One-percenters have known it for a long time. Hooligans prize them, stunters do their damnedest to destroy them, but almost 40 years after its debut, the FXR is still one of the most treasured Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Launched right after Willie G and the boys took back control of Harley-Davidson from AMF, the motorcycle featured a more triangulated frame than its predecessors, rear shocks that’d been pushed a couple inches farther back on the swingarm, and a tri-mounting system for the powertrain which cut down engine vibrations, the FXR quickly gained a devoted legion of fans. Over the years it has earned a reputation as the best handling Harley-Davidson of all time while its predecessor, the Dyna, has a fanbase just as devoted because it possesses many of the same attributes.

Almost 130 FXR and Dyna motorcycles filled the Buffalo Chip’s free-access CrossRoads for the fourth annual FXR/Dyna Mixer. Of those, almost 80 of them were FXRs. Modifications leaned toward performance, from high-end binders to top-shelf suspension, but there were plenty of new wrinkles like Purpose Built Motorcycles' FXR bagger with a Road Glide front fairing and full leg lowers. There were plenty of FXRP models, one of them sporting the coy new nickname “Troublemaker.” Strolling through the rows of go-fast Harleys, an S&S Cycle 124 with a brushed aluminum finish caught our eye.

“I bought it from this local guy. It was leaking oil out of everywhere, all the gaskets. It had big apehangers. He rode it but never maintained it,” said FXR enthusiast John Sweeney. The “it” he mentioned was a 1989 Harley FXRS.

“He needed some cash so I bought it off him thinking I’d do quick flip on it. Once we got it to my buddy’s shop, Side Street Cycles, I told him I wanted to do a Twin Cam swap. We went up to the Drag Specialties show in Madison and they had a closeout on the 60thanniversary engine, so we grabbed one.”

The engine he refers to is S&S Cycles 124 cubic-inch 60th anniversary V-Twin in brushed aluminum. The motor makes knock-your-socks-off power, and only 60 were ever made, making it almost the Holy Grail of V-Twins. It was the perfect centerpiece for Sweeney’s 1989 Harley FXRS. In honor of the engine’s namesake, Sweeney made sure the motorcycle’s paint job included some of S&S Cycle’s trademark blue. The 80th anniversary Sturgis Rally happens to be an extra special one for Sweeney. Not only did he have a killer bike in the show, he brought his father to Sturgis for the very first time.

“He’s almost 70 years old, so he figured it was time to experience it,” Sweeney said wryly.

2020 Sturgis Bufalo Chip FXR/Dyna Mixer winners Cody Childress with his 2006 Dyna FXDL (left), show host Joe Mielke (middle), and "Best FXR" winner Robert Jondle (right) with his 1987 FXRP CHP. 

Fine as Sweeney’s ride was, “Best FXR” laurels went to Robert Jondle of Fort Dodge, Iowa, for his ultra-clean 1987 FXRP CHP. In the “Best Dyna” category, Cody Childress is taking the title back to Abilene, Texas, with him for his racy white 2006 FXDL. The winners are chosen by a jury of peers as everybody who entered a motorcycle in the show got to cast a vote, which makes victory even more special. Both winners received a custom motorcycle seat from Saddlemen Seats. And they weren’t the only winners of the day. All revenue generated by donations and t-shirt sales at the show will be donated to LifeScape of SD.