Harley-Davidson XR1200

Harley_XR1200By Kevin Ash
Pictures: Double Red

Harley-Davidson has some explaining to do back home. The Milwaukee factory might not be known for its race track prowess here in Europe, but in the States where dirt track racing is a major sport, Harley is utterly dominant.

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Indeed, its XR750 is arguably the most successful racing bike of any type in history, clocking up many more wins than any other since its introduction in 1970, although the rules have been regularly tweaked to help the home team. In fact the first model was a stopgap, based on the Sportster road bike with iron cylinders, but in 1972 the alloy engine version appeared, and even today it still makes up most of the grid of an American dirt track race (click here for a full, illustrated XR750 history).

 Harley_XR1200_02Click on image for gallery
This iconic machine was the inspiration for Harley-Davidson’s XR1200 road bike. And since its introduction in 2008 for at least a year, the 1200 is only available in Europe, which has made some Americans quite scarily angry, and they have guns so make sure you sympathise... This isn’t difficult as the XR1200 is a fine motorcycle: the reason we’re getting it exclusively is because this is the vehicle with which Harley is ramping up its assault on Europe, a move started several years ago but which has taken on a new urgency since the stagnation of sales in the U.S. So although the bike is based on the gentle Sportster 1200, it has significantly more power and is designed to handle European roads at European speeds. Sales are expected to big enough here to stretch production capabilities, so America just has to wait.

What translates especially well is the XR’s aching cool, right down to the riding position. Even if you have no intention ever of buying or riding one of these bikes, try this: find one in a dealer’s showroom, swing a leg over it and reach out for the handlebars. They’re fairly wide, fairly low, fairly close to you, and they’re angled just so, and before you’ve even touched the switchgear you feel deeply, irretrievably cool – I’m convinced Harley has nonchalant assuredness defined quantitatively on its computers.

XR12_21The rest of the look does these sensations no harm at all, from the twin, right-side pipes to the classic Harley racing orange paint (although the bike looks calmer and more sophisticated in the black or matt silver alternatives), but the visual core is that 45-degree V-twin engine, complete with Fifties’ style ‘Sportster’ logo cast into the covers. Harley knows all this very well, which is why the engineers were told to lose the airbox which obscures the right side of all other Harleys’ engines, a task they used to advantage by endowing the bike with a downdraft intake system to move the airbox into the fuel tank space. So on the XR1200 you see the full profile of that famous air-cooled, pushrod twin.

This also helps enhance power, up to 90bhp at a revvy (for a Harley) 7000rpm, around 20bhp more than a 1200 Sportster, and despite the bike’s hefty quarter of a ton dry weight, that’s sufficient to make it feel willing on the road. It’s not sports bike fast of course, nor indeed Buell 1125CR fast, but it’s not obstructively slow like a Sportster would be pitched into this category, and that will do fine as potential buyers will want the bike to feel good rather than be outright rapid. Crucially the motor has an air of urgency about it, and in addition sounds great while shuddering Harley-style through the bike with endearing low frequency vibes. The meat of its output comes in the 4-5000rpm zone, after which it starts to feel strained, but that’s fine for most road riding. The fuelling is perfect aside from a rare cough as the twistgrip’s turned suddenly from fully closed, usually as you start to exit a corner, but it’s not noticed much.

Harley_XR1200_04The chassis is based on a 1200 Sportster’s but like the motor has been reworked to tempt Europeans, with longer travel suspension, quicker (if not exactly quick) steering and twin front disc brakes that provide reasonable power. The result is a machine which steers beautifully at low speeds, perfect for hairpins and tight turns with its lazy confidence, and which works well when the pace gets hotter, remaining neutral and plenty accurate enough. Ground clearance is the best of any Harley, as it would have to be bring in more European customers, although the footrests do touch down eventually, and on the right side next to ground out is the solid exhaust system, which if you were pushing too hard might just lift a wheel. So don’t.

The weak spot is the suspension, which is underdamped, though not fatally. The brakes are limited not by their own power but the forks losing control of the wheel on uneven surfaces, while rougher roads get the bike bouncing too much, and the ride quality is not as good as a bike of this mass ought to have, instead being choppy. I like the XR enough myself that I’d simply budget to improve or replace the forks and rear shock, but they ought to be better from the factory – Showa equipment is used and it’s top quality, so it’s just Harley’s damping specifications which don’t work properly.

I worry too about the bike’s durability. Harley and subsidiary Buell have a history of patchiness in this respect, and sure enough the exhaust end caps on the brand new test XRs were staining brown in the wet conditions, as were various bolt heads. The detailing doesn’t help, with some of the fasteners looking agricultural, and for example the Allen bolts securing the handlebar clamp were filling with water when it rained – other companies plug them with simple plastic caps or use different types of bolt. On the left side, the clutch cable looks both exposed and ugly, routed around and below the engine, while you get no span adjustability on the levers, and the oil cooler is vulnerable and not pretty hung out on the left frame downtube.

XR12_12Many European riders will be frustrated by the bike’s three gallon (3.6 US gallons, 13.6 litres) tank capacity too, inadequate for covering serious distances regularly, which in turn will render the accessory luggage and touring screen redundant. In fairly hard use the fuel warning lights up with only half a gallon left after just 80 miles (130km), although I suspect most riders will just about get into three figures. That’s still not enough though, I’d love to tour on this bike as it’s sufficiently comfortable and the engine is so torquey at low revs, but this restriction on range would stop me.

It’s not perfect then, but there are plenty of riders who will love it regardless, and that includes me. Rationally I shouldn’t, but bikes aren’t about cold and clinical decisions, as far as I’m concerned it looks fabulous, sounds and feels great, and if Harley’s Bill Davidson once said of the V-Rod that it was the bike for people who loved the name but didn’t like the bikes, he really should have been talking about the XR1200. Flawed perhaps, but still a diamond.

£7,600 on the road.
Contact: Harley-Davidson UK Ltd, 0870 904 1450
www.harley-davidson.com

Specifications

Navy Boy
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Hi Kev

Having read your report I've a couple of queries. Firstly how would you rate this bike in relation to say the 1100 Monster, Speed Triple, CB1000R and BMW R1200R? My wife rides a Harley Sportster and I'd love to join the HD herd however there's not much in their range, apart from this, that really gets my juices going (Oh, I do rather like the Road King too but that's going to have to wait a bit longer).

Is this really a Harley that you can enjoy the twisties on too?

kevash
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For me the main appeal of this bike is its style, charm, feel, even the heritage - in raw terms it doesn't handle like the bikes you mention, though it doesn't handle badly either. The main thing is it's heavy, so that takes some punch out of the motor, slows the steering and so on. As always, it depends on your priorities - the Speed Triple is very fast and handles brilliantly, ditto the Honda, the BMW is not so quick but the engine still feels good and it's fun (yes, even a BMW...).
If you like really chucking a bike around the Harley won't do it, but it does swing through corners satisfyingly.
Personally I'd have the Monster as I just like 'em, no particular reason, and it's light and does handle very well. But I'd be happy with the Harley too!
Blimey, talk about prevaricating... But for a month Harley is doing a major test ride programme, you should get along to a dealer and book a go on one:
www.harley-davidson.com
Go to the Judgement Days bit and you can book test rides on line.

centurysup
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I took a "Judgement Day" ride on the XR1200 yesterday and quite enjoyed the experience. It didn't half make my 998 feel tiny when I rode it back from the dealer.

kevash
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Big ol' beast compared with the 998! Weighs about a third more too. But I reckon Harley will do themselves a lot of favours with this Judgement Day thing... just as long as no one rides the Cross Bones. I've had that on test and I'm still hurting from a long ride (okay, 120 miles...) last week!

Dodzi
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Its surprising just how good the Harley work in the real world. I got a Fat Bob (I've had everything from a 955i to a Z1000 - the last 6 years with a GSX1400) and my wife picked up an 883L last year. We had some Austrian friends travel over and their hearts sank when the got off the ferry and saw what we were riding. One week later and taking them back to the ferry they all said the Harley's had surprised them a great deal.
I think the judgement days promotion is going to convert alot of old hands like myself. You get just as much fun from riding but 30-40 mph less than on one of the big jap fours! B)

Navy Boy
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I'm planning on taking one of these for a test ride in the next few days. Has anyone on here bought one of these in the last year or two? If so what are there experiences with them?

Coming from having ridden an 1100 Evo Monster yesterday this is going to be an interesting week bike-wise!

Navy Boy
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I've just come back from having spent an hour or so on an XR1200X earlier today. I must say that it's the first H-D that I've ridden which didn't need you constantly making allowances in your head whilst riding it all the time. A lovely sounding motor (Even with the standard pipes on it) as well as a good riding position mean that I really enjoyed it.

My wife summed it up nicely when she described it as a mix between a Sportster and a Buell Lightening. I'll be seeing what they'll give me for my Monster on it next week. Here comes H-D ownership (Maybe)...

Sir Sidney Roug...
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I have a 2009 version and love it - Kevs right about the suspenders its a harsh back end on the early ones but improved on the X model you tried - the engine is torquey and responsive - comfort wise we have the seat pad on the back and my wife feels a lot safer on it than my Busa - you can ride slow and have fun- just changed my tyres from the US Dunlops which has made a lot of difference - It is a little agricultural but it has character Harley dudes dont know what to make of it but it was cheap ( i chopped a sportster) and it came with 4 into 1 which sounds mint when you blast past cars !

shuggiemac
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Sir Sidney - your Harley has a 4 into 1? Is this some kind of experimental motor that you have stumbled accross or have they welded two standard Harley motors together in your bike?

Navy Boy
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Mmm yes. I was wondering about that one too Shuggie! Those crazy boys and girls at Harley are up to all sorts nowadays...

Sir Sidney Roug...
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Slip of the vernacular - would be interesting a 4 cylinder Harley !! cant even say i got confused with me Busa as that has a 4 into 2

Navy Boy
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Well chaps, I've gone and done it! I pick it up next Tue/Wed. 'Lucky' (I name all my bikes - Does that make me a bit odd I wonder?) is in the matt black and will replce the the Monster that I've had a good 12 months with.

Currently the only real thing missing is a small screen however I'm open to suggestions as to how to improve the machine a bit from any of you knowledgable types out there.

I'm really quite excited and I'm not entirely sure why!

shuggiemac
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Good on you sir and many happy miles ahead. I am like you in as much as this is the one Harley that has really caught my eye in any way at all. I can understand why you have taken the plunge and I'll be keen interested to hear how you get on with it after the Monster.

zzrwood
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Way to go, Navy Boy! Hope it turns out to be very "Lucky" to you indeed.

Got to say, that is the first bike in a long time from HD that has me drooling and dreaming of being a lot younger!

Not quite sure why you posted on this Ducati site though... ;-)

Cheers from Oz

Sir Sidney Roug...
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Get in there - get the tyres run in and pick the bendiest road you can find and feel the grin appear - you need to get a pipe - V&H , Remus two brothers all make a decent din to remind motorists where you are -

look up the XRownersgroup.com website as they can provide good information on mods and any probs - its a mix of Yanks and Brits who get on fine !!! see you over

Sorry for the plug off site Kev

SSRD

Navy Boy
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Thanks chaps - I'll be checking out the owners group site. Alas I'm due off back to sea again late next week so the miles will have to wait a bit. The wait to get back will be even longer than normal!

I'll be sure to let you know how I get on once I get out there though

Navy Boy
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Well I'm going to be picking it up this afternoon. I'm rather excited and the weather looks as though it'll hold out.

Plans for it when I get back are an H-D screen as well as some H-D heated grips though they can both wait a little while.

I'll write some more once I've put a few miles on to it.

Wish me luck!

kevash
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Good luck! Always a great buzz picking up a brand new bike, enjoy it!

chipper
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Good luck with the new bike Navy Boy.
I owned an XR 1200 last year and found it great fun. The only snag was the fuel range but it was economical enough 40+ mpg.

The harley fly screen will help keep the windblast off a bit but is a bit pricey. I bought the mra screen not as sexy but for a quarter of the price I could wear that.

I did not go for the HD heated grips as they wanted £350 + vat so I went to the victory dealer and got some heat demons fitted and they were brilliant . You could boil a kettle with them,rode through the winter with them and cost £220 all in. Aesthetically the heat demons were better looking than the HD.

You will have great fun on the XR and the 1200 engine is to me the best harley engine.

By the wayI have had the Sprint over a month now and I am loving it. I can`t believe I overlooked the sprint.It is a very well sorted bike and does an awful lot in a very understated way. Mr Ash wrote about rediscovering older models of bikes today in MCN and it is suprising how easy it is to overlook something very good just because the packaging is not up to date.

Wish you all the best with the XR, I did not have any problems with mine.

Chipper

Navy Boy
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Chaps

The first 70 miles were good fun yesterday and I had gorgeous weather for it too.

Thus far I'm limited to 3500-4000 Rpm but the handling is as good as I remember it. Plus it passes the car park test - That is plenty of people are interested in it!

I'm now back to sea but I'll report more in a few weeks time when I'm back in the saddle.

silvercub
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Navy Boy, check out this link of how to stay in the saddle!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/7350684/US-daredevil-breaks-motorcycle-j...

Enjoy!

Navy Boy
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Thus far most of the comments/questions I've had about the XR have centered around the fact that it doesn't look like a 'Normal' Harley.

When I've tried to explain matters comaprisons to Moto Guzzi Grisos and even Yamaha XJR 1300s come to mind. just where does the XR1200 fit in?

Kev - Have you thought about doing a test of what I'd describe as 'Traditional Roadsters' such as the bikes mentioned above? Are there any plans to do so? Pre-requisites would simply be that it has to be naked (Or almost), have a traditional appeal/style and not neccessarily be cutting edge in terms of weight and/or power. I think it'd make for a fascinating test.

Sir Sidney Roug...
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I have come up against the same problem think Tuono without the need ( or possibility) to go ballistically fast - the normal HD dudes just dont get the XR so its no good talking to one Ground clearance , acceleration , general misbehaviour it is unique !! Just handles a treat and with a pipe sounds the dog bollox and most of all motorcycling fun at its best - truly the lower risk on ones license is a pleasure

kevash
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Navy Boy wrote:
Kev - Have you thought about doing a test of what I'd describe as 'Traditional Roadsters' such as the bikes mentioned above? Are there any plans to do so?

As it's just me running this site I simply don't have the facilities to do group tests, much as I'd love to. I'm a big fan of the Guzzi Griso and I like the XR1200 a lot too... In fact it sounds like a difficult test to set criteria for as the appeal of these bikes is very subjective so I'm curious, what would you be looking for aside from simply liking one of the bikes because it's a Moto Guzzi, or Yamaha or whatever? Feel is important, and low rev torque I think, but eben then, the torquiest wouldn't necessarily be the best.

shuggiemac
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Sir Sidney - that is an interesting point that you raise about the normal HD dudes.

To make things quite clear I like all bikes and don't give a tom tit what genre, nationality etc it is. This includes Harley Davidson machines BUT in saying that there are precious few of them that have ever grabbed my attention in the serious, "lets consider putting this on the potential purchase list". The XR1200 is the exception. I have stated on this site previously my admiration for the machine.

At the time of its launch in Europe I sent details to my friends in the USA and they were kind of miffed that we were getting it and they were not. I don't know if that is still the case or not but that was their reaction. That admittedly was not a scientific poll, as there were only two guys I spoke to about it. H-D obviously thought that by launching it in Europe first there was more of a willing market for the machine but it is interesting to hear that the current Harley fans that you mention are also not 'getting it'.

It is, of course, a machine aimed at getting new people into the brand and I think it will succeed. In your experience however are the traditional H-D guys unaccepting of it, or as you state, they just don't get it? As a parallel reference I can rememeber when I bought my first big bike - a 1981 Triumph T140ES way back in 1983 the so called died in the wool Triumph guys did not accept it as a 'real' Triumph as it has a unit engine. All sounded like bollocks to me as it was still a Meriden produced machine but that was their stance. Is there some similar kind of feeling towards the XR?

Navy Boy
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Chaps

@Kev - That's a fair point Kev. Perhaps a topic for future MCN columns perhaps? Something like the MCN article this last week about 'Forgotten' machines which I could really relate to.

@Shuggie - I'd see this from the other point of view. That is that non H-D riders are far more interested in it than any other H-D. I'd say that this is the flip side of the more traditional H-D riders not 'Getting' it.

shuggiemac
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@Navy Boy - yes I also tend to think that is the way from the comments. I would be interested to learn what traditional, long term, hard-core Harley people think of the machine.

There is of course no one answer as people are all different. Apart from in regards to the DN-01. Thus there will be some who like it and others who may not but I wonder of there are some who actually actively think it is some kind of bad thing, or does having the H-D name behind it means that it is accepted by all on at least some level?

Navy Boy
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Right chaps, a quick update.

I've now managed some 520 miles on mine and it's getting better all the time. Thus far fuel consumption has varied between 10-and-a-bit miles per liter through to 12 miles per liter (45-54 Mpg).

The handling is good fun and the vibes when sat at traffic lights are amusing!

I'm going to get the Harley Sports screen fitted at the first service (Done at 1000 miles or thereabouts) which is easy to remove and doesn't use any permanent fittings.

So far so good as they say!

alanp
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I also like the look of it and its ability to corner a whole lot better than your average Harley BUT, there are 17 on ebay at the moment which makes me wonder whether they appear better than they are and demand is low'ish affecting resale value?

Navy Boy
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Alan

I'm not sure what the reason is for the number of them on e-bay. They are a very real step away from the norm for many H-D diehards who are a notoriosly conservative bunch.

Personally this is the first H-D I've ridden where the promise of the engine is matched by the rest of the bike.

Plus I think it looks fab!

Navy Boy
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Hello Chaps

A quick update now that the XR has some 1500 miles on it. With his little H-D screen fitted he's racking up some miles in preparation for our Germany trip next month.

Thus far fuel consumption ranges between 49-58 Mpg and I do seem to be getting better fuel figures using Shell V-Power and/or BP Ultimate fuel.

The question now is what luggage system to get? Ventura do a nice looking system. Anyone have any experience/suggestions on this one?

garandman
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Hello from "Cruiserland' [USA].

I believe the reason the XR1200 introduction was delayed in the US was that a company called Storz Performance had the Trademark in the US. They sold a line of products that dressed a Sportster into XR750-style clothing. HD successfully purchased the rights in June 2008.

The bike was introduced to the US in 09 and is not something that appeals to the traditional big twin purchaser in the US. Sportster riders were far more interested in general.

Sales have been extremely modest and resale values dropped hard and fast, with 09's (which have an even more rudimentary suspension than than the X models sold in Europe and now the US) selling for as little as US$6,500 in private sales, or less than half the purchase price. The suspension upgrade kit is about $1,500 so most buyers are figuring that in.

For good or bad, these bikes are "butt jewelry" here for the most part, despite a pro racing series called "AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series." Despite HD's formidable market presence, it gets almost no TV coverage and certainly doesn't pull in the Harley Faithful - they're off getting skull tattoos or something....

Navy Boy
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Mmm...

A shame really.

shuggiemac
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Garandman, thanks for the insight from across the pond. I am not all that surprised to learn of the plight of the XR1200 in it's home land. I have no doubt at all as to the accuracy of your statement regarding the situation with Storz. I however would not be at all surprised to learn that Harley also believed all along what we have stated previously that this machine was aimed right from the beginning at the non US market.

I lived in the USA for a few years and am very much a fan of the country and it's people. As a biker though it was interesting to see how polarised the so called community was along the lines of H-D and basically everything else. This was nearly twenty years ago and it is absolute testament to their marketing and with admiration that I see how the company has maintained it's position.

I think it is a bit of a shame that the XR has not been accepted more in N America however, as it definitely is a very good attempt at a machine to cross over genres. I do know that, in spite of the polarisation, there is a big section of motorcyclists over there who do like European and Japanese machines but I guess it has failed to make an impression on them, when perhaps one would have thought the "made in USA" badge may have won more of them over.

I am wondering if whilst Harley, as a whole, has survived over the years, very much on the back of it's excellent marketing the XR1200 has suffered because of it?

Sir Sidney Roug...
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Shuggiemac - Apologies i missed your comment in May ( working too hard)

"Is there some similar kind of feeling towards the XR?"

I remember that Triumph , the wheel were starting to come off at Meriden at the time - there were so many disallusioned Triumph owners from the past could nt see the light in Alloy wheels , electronics etc - just living in the past.

For the XR - there is a dedicated band of UK fans including me looking for something different - just watched todays racing on the TV from Oulton park - obviously not the handiest on a race track - reminds me of the first superbike races with Honda VF 750s, Kawaski GPZ etc with Wayne Rainey et al - but it was exciting and those guys are brave with an XR weighing at 240kg . So for UK the marketing guys are making an effort but i have seen some comments from the States that there will be no more development on the XR. Prices here are very reasonable for a lot of bike.

Last weekend i went to the festival of a 1000 bikes at Mallory - mate of mine came up from the South on his Laverda Jota which i deperately wanted a ride on so we swapped over he loved it and i loved the sound of his Laverda ( i havent ridden one for 30 years) - the ride was a different matter - bit stiff and long - could have been his tyre pressures. 2 guys i have lent my XR to have since bought one - saw no other XRs at the event which is always nice to feel unique ( for the right reasons hopefully)

the key is its different - thats what the dudes cant handle some would nt even recognise one - XR riders call the normal HDs baggers !! it handles, has good brakes, vibrates less than a monkeystrada at 80 - is not too fast for my license and i can pick the different rides for my Busa.It has a few weaknesses Mark 1 shocks are dire as mentioned before and the plastic fuel tank cover are prone to bulging in the heat but i can live with that for the torque out of tight bends and great stability - Whitham said today how much he enjoyed his one that he had for a year i guess as part of a magazine test fleet

tried to post a picture of the three Orange beauties XR . Jota and Busa but its seems to be beyond my intelligence

regards

SSRD

shuggiemac
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Sir Stanley - no apologies required and thanks for the message.

It will be a shame if Harley do not put future effort into the XR. It will also be a pretty poor show of faith in the machine and the market. My impression if they give up is that they will resign themselves to be basically a one horse company. OK that horse works wonderfully well for them and I am in no way knocking their bikes. On the other hand if they don't try to reach out to new people and stay the course in doing so then they will have no one to blame but themselves if it all fall apart. Ducati are keeping their core traditional style of machines alive and are churning out others that are completely different in the shape of the Diavel and Multistrada. They do this very well and with great success. I can not believe it to be beyond the capability of H-D to make a fist of it too.

I saw the XR racing from Mallory on the box yesterday and was really pleased to see an old acquaintance from back home - Torquil Patterson doing pretty well. There is definitely single series racing for this bike happening over here on the continent too. In my time in the USA back in the late 80's early 90's there was Sportster racing going on over there but from memory even then it did not get much attention from the media or public. This in a country where I once switched on the TV and found the St Louis area under 10's girl football (soccer) game being screened. I kid you not.

I suppose it could be argued that there has not been huge longevity or success in any single make series racing, or am I wrong in that?

I am with you regarding the JOTA. In my early biking days a couple of my friends had them and I lusted after the big triple but never quite managed to get there. One of the very first bikes I ever rode, illegally at that, was a 1200 Mirage.

Happy memories and I can see why the XR appeals to you and indeed me too.

Navy Boy
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The thing is that traditional H-D riders (You know, the ones who see the V-Rod's water cooling as making it totally unacceptable) seem to think the XR isn't quite right. The irony is that it uses an engine that is older in design that all the current Tourer range...

It will indeed be a big shame if H-D pull the plug on developing the XR any further. This really is a bike that they can use to win over non H-D riders (Like me!) and it deserves to be kept in their range for that reason alone.

By the way, I've now managed to scrape both pegs down - Took some doing mind! When was the last time someone could say that about an H-D?!

Sir Sidney Roug...
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Navy boy on an XR thats a real acheivement cos them pegs are high - on any bagger its a common occurence - I suppose the only thing that will change their minds is volume and margin - at the mo thats got to come out of the States cos our Euros and pounds are being supported by the Governments - but theres a healthy website of Europeans and Americans i partake in and they love them to bits

SSRD

unconventional rebel
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Kev, how do you think this bike compares with the Guzzi Vintage? I think it would be a reasonable comparison as both are aimed at those wanting a modern but 'old school cool' bike, different, capable on the road but full of character?

Navy Boy
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Well I'm now over the 2000 mile mark and I'm still enjoying the XR. As always with such things I'm getting a better idea as what I do and don't like. Here are some of my thoughts in point form:

Likes

1. The looks - Everytime I come back to the bike parked up it strikes me just how 'Right' the thing looks. Just enough badging and so on to make the point (The 'Sportster' writing on the engine casing is a good example of this) without being OTT in any way.

2. The sound - Even though I'm still on the standard pipe/s the induction noise is something that makes me inwardly smile. Whilst I'd like to liberate a bit more sound the price (See below in Dislikes) puts me off.

3. The image - No really this is a Harley for people who don't 'Do' Harleys. Everyone says the same sort of thing when they see it. That is something along the lines of 'Thats's not what I had in mind when you said you'd sold out and bought yourself a Harley'. Plus I'm making a point of proving that H-D riders are capable of waving to others they see on the roads!

Dislikes

1. The cost of bits - As the exhaust is all one piece one has to buy a whole new exhaust system if you are to liberate some more sound/power. At the thick end of £1000 that's something that's going to have to wait. A long time...

2. The engine - Whilst it's probably the bike's best feature, it's also the worst. Get it up above 4k revs and it'll tell you all about it. It may be rated at 90 Bhp but those horses aren't too keen on making themselves felt as you have to rev it to get at them. It's far better then to sit back and let the lovely torque between 2500-4000 Rpm do all the work.

3. Suspension/Ride - It may well have the Big Piston folks and Showa piggyback shocks but the ride is unsettled (Although well controlled). I've tried changing a couple of bits but some suggested settings such as what Triumph give you in their handbooks would be a big help.

Apart from that I'm pretty chuffed. Fuel consumption is around the 11-12.5 miles per litre mark (49-56.5 Mpg) depending on the riding and the H-D screen, whilst small, is effective.

All in all I'd say to anyone tempted at all to take one for as long a test ride as you can. You may be surprised.

Is it as good a bike as the Monster S2R I traded for it? No not really. At least not in any objective or measurable sense but it is different and it does feel good. Reasons to make any of us want to ride the bike then are very much in supply and that, for me at least, is what counts.

Graeme
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Joined: 01/03/2010

I've just been taking a look at the Zard website, as I saw this badboy for the XR1200.

Go on Navyboy, you know you want one. :)

shuggiemac
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Joined: 23/11/2008

I want one and I don't have an XR ! Nice

Sir Sidney Roug...
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Joined: 20/03/2011

Deep joy hearing some of these comments - it isnt perfect but if you can live with it ,it will give you lots of pleasure - i have two small HD panniers on mine which i can put my lunch in , my computer , work clothes etc i use it for shopping - its a great excuse to go the long way into town - just parking up for the festival of 1000 bikes two people came across and asked me what i thought of it - it does look good !

Navy boy just keep watching ebay for a set of pipes -

Navy Boy
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Joined: 12/02/2009

Hi All

Having just racked up a few hundred miles on my XR again since returning to the UK last week I can confirm that I'm still smitten with it!

Bad news though - It appears that H-D have dropped it from their 2013 range... I'm not sure why and to be honest I believe that it's a mistake as there's now very little in their range which will tempt riders from other brands as the XR did me and a number of others.