328 Mile Italian: 1974 Harley-Davidson SX-125

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Here’s one for you collectors of small bikes. This is a 1974 Harley-Davidson SX-125 and it’s on eBay with a bid price of just over $1,500. There are still four days left on the auction and there is no reserve. NADA lists a “very good” model of this bike at $1,750. What do you think this one will sell for?

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As most of you know, Milwaukee’s finest (no, not the beer, the motorcycle maker) bought a controlling interest in Aermacchi, an Italian company that made some fascinating little motorcycles. Harley didn’t have a small bike of their own to compete with the smaller bikes that were starting to saturate the market. Although, in 1960 when that occurred, things were a little slower in the market than they would be later in the decade and in the 1970s when this bike was made; that’s when Japanese motorcycles really came on strong. The company got out of the small bike market entirely in 1978. That’s too bad, if they could have engineered their own small motorcycles I think that it could have been great for the company, and for us.

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This bike was stored for many, many years as you can tell from the odometer showing a mere 328 miles on it! The seller mentions that it has “patina” from sitting for so long, and it does so you’ll need to restore a few parts if you plan on showing it at Barber Vintage Festival in the concours class; but you aren’t planning that, you’re planning on riding the dang thing! And, it has turn signals so you can be one out of a million people who actually use them if you want to. The seller says that this one comes with a bill of sale only, no title. I guess when something is stored for this long the paperwork gets lost in the shuffle.

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You’ll probably want to track down a battery cover, or I would want to do that, just to clean things up a bit. At least it has a new battery, and the 125 CC, two-stroke, single-cylinder engine runs great. It started right up after its long slumber when the seller put a new battery in it and cleaned the carb. These small, single-cylinder motorcycles probably aren’t something that you’ll drive to Yellowstone with, but I guess you could if you took back roads and budgeted an extra few days. And, brought some tools with you, and a few dozen four-leaf-clovers, and/or rabbit’s foot good luck charms. I like bikes of this size, they’re more than big enough for me to cruise around town on and when you see a trail, badda-bing, you can just turn onto it and take off, getting your mind off of whatever challenges you have going on back home, at least for a little while. Have any of you owned an Italian Harley?

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Comments

  1. Jeff V

    The gas tank has been re-done! AMF didn’t own Harley until way later ’79?

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Jeff, AMF bought out Harley in 1969.( to 1981) Kind of funny, for years, you couldn’t GIVE away an AMF Big Twin, and now, they’ve become quite collectible.

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      • Jeff V

        Ok, corrected! In the service (Navy) I bought a ’47 HD chopper (21 inch springer), suicide shift & remember the dude sd it was a 750. This was in ’78! What type would that be, knuckle, pan etc? It was pretty radical for a 18yo kids first bike lol I had it for 3 hours & returned it, then bought a ’75 Kaw Z1B 900! Had the Kaw until a year after discharge 11/’79. I was discharged to Milw, parents lived in Wauwatosa. I remember riding the Kaw in Milw in Dec/Jan lol

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      • Howard A Member

        I believe your HD was a “knucklehead”, although, I think, the 750 was the military version. The “Panhead” came out in ’49. Wauwatosa, you say? Remember WTOS? One of the 1st “underground” radio stations in the Milwaukee area. Man, you went from one extreme to the other with Kaw 900, my favorite of all bikes. Straightens your arms right out, it does.

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    • hans grafftenberg

      It’s so easy to use Google to fact check but nobody ever seems to do it. So many people just posting wild or ignorant claims without even knowing whether or not they’re true. AMF bought Harley in 1969.

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    • David Stigall

      no Amf did Buy them in the early 70s . I had a friend who bought a new Sportser in 74 and it was an AMF.

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  2. Howard A Member

    I’m from Milwaukee ( and I ought to know,,,,remember that beer commercial, Blatz, I think) these made even the most fickle H-D followers shudder in disbelief. A ring-ding with the Harley name on it??? GET OUT!!! I don’t know all the politics involved, but I think this was just a “half-baked” idea by AMF ( who nearly killed H-D, by the way) to remain competitive, and doing very little ( like design their own) Again, “Nellie Naysayer” ( me) sez, I don’t believe the mileage. Looks a tad rough and these speedo cables broke all the time. I don’t think it has a lot of miles, this isn’t something you generally put a lot of miles on, it does have oil injection, a plus, but I like a BIG bore bike. Across the board. This is fine as a starter bike for a youngun’, but if you’ve driven these, they really aren’t for the road, but great for bouncing down a trail, which usually means, taking a road to get to. I love all motorcycles and I generally don’t care for Italian machines, except their bikes. I have a friend that had the 350 Sprint. Didn’t care for that bike either. This particular bike? Meh. I allways thought, HD should have made an on/off road enduro out of a Sporty. I think that would be cool.

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  3. geomechs

    I remember a few of the Aramacchi bikes in my neighborhood but they were mostly 250 and 350 Sprints, which were actually pretty tough bikes. One guy showed up with a 125 Rapido (?) back in the 60s. It was OK but was comparable to a Suzuki 80 in performance. HD did make its own 125 back in the early 50s. I don’t know why it didn’t carry on with it (and hopefully adding others); obviously it was more profitable to do it this way. And yes, AMF really screwed up HD. My big twin was an AMF but I must have gotten one of the good ones because it carried me all over the country to the tune of 16K miles a year. I regrettably sold it and bought an RV 5th wheel, which I later sold and bought a divorce….

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    • Jeffro

      Bought a divorce…Never heard it like that before. I need to remember that one. I bought a divorce and gained a husband-in-law. As they say,”why are divores so expensive…cause they are worth it!”

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, there really was nothing wrong with the AMF’s, and today, with modern upgrades, are just as good as the others. The problem, I believe, was Harley was caught with it’s pants down, as imported bikes, that were state of the art, were selling at an enormous rate, and Harley was still featuring outdated technology, like Jay Leno says, “Come see Harley’s all new hand grip for 1974”. That, and I think a big labor strike ( I remember strikers marching outside the now vacant engine plant in Wauwatosa) didn’t help. I constantly worry how long HD will continue to build bikes. Unless something radical is developed, sales for HD’s has declined in recent years. With new HD’s costing $20-$30g’s ( or more) and not really that different than the older models, it seems to me, everybody that likes an HD already has one, and I see row after row of new HD’s sitting outside dealerships ( like mobile homes) thinking, are they ever going to sell those? As more come off the line everyday.

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      • geomechs

        Hi Howard. Actually I think you can blame the economy for most of the downturn in sales. The Japanese bikes aren’t selling either. There are dealers out west sitting on inventory that’s over two years old and going onto three. If you expand to other RVs, you’ll find that quads, campers, and powerboats are lagging too. Places that sold 3/4 ton diesel 4x4s as fast as they could get them in, have got a glut of inventory that are advertised at discounts as high as $17K. As far as bike prices are concerned, I’ve seen fully decked out Gold Wings with every bit as high a sticker price as the HD Ultraglide. Like one dealer pointed out to me, check the year of the bike they’re trying to sell you; it’s quite likely two years old. Kenzie and me were driving home from Aztec on Labor Day weekend and we were heading up north of the Grand Canyon. We encountered at least three large groups (50 or more in each) of bikers, all on new or next to new HDs. Rider’s ages from mid 30s to late 70s. So somebody is still buying them. Anyways, just my 2 cents…

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  4. Billy

    Never understood the lure of a Harley, or any other big bike. Loud, rough, poor handling. A nice 750cc silky smooth Japanese bike is so much better. I feel a 550cc is even better yet. I think its more image than practicality or experience, and maybe that’s okay if that’s what you want…its just not for me. BTW, all of you who have those stupid loud exhausts (that the cops should be ticketing) please grow up and try to be considerate of others. We all share the roads. I recall years back having those (usually Harleys) exhausts wake our sleeping children and frightening them. If you must experience that noise, please do it at a sanctioned event where those who don’t want to hear it can be left at peace.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Billy, I can understand your frustration. I’ve had many bikes, my favorite, of course, was my GoldWing, but always felt pressure being from Milwaukee, to have a Harley. Well, after MY divorce, I bought a 1985 HD FXRT. I knew many with HD’s, but this was the 1st time I was “one of them”. The bike I bought had aftermarket slash cut exhaust(no mufflers) was WAY too loud, so I put drilled out stock tips on, and that was better, but found out rather quickly, this was no GoldWing crowd. Like it or not, a huge part of HD riding still goes from watering hole to watering hole, and I’m not going to say these folks are irresponsible, but they’re just not family types, and the last thing they are thinking about, as they roar past at 1:30 am with half a package on, is your little ones, or anyone for that matter, trying to sleep. I didn’t fit in with that crowd, and sold the Harley ( at a considerable loss, I might add). Don’t get me wrong, it was a cool bike, loved riding it and I’m glad I had one, but my next bike will be a “Limey”. It’s not an Asian bike, so you’re still cool with the HD set, and can have all the fun of a British bike.

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    • Dean

      I have a 1300 cc, 4 cylinder, water cooled 2005 Yamaha Venture. Silky smooth, quiet (I can leave without waking my wife, let alone the neighbors), and super comfortable for long, long days on the road. – mine has 160,000 km on it. I guess the point I’m making is that there is a use for the larger displacement bikes, but I agree – they don’t have to be noisy or obnoxious.

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    • David Stigall

      you are buying an image. just like a Corvette , not the best handling or the fastest. but damn, they look and sound good. also not most dependable. Harley had it best in mid to late 60s with their association with the biker gangs and explosation films. (Easy Rider ect.) Born to be Wild.

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  5. Righteous Bob

    Here are my 2 cents,, If it had not been for AMF there would be No HD today, they stuck a bunch of money into a dying company and helped it survive, Ya the quality was not the best but that’s the facts, The late 2 strokes were junk out the crate, some Never did run, some ran ok, some never saw 1000 miles 125, 175 and 250 all were bad, electrics were another poke in the eye.. The dealer in Two Rivers, WI was selling new in the crate 1976 250 for $350.00 in 1979 or 80 No Warranty period. The striping on the fuel tank tells me its a 1976

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    • cyclemikey

      Well, you can’t believe everything you hear from striping, Bob.

      The seller gives the VIN in the Ebay ad, for heaven’s sake. Neither you nor he is correct. The bike is a 1975.

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  6. cyclemikey

    Scotty, in answer to your question whether anyone here actually owns an Aermacchi Harley – yes, I have a ’68 SS250 with the short-stroke lay-down motor. They were good bikes, and are well respected in vintage racing circles. These later 70s models, not so much.

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    • Scotty G

      Cyclemikey, thanks for the VIN decoding on the year! I can imagine that anyone with your handle has a heck of a cool collection.

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  7. Black Cat

    Nice to see one of these in good shape. As a kid, I had the 90cc trail bike, as my first step up from a mini bike, the only “Harley” I’ve ever owned. If I remember right, the little 90 had a 3 speed gearbox that was less than pleasant, but the rest of that little bike was pretty nice. I quickly moved on to a Hodaka-powered, Steen MX bike.

    I can believe the low miles. I still have my late Dad’s, little Honda SL100 and it has less than a hundred miles on it. He bought the thing to go trail riding with me, and to ‘”get groceries”, but as soon as the first idiot shot out of a residential driveway in an oblivious attempt to kill him, he parked the bike and never rode it again. It’s been stored here and there, is pristine, but not as perfect as it would be if stored better over the years.

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  8. BIG FISH

    I wont mention any names but there is one guy on here that thinks he’s a know it all and i would just like to correct him. For a little back ground I worked at York Harley Davidson final assembly plant in the 70s and 80s my dad worked there from 62 till 2002 when he retired. Harley was going bankrupt when American Machine And foundry took over. Yes the quality did suffer when it went from being hand built on a dolly to full blown assembly line, but it did save the company. And anther thing that AMF did to save the company was develop the EVO that came out in 84. And before any of you knuckle heads say it aint so you better do your research. I saw the prototype in 79 on a FXR frame way before the big wigs that worked there that bought the company out in 82. And to the ignorant comments that say family people don’t ride Harleys well you can kiss it where the good lord split it. My family and me have shared a lot of fun times on my Harleys. And to the other ignorant comment’s about them being loud and don’t handle I can tell you about a lot of jap bikes with kirker headers or whatever on them and they are more obnoxious than any Harley I ever heard . UH didn’t see any family guys riding Jap bikes in Mad Max did we? And as far as handling I almost lost my life too more than one death wobble on a jap bike. They the dint handle for sh8t. It amazes me for all the nice people on here there are just a couple ignorant ones just got to run there mouths and other people down that are not like them. Anybody like to question the facts bring it on.

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    • Howard A Member

      Well, BIG FISH, if that IS your real name, you may as well have said my name, you pretty much called me out on that and if this isn’t a “borderline” personal attack, ( the guy calling me an “internet basher” was pretty close too) I’m not sure what is. As tempted as I am to give you the dreaded thumbs down (would be my 1st ever) I’m going to respond to you. Folks, this is exactly why I didn’t fit in with the HD crowd. I like all bikes, I do. Unlike cars, we all have one thing in common, we are bikers. Try as you may, pal, you will never out grow your rough image, and your language pretty much tells us that. I’m certainly not a know it all, I learn stuff all the time here. Sadly, I learned nothing from your post, and I stand by my comment. And if someone makes a mistake, kindly correct them, not chew them out and we’ll all get along.

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  9. Ck

    Like the tee shirt states .IF I HAVE TO EXPLAIN …YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND. Hey Big Fish “Some people you just cant reach”. They will never Get It .Ohh and to the guy who said the pipes are to loud ,your scaring the little children .Give me a FREAKIN BREAK. I’m glad I dont live next to you.

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  10. Can

    I had an identical one to this…with only 149 miles on it…sold for $800 earlier this year.
    I have had four of the 125s and one z90. They are decent bikes, well made. As nice as similar Japanese? No. but junk? Not at all.
    Have not had a sprint 250 or 350 yet. On my bucket list.
    Value? I think the baby Harleys will be worth more in the future, but not much now. Ebay values on bikes are very deceptive, half never get paid for are reappear the next week.
    Mileage? Totally believe it. I find bikes all the time with minimal mileage on them. Often someone scared themselves, like someone pointed out above.

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  11. BIG FISH

    Thanks CK I don’t think im the only BF person on here that may feel insulted by the ignorant and unintelligent comments made H. A. Sadly H.A there is nothing to learn from your many ramblings on here which have grown so old that I have a hard time reading the post anymore. I take that rough image comment as complement because I have had tough rd but I have raised three great kids and have been married 22 years.So as far as my family you know nothing of me so watch your mouth buddy. I don’t like trolls like you so lets be clear I don’t care to be or want to be your friend, the less I see of your posts the better. And no H.A you are no biker not even close no matter what you ride

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  12. cyclemikey

    Come on guys, let’s lay off the personal attacks, hey? Stereotypes and silly generalizations don’t do anybody any good and don’t advance the discussion.

    I often disagree with Howard’s conclusions, but that’s the nature of a forum like this. I don’t harbor any ill will toward him.

    I also have nothing against “Harley Guys” (I have one vintage “real” Harley in my collection, in addition to the Aermacchis) and the Harley guys around here are some of the most ‘family’ people I know. But Big Fish, you’re out of line making threats against another poster. “Watch your mouth, buddy” ? Really? WTF is that? This is a forum, not a gang fight.

    I’d like to see more bikes featured on BF, and this ain’t the way to do it. JMHO. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Everybody go eat turkey and STFU.

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  13. Can

    By the way…a $20 drag specialties chrome sportster battery cover goes right on these things to cover the exposed battery, which looks awful. They came from the factory with the battery hanging out like that, Honda would never do that.

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  14. Righteous Bob

    cyclemikey: I’m so used to Craig’s List where no one puts the ID # in I never checked to see the H5.. Sorry Guys

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  15. Scotty Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    SOLD! For $1,525; ouch, a great deal, in my opinion.

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