Back To The Races - From The Editor

This past June, Harley announced that it would be releasing the XR1200X on American soil. Slightly upgraded from the XR1200, some of the features of the XR1200X include more highly tunable suspension, dual full-floating front rotors, a blacked-out drivetrain and exhaust, and a cost of about $700 more than the XR1200.

However, what I found bothersome about the press release was the line that read, "Introduced in 2010 for export markets only, the XR1200X will be available through Harley-Davidson dealers in the United States as a 2011 model." If you recall, H-D did the same thing with the initial launch of the XR1200 by releasing it only to the European markets back in April of 2008, then releasing it to the American dealers several months later as an '09 model.

With its roots based on the multi-championship winning XR750, and Harley's long history in racing, it was discouraging to learn about the European release of the XR1200. But then it was really disheartening when H-D did it again with the release of this new model. What I found confusing was, even with the MoCo's support of the AMA Pro Racing Vance and Hines XR1200 Series, with a $25,000 contingency fund, it still relied on Europe for the initial launch of the X.

Oh well, I'm just happy to know the X will be here in a few more months. I really dig the look of the XR. I've talked with several people involved in the new XR1200 race series and it sounds like a really fun circuit that race enthusiasts can get into without going completely broke. We are working up an article covering some of Harley's racing history as well as a piece on the AMA Pro Racing Vance and Hines XR1200 Series, so stay tuned.

Speaking of Sportys, as we all know, Harley has been hitting that segment pretty hard as of late trying to draw in younger riders. The Forty-Eight, Nightster, and Iron 883 are all great bikes and are already helping get the Bar and Shield into the minds and dreams of kids and 20-somethings. Harley even recently come out with a Metal Flake Paint program for these models in which you can purchase a freshly flaked tank in one of six color options or send in your stock tank to get coated in glittering goodness.

What I'd like to see however, and it's a sentiment I seem to share with the Editor in Chief of our sister publication Motorcyclist, is for Harley to bring back some form of the XLCR. While it might not have been a sales success in the late '70s, it seems by combining some elements of the new XR1200X with some modern Café Racer styling cues, it might spark the interest of younger buyers looking for a bike that's unique and has some attitude. Pay attention to the streets and you'll notice more than a handful of blacked-out FXRs and Dynas with mini fairings and 8-inch T-bars ripping down the highway. I would think Harley could definitely take advantage of this trend and spark some sales amongst the younger demographics by offering a smaller, lighter, and quicker version of these bikes that would be a mix of performance and outlaw style. But then again I'm just some lowly seat jockey, shooting from the hip, spewing his own personal desire and interest, not some MBA-toting, white-collar big wig, with sales figures and market share reports to pour over.

Until next time, Eric