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An American made motorcycle, theÂ Harley-Davidson FX Super Glide has been in production since 1971. It has an air cooled, 4 stroke, 2 cylinder, 1206cc Shovelhead engine and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h).
The FX Super Glide is known to be the first factory custom motorcycle; it originated Harley's FX series of motorcycles by mating Sportster components, most notably the front end, with the chassis of their larger big twin motorcycles.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles make small twins and big twins motors. However, individual bikers would sometimes customize their bikes by changing parts around or cutting and re-welding frames and other components to suit their tastes. Harley-Davidson styling director Willie G. Davidson was aware of this phenomenon and decided to design a motorcycle for production that would offer the look of the custom bikes.
To accomplish this, he started with the frame and rear suspension, from the FLH Electra Glide. Then mated the smaller telescopic forks from the XLH Sportster. This combination was referred to as the FX chassis, where "FX" meant "Factory Experimental", the drive train and engine accessories were from the FLH, the front headlights and brakes were from the XLH. This use of a mixture of FL and XL parts has also been used to explain the FX designation. To complete the Super Glide, he added buckhorn handlebars and a "boat tail" tail/fender unit similar to those being used on the XLH Sportster.
The production FX Super Glide was released in 1971 to a lukewarm reception. Particularly not well received were the "boat tail" fenders, which also proved to be unpopular on the Sportsters that had it. Sales of both models improved when less radical rear styling was made available in subsequent years. The 1971 model failed to attract the audience Harley had hoped it would and was a sales disappointment, with fewer than 5,000 sales.
Despite the disappointment Harley went on to improve on the FX line releasing the much more successful FX Super Glide in 1972, some of its pieces did not return, to the delight of Harley riders. The tail section disappeared, replaced by a traditional steel fender assembly. In this form, the Super Glide met with greater success, and factory customs would eventually become Harley- Davidson's stock-in-trade. Later Harley expanded the line to the FXR Super Glide II in 1982 and the FXRT Sport Glide in 1983.
Currently the Super Glide model is now based on the Dyna Glide chassis which offers a wider variety of front ends and trims. The Super Glide 35th Anniversary model was introduced in 2006. The FX line continues to fill the intermediate niche between the smallest and largest Harley Davidson models.