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1972 Harley-Davidson MC-65 Shortster

This 1972 Harley-Davidson MC-65 Shortster is a fairly rare little motorcycle to find today as they were made for just one year. Almost any collector worth their weight in storage unit costs should have one, including me. If shipping from Sebastopol, California, just west of Santa Rosa, wouldn’t add a thousand bucks to the $2,500 asking price I’d be all over it. It’s posted here on craigslist and when the listing goes away, which it will, you can see the original ad here.

Most of you know that Harley-Davidson bought into an Italian company named Aermacchi in 1960 and their 50% ownership was the start of some creative bikes. The “Shortster” was one of many off-road and also small street motorcycles. Coming out for the 1972 model year, the MC-65 Shortster would only last one year before being upgraded with a bigger 90cc engine the following year with a bike called the X-90. It was basically the same frame and everything else other than having a bigger engine. These bikes came in yellow, sparkling red, and sparkling blue. Make mine yellow, I would love to have this thing.

The Harley-Davidson/Aermacchi bikes were typically pretty sophistocated motorcycles compared to some other similarly-sized bikes being offered by other manufacturers. Especially more so than minibikes which usually have a pull start rather than a kick start as on this one. There are other small Italian motorcycles such as the Benelli and I’m not quite sure how Harley-Davidson owners or groups think about these bikes. Are they accepted, as in if you rode one to a Harley rally, or does that even matter? It doesn’t matter at all to me but you already knew that.

The engine is from the existing Aermacchi Leggario which the company already offered, a much bigger more “motorcycle-like” bike. It’s a 63.8cc two-stroke single-cylinder with six horsepower and even though it doesn’t seem like it, compared to my 49cc mini motorcycles, this thing would be a rocket. This example is just out of long-term storage and it looks great other than having some surface rust on a few of the components. NADA is at $2,000 for a very good example value as a general starting point. Have any of you owned a Harley-Davidson Aermacchi motorcyle?


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I wonder “wudhe’dtake” for it?

    Like 2
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Dang, it’s already gone!

      Like 3
      • Tony Primo

        Too bad, you could have flown in and rode it home!

        Like 5
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Ha! At 6′-5″ tall, I look dumb riding these little things but I don’t care. I would have given it a shot.

  2. Fred W

    I’m not part of the Harley crowd but I’d be willing to venture a guess that anyone riding one of these into Sturgis would be laughed off the grounds.

    Like 3
    • Dusty Rider

      I am an old Harley rider, still have my ’79 FXEF in riding order and I think it’s still a Harley and it would be accepted and appreciated by real riders.

      Like 9
  3. Stan

    Too cool looks like its a got a clutch and everything 👌 more motorbikes of all sizes on the Barnfinds please

    Like 4
  4. Calipag

    Learned to ride on a 1974 X90. I was 9 and wish I still had it. It was a great bike and looked brand new. Young and dumb I traded it for a go cart and $200!

    Like 2
  5. John Revels

    I have a restored 73 X-90, an excellent all original 73 BAJA, a 76 SS125 with 500 miles, an original 74 Z-90 with 400 miles and a few NOS accessories I put on it, and an original 74 SS350 Sprint( sold most of my bikes so this is the only 5 I have left plus the Harley snowmobiles and golf carts)

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Wow! That is one amazing collection, sir.

  6. CenturyTurboCoupe

    I had a 1969 SS350 but it required restoration and was missing the dual exhaust pipe so I flipped it. Wish I had of kept it now. I also have a 1975 398CC sled el minto.

    Like 1
  7. Terry Bowman

    I had a green 125 Rapido bought new (70′). Cool bike, had two rear sprockets, one for the road and one for the dirt. Both were used often. Bike is long gone, but still have the books somewhere. I tried my best, but other manufacturers were faster. I think it was due to the low gearing. The gas cap had a measuring cup for the 2- cycle oil that was to be added to the fuel.

    Like 1
  8. Chris In Australia

    Finally, a H-D that I can respect.

    Like 1

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