1974 Harley Davidson X-90: The Great American Freedom Machine

Up for sale in Cincinnati, OH is a full restore of a 1974 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson X-90 Shortster. If you’re a Moto-parent, this is the perfect bike to share your passion with your kid. 

These were built by Harley Davidson’s Italian subsidiary, “Aermacchi”. The idea was to attract thrill-seekers while they are young, in hopes of establishing lifelong brand loyalty. Weighing in at 126lbs, this certainly is a very portable bike. 

Aermacchi was originally an Italian Aircraft Manufacturer but once they gained attention for motorcycle production, Harley Davidson bought 50% of the motorcycle business in 1960 & bought 100% in 1974. Before the X-90 was released, Aermacchi-Harley-Davidson released the M-50 (50cc) which was marketed as an “urban commuter”. In 1972, the M-65 (slightly bigger engine) Shortster had 8000 units produced & nearly all were sold to the US. 

The X-90 was only manufactured for 3 years, 1973-1975. Production dropped from 7019 in 1974 to 1568 in 1975. From 1976 onwards, they only manufactured the SS-350 until 1978, when the business was sold to Cagiva. 

The success of Aermacchi Harley-Davidson, relied heavily on Italian Grand Prix Motorcycle Road Racer, Walter Villa. He represented Harley Davison from 1974-1978 & won the 250cc World Championship from 1974-1976. He finished 3rd in 1977 and 16th in 1978, which tarnished the Harley Davidson name in Italy.

Despite it’s size, the X-90 provides a legitimate 4-speed mini-motorcycle experience with an air-cooled, 90cc, two-stroke, single piston engine. If safety is concerned, the bike maxes out at 53mph with 8hp at 8Nm. If you’re still concerned, that can only be reached at 23.7 seconds of constant acceleration. 

Kickstarting drives the 9.22:1 carbureted compression ratio. Properly suspended with a conventional telescopic fork in the front & double-sided steel swing arm with twin shock absorbers in the rear. The 1.4gallon fuel capacity is enough for a lesson (until they lose your attention) & some off-road fun. 

Seller performed an incredible full-restoration to make this look brand new. Seller claims complete strip down to include original Italian-made Aermacchi engine with new piston and boring. Every nut, bolt, & washer was either replaced or re-plated. It appears that NOS Pirelli tires & NOS speedometer are original with mileage at 2056 miles. New additions are the chrome, frame painted to match OEM painting, rubber components (grips, hoses, cables, boots), seat cover, & foam. It even includes the “Made In Italy By Aermacchi Harley-Davidson” factory sticker on the rear fender.

This X-90 sat on display for many years but didn’t get the love it deserved, so the seller has decided to put it on the market. Seller was one of the young tikes that learned on a mini-motorcycle like this, so we hope it can find a new home to spark the same interest for the next generation. You’ll even get a 70s themed, marbled-green helmet, factory brochures, service manuals, parts catalog, owners manual, key ring, & never before used burgundy Harley Davidson spray paint can that was used on the new X-90s. 

This is expensive. Yes, this bike looks like it has been in a Zip-loc bag for 40 years, but $6200 is way too much. The Ohio motorcycle marketplace is very seasonal. But if you currently happen to be a Harley enthusiast in the market looking to inspire a young free-spirit, $4300 would be a fair price.

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Cincinnati, OH



One Comment

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  • Julia 1 year ago

    I wish I had enough money and I wish it was blue like the one I had as a 10 year old in Bathurst, New South Wales Australia. I owned it jointly with my brother.


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