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2009 Harley Davidson XR1200: First Ride

By Dirck Edge
Imagine a new Chevrolet Corvette released only in Europe. How about that trip to Mexico to get a piece of apple pie?

When Harley-Davidson introduced the XR1200 in Europe eight months ago and made it known that the bike will not be sold in the United States, was much more than the disappointment expressed by Harley faithful. This bike is not only in its design inspired by American dirt racing track, for many older Harley enthusiasts, it represents the ultimate Sportster. Perhaps this is a bicycle, they have always dreamed of owning or building with his two hands (as Erik Buell, in his garage years ago). No, there were more than disappointing, the outrage. And believe me when I tell you that Harley-Davidson managers have heard it ... loud and clear!

HD responded quickly, and we now XR1200 available here in the U.S. The availability will be limited, as discussed in our article on 24 November. HD invited us in San Diego, California in the sample XR1200 all of droning in tight twisties Freeway in this area (Palomar Mountain Road).

This XR1200, as indicated above, based on the legendary XR750 dirt track racer. XR750 is a pilot of many American Champions, including nine times Grand National Champion Scott Parker, who joined us on our ride. Not surprisingly, the XR1200 was designed to be simple and straightforward as a bicycle race ... section is unnecessary for the performance and the appointment of a bike in the street.

It is a huge piece of metal brazenly sat in the familiar 1200cc V-Twin, massage and refined over the years (decades even), and no less than Erik Buell himself. At this time, the engine is able to adjust for XR1200 with 10:1 compression and 7000 on. / Min Redline! High Performance Cams and well-oil cooler (to the air-cooled), the team injected fuel, and "free" air filter element to submit "XR1200 worthy" of power.

Further options for a relatively old power plants are interesting, but this motorcycle is really about the chassis. In short, Harley XR1200 engineers wanted to handle as any street legal Harley Davidson is all. The importance of this goal hinted at his wide-ranging discussion of lean angle (39 ° 40 ° right and left) during the presentation of the text before our ride.

A frame is only slightly different from the standard Sportster frame, but povesheniyu is entirely new, hollow-cast aluminum swingarm, which is 40% as compared to rigid steel item at a regular Sportster, as well as 3.3 pounds lighter. In front is a solid pair of 43 mm Showa inverted fork and preload adjustable shocks sit out back.

In order to clear the classical style gas tank, Harley-Davidson had to use the "Split-rail fork offset", where the rake of the fork is about 1 ½ ° less than the rake of the steering head itself. The high quality of Nissin four-piston calipers grip dual front disc brakes, and that the braking power is transmitted through the light cast aluminum wheels (including 18-inch front) and XR1200 specific sports Dunlop Qualifier tires.

As advertised on the Harley, I discovered ergonomics XR1200 somewhat like a modern naked, with just below the seat, and pegs a bit higher (to preserve meat that corner). The place has proved a solid and comfortable for 150 miles or so, I drove a big XR.

After too long highway trips (where we were fighting side significant winds), we have made some twisty roads, where we could begin to model XR-processing prowess. Unfortunately, I soon realized that a preliminary adjustment of the shock, I was riding was set up for someone 50 pounds lighter, and I fought until the end of corners without running the world, and generally lacks confidence in front of the contact patch. Do not worry, I thought I'll just HD technicians Bump My tentative at the next stop.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of tens or so Harley-Davidson engineers and technicians, none of the key wrench! I found it after the chassis engineer told me at lunch that I needed at least "two clicks" on each of the preliminary shock balance bike for my weight. So, I soldiered through the first half of the day, which way to get even twistier, interestingly, that XR1200 were indeed provide office processing.

In the afternoon photo stop, I happened to mention my heavy for Scott Parker. I should have known that the guy who spent most of his life, racing, and sometimes painful to XRs may be quick fix for me. With portable pliers borrowed from another journalist, Parker began to spin every spring the shock of the hand in such a way as to remove all spring tension on the bottom of the shock, and then he asked me to "pre-What do you want?" Problem solved. I was finally an opportunity to sample the star turns habits that machine, and it came courtesy of some settings, the suspension applies veteran dirt track ... The most decorated veterans of these wars.

This is a 1200cc V-twin does its job well. Sending a little bit more reluctant, but horsepower does not begin to rip the hand from the shoulder sockets, but the spread of power is broad, and it will be the road you live to enjoy what XR is about ... all Sidecut.

Unregulated plug dove on the corner of the recording a little more than I would, but it works well. Diastolic pressure, adjusted for the rear shock bike is well balanced, but it seems to rebound a bit fast.

XR1200 likes to cut corners. Brakes strong and predictable, as you prepare to dive on top. After leaned over XR1200 like heat seeking missile ... He put on his line, and if you are not a problem of command, nothing prevents it. Entering the motorcycle on its side requires some effort (in the end, he weighs 580 pounds claimed wet), but, nevertheless, XR1200 very willing and able partners in the twisty roads.

Like Scott Parker, under the leadership of the group slowly gapped me on the twisty road, I was familiar with (and they were not), I began to understand what this new XR1200 is all about. This is not a bicycle, if you're looking for the latest and great engine technology and straight-line performance. This eventually Harley-Davidson Sportster, with performance and reliability is unknown guys who belong Sportster decades ago. The guys who dreamed of (as Erik Buell) that the Sportster may be or may become. It is a dream finally a reality, the plant reliability and guarantee the plant ... and parked in your driveway, it will look very bad, that ass in orange pearl paint job ... sort of like a Scotty Parker in the race bikes. Some of our readers (you know who you are) absolutely necessary to have this bike.

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