Today, I got a nice email from Kelly Yahr at Harley-Davidson. Wanting me to talk about the upcoming US debut of the Sportster XR1200 in December.
It looks like Harley is going back to the Sportster’s flat-track roots with this one. The Europeans have had a chance to play around with this model for about 8 months now, but no one on this side of the pond has gotten a chance to see it yet.
I also notice that the promo material for the bike looks a bit different. No…uh…older gentlemen tooling around at cruising speed, perhaps with a girl, both of them wearing half-helmets. Instead, they seem to be going for a sense of speed and motion.
And with a full-face helmet, yet.
Maybe this will help the MoCo “youthen” their image a little bit. God knows they need to. The average HD guy is, what, 55 or something now? If the MoCo wants to stay in this game, they are gonna need to branch out a little bit, and capture some younger riders.
They make the most beautiful cruisers in the world, but they need something more to attract a new generation of riders, who are used to a bit more in the performance and handling categories than Harley is giving them.
Maybe this new Sporty is a step in that direction. They’ve cranked up the V-Twin EVO to 90HP–a big increase from the 70HP on my Sporty. Dropped in Nissin dual disks on the front end of that sucker, too. Heck, it’ll probably do stoppies now, if you want to.
The MoCo got Scott Parker and Rich King, along with Euro GP racer Adrien Morillas in to help them design the thing, so presumably it’s got a bit of the ol’ flat-track spirit in her. As it is, this is the closest thing to a Sportbike that HArley has made in a long while.
I did get a bit of a start when I saw the static pic, and noticed the big square thing forward of the engine. Surely, I though, that isn’t a…radiator! And, so I had to go to a European bike web site, just to reassure myself that it is, indeed, still an air-cooled engine.
But, dang me if that don’t look like a radiator.
Motorcycle.Com had a pretty good review of the XR several months ago. They seemed to like it pretty well. But in looking over the European sites for more info on the bike, I ran across this review, which stated:
Basically, perhaps rattling basically, the Harley-Davidson XR1200R is a beatific bike. Dynamically the XR1200R performs and handles meliorate than some Harley before. It’s speed (if not just fast), recreation to intercommunicate around and looks good, too.
Well. I don’t think I can really add anything to that.