Harley-Davidson Baja 100

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1971 Harley-Davidson Baja 100
1971 Harley-Davidson Baja 100

Harley-Davidson brought this little dirt bike out to capture the small-bore trail bike market that was dominated by Hodaka at the time-the early '70s. They contracted with the Italian Aermacchi factory, which responded with a hopelessly tall, short-wheelbased, underpowered, ill-handling package that nearly defied belief. Still, Harley-Davidson put together a desert racing team that started to dominate the trail bike class, so people went out and bought the Bajas in droves, only to find out they weren't buying what was being raced.

The race bikes had everything changed! The stock bikes came with rigid footpegs, no horsepower to speak of, a huge overlay sprocket on the rear wheel that constantly came loose, a tank shaped like a mailbox, a saddle that felt like plywood and a strange metal hook strategically placed to rip your crotch off if you crashed. It also had stupid bars, dumb fat grips from a street bike and a suspension that had more side-to-side travel than up-and-down stroke.