Odd Harley XR1200 Test

I’m not sure, exactly, what the point was to this test.  The guys at MCN took a few days to ride and compare the Harley-Davdison XR1200, the Ducati GT1000, and the Moto Guzzi Griso 1200.  Their conclusion:  The XR1200 isn’t a benchmark sportbike.

A look of shocked surprise failed to cross my face upon hearing this.

First, it’s really an odd test.  In what possible world is a cruiser, even a retro, race-inspired cruiser, going to be a benchmark sportbike?

In Harley terms, the XR1200 is a pretty powerful machine.  At 90HP, it packs about 15 more horses than an XL1200.  And, as one of the reviewers notes, it handles way better than any Harley ever built.  Harley isn’t trying to appeal to the liter-bike crowd.  They are trying to get some younger appeal going with riders that want some more sportiness and better handling than is currently available anywhere in the HD line, with the possible exception of the V-Rod, and still have a bike that is recognizeably a Harley-Davidson.

And at that, it looks to me like the XR1200 delivers.

And, as they also note, it has a presence that none of the other bikes have.

You can bitch and moan about Harley’s all you want, and denigrate them to a fair-thee-well, but at the end of the day, all around the world, the Harley-Davidson has a cachet that no other motorcycle has.  Their bikes are the ones that the other cruiser manufacturers take styling cues from.

If you can now get a Sportster with signifigantly more muscle and better handling, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.  And, I’ll bet Harley sells the initial run of 750 like hotcakes.  They seem excited over at HDForums, anyway.

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.