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Posts Tagged ‘XR750’

xr1200_tankHarley-Davidson succumbed to the buzz of blogs as well as other customer demands and have now decided to introduce the XR1200 to the U.S. market.  I’ve previously posted articles about the XR1200 HERE and HERE.

The XR1200 was initially designed and launched only in European markets earlier this year. It received a lot of interest along with a positive reception from the European markets.   Many (including this blog) ask why Harley didn’t launch the motorcycle in all markets because it was inspired after the XR-750; one of the most dominating American dirt track racing motorcycles of all-time.  In fact, Harley factory rider Kenny Coolbeth won his third straight AMA Grand National Twins flat track championship on the XR-750 in 2008.

The motorcycle has many unique features and will provide the performance and distinct style demanded of the demographic the company wants to attract.  North American MSRP is $10,799.  This is a smart move.

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xr1200This motorcycle has a fuel-injected 1202cc motor, one of the best tach’s, 43mm Showa inverted or “upside-down” cartridge front forks, Nissin 4-opposed-piston caliper brakes, and Harley-Davidsons first cast-alloy swing arm for rear-wheel movement. 

But it weighs more than most Euro cruisers and “shakes so badly at idle that you can’t read street signs!”

That was the opinion of the reporter.  What is it, you ask?  The Harley-Davidson XR1200.  The author viewed the bike as neither a cruiser or sports bike.  Unavailable in the U.S. market I’ve been trying to find more background information on the motorcycle and ran across this good review from Motoring in South Africa.  The road test was in the same area of Africa’s biggest Harley rally and where the 2009 HOG Route 62 Rally will be hosted.

hd_tachI’m thinking this motorcycle will come to the U.S. market next year as Harley tries to extend the brand and if a Buell, Aprillia 750 or Ducati GT 1000 are too radical then this might be the ride for you.

What do you think about the motorcycle coming to the U.S.?  Send any suggestions or comments to Harley-Davidson HERE.

Photos courtesy of Dave Abrahams and Motoring web site.

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Harley-Davidson XR-750

Harley-Davidson XR-750

During my visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum earlier this summer I spied a XR-750 hanging from the ceiling.  Turns out it’s a replica of the one that motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel (Robert Craig Knievel Jr.) used at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1973 when he attempted to jump a 50-car tower. 

Evel having a colorful life is a huge understatement.  Born in Butte, Montana he battled the IRS and Montana over allegedly unpaid taxes; survived abandonment by his parents, who left him with grandparents at 6 months old; endured jail, bankruptcy and divorce – he even ran over a Hells Angel – and survived to tell the story!  The official Knievel web site is HERE.

Evel Knievel Records

Evel Knievel Records

Evel passed away last year, but as a small tike, I can remember to this day the excitement of watching that X-2 Skycycle launch over the Snake River Canyon to be followed with disappointment of the parachute accidentally deploying and to land only a few feet from the water on the side of the canyon.

In an effort to break Evel’s record, last weekend Bubba Blackwell (the professional daredevil) set the record and jumped 52-cars in front of a crowd of more than 6,000 at the Deep South Speedway on his modified Harley-Davidson XR-750.  It was also his birthday.  Next up for Bubba has to be getting his life interpreted via rock opera format?  Then you’re golden.

Congrats Bubba in setting a new record and happy (belated) birthday!

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Dealernews is reporting that Storz Performance, Inc. reached an agreement with Harley-Davidson to acquire the business’ trademark rights for the term “XR 1200”.  Storz had filed a U.S. Trademark application for the term.  Nothing publically was stated on terms because of the confidential nature of the agreement.  Storz Performance introduced its XR 1200 dirt track style conversion kits for Sportster motorcycles in January of 2005.

I previously blogged on Harley launching the new XR1200 only in European markets and how that strategy was somewhat confusing. This sport-bike looks to be popular and maybe this settlement paves the way for the model to hit U.S. dealers.

Photo courtesy Storz Performance.

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Back in 2006 the “boyz” at Harley Davidson used the European motorcycle show (Intermot in Germany) to roll out the XR1200 prototype bike.  It was styled after an American-only racing motorcycle, the XR750 dirt tracker which was an AMA Grand National Champion.  At any rate, rumors percolated over the past couple years on when or if the bike would be manufactured.  Most of the press and writings have been from Europe.

Harley confirmed that it will manufacture the motorcycle and it will go to dealers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa THIS month.  This is the first time where any Harley model was delivered outside the U.S. prior to launching a motorcycle in the states.  That in of itself is something to take pause over.  Some people-people who can use words and speak in complete sentences-are unable to accept clear facts or simple truths, but the fact is there are no current plans to make this bike available for the U.S. market so put away your cash.   Evidently those marketing types don’t think there is enough demand to introduce it.

The XR750 was all about flat track racing and is where the XR1200 takes many of its styling cues.  It’s a 1200cc Sportster based machine with a sport tuned suspension.  It has inverted 43mm forks and the ergonomics are customized for the European rider. The bike has wide handlebars with semi-rear-set footrests to provide an upright and sport riding posture. It looks to have plenty of cornering clearance.

For those from the Americas it’s difficult not to criticize a Europe only launch, but are customers in Europe demanding a flat track inspired Sportster?  I suspect it has a lot more to do with cannibalizing the Buell inventory in the U.S. dealer network.

Photo courtesy Harley, Great Britain.

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