Harley-Davidson XR 1200 Prototype
A new Harley-Davidson prototype is making its UK debut at the NEC Bike Show and, once you’ve seen it, Harley-Davidson wants you to visit its website and tell them exactly what you think. If the reception is good, this new high performance Harley could make it into production and be in dealerships as early as next year
In an unprecedented signal of its commitment and possible direction in Europe, Harley-Davidson has chosen Europe – not the USA – for the world premiere of its new, high performance XR 1200 Prototype motorcycle.
First seen at Intermot in Cologne earlier this month, the UK showing at the NEC is to allow Harley-Davidson to gauge media and public reaction to a new kind of Harley-Davidson – one with an emphasis on performance, handling and sporting style.
The development goals for the XR 1200 Prototype were clear: to make Harley-Davidson’s most powerful regular production, European specification, air-cooled V-Twin engine; give excellent handling, suspension and braking, all fine-tuned for European roads; and carry the styling inspired by the Motor Company’s legendary XR 750 dirt track race bike.
The racing heritage is apparent from the early prototypes and features include:*
1200cc high performance powertrain finished in as-cast silver
Specially developed sports tuned Showa® suspension including 43mm inverted front forks
High performance Nissin® brakes
Downdraft fuel injection and electronically controlled active air intake
Specially developed Dunlop® Qualifier tyres (front 120/70ZR18; rear 180/55ZR17)
XR 750-inspired styling and livery
Unique lightweight cast wheels with dirt track-inspired design
Ergonomics designed around the average height European customer
With around 85-90hp expected from the 1200cc, downdraft fuel injected engine, coupled with a generous lean angle, the XR 1200 Prototype could certainly become the best handling Harley-Davidson regular production machine ever seen.
Reflecting the growing importance of the European market, the XR 1200 Prototype is the result of a close collaboration between the Motor Company’s Milwaukee-based product development team and Harley-Davidson’s Product Planning Europe (PPE) team – those responsible for the currently sold-out VRSCDX Night Rod Special.
Harley-Davidson’s UK marketing director, Allan Brownridge, commented:
“We are going through an exciting growth period across Europe and we are sure that the XR1200, in much the same way that the V-Rod motorcycles did, will appeal to new customers, including younger riders currently riding sports motorcycles.”
Enforcing the racing heritage behind the XR 1200, Brownridge added:
“Since 1970 Harley-Davidson has won a record 26 Flat Track championship titles with the legendary XR 750. The similarities with the XR 1200 Prototype are plain to see and its DNA can be traced straight back to the XR 750 race bike, although we did decide that adding a front brake would be sensible!”
The XR 1200 certainly looks a purposeful package and, if you want the chance to experience this unique high performance Harley-Davidson, log onto www.harley-davidson.co.uk and take part in the XR 1200 feature survey.
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