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HD Bringing XR1200 Sportster to US


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You saw it here first . .

 

Becuase I write a motorcycle blog (www.midliferider.com) I got an email from a colleague at Harley Davidson. Depending on when you read this, it's actually breaking news (and the photos are not on the HD website).

 

 

I wanted to let you in on the excitement at Harley-Davidson regarding the release of the XR1200 in the U.S.! Inspired by the legendary XR750, the XR1200 is the newest member of the Sportster family, and comes to the U.S. following its Europe-only release back in April.

 

3061758049_d9fd16867a.jpg

 

As you may know, the XR750 was the most dominating American dirt track racing motorcycle of all-time, earning the Number One plate in an unprecedented 26 AMA flat track seasons. In fact, as a tribute to the XR750, there is a pre-sale of only 750 XR1200 models from 12/1 – 12/15.

 

3061758019_7870406dde.jpg

 

This bike has gotten sensational reviews in the envious US press as well as "over there." After much bitching and moaning, it's coming home, though I imagine it will be a tall ask to actually park one in your garage.

 

 

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I got a postcard in the mail yesterday from HD announcing preorders will be taken soon. BTW, I am not an HD owner, so they must have gotten my name from somewhere else.

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As if there was ever any doubt. All that "not available in the U.S." crapola was just marketing. It was ALWAYS going to be available here.

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One tall order coming up. I received THE call from my local dealer today and I'm in! One orange and black XR1200 signed by Scotty Parker and Kenny Coolbeth should be in my garage sometime after Dec. 15th. Yeeehaww!!!

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Hmmm...

 

HD gonna try this again?

 

I remember the failed attempt at the XR1000 in the mid 80's.

 

None of the hardcore HD riders liked it.

 

It wasn't a cruiser. :dopeslap:

 

MB>

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You're right, none of the typical HD riders will really like this bike. It has good brakes, decent suspension and probably handles pretty well. Three strikes against it right there.

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FYI... Pre-orders for the XR began last Friday (11/21) and will end on 12/15 or until all 750 are presold - whichever comes first. These first 750 will only be available in Mirage Orange Pearl and will not equipped with the alarm system (no big loss there). Shipments to dealers will begin "the last part of January".

 

It's "official" US debut will be at the Dec. 5th IMS.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

You saw it here first . .

 

Becuase I write a motorcycle blog (www.midliferider.com) I got an email from a colleague at Harley Davidson. Depending on when you read this, it's actually breaking news (and the photos are not on the HD website).

 

 

I hate to burst your bubble but BARF got a 5 day scoop on you.

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You saw it here first . .

 

Becuase I write a motorcycle blog (www.midliferider.com) I got an email from a colleague at Harley Davidson. Depending on when you read this, it's actually breaking news (and the photos are not on the HD website).

 

 

I hate to burst your bubble but BARF got a 5 day scoop on you.

 

Been on Old Fart's Battley website for a couple days as well.

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You're right, none of the typical HD riders will really like this bike. It has good brakes, decent suspension and probably handles pretty well. Three strikes against it right there.

 

Well let’s not get too hopeful....it has decent suspension, acceptable brakes and sporty handling for a sportster....compared to any number of bikes currently available it is still a boat anchor...for example the new Duck 1100 Monster….

 

Like it for what it is but don’t get carried away……

 

From Motorcyclist Nov,08.

 

hp:77.1@6750rpm

torque:67.9ft.lb@3750rpm

1/4 mile:12.28sec@107.8mph

top gear roll on:60-80mph:3.87sec

 

 

Also said to weigh well over 500 lbs........

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You're right, none of the typical HD riders will really like this bike. It has good brakes, decent suspension and probably handles pretty well. Three strikes against it right there.

 

One of the major reasons for buying Buell was so they could have a brand that wasn't a cruiser. The problem is not ever HD dealer is a Buell dealer, so a lot of people only see the HD cruiser lineup when they go into the show room, and of course the HD crowd simply shake their heads in disbelief when people want a Buell over the HDs in the showroom. Ironically, HD sales have been down and Buell sales have been up over the last couple of quarters. I think that speaks to why HD has chosen to bring this bike over to the US.

 

Personally, if I was to buy another bike this year, it would have to be a sporter bike like the Buell 1125R. Has a wonderful new watercooled engine and is blazingly fast.

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>>>>>>Ironically, HD sales have been down and Buell sales have been up over the last couple of quarters. I think that speaks to why HD has chosen to bring this bike over to the US.<<<<<

 

Well, nobody's sales are up right now - but it pays to remember that most of Buell's sales come from Europe, not from here. Harley of course, sells more over here. Different clientele entirely.

 

The cynic in me says yeah, Harley intended to bring the XR1200 here all along, and this was just marketing hype. Another part of me thinks maybe they learned a lesson from Cadillac.

 

A few years ago, when the first-gen Caddy CTS came out, they were advertising is as an American alternative to the 3-Series - a real driver's car. I passed by my local Caddy dealer at the time, who had outfitted one with whitewalls and a fabric roof. In one fell swoop, the clash between what the company was trying to do with product and the culture of its actual customers came to light. I published a small letter on this in Car & Driver.

 

Nobody doubts that HD is serious about picking up sales in Europe as part of its overall strategy. Methinks some at the MoCo had "genuine" concern that if the XR1200 came here, the "Bubba" customers would buy it, and promptly destroy it with fringe and chrome and drag pipes and the other usual BS. Once the sight of this got out to the customers the XR1200 was actually intended for, the culture clash would again make itself felt. The tent for some reason isn't big enough.

 

We just had this same conversation at my Sportster group. Seems every time HD tries to make something that's a touch more functional than usual (Sportster Sport, Dyna T-Sport, V-Rod - hell, even the XLCR of 1977-79) these products go nowhere. Why? Non-HD riders don't look at them because even if they do perform, they're still fast / handle well / stop well "for a Harley." Barely if ever are they objectively excellent. HD riders themselves don't look at them because they're devoid of the decorative factors that scream style over function - what they're used to, in other words.

 

So nobody from the outside looks at them, and nobody from the inside looks at them. And people think HD is in an enviable position, which it is in many ways. But in many other ways, such as an ever-aging demographic with a very serious case of myopia, it's not all roses either.....

 

-MKL

 

 

 

 

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After the initial surge of interest it will probably sell poorly -- just like the VRod. Traditionalists won't like it because it isn't a laid back cruiser (though at least it is aircooled which they will like.) I own a VRod (VRSCR Street Rod) which is similar in style and is much faster. Harley couldn't give them away, though it is arguably the fastest, finest handling bike they ever built.

 

Rob

2006 HD VRSCR

1999 BMW R1100RT

 

 

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In the Harley world even the Roadglide with it's frame mounted fairing is a bit of a step-child. It is the best handling Harley tourer with better aerodynamics and no wind induced wobble at speed. But for the "real" Harley enthusiast it has to be the Electraglide with the pre-historic batwing fairing.

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Deadboy, I was comparing those components to your average HD product not an 1198 for Christsakes. In comparison the brakes are good and the suspension is decent and it will handle well...for a boat anchor.

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CoarsegoldKid

Which begs the question. Why can't HD produce a bike that sport enthusiasts will want to ride? What is so hard about factory installed top quality shocks, wheels, brakes, tires, switch gear, frame, competitive horsepower/torque, and a smooth 6 speed transmission. Okay I did install aftermarket shocks on my RT. But gee an American 500+ pound sportporker. HD stare at the BMW R1200S for inspiration. Go back to the design room, design, build, ship and I'm sure you will sell them. I don't see may R1200S's come to think of it! Forget it!

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Which begs the question. Why can't HD produce a bike that sport enthusiasts will want to ride?

 

Or any American manufacturer for that matter? :P

 

MB>

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Deadboy, I was comparing those components to your average HD product not an 1198 for Christsakes. In comparison the brakes are good and the suspension is decent and it will handle well...for a boat anchor.

 

I know but it is just sad all the same.....hopefully the addition of the MV brand will bring some real sport to the HD lineup....I used to sell HD's and the various clones offered and their idea of performance is just so 1950's.....

 

The guys who want performance will look elsewhere and the traditionalists will pass on it as well....kind of a solution to a problem that never was. The Street Tracker supposedly being built by Mert Lawwill is more interesting, but clearly would cost a lot more....

 

http://www.factorypro.com/Prod_Pages/prodhd,Harley%20Davidson%20Streettracker%20Mert%20Lawwill.htm

 

 

 

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I agree, I would kill for the Lawwill tracker. Of course my SO would kill me for spending that much money.

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Harley's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Harley has one of the strongest, most identifiable brands on the planet. What other company gets its customers to tattoo its logo? But Harley is so closely identified with its target customer that all others are excluded. Sort of like Chevy trying to capture Bentley owners to use a not quite accurate analogy. That's why they created Buell. Unfortunately they shot themselves in the foot with the poor original reliability and some of the oddball styling.

 

Rob

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Anyone know the price for an original condition XR750? Probably a whole lot more than any BMW built that year.

 

Not starting an argument but I think the idea of the XR1200 is a good one. I wish I had funds and room for one.

 

Comment on Paul's observation about the Touring models... yes some like the Electra Glide and some like the Road Glide. I had one of each. The '09 models have cured the frame shake on all touring models. (Note: how long did it take for BMW to acknowledge the "surge" and fix it? or drive failure on LT's?) And Yes, my Road Glide had the shakes too. Reliable reports from friends suggest the current model Street/Road Glides are smoother and more vibration-free than BMW's at any speed.

 

The Motor Company (that's H-D speak for their mother ship) makes bikes they can sell in large volume. They are not in the business to push the envelope of motorcycling styling or performance except within their niche. And yes they do improve the breed... note the addition of ABS and Brembo, and electronic throttles etc. I think they are doing a pretty good job of it, all things considered.

 

BMW could learn a whole lot from them on things like relationship with owners, standing behind the product and dealer availability. Not to mention final drive design and comfort. Frankly BMW's model of aloofness and illusion of exclusivity is a little irritating and for me adds nothing to the experience.

 

I loved my six different Harleys and I liked the first two BMW's...love the RT though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BMW could learn a whole lot from them on things like relationship with owners, standing behind the product and dealer availability. Not to mention final drive design and comfort. Frankly BMW's model of aloofness and illusion of exclusivity is a little irritating and for me adds nothing to the experience.

 

 

I needed a good laugh before dinner....thanks....

 

Ask any twin-cam owner whose engine has imploded about HD standing behind their products....

 

Happy Turkey Day to all of you guys, enjoy the ride!!

 

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My 2007 Twin Cam blew its ECM at 20k miles. The front spark circuit up and died for no discernible reason. They replaced it immediately, no questions asked.

 

Pilgrim

 

BMW could learn a whole lot from them on things like relationship with owners, standing behind the product and dealer availability. Not to mention final drive design and comfort. Frankly BMW's model of aloofness and illusion of exclusivity is a little irritating and for me adds nothing to the experience.

 

 

I needed a good laugh before dinner....thanks....

 

Ask any twin-cam owner whose engine has imploded about HD standing behind their products....

 

Happy Turkey Day to all of you guys, enjoy the ride!!

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IMHO motorcycle manufacturers are light years behind auto manufacturers in building dependable vehicles and in providing support. Not that the auto guys are perfect but they have JD Power, Consumer Reports and other watchdog groups keeping the pressure on for them to maintain quality. No such focus from any of the motorcycle people, who think their customers will stick with them due to brand loyalty no matter how crappy their product quality and service is. My experience having owned numerous BMW autos is their service shines over their motorcycle brothers.

 

Rob

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Or any American manufacturer for that matter? :P

 

This could change with the AMA changes. Part of the whole sportbike sales equation is what brands are out there winning races. When BMW and HD/Buell can't get in the races other than their own, it makes it tough to sell their sport bikes to the racing crowd (the people most likely to buy sport bikes).

 

But as somebody else here has said, it's hard to sell the bike inside the HD crowd because it's not a cruiser, and it's hard to sell it outside because it's not THAT great, just great in comparison to other HD bikes.

 

Wayne

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That's why they created Buell. Unfortunately they shot themselves in the foot with the poor original reliability and some of the oddball styling.

 

A slight correction to this. They (HD) didn't create Buell. Erik Buell did. He did it despite HD's lack of initial help. It wasn't until later that they purchased some of the company, then even later purchased even more of the company. 2008 was the 25th anniversary of Buell and two early employees of Buell produced a wonderful coffee table book that provides the history through photos and words. I bought a copy and it has all sorts of wonderful photos of the "Buell factory" -- a barn in the early days. Worth getting if you're interested in the history of the company (and Erik Buell).

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Well I guess I wasn't clear in my previous post....a design flaw causes a problem (and is known to) and is fixed while still under warranty as it should be is all well and good (and the law), however the reason for the flaw still remains and now you have a motor that has had a fair bit of metal ran through it. Good luck with that....

 

BMW seems to me (based on what I have read here) to be willing to do the same for folks who have similar problems, it is after the warranty that has expired (both for HD and BMW) where I see the complaints. I have know a few HD owners who have had twin-cam related failures after the warranty expired and they were out of luck....so in fact they both seem to have the same customer service model....just that the average twin cam needs 20-30K to fail (if it is going to) and the average HD doesn’t see that type of mileage nearly as soon as the average BMW....

 

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russell_bynum

 

Like it for what it is but don’t get carried away……

 

It's okay to get carried away by any bike you like. :thumbsup:

 

Pilgrim

 

+1

 

This bike makes my sticker peck up.

 

I don't buy new bikes, and I'm not in the market to dump my Tuono anyway, but I'd definitely like a test ride on this bike. I can't see it competing directly with the Tuono/Speed Triple/S4RS/etc but I could see it giving a Thruxton (another bike that makes me weak in the knees) and similar decent-handling nakeds a run for its money.

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russell_bynum
Got my XR in today and posted an uncrating thread here.

 

Sweet!!! I'm looking forward to hearing more!!!

 

Here's my first impressions report.

 

 

Great writeup.

 

It's amazing what a difference a small fairing makes. My Tuono has a microscopic fairing compared to an RT. But it's got something. When I rode Sam's Speed Triple, which has nada up front, it felt like I was going 50mph faster than I actually was. I can run 80mph all day long on my Tuono with no problem at all....no way I could do that on the S3.

 

As for the bike dancing at speed....obviously I haven't ridden the XR, but on other nakeds I've ridden, it is really important to the the Master Yoda Riding Position and keep your upper body loose. If you're too upright and rigid, the turbulence hitting you goes right in to the bars and that makes the bike unstable. You might be able to play with different riding positions and find something that works well for you.

 

What do you think about the suspension? The magazine review I read was for the Euro version, which had non-adjustable forks and only preload adjustability on the twin rear shocks (If I remember correctly). Is that adequate, or will you be looking for some good aftermarket bits to improve that part?

 

 

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Thank you for a very objective report. I get the impression that everything except "looking badass" a R1200R and many other bikes would do better.

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As for the bike dancing at speed....obviously I haven't ridden the XR, but on other nakeds I've ridden, it is really important to the the Master Yoda Riding Position and keep your upper body loose. If you're too upright and rigid, the turbulence hitting you goes right in to the bars and that makes the bike unstable. You might be able to play with different riding positions and find something that works well for you.

 

Good point. For some reason, I subconsciously associate MYRP with sport bikes that have the more aggressive ergos so I wasn't giving it any thought when I was riding the XR. However, I think you're spot on - I was definitely rigid and gripping the bars tightly. I'll make a point to engage the MYRP on my next ride. Unfortunately, we're forecast to get our first freeze, ice and possibly snow of the season starting today so I may be garaged until the weekend. (Hey, I ain't no Charley or Ewan and this ain't no GSA.) ;)

 

What do you think about the suspension? The magazine review I read was for the Euro version, which had non-adjustable forks and only preload adjust ability on the twin rear shocks (If I remember correctly). Is that adequate, or will you be looking for some good aftermarket bits to improve that part?

 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll say that they stock suspension is actually pretty good for a Harley . It's nowhere near as soft as their bagger air shocks but it's better suited for the intended purpose than any of their stock Sportster or Dyna shocks. You're correct in that only the rear preload is adjustable. However, there are already aftermarket replacements available - these Ohlins look pretty trick:

 

EICMABRAKINGB-1.jpg

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Thank you for a very objective report. I get the impression that everything except "looking badass" a R1200R and many other bikes would do better.

 

Yeah - it is what it is. The XR is fun bike for around town and local rides and should be very low maintenance. In the twisties, it should more than hold it's own but once you get on the straight roads, you'll get your butt handed to you by just about any 600cc UJM standard.

 

That said, Harley does have a factory sponsored XR race series going on in Europe. Check out this post from badweb.com:

 

H-D UK have just announced a televised national 10 round XR1200 race series for 2009 that will run as a support race to the British Superbike championship. Prize money is expected to be in the region of GBP70,000 (US$105,000) for the year and they expect to announce 'guest' riders from the US such as Jay Springsteen and Chris Carr in addition to some high profile 'names' from the UK race scene.

 

Bikes will be bought direct from dealers in race spec (same as the Italian Xr1200 cup bikes) and they apparently have 80% of UK dealers willing to field teams...

 

Here's the XR on the track:

 

 

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I wondered if this new model could be fairinged and tricked up to resemble a cafe racer or road racer. I saw a Harley race in Mid-Ohio and it was sweet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good report. First let me say how surprised, yet not surprised that more than one person on this forum would buy a Harley. Guess there are a few of us out there who always had a hankering for one, but just couldn't justify the expense for something we really had no use for. Only comment I would add to your report is about the oil tank. Living in SC and experiencing some rather unusual warm weather, that sucker gets hot. I can't imagine what it will be like in the summer time. I pretty much have been running mine between 4-5K, and maybe the oil cooler is not big enough to keep it cool in that range. But, something will have to be done about that, or I will need an asbestos pad under me bumm. Other than that, I'm lovin it. Add-ons will be windscreen, tail bag and moto-lites.

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Good report. First let me say how surprised, yet not surprised that more than one person on this forum would buy a Harley. Guess there are a few of us out there who always had a hankering for one, but just couldn't justify the expense for something we really had no use for. Only comment I would add to your report is about the oil tank. Living in SC and experiencing some rather unusual warm weather, that sucker gets hot. I can't imagine what it will be like in the summer time. I pretty much have been running mine between 4-5K, and maybe the oil cooler is not big enough to keep it cool in that range. But, something will have to be done about that, or I will need an asbestos pad under me bumm. Other than that, I'm lovin it. Add-ons will be windscreen, tail bag and moto-lites.

 

You'll find a bunch of us on this forum who have owned - or currently own Harleys in addition to BMWs. Harleys and Beemers are ying/yang when it comes to performance and handling and as such, they compliment each other well.

 

I don't know if you read the entire ride report thread, but I ended up trading (back) up to an FXDF. I do too much riding on the super slab to put up with the low gearing and buzz that I was getting on the XR. It's no doubt a great Harley for the back roads and canyons, but it may be the most unsuited bike for freeway riding I've ever owned. If I lived a little further south of here, I'd have kept it in a heartbeat.

 

I'll be interested to know how that cooler works out for you next summer. I'm betting it'll be fine but I can see where having the oil tank just below your right thigh may prove to be a problem at some point.

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Good report. First let me say how surprised, yet not surprised that more than one person on this forum would buy a Harley.

 

Believe it or not, more BMW owners come from Harley (aka "conquest sales") than any other make. Talk to a BMW owner and there's a higher chance that he owns (or owned) a Harley more than any other brand.

 

-MKL

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russell_bynum
Good report. First let me say how surprised, yet not surprised that more than one person on this forum would buy a Harley.

 

Believe it or not, more BMW owners come from Harley (aka "conquest sales") than any other make. Talk to a BMW owner and there's a higher chance that he owns (or owned) a Harley more than any other brand.

 

-MKL

 

And there are actually some of us who don't give a rip about brand snobbery. I just love motorcycles and it doesn't matter who's name is on the tank.

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And there are actually some of us who don't give a rip about brand snobbery. I just love motorcycles and it doesn't matter who's name is on the tank.

 

+1

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Believe it or not, more BMW owners come from Harley (aka "conquest sales") than any other make. Talk to a BMW owner and there's a higher chance that he owns (or owned) a Harley more than any other brand.

 

-MKL

 

Speak for yourselves - it is most definitely not the case in Europe! :)

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