Inspired by the all-conquering XR650 dirttrack racer, the new Harley XR1200 Sportster variation was displayed at the Intermot show and could be produced within the year. By Art Friedman.
At the Intermot Show in Cologne, Germany, Harley-Davidson displayed this prototype XR1200 variation of the Sportster 1200 motorcycle. Styled like the XR750 dirttrack racer, the XR display bike features high-performance Showa suspension and Nissin brakes. In short, it’s intended to be the Sportster that emphasizes sport.
The bike was showed to test the reaction of show attendees, and if it sees a positive reaction, Harley says the motorcycle will go into production, probably within the year.
Styling cues from the 750 racer include the solo-style seat with its tailsection (which actually includes a passenger pad atop it), the flat-silver finish on the engine and triple clamps, the fuel tank shape and graphics, the blacked-out inverted Showa fork with the headlight tucked into it and an abbreviated fender, special lightweight blacked-out cast wheels, and an exhaust system that mimics the race pipe with its huge single muffler, although the exhaust system on the street XR seems to have two mufflers. The wheels wear specially developed Dunlop Qualifier tires, a 120/70ZR18 in front and a 180/55ZR17 on the rear. They are stopped by three Nissin four-piston-caliper disc brakes.
Harley’s traditional air cleaner is absent from the right side of the engine, and the airbox appears to be tucked up under the fuel tank. That may have been done to accommodate the down-draft fuel injection that the bike uses. Harley offered no information on what internal changes, if any, have been made to the 1200 Sportster engine, but says the horsepower target is 85 to 90.
This is not the first time that Harley has conceived of a street machine inspired by the hugely successful XR750 racer. Back in the 1980s, it produced the XR1000, which had an XR-style top end on Sportster cases, though the overall styling of that motorcycle was less like the racebike’s. That limited-production motorcycle was one of Harley’s rare flops, and they languished in showrooms.
However, about 15 minutes after the last one was sold, they suddenly became collectibles and prices soared. Although Harley-Davidson has said that this bike is aimed primarily at the European market, it’s likely that, if produced, the XR1200 will also be sold in other markets, including the United States.
The XR 1200 prototype places an emphasis on performance and handling with styling inspired by the Motor Company’s legendary XR 750 dirt track racer.
The Sportster XR 1200 Prototype features:
XR 750-inspired styling
1200cc air-cooled V-Twin with downdraft fuel injection (85-90 HP target)
Specially tuned Showa suspension with 43mm inverted front forks
High performance four-piston caliper Nissin brakes
Unique lightweight cast wheels with dirt track-inspired design
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