Harley-Davidson XR1200 Coming Soon

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.

HD 1200R
HD XR1200 - Static

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.

HD 1200R In Motion
HD XR1200 In 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.

Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.