Article By: Joe Meilke
Photos By: Andy Sharpe
Originally Published In The October 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
This month’s spotlight comes from half way around the globe. Andy Sharpe comes to us from Germany but he was born in England. If you look at the history of the motorcycle and think England, you think Triumph. If you think Germany, you think BMW. But such is not the case for Andy. The only choice for Andy has been Harley Davidson and specifically his FXR. Once again through the power of the internet and social media I have become somewhat familiar and acquainted with Andy. Most of my knowledge of Andy has come from Facebook groups like his group FXR Cartel Europe. I’d like to thank Andy for getting a little more personal with us here in the Spotlight! CS: How did you get exposed to motorcycles? (Who, When, Where) AS: My older brother was always into bikes and when I was a 14-year-old kid I would see them all working on their bikes in the garage. At 16 I joined the military and I had other T priorities until I got to the first Gulf War. As I laid next to my APC watching the MLRS fire I said to myself “If I get out of this I am getting a bike”
CS: What was your first motorcycle?
AS: A Kawasaki KMX125. I did about 16000 miles on that in just over a year through winter and summer in the UK until I finally passed my test. In the UK you could ride on a provisional license, on up to a 125cc and less than 12HP. No officer we never bought the full power kits and made them 28 HP for 2 years to gain experience before doing a test..hahahah After that I got an XT600 Tenere.
CS: When did you get your first FXR?
AS: May 1993 I bought it via the PX in Germany
CS: What led you to the FXR?
AS: It was the cheapest of the big twins. I had seen “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” and knew at that point it was a Harley for me. When I got posted to Germany (Tax breaks) it was the only way a 22-yearold in 1993 could buy a brand new Harley. At that point I didn’t know that Mickey Rourke’s bike was based on an FXR, but The FXR was the one I could afford. On a side note, a mate over here did almost the same thing at the same age, and yep he still has his FXR (89)
CS: What was your first FXR?
AS: I still have that same bike. There is no need to swap the bike when I can just keep evolving the bike to be what I want.
CS: What FXR/s do you currently own?
AS: As above
CS: What other motorcycles do you own?
AS: None, my wife owns a sporty and her FXR; I don’t even own a car,
CS: What do you think makes the FXR such a great motorcycle?
AS: I never realized when I bought it that I was getting the best: I just thought I was buying the bare bones of my Harley. I used to ride with a lot of mates on Jap bikes and I thought that I just rode harder than them to keep up or lead, particularly on back roads. I regularly heard “we don’t know the roads; you do” as an excuse as to why they weren’t that much faster than me. I had done a bit of performance work on it but nothing special- Stage one then a Mikuni carb and Cam- and yes it was quick, quicker than a lot of European Harleys at the time (now we know that in those years the Euro models had a different Manifold.
CS: Why FXR?
AS: To answer this I would have to relate the story of how my Bro Aidan came to be on an FXR. He was riding a BMW S1000RR but was a bit bored out riding with us as a group. He wanted something he could customize and play with, make better. He tested every model Harley had. We would wait at the dealership as he came back from a test and ask “How was it?” And the answer was always the same, “don’t handle, won’t go round corners, no life, no ground clearance.” One day I handed him my keys and said “try that”. I followed him on a tuned Sporty (and that is very quick). After a quick spin around some twisty roads his words were “I need one of these in my life”. Now if a 23-year-old bike can tempt someone off what was the best road bike in the world at that time, well that bike is special! And that’s why FXR.
CS: If the Factory were to bring back the FXR platform would you buy one?
AS: I doubt it, would it be better than this one, with all the canbus electrics and sensors.
CS: Where is your favorite place to ride?
AS: A little twisty road from my town to the next city only about 10 Miles but it is up and down and twisty.
CS: Is there anything you would trade your FXR for?
AS: Maybe only my daughter’s life.
Details of my Bike 1993 non Cali US model Superglide 85” revpro Hi Comp big bore kit Heads and ports polished by owner Crane cam 495 lift (that’s all I can remember about the model) Supertrapp 2-1 pipe Mikuni HSR 42 carb, Axell coil and SE leads Sporty Rocker boxes SE ignition Pingle fuel tap Sportster bars made 1“wider each side Progressive springs and shocks (next upgrade will change the suspension for something better) BDL belt drive kit and competitor clutch (the rotor is fixed to the back of the front pulley like in a 96 sporty to stop the center of the rotor ripping out as it did on one run) Müller power clutch pull kit Currently running my spare gearbox (94) while I rebuild the original. Thunderstar wheels, (matching pulley and disks to follow) Harrison Billet 4 piston brakes front and rear Lithium Battery Custom Engraved riser clamp by Tony Reynolds, Homemade carbon fibre parts, Foot pegs, Front fender, Rear fender, License plate mount and rear light mount, Side panels, Air box, Belly pan, Fairing and dash, Electric plates under the side panels, seat mounting tabs, Exhaust heat shield and the hardest of all was the primary cover (this is still the first trial, I plan to make a new one to get a better finish) I haven’t weighed it yet but I would guess I have got the on the road weight down from 275kg (606 lbs.) as stock to 250kg (550 lbs.) but I am hoping for less Currently on the second crank, second gearbox, third set of pistons, second jugs, but I have got about 100000+ hard miles behind me. Last time it was on a dyno was a long time ago but it was an 80” and was kicking out 79hp on the back wheel. I’m going to test it again this year. Once again, thank you Andy for sharing a bit of your motorcycle and FXR story. I appreciate it very much. I hope our paths are able to cross one day. Very happy to have had you in the Spotlight! If you would like to see your FXR and story in a future issue feel free to contact me via email at joe@fxrshow. com