HD Sprint - Aermacchi 250 SS (1967)

Picture of HD Sprint #1

Picture of HD Sprint 250 #2

1967 Sprint SS
(not my bike but a restored one)

1968 Sprint SS
(not my bike - restored and for sale for $9,000)

July 1969 - Nov. 1970       2 seasons  6,500 miles

Bike Number Two - An Italian Harley

  I sold the 1968 Honda 125 in May of 1969 after exactly one year and even delivered it to the new owner on Long Island on a last ride.  I wanted something bigger and faster.  I was a bit more knowledgeable about bikes now, so I checked out used bikes in Buy Lines (a weekly classified newspaper).  I found a BSA Starfire 250 single in Queens.  I got a test ride, but only on the back of it, on the Cross Island Parkway.  The guy brought it to Manhattan for me to buy but the deal fell through. The seller got weird about the paperwork so I bluffed a "give me my $10 deposit back and lets just forget about it then," and the deal was over.  So now I had money from my old bike to buy something and no bike. 

  I went to see this bike Harley Sprint at night in Brooklyn.  It looked great to me ... but I'm looking at a black bike in the dark.  I never got to ride it and knew little about it.   But I bought it for $550 with 5,500 miles on it.  On the first ride home, I had to learn the inverted right side shifting.  I pressed the shift lever rather than the brake a few times until I got used to it.  The bike seemed so big at the time compared to the 125.  The gas tank sloped up a bit and had some curves and a broad white stripe. Much different than the narrow tank of the Honda.  The gauges were raised above the headlight and it had a tach like a "real" bike.
  I rode this bike the summer of 1969 and remember taking a date to see the movie Easy Rider on it.  Coming out of the movie, I was too blown away to ride (remember that last scene?), so we just stood silently on the sidewalk for a long while.
  The bike was mechanically challenged.  The tail light worked if whacked a few times.  The key would fall out of the ignition so I had to put it into my pocket once the bike was running and take it out again to shut it off.  The Dell'Orto carburetor was erratic, changing the idle speed depending on how the bike was leaned.  Lean it to the right on the side stand and the idle speed would slow and the engine would die. Straighten it up and the engine would race.  The chain started throwing link covers and disintegrated on a ride back from New Paltz and had to be replaced.  It also lost a footpeg on the highway. 

69 350 Sprint

 

 

H-D 350 Sprint 1969

image 0

A 1968 Sprint for Sale July 2012 in Syracuse

I never got any respect (or decent service) at the Manhattan Harley dealer, either because I was young or because I was riding a small Italian bike.

I plunged across a giant NYC pothole one night, yanking up on the bars to lift the front wheel over the far lip. Luck was on my side and I was able to wobble to a stop to find 13 spokes pulled out of the rim.   This time I went all the way to a dealer on Staten Island for the repairs, which took 3 weeks anyway.

  But the clutch was strong and I could do wheelies and jumps and ride in the dirt.  And it handled ok. The tach and speedo looked fine.  I thought it looked much better than the newer 350 H-D Sprints that had two mufflers.   Fastest I ever went was about 80 mph on a long downhill coming down Rt. 6 onto Rt. 32 out of Harriman St. Park.

Aermacchi H-D Sprint 1964

H-D Sprint 64

  Aermacchi Sprints are now collector's items.  However, I was very happy to get $340 for mine when I sold it in Nov. of 1970 with about 12,000 miles on it so I could buy my next bike, a new Honda 450.  Look here for more information on Aermacchi H-D Sprints.

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Last Edited - Aug. 12, 2002