
    • XLS, 29.2 in / 74.16 cm
  • Overall Height:
    • XLH, 46.5 in / 118.11 cm
    • XLS, 42.5 in / 107.95 cm
  • Saddle Height:
    • XLH, 29.7 in / 75.43 cm
    • XLS, 29.7 in / 75.43 cm
  • Road Clearance:
    • XLH, 6.9 in / 17.52 cm
    • XLS, 6.8 in / 17.27 cm


  • Engine type: 4 cycle Overhead Valves, 45 degree V2
  • 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
  • 4 Cams
  • Gerotor type oil pump.
    Oil pump pressure (gauge mounted in place of oil pressure switch):
    • Minimum: 4-7 psi (idle)
    • Maximum: 10-20 psi (3500 rpm)
    • Normal riding conditions: 4-15 psi
  • Ignition: Magnavox Electronic Ignition System (full electronic advance with no mechanical advance mechanism to adjust)
    • Timer Air Gap (not adjustable)
  • Ignition Timing
    • Retarded: 8° BTDC
    • Idle Advance (600-800 RPM): 26° BTDC
    • Full Advance (above 1600 RPM): 40° BTDC
  • Spark Plugs (2):
    • #4-5 or #4R5 (14mm)
    • Gap: .038”-.043“
  • Fuel System: Keihin (non-cv) Butterfly carburetor.
  • Electric Start only (Prestolite): 1981-up starter (Nippon Denso) is not compatible with 67-80 models.
    • Optional kickstart kit was available for early 1980 models.


  • Fuel Capacity:
    • XLH, 2.25 gal / 8.517 l 10)
      Reserve: .25 gal / .946 l
    • XLS, 3.6 gal / 13.627 l
      Reserve: .30 gal / 1.13 l
  • Oil Capacity: 4 qts. / 2.83 l (quoted from -85 FSM)
  • Transmission Capacity: 1.5 pints / .71 l


  • Multi-Disc wet clutch-pack with alternate steel and fiber friction plates.11)


  • Constant Mesh 12)
  • Left Side Shifter
  • Speeds - 4 Forward
  • Number of Sprocket Teeth (XLH / XLS)
    • Engine: 34
    • Clutch: 59
    • Transmission: 21
    • Rear Wheel: 51
  • Gear Ratios (XLH / XLS)
    • 1st: 10.63:1
    • 2nd: 7.70:1
    • 3rd: 5.82:1
    • 4th: 4.22:1


Rim size and contour are cast or stamped into the exterior surface of the rim.

  • Front:
    • For laced (contour 2.50×19 TLA) or cast (contour 2.15×19 TL) 19” wheels: Goodyear Eagle A/T or Dunlop K181 (MJ90-19).
  • Rear:
    • For laced or cast (contour 3.00x16D) 16“ wheels: Goodyear Eagle A/T or Dunlop K181 (MT90-16).
  • Tire pressure based on overall weight.
    • Up to 300 lb load including rider, passenger and cargo:
      • Front 26 psi / 1.79 bar
      • Rear 30 psi / 2.06 bar
    • Up to GVWR maximum load:
      • Front 26 psi / 1.79 bar
      • Rear 32 psi / 2.20 bar
    • Caution: Maximum cold inflated pressure, Front (32psi), Rear (40 psi).


XLH 1000

What is the Current KBB Value? 13)

14) 15)

16) 17)


Late 80 XLH 18)

XLS 1000 Roadster

What is the Current KBB Value? 19)

Back to Sportster History Index

1972-2003 HD XR750 Service Manual XR 750 Production Schedule pg 69
1980 Painted Parts List
3) , 4)
1980 Painted Parts List pg 505, 1-82
5) , 6)
HD Service School service bulletin #596 dated September 16, 1969
1979 Harley Davidson XLH/XLCH/XLS-1000 Parts Catalog
illustrations from various academic journals
9) , 10)
Harley-Davidson 1979-1985 Service Manual
1979-1985 HD FSM
1979-1985 HD FSM pg 6-3
14) , 15) , 16) , 17)
photos courtesy of Ebay seller, Robison Motorcycles Link to Ebay Store
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