Black Plate Bike: 1960 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo-Glide

I’m stepping a bit outside my comfort zone with a 1960 Harley Davidson FLH, listed on the Los Angeles craigslist page with an ask of $22,000. After consulting with my uncle who is way more of an expert on vintage Harleys than I am, he helped confirm this looks like the genuine article, sporting all of the desirable period accessories Harley fans pine for. The seller claims is still runs and drives and that “…most everything works.” Find it here on craigslist (or go here if the ad disappears.) 

We get excited about California black plates on cars, and it’s no different here – except I can’t remember the last time I saw a vintage motorcycle wearing them. The plates alone have to be worth a pretty penny, but the saddle bags and other accessories and attachments are what most enthusiasts will be scoping out. The seller notes that all he had to do to get the bike running was to clean out the tanks, source a new battery, and rebuild the master cylinder. The period paint and colors are as authentic as it gets.

A few weeks ago, the hit TV show American Pickers showcased a visit to a Harley enthusiasts’ shop, and the show’s co-host paid an arm and a leg for every accessory they could get their hands on. Original headlights, gauges, whatever was still in a box and a period accessory – the projected values were staggering. Mecum sold a Duo-Glide in 2015 with a $20K-$30K projection and that bike didn’t have any of the options that this one does, so the seller’s ask for a running example three years later seems fair.

Frankly, I just want to check out the Harley so I can hang out in the seller’s shop, which looks like a mecca of vintage bikes and parts. The FLH shown here is one that should never be restored, and the clean California title and registration absolutely adds some value. This is a time-capsule bike from an era of Harleys that will always be in demand, even if sales of new models continue to plummet. Hopefully, this one just gets some new tires (as noted by the seller) and stays true to its period-correct form.

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Comments

  1. Dean

    Even if the sales of new models continue to plummet? I’m not sure what you’re talking about there, new Harleys are selling just as much as any other brand. In fact, now the Harley with the rigid frame mounted EVO motor is becoming popular again. The new Harleys are great with fluid-filled motor mounts and such I have a 2011 Fatboy and a 93 Softail the rigid Mount EVO engine will always be my favorite.

    • Beaver

      Dean you my friend are right on Dilly Dilly!!

  2. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    What makes you say that HD sales are plummeting? Proof required please.

    • Racingpro56 Member

      Google Harley-davidson sales 2017. CNBC has posted several articles on below predicted sales figures, lay-offs, and sliding share prices. Millenials aren’t buying Harleys. And many older bikers are selling their bikes causing the used bike market to bloat. And competition from imports domestic and foreign

      Like 1
      • DonC

        Just stop. Please. The reason millennial Aren’t buying Harley’s is because they can’t afford them. They’re too busy paying off their $100,000 college loans. And that goes for every generation before. Harley’s have always been predominantly bought by 40 year old and older because we’ve already paid for the kids, paid off the Ex, and covered our retirement. I just bought my 2nd Harley, a 2017 Electra glide ultra classic. Nothing wrong with Harley sales. As for this one advertised….it’s like all the cars on this site. It’s an emotional buy as much as economics and business value.

    • Chris In Australia

      2017 sales are down by 4.2 percent from 2016. While it’s not “plummeting”
      its enough to give me hope.

      On the millennials front, recent conversations with three on this subject got the response “grandpa bike”

      Like 1
      • DonC

        What are you hoping for Chris? That HD goes out of business?

      • Chris In Australia

        Either them or their aftermarket exhaust makers.

    • Dave

      Try reading current articles, statistics with regard to their sales! They are declining, and stock prices as well.

  3. JimmyJ

    If Harley’s weren’t built in the states they would have gone out of business years ago.I respect Harley owners enthusiasm and the way they personalize their bikes.
    BUT… still air cooled and pushrods? Cmon lets get with the times my Honda lawnmower is more technology advanced.
    I’ve also heard sales are plummeting on all new motorcycle sales not just Harley Davidson as millennial as are buying used, cheaper and more reliable Japanese bikes.
    Btw I am an avid rider and ride Japanese not because i can’t afford a Harley but because they ride better,accelerate,handle and stop better are way more reliable thus safer.

    • Dusty Stalz

      You won’t look as cool pullin up to the pub on your lawn mower tho lol. Btw I ride a Virago and love it.

    • DonC

      Hey Jimmy, I agree sorta. In 1984, I bought a Honda Magna and rode that bike for 30 years and never had to do anything other than routine. I get it. Then I rented a Harley in 2013 for the weekend and it was love at first sight. Bottom line, it’s an impossible comparison. Two different styles, rides, attitudes, looks, you name it. Mary Anne or Ginger?

    • Pat

      So your lawn mower has nav, cruise, electric start AND LED HEADLIGHTS!?!?! WOW! 😎

  4. Andrew not amember

    Best rear bumper I’ve ever seen.

  5. Greg

    California DMV has added the ’63 black plate to its year of manufacture program. Prior to this action the black plate was indeed special, but not so much anymore.

  6. Dean

    I knew this topic would go this direction I also love Japanese bikes as well. I have Ridden Japanese bikes 15 out of the 25 years I’ve been riding. I’ve also Ridden Harley’s, Indians, and victory which is just Polaris but at my point in life, it’s not about handling speed or breaking if you’re a good an avid Rider those things don’t matter as much as being a good rider. I live in Las Vegas Nevada, and ride almost daily the one thing I’ve learned it’s just to assume no one sees you no matter what you’re on for my bicycle to motorcycle just assume they don’t see you.

    And at the end of the day I’ll always ride with you don’t care what kind of bike you’re on because riding a motorcycle is the closest thing you can get to flying on the ground……hoorah

    • FiremanDan

      Raaaaaaahhhhhhhh…Brother⚡⚡⚡👍

  7. Mark S. Member

    When you buy a Harley your buying nostalgia. I was just at the bike show here in Calgary and just about every brand of bike was showing advancements, even Ural the Russian side car army bike was improved. Then there was the Harley’s and they are pretty much the same, in fact they are still using their handle bar mounted fairing that has not changed in decades. I have never owned a Harley and probably never will as there over the top pricing and antiquited performance has long ago been past by bikes like the gold wing. Example totally redesigned top of the line Honda goldwing was $36k and will ride circles around the top of the line Harley with the same old look and screaming eagle engine at $53k it doesn’t take a genius to know which is the better deal. Finally I have a freind that has a 2000 goldwing that has passed the 300,000 km mark and is still going strong all he’s ever done is tires and basic maintenance. This bike has also been pulling a trailer on long trips through the US. I myself am riding a 1977 goldwing with a sidecar attached to it and it too is still going strong. JMHO.

  8. Dean

    Hard to believe that most of these comments are from people that ride motorcycles. Most of us don’t care what you’re on the only care about riding and being safe and caring for a brother.

    This quickly got into slamming Harleys and it’s interesting the people that slam them have never owned one. I love judging without actually knowing what you’re judging. Currently the owner of two Harleys, R1 yeah baby some of the first best liter bikes and GSXR 600. That is a beautiful bike here in the barn find if it wasn’t so beautiful it would not be commanding so much money so I guess at the end of the day Harleys aren’t really that bad and neither is a great Kawasaki 750 Cafe Racer either, lighten up people enjoy the bikes.

    • DonC

      Spot on a Dean. And as a former Honda owner, now Harley…..you know, I give the two finger salute to anyone riding…..yes, even scooters. If you’re on 2 wheels you know what it means. If you don’t know what the two fingers mean, ask a motorcycle driver.

    • LAB3

      I’ve owned plenty of HD’s over the years and when I want to ride and not have to concern myself about breaking down or just plain not making it, I’ll take my 30 yr old Goldwing!

    • Big Mike

      True so True Dean, I agree we need to watch out for each other no matter what you ride because most people in a car or truck sure as hell don’t pay attention to bike riders.
      In 1984 I bought a used Honda Goldwing, rode it for many years until I traded it for a used 1999 HD FatBoy in 2000, but today I still have the 99 plus a 2007 Custom Deluxe, and Last year I bought a 2017 Indian Chief Vintage. I ride each bike whenever I can, and depending on the group I am riding with is which ever I ride. This past summer I rode in a charity ride with an Indian Group and met Mike Wolf from American Pickers, (Big Indian Fan).
      As I always say Ride Safe my Friends!!!!

  9. David C

    The first bike I ever rode was a Harley. I’ve owned Japanese and British bikes and I loved all of them. But I do miss the Harley.

    Like 1
  10. Frank

    HD is unique and still want a Road King Police Special. HD have a mechanical feel, which I like. My two favorite cars had that feel, a 1970 Datsun Roadster 1600 witch was purely mechanical and a 1983 BMW 528e that had that vibe, but much less mechanical. You can say what you want about HD and yes, their business is having some tough times, but they went through that in the AMF days and came out OK. If you held a decent amount of HD stock from when they went public 30 years ago, you would be very very happy. With dividends and stock splits over the years it has performed extremely well. Many Japanese competitors went to styling their bikes based on HD designs and did well. This old bike looks great and hope it gets back on the road soon!

  11. Shooker

    Panheads are pigs to start (pun intentional).This one has some cool chi-chi on . HD and others are struggling w/ millennials. They have a VP ? I think in charge of marketing to them.

  12. geezerglide85

    As a Harley owner I just have to put in my 2 cents. I’ve had an ’85 FLT Tourglide Classic for almost 20 years, I ride every day weather permitting. It has always been very dependable, but the biggest thing I like is that just about every part is still available. OEM, aftermarket, or used. I know people with all kinds of bikes, but it seems the older Japanese bikes don’t have nearly the same amount of support.
    I’ve had Japanese bikes, A Moto-Guzzi (absolutely like nothing else) and my Harley, and the Harley has really stood the test of time. PLUS I always wanted one and now Igot one.

  13. jw454

    Interesting… Other than a comment from “Andrew Not Amember”, no one else has commented on the feature bike so far… Jus’ sayn’.

  14. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Panhead Harleys are pretty desirable. I bet this one would be a show stopper all cleaned up

  15. Suttree

    Harleys of this vintage had a Suicide shift with a foot clutch and left hand shifter on the tank. This conversion is called a mouse trap. Most used the original foot clutch spring. It took the grip of a gorilla to ride in city traffic but still better than the original set up.
    Love the horn.

  16. JohnD

    By all means, clean her, replace parts as necessary for safety — don’t restore — and ride. BTW, what’s that unusual accessory mounted behind the rear fender?

  17. Jeffro

    Yeah…clean, repair, and ride. As I’ve gotten older, I’m more about the ride than what I’m riding.

  18. Chimmy

    The element that a Harley has is it is more like having a living breathing human with a personality. People like myself who have owned many bikes including Harley’s will tell you that riding one is waaaaay different than any other brand due to the aforementioned. I agree that much of the technology is antiquated but that is what gives it its personality, the smells, the mechanical resonance the handling all harken back to an earlier day. All other brands have tried to replicate this relationship to no avail. How many Yamaha tattoos have you seen on folks? In my 32 years of riding I’ve never seen one. It’s fan base is it’s life, and it seems to pair well with the Harley Davidson name. Keep the shiny side up my friends. Prost!

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Chimmy. You said it as close as anybody. Harley Davidson is as much a way of life as it is a motorcycle. I started riding in 1965 on a Honda 55 Sport. I almost immediately went to British bikes (BSA 500 Sportsman, Norton 750 Ranger) and thoroughly enjoyed them. I bought a Harley 45 Servicar for $50.00 in ’69 and had as much fun on that as the others put together. I rode a Shovelhead to the tune of 100K miles after that. On the road I’ve seen them all break down. My Norton blew the oil return line and seized a rod bearing; I came across a Honda 900 with a blown crown and pinion, and a Gold Wing with a fried wiring harness. My Shovelhead broke a rocker arm at 72K miles but I was less than a block from home and had it fixed the next day. One thing I loved about my British and American bikes was that they were relatively easy to work on. Reliable enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to take them on a trip across the country. I have ZERO desire to own a Japanese ANYTHING but I’m not going to condemn anyone else for making that choice as long as they stay out of my face for my choices.

  19. Pat

    I know I pick up more chicks with my lawnmower…..lol

    • Nrg8

      That will happen in a trailer park

      Like 1
  20. SC/RAMBLER

    I have never owned a motorcycle of any kind, however, I have always Loved and admired Harley Davidson bikes. Why can’t people appreciate the older style of bikes (and other older so called antiquated) things. Everyone has to have the newest thing, even if what they have works fine.
    By the way doesn’t Corvette still use OHV and the Viper used an OHV engine. Remember the LT5 Corvette OHC not GMs best engine. New LT5 is OHV.
    Anyway with this bike don’t as little as is needed and enjoy the RIDE.

  21. geomechs geomechs Member

    Okay, this bike. I love it! I would buy it if I could afford it but I don’t think my numbers matched again. I would take it and give it a thorough cleaning and detailing, a good tuneup and ride it. I’d probably remove most of the gaudy accessories and put them away for safe keeping. Only problem I’d have is that I’ve got (2) bad knees and might encounter some problems starting the beast but I’d learn a way around it. I came across a vet and lifelong rider who lost a leg from just above the knee and it hasn’t kept his face out of the wind. Whoever buys this beast is going to have a great ride….

  22. Rube Goldberg Member

    Always a hot topic, and coming from Milwaukee, it’s been going on as long as I can remember, especially after 1969, when the Honda 750 was introduced, a bike, as far as I’m concerned, changed everything. Harley had the market cornered for years. During this time, if you had red, white, and blue running through your veins, and wanted a motorcycle, you had one choice, and this was it. This bike was actually a very historic bike for Harley. The name “Duo-Glide” comes from this was the 1st Harley with a front and rear suspension. Before this, was the Hydra-Glide, that was a hard tail and front suspension only. The biggest glitch with this bike, is starting it. 1965 was the 1st year for electric start, without it, be prepared for a possible workout. When I had my H-D (’85 FXRT) I rode with guys that had these, and if it didn’t pop on the 2nd kick, oh, oh, might be a while. It was these bikes, on a putt with a bunch of bikes, that someone always drove the “chase van”, because at least one of these would break down. I’ve had 3 GoldWings, 1 currently, and my H-D was still the nicest bike I had, and if they weren’t so expensive, I’d have another.
    H-D’s have been refined to the point, they are as dependable as any other bike today, and as others said, the V-Twin remains the most popular type of bike. As a motorcycle rider for over 50 years, I’ve watched the decline of motorcycling. Harley is indeed in trouble. The engine plant on Capitol Dr. in Wauwatosa remains empty, and the Menomonee Falls plant and Kansas City plants face layoffs every year. It’s a fact, people of all ages are riding less and less, and whoever wants a Harley probably already has one. I feel, if Harley is to survive, they should concentrate on a whole new market, like a Smart Car, or commuter type vehicle, clearly, the wave of the future, and not motorcycles.
    As for this bike, looking like this, is a rotten shame. Bikes are a direct expression of who you are, and my bikes always shined. They need to be nice. If I saw someone riding this bike as is, I’d say they were a schmo, but would respect them, because they are still a biker.

    Like 1
  23. Dean

    Are you serious this has nothing to do with a smart car a Smart car was sold by Mercedes and engineered by Mitsubishi. Harley has nothing to do with a smart car and the last thing Harley needs to do is produce a commuter type of vehicle. If you want a commuter type of vehicle go by a cage if you ride bikes you’ll know what that means.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Settle down, I only used Smart car as an example. If you think Harley has a sound future making motorcycles, you are a born optimist, and are clearly mistaken. An even bigger H-D blunder was the decision to not market the Penster 3 wheeler. Can Am had a lot of success with the Spyder. I actually saw one, when a great friend took me to the Harley museum in Milwaukee. A must see for any biker, btw. A Penster was in a room behind a glass wall, but it looked sharp. Harley needs to get with the times, and not just electronic ignition and fuel injection either. They should have made this. My nephew, who worked for Harley for a while, designed the mirrors for this.
      http://www.aimag.com/wp-content/uploads/Harley-Penster-3-wheeler.jpg

      Like 1
      • DonC

        Hey Rube. Harley is doing just fine selling their Trikes. Talk about a smart move. They sell to veterans who can’t balance due to injuries, they sell to older Harley riders who can’t balance so well anymore, and they sell to women who want to ride but want added security. Speaking of women, the low rider models are now bought more by ladies than guys. Again, Harley staying with the times. A 4% reduction in sales between 2016 and 2017 is noise and would need to be looked at regionally across the globe before making judgements.

  24. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    I have owned over 50 motorcycles including a 1939, a 1941, a 1943 750cc flat heads and a 1981 1340cc Low Rider, a 1200cc cafe racer HD, and they were all crap in comparison to my 1951 Ariel Square 4, 1953 Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet and the best of them all, the 1979 Honda 550K. I currently own and ride a 1986 Honda Rebel 450cc. The only breakdowns that I ever had were with the Harley’s.

  25. Jay E.

    We live just up the street from a popular roadside cafe. There is no doubt that Harley riders are aging, it only takes a lunch break to see the proof. Any Saturday/Sunday there is a group of bikes parked outside, more than 90% are Harleys. There are no young or really any middle age riders. I agree with the millennial comments on money and time. The last time I stopped 20% of the bikes were fancy new Harley three wheelers! It sure sounds nice when they all take off.

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Just a guess Jay, but the younger riders are probably backed up to a curb in front of a saloon up the road. And I agree with DonC, give the two finger salute to anyone riding. I’ve said it before, its not what you ride its why you ride. Unfortunately it won’t be till spring before I can ride once again.

  26. Ronald G Bajorek jr

    I’m a dyed in the wool Harley Guy, but sales are down significantly , not only for Harley Davidson, but for all brands…. big article in the LA Times about this recently…..it’s time for the Motorcycle Industry to rethink their market

    Like 1
  27. Dean

    My garage doesn’t forget my Suzuki GSXR has 4 million miles never even an oil change…lol

  28. Dean

    Beauty bike Ronald

    • Ronald G Bajorek jr

      Thanks Dean, great story behind this bike

  29. Dean

    Can you share the story I’m already intrigued

  30. Dean

    Lol

    • Ronald G Bajorek jr

      owned this bike three times, kept buying it back for less money than I sold it for! This is the third time, so it got named “Bad Penny”, last Harley I built was all stripped down, so this one I’m try to put as much crap on it (ie:”stuff”) as I can, ,,,,this bike grabs more attention than walking a leopard on the boardwalk……the animal on the fairing is “Badger Rick” because people can’t pronounce my last name and they always call up and say “Mr. Badger Rick (Bajorek), my insurance done got disconnected, can you help me?” It’s been a really fun bike. I hope the Police bike I’m building now is as much fun (and doesn’t get me arrested) Love it, not selling it again

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Living in the Badger State I like you already Ron. Is that a bottle opener on the rear fender? Wisconsin stuff all the way. Hope to see you on the road. Take care. Mike.

      • Ronald G Bajorek jr

        of course that is a bottle openner on the rear fender, cheers!

  31. Dean

    Sexy

  32. geomechs geomechs Member

    Hi Rube. I always thought that HD brought the Penster out. Of course I’ve been behind the times as of late; grandkids will do that, you know (wait till you have some of your own). If HD has been holding off they should get in gear and start building. I could ride something like that and not have to put a paper sack over my head….

  33. Dean

    That’s an awesome story Ronald can’t believe you got it back 3 times. I would love to see pics of the police bike when you’re done shoot me an e-mail

    Xaviar007@gmail.com

  34. Ronald G Bajorek jr

    here is a preview

  35. dwise

    I started out on a Honda 50 and have many bikes over the years.
    I am only 50 and wish I still could ride but I have hip that likes to go out on long rides.
    So I have decided that not being able to put the kickstand down when that happens is not safe.
    I have a convertible now and would sill rather ride but not going to happen on 2 wheels anymore.

    I would love this old Harley
    One of my favorite things about owning motorcycles is cleaning and shining.
    I could never sleep if that was in my garage until it looked right.

    • DonC

      Hey dwise. Go check out a Harley trike! As stable as anything. You got nothing to lose, just ask em for a test ride.

  36. JohnD

    I graduated high school in 1984 and I can’t remember one friend or acquaintance who lusted after a Harley. We were all about Japanese bikes. My dad rode Triumphs in the sixties and my uncles rode Harleys so I could appreciate those bikes, but we all wanted the latest Honda, Yamaha, etc. Nothing against Harley – I had a 2007 FXDBI and loved it! But let’s face it, the Japanese have been leading the technological charge since the 70s. Kids want the latest, fastest, sexiest new bike and it ain’t a Harley. Hasn’t been for many decades. Having said that, my 51 yo self would love to have a new Street Glide. As for this, I’d also love it but wouldn’t love to ride it cross country. Why practice bleeding when there are so many sane options out there? This would be reserved for short jaunts and local bike nights.

    • Suttree

      Today I’d love this Harley. When I was 17 I bought my one and only brand new bike. A red metal flake Honda CB 750. Beautiful bike. Rode it night and day for two months. I sold it and bought a four year old first year Super Glide. I loved the sound and the unique styling but it became quickly evident that I’d traded my sportscar for a tractor.

  37. Leon

    Had a 1948 FLH. Lowest frame built at that time. Loved it. Suicide clutch, Gas tank shift and a spark control. The first OHV. 1st crank with the switch off and full choke, 2nd crank with the switch on and when you jump on the crank peddal, you twist the spark control and away you go. First time, every time. Wish I still had it.

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