A Brief History
Of The Harley Davidson Electra Glide Sport
 

1978 FLHS





1981 FLHS
 

      1982 FLHS
      1993 FLHS
      1998 FLHR
The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Sport (FLHS) debuted in 1977 as a basic, low cost version of the venerable Electra Glide.  With a stock 74 cubic inch Shovelhead engine, the late-70's FLHS had no windshield, saddle bags or luggage racks.  According to Rick Conner's Harley-Davidson Data Book, The FLHS first appeared as "a limited edition, one-year-only version of the FLH".  Whether or not the factory's original intent was to limit production to one year only, the model continued into the next year at least, as evidenced by H-D's own 1999 calendar which shows a 1978 FLHS.

After it's initial "limited production" run, it is unclear whether or not there was such a thing as a 1979 FLHS.  By 1980, the model was either continued or reinstated.

The 1981 version was unique in that it had dual staggered pipes, forward controls, pull-back handlebars and an "FX style stepped seat".  Click here for an ad for the '81 FLHS taken from the Spring, 1981 H-D Enthusiast.  Thanks to Jeff Taylor for sending the ad, along with several of the other promo pictures you see here.

By 1982, the FLHS was back to saddlebags, floorboards, standard FLH seats and standard cross-over headers, making the '81 FLHS a rare and unique ride.

In 1987, a third version of the Electra Glide Sport was introduced with an 80 cubic inch Evolution engine, saddlebags and a luggage rack.  Where the FLHS differed from the rest of the Electra glide line was in its use of a windshield instead of the fairing used on all other FLHs.  Also, the FLHS had no tour pack.  This model was basically a civilian version of Harley's Police Electra Glide, the FLHTP.  In the early 1990s, as Harley opted toward more chrome on it's models, the FLHS remained chrome less, further setting it off from the rest of the Electra Glide line.  From 1987 until 1993, the FLHS was Harley's only classic/retro, pseudo-50's-60's style, swing-arm-suspension touring bike.

In 1993, the last model year for the FLHS Electra Glide Sport, the battery was moved from the right side to under the seat on all FLH models.  This and the fact that the oil reservoir was moved to under the transmission increased the saddlebag capacity by 15% and streamlined the right side of the bike.  In 1994, the model was re-vamped as the Roadking (FLHR). 

     Changes from '93 FLHS to '94 FLHR:
    • Chrome primary, rocker box covers, cam cover and transmission cover
    • New, retro-style chrome headlight housing
    • Speedometer and dash moved from fork/handlebar assembly to gas tank
    • Elimination of tachometer
    • Wrinkle black engine paint
    • Lost "Electra Glide" name
    • New seat with Fatboy style passenger perch
    • Wider, Fatboy style handlebars
    • Elimination of stock passenger back-rest and luggage rack assembly, which became additional cost options with the Roadking
    • Elimination of luggage rack base and relocation of rear seat bolt attachment point from base to top of rear fender
    • $1,775 higher MSRP
Otherwise, the older Electra Glide Sport shares the same rubber mounted engine and exact same beefed-up FXR-style frame as the '94-'96 Roadking, in addition to being the precursor to the Roadking's retro styling.

Note:  In 1997, all FLH models received a redesigned, lowered-seat-height frame.  While not visibly obvious, this change becomes an advantage when in the saddle, especially for riders of not-tall stature who wish to put both feet flat on the ground when stopped.  In 1999, all FLH models received the new 88-inch Twin Cam motor, which did not require any major frame redesign.

Today the FLHS is a thing of the past, squeezed out by the high end (and high dollar) Road King.  The budget end of Harley's Electra Glide line has been replaced with the Electra Glide Standard (FLHT), a fairing equipped bike and a great value in it's own right.  But those looking to acquire a modern-day equivalent of the Electraglide Sport could do worse than to find a retired Police Roadking (FLHRP).  The carburetor models have brushed aluminum engines and can often be found with under 20,000 miles for a reasonable price in towns where they are used.

Back to The FLHS Home Page


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