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2011 Harley-Davidson XR1200X First Ride

Monday, July 5, 2010

Never judge a book by its cover. Case in point: Harley-Davidsons 2011 XR1200X.
Cranked over through Road America's Turn 6 on the XR. We were surprised by the Harley's handling.
First appearances can be misleading. Case in point: Harley-Davidson’s 2011 XR1200X. At first glance the updated Harley appears to be your average, run-of-the-mill standard, barely two steps away from a full-on cruiser. It’s for this reason that upon arriving at Eastern Wisconsin’s beautiful Road America we were surprised to be riding said machine on the racetrack for the U.S. press introduction. But 70-degree sunny weather and one of the country’s best circuits awaited us, so when in Rome… As it turns out all of our prejudices were quite unfounded.

Things started to make a bit more sense in the pre-ride technical briefing, where the motorcycle’s changes were highlighted. While there aren’t too many to speak off, the bike does feature new suspension front and rear, with Showa’s 43mm Big Piston Fork gracing the pointed end. This came as somewhat of a surprise as said Showa fork is advanced in even the most hardcore sportbike circles. Fully-adjustable dual 36mm Showa rear shocks completed the suspension changes. As for brakes, the 292mm front rotors are now floating while still being gripped by the same potent 4-pistion Nissin calipers as last year’s bike.

Tires are still specially-made Dunlop D209 Qualifiers. Due to the 580-lb curb weight of the XR they had to tailor a rear tire to handle the rather large amounts of weight transfer it generates under acceleration. Up front Harley uses an unconventional 18-inch wheel, something Dunlop also catered to.
2011 Harley-Davidson XR1200X.
The 2011 Harley-Davison XR1200X features a host of upgrades, including a blacked out engine and exhaust, new suspension front and rear as well as updated brakes.

The engine gets a blacked-out treatment, as do the upswept dual-exit shotgun exhausts, while orange pinstripes on the wheels round out the changes for the X-model. Retail price goes up $1000 to $11,799 for the XR1200X. Remember though, just the shock upgrade for the previous XR1200 to match what is now standard on the new bike cost $1500, so the 1K price hike isn’t a bad deal at all. The new XR-X will hit dealers later this summer, eventually replacing the standard XR1200 completely come 2011. Colors are Denim Black and Hot Denim White, both featuring a semi-gloss final finish.

A somewhat interesting back story follows the XR1200, as originally in ’07 when the model was first introduced it was for European markets only. Yes, a bike based off the dirt tracks of America only being sold overseas. Try and make some sense of that. The bottom line was that sport-standards just plain don’t sell in the U.S. like they do overseas, thus the original decision not to bring the quintessential American flat tracker to the U.S. was made.
But through an overwhelming number of customer requests, Harley-Davidson had a change of heart and at the end of 2008 announced we would sell the model on our shores as a 2009 edition. Many a dirt track fans rejoiced, even if it was only a limited run of 750 units.
Showas new Big Piston Fork sits up front on the updated 2011 XR1200X.Fully-adjustable Showa 36mm dual shocks are parts of the suspension upgrades that grace the 2011 H-D XR.
(Top) Showa's new Big Piston Fork sits up front on the updated 2011 XR1200X. (Below) Fully-adjustable Showa 36mm dual shocks also grace the H-D XR for '11.

That’s not to say the same trend of overseas priorities didn’t continue. The Euro contingent received the updated XR1200X we are testing here as a 2010 model, and it has been in dealerships for several months now. But better late than never, they say, so for 2011 the U.S. will follow suit and get the updated ‘X’ edition, which we rode around the strangely-fitting Road America Raceway.

Don’t forget this is a rather massively-heavy standard and with the exception of the new front fork features mostly several-decade-old technology wrapped in a new packaging. Or so we thought. Once we threw a leg over the XRs and hit the track our minds began to change – and fast.

Slamming the footpegs onto the ground the third corner out of the pits was startling, though the trusty XR didn’t falter. It was a bit unnerving for awhile, as once easily past the footpeg feelers we were into the exhaust heat shield and then the exhaust itself. And though the footpegs are folding and forgiving, the exhaust definitely is not. Yet one just had to approach things slightly different, hanging off far more than usual, especially though the long right-hand Carousel. Once really off the seat it kept the bike more upright and away from the solid and scary parts. We were soon knee on the ground in every corner and pushing far past what we thought possible for such a machine, scraping noises dancing through our helmets the entire time.

Due to the odd-sized front wheel I had feared front-end feedback and grip would borderline on scary. Not the case at all. The bikes turned in with a surprising amount of authority and were equally as stable, providing feedback on par with most modern sportbikes. This was aided by the stock, specially-designed Dunlop D209 Qualifier rubber. No question the grip levels of the Dunlop rubber far exceeds that of the machine’s cornering clearance, so tire sliding was never an issue. That is, unless you slammed hard parts into the ground with enough force to lever the wheels into the air – not something we would recommend trying.

The brakes had good initial bite when cool, though that lasted for about two laps before they began to overheat. Even so, they remained consistent and didn’t do anything scary as the performance slowly trailed off during longer sessions.
Top speed down the Kettle Bottoms and into Canada Corner was a tapped-out on-the-rev-limiter 122 mph. This is no doubt the result of the belt-drive final gearing, as the bike felt like it had an easy 10 mph more in it. Thankfully the rev-limiter is soft, not nearly as abrupt as some of the previous Harleys we have tested.

Knee on the deck and tucked in on a 580-lb standard. Who would have thought  It didnt take long before parts were dragging on the XR.
Knee on the deck and tucked in on a 580-lb standard. Who would have thought? We sure didn't until throwing a leg over the updated XR.
The transmission worked as well as one would expect from a massive air-cooled V-Twin with very low miles on the odometer. Just about everyone pushing hard did have trouble with bike jumping out of top gear and back into fourth when attempting clutch-less up-shifts at wide-open throttle. While it wasn’t a false neutral, the load on the tranny wouldn’t let the gearbox fully engage the top cog and on occasion would click it back a gear without warning. Startling no doubt, but a quick swipe of the clutch lever would remedy the situation. As complaints go, this was without question our biggest.

Seating position is fairly upright, though as sporting as you’ll find on a motorcycle with the words ‘Harley-Davidson’ on the tank. The upswept dirt track-style bars made for easy reach and the seat is a comfortable place to be, both at speed on the track or cruising down the highway. Footpeg position is very neutral, further complimenting the seat and bar position. This may be a ‘sport’ Harley, but there’s still plenty of long-distance comfort built in.

Terry Vance, one of the founders of Vance & Hines, was on hand for the intro and made a comment in the morning briefing that I had initially been a tad skeptical of. Vance is a very smart guy, an ex-professional drag racer and current race team owner, and has done extremely well in the business end of motorcycling. As such he has a stable of motorcycles that would make any motorhead jealous. Yet he said that he continually found himself riding his XR1200 more than any other of the bikes in his “mancave”. Seeing as we were at the XR intro and he owns a Harley-sponsored race team, there was plenty potential for bias. Plus, I just didn’t see the XR as that exciting of a motorcycle. Until I rode it, that is.

In more ways than one the updated H-D had us all scratching our heads – and in a good way. The XR performed far better than any of us expected around the demanding Road America circuit – stable and solid handling, easy-to-use power and a torque-laden bottom end there just a few of its highlights – and not one of us ended the day without an ear-to-ear grin. Turns out it was a darn good thing that American consumers put up a fuss when H-D announced they were originally not going to bring the XR stateside. Because as they say, sometime looks can be deceiving.
2011 Harley-Davison XR1200X Gallery
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2011 Harley-Davidson XR1200X Specs
A host a small updates grace the 2011 XR1200X  including two new colors - Hot White Denim featured here.
Engine: Air-cooled V-Twin
Displacement: 1200cc
Bore x Stroke: 88.9mm x 96.8mm
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Fueling: Fuel Injection
Ignition: Electronic
Transmission: 5-speed
Final Drive: Chain
Clutch: Wet
Front Suspension: 43mm Showa fork, fully adj.
Rear Suspension: Dual 36mm Showa shocks, fully adj.
Frame: Steel
Front Brake: Dual 292mm dual discs
Rear Brake: Single 220mm single disc
Front Tire: 120/70-18 Dunlop Qualifier
Rear Tire: 180/55-17 Dunlop Qualifier
Wheelbase: 59.8 in.
Seat Height: 30.5 in.
Wet Curb Weight: 580 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.5 gallon
Available Colors: Denim Black, Hot Denim White
MSRP: $11,799

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STAR98   March 14, 2013 04:26 PM
Yeah, there are a lot of bikes out there that top the XR1200x on paper, weigh less, and so forth...... who cares, best $12k I've spent in a while..... big grin
Steve -m  November 6, 2010 09:52 PM
Rt - If you are going to bother to comment get your facts right- The XT produces 90 Hp not 75. No one should comment on any bike unless they have ridden it. Opinions from the sideline count for nothing.
Tiny -Just Evel man  September 22, 2010 04:36 PM
Since Harley sells a "lifestyle" and not a real motorcycle, why don't they just reintroduce the XR750 in a limited classic Evel Knievel model. Then all we have to do is sit back and watch those loud pipe douche bags crash and die.
OneEyeJack -HD not so bad  September 15, 2010 11:42 PM
Rode an XR-X and liked it. I'm more of sport bike rider myself, but I like the idea of an air cooled, belt drive bike. Oh, I think Buell had a rough time because of the dealerships. I walked into one and asked to see the Buell. The sales guy said they keep those pieces of sh#t in the back. Go see for yourself, he said. When you're ready for a real bike come back and see me, he continued. That kind of sales support makes it a problem getting a Buell to a potential buyer.
AmanoXD -Dragon rider  August 20, 2010 07:51 PM
I remember Ben Bostrom back in the early 90s in the AMA when the AMA had a sportster class.That was some fun racing to watch.I think it was the supertwin class? Im here in Knoxville 40ish miles from The Tail of the Dragon.I would love to ride one of these up there.Riding my 08CBR1000RR is fun.But one of these tanks would be just as fun I bet.
Paul -Fish on!  August 20, 2010 12:15 AM
Years ago the bike CEO's got together and divided up the MC market. Each chose to sell its own lifestyle concept. When they make lots of money for the stock holders thats all that matters to them. Think of it this way, they like to fish and guess what you are.
Dr. Ron -ZYALATR  July 31, 2010 10:07 PM
I am looking forward to getting one of these. Being an EX HD XR1000 owner.. Some of you folks have no clue... The XR bikes have a heritage that no other bike mfg has exept Triumph.. I curently own a Triumph Daytona Super III .. 150 were made and has a Cosworth engineered motor.. The XR's have always brought HD into racing fame.Not just flat track but also roadracing (lucifers Hammer) ..
I have riden many of motorcycles in my 53 years and the XR brings one big smile to my face..It's not about the top end speed kids.. It's how you get there !
I orderd mine in White !
Jake -Get Real Etrain  July 26, 2010 09:20 AM
Etrain - you are a joke. Walk into a friendly Harley dealer. That's another joke. I have been to your so called friendly Harley dealers. All I get is a bunch of guys with tattoos, long hair, very poor language and dressed like a pirate trying to sell me all the add on Harley s**t. They will not even give you the time of day if you ask about a XR1200 because they think they are girls bikes. I stopped at a Harley dealer last week in Waterloo, Iowa. 90% of the sales floor is devoted to all the add on s**t. Sales people were talking about loud exhaust to a group and how cool it sounds when backing off the throttle. This is the moron mentality that is found at Harley dealerships. Who has the loudest exhaust or the tallest handle bars. Don't give me this s**t about what a great ride a Harley is. A Harley is the most backward motorcycle produced today. When loud exhaust are banned nationwide - which is the trend, Harley will be out of business. 90% of Harley buyers only buy a Harley to put loud exhaust on and ride around there towns showing off and hoping everyone will think they are a bad ass Harley rider. All of them are a bunch of immature idiots with a real identity problem. Harley Davidson can no longer finance there bike sales and the 2010 sales figures show that. Most of the morons riding a Harley can only get financing from Harley. Harley owes Warren Buffet 650 million dollars at 15% interest for there financial services bailout. That and the 125 million it cost those idiots to close Buell puts HD is deep trouble. Harley sales are falling thru the floor and the only thing there dealers are talking about is the new chrome and colors for 2011. Get real........
wildpig -mr wildpig  July 26, 2010 07:57 AM
yall think Harley is bad? try BMW-- now that is one pricy over rated pos...... not to mention lousy dealer support pood dealer distibutorship and outrageous pricing on parts......... i got an r1200r for sell-- any takers?
Etrain -Livin the life  July 24, 2010 07:34 PM
Once again I come to an article about the XR1200 where there's nothing but goblins chirpin about how much Harley sucks. Why are you here if you already hate everything about Harley's? All of your negative posts are hilarious! Do you losers sit in your parents basement searching the net for HD articles you can carve up and think you're cool? Haha, pathetic you are! 9 out of 10 articles I've read about this bike are excellent reviews but all of those pro riders who test drove it must be lying only to defend HD! Why the negativity? This bike is not trying to be the "be-all/end-all" sportbike! HD is merely trying to carve a very small piece out of the sportbike market by paying respects to their XR750 legendary machine from years past. If you losers can't see that and only feel like bashing you might as well go ask your dad for your allowance so you can top up the tank on your 1999 Kawasaki Ninja and take your boyfriend to the movies.... Get a life and move on! This is a great ride and will only get better over the next couple years! Maybe one day down the road your balls will drop and you'll be man enough to walk into one of North Americas friendly HD dealers and actually see why their bikes have lasted over 100yrs in some very trying conditions. HD is an iconic motorcycle and always will be, whether you terds like it or not!
Over the HIll -Not A Sucker  July 24, 2010 01:36 PM
I have a moron neighbor who bought one of these. He pulls it out in the driveway and starts it up and revs the hell out of the engine making a lot of noise then he puts it back in the garage. He said the dealer gave him about 15% off just to get rid of it as they do not sell. So that means he must have paid around $10,000 for the bike. Even at 10K I feel that is way too much for what you get. This bike is really a 1960 or so sportster with updated suspension and minor brake updates. Anyone who pays that kind of money for owe of these is a fool. Just buy a used sportster as the newspapers are full of them and they can be bought real cheap. My local papers (2) have a total of 8 used sportsters listed for sale at price range of $3,800 (1978) to $7,500 (2008). The 2008 only has 1800 miles on it and it has the screaming beagle exhaust and other extras. If one is to waste your money on a harley then that is the way to go. All hareley bikes are way overpriced but those days are gone because hareley davidson no longer has the give away financing. They were selling bikes to anyone who could crawl in the door and harley had to borrow 650 million at 15% interest to bail out there financial services division. Harley always touts there big sales numbers. Well those numbers were because they would sell a bike to anyone and I mean anyone who could make it thru the door. Those days are gone now and the harley dealers will have to sell there bikes with conventional bank financing now and that means about 50% of there customer base will be unable to obtain financing. The dealer in my hometown went belly up recently and a large dealer took it over. He is trying to sell bikes with weekly "poker runs" and crap like that but it is not working.
Yeah, I like it -One for me  July 23, 2010 07:22 PM
I read all the comments. I suggest people go back and read the review...again. Esp. the last lines: "...not one of us ended the day without an ear-to-ear grin."

Umm, the last time I looked I could get better mpg in a prius than most bikes, and I can carry more in my SUV. So why do we ride? For the grins, for the stories, for the enjoyment.

When I saw this bike first come out I went to a Harley dealership for the first time in my life. Something was appealing about it...and I was a dedicated Harley Hater, a guy who liked smoking past Harley dudes on my various sportbikes. (Letz see...between me and my brothers...14 Japanese and Euro sportbikes...)

But this bike makes me laugh, in a good way. I rode one. Just like the guy says -- it made me grin like hell. Strange as it is for me to say, GOOD WORK HARLEY.

Wow. Never thought I'd say that.
Thomas Hurt -$$$ too High  July 20, 2010 06:11 PM
Why would anyone pay $12,000 for a dated motorcycle. Even the Harley loud pipes saves lives bunch will not buy this bike. Maybe if it was priced around 7 thousand it might sell but at 12 grand no way. There are far too many real motorcycles that can be bought for 12 grand that will smoke this antique. Why doesn't HD just bite the bullet and admit there bikes are dated, heavy and way over priced. HD should junk the old v-twin and use the v-rod motor in there entire line of bikes. At least then they would have a decent motor. Of course the harley riders would never buy a harley with the v-rod motor because it does not sound cool with out a muffler. Some day every motorcycle will have to - by law - to have a muffler and catalytic converter or face a heavy fine and impoundment of the bike. When that day gets here harley will be out of business.
Mini Moto -Sound!  July 19, 2010 08:48 PM
I have to say, I was at Mid-Ohio this past weekend and the XRs sounded amazing. Of course, so also did Pegram's Duc, Geoff May's Buell 1125RR and even the Yammie crossplane R1s. You can't say that the sound of a particular engine isn't part of the appeal of a particular bike, can you? I was gettin' goose bumps listening to some of those twins rip around.

Anyway, we stayed for the XR race after the Superbikes on Sunday and it was good fun. Eslick was tearin it up and Higbee and Holden were hot on his tail. Some good battles through the whole deal, and I don't know how that kid saved his bike against the main straight wall after flat tracking through the gravel trap at speed. Holy crap! Mad skills. And those Harleys looked fast and fun.

I think it's interesting how some people get wound up about what other people might like in a motorcycle. As if it's not an emotional, personal decision. Good thing there are choices for all of us. As for me, I want to demo ride an XR, and maybe I'll have one someday(along with my Ducati Multistrada, Yam SRX, Honda VFR and Triumph Speed Triple). Variety is the spice of life!
Pat_76 -Not a Boomer  July 19, 2010 04:21 PM
Wow - 12 thousand bucks and I get an old 90hp motor. Not really. This thing is just a sportster with a new paint job and new forks. I don't think so Harley Davidson. Why don't you get your head out of the sand and start designing a new v-4 motor and bring back Buell. That was a HUGE mistake. Your bikes are old fashioned, over priced, over weight and under powered. If I was a overweight boomer with a fat ass wife then maybe a Harley would be the only thing I could ride, but then I could get a more modern cruiser for a lot less.
Donny -WHAT IS HARLEY DAVIDSON SMOKING  July 19, 2010 10:47 AM
Tiger -Cool Sound???  July 17, 2010 07:59 AM
It was posted by FellowMidOhio that he will buy one these pretender bikes because it "sounds cool". That is just what Harley Davidson wants. They can not sell a bike based on style or performance so they sell one on sound. Harley Davidson spent 4 million dollars on a "sound lab". It is basically a room and they invite the public in to listen to Harley motor sounds and then vote on the best sound. This is a good example of Harley engineering. They refuse the dump there outdated v-twin so they make it "sound better" in hopes that it will sell bikes. 90% of the Harley crowd only buy the bike because they think it sounds cool without a muffler. All they are doing is pissing off the public and proving what a moron they are. If people want to buy this poor excuse for a sport bike go ahead but come up with a better reason than it sounds cool. What a lame excuse to justify spending $12,000 for a bike that might be worth $7,500 tops considering the very poor performance and 1970's technology.
@FollowMidOhio -Posers  July 15, 2010 07:42 PM
What a bunch of pretenders. Jeff and Rocker, the joke's on you. Doubt you could come close to the lap times of Danny and Jake on their near stock XRs at Road America or any race track for that matter. See them in action at Mid-Ohio this weekend. The bikes sound awesome, look cool and slide like Super Motos.

Rocker -OverPriced  July 15, 2010 12:00 PM
Oh Yea - I am going to buy one of these pretend bikes and get my ass laughed off the street. No way. For thousand less I can buy a bike that will make this what ever it is look sicker than it is. I do not want a Harley Davidson anything. They are outdated and way over priced and just too heavy. Let the boomers buy this crap.
Jeff_1001 -Not a Sucker  July 15, 2010 11:57 AM
These things are a joke. Check out RA - sure the only way a Harley can win a race is if they are the only bikes in the race. These things will never sell. The loud pipes bunch will not buy them and everybody else will not pay 12 grand for a sissy bike like this that every other bike will blow this thing off the street. Good God - a Harley v-twin in a sport bike? Get Real people.....this is just the out dated sportster with a few new parts and Harley is hoping you will sucker for it. I can't even believe they take the time to test this 1970's tech junk.
XR1200 Fan -Check out the XRs in action at RA  July 14, 2010 07:23 PM
For those who don't think the XR can be ridden in a sporting manner, better check out this video from the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series Road America. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LziHZIkby0&feature=player_embedded

These XRs have no internal engine mods and are modified with only a few race components (race ECM, pipe, bellypan, solo tailsection, 17-inch front wheel for modern race rubber). Oh, and before you jump all over the #33 bike blowing oil and crashing--know that his oil filter was improperly safety wired backwards by his mechanic which loosened the filter and caused the leak. Note also that he made the restart and finished 4th.
Racetwins -It is something different  July 14, 2010 03:59 PM
There are at least 3 XR spec road racing series for XR's and every high performance exhaust and ECU tuner supports it. This is a unique bike in many respects. Sure it's a Harley but the little extra compression/cam profile/higher redline and oil-cooling give it acceptable power. The upgraded brakes and suspension are long overdue and make it an enjoyable bike to ride. Very few riders will ride this at its limits on the street. This would not be my only bike but it makes sense if you ride for yourself and you appreciate something different.
Patrick Lester -xr1200  July 14, 2010 11:21 AM
I test rode a 2009 xr1200 and was impressed.I felt that it could use some suspension work on the rear shocks at least for my large weight 230lbs.This new model may be the best all around performing harley ever!Price is wrong shold be about $9000. out the door
drew -track debut?  July 14, 2010 02:17 AM
harley isn't after the sportbike market? then why a track debut? they're a joke, american made? honda owns showa! metric forks,shocks,brakes...wtf? harley could'nt even build an american bike without help! i don't care what you ride. i'm more disappointed that the press kisses harleys a** when they debut a slow,fat overpriced, outdated bike but trash other brands because they did'nt update something from last year...what a sham!
No_Scrapes -Engineered a little better?  July 13, 2010 09:50 PM
If the bike handled so well that foot pegs, heat shields and pipes were getting scraped to pieces, why didn't HD just engineer more clearance into the design? There aren't too many of us out there that are willing to tear up our motorcycles just to make it through the twisties. Scraping the pegs is one thing, but a better pipe design would be greatly appreciated.
Dave -XR1200  July 13, 2010 04:37 PM
I am not a Harley person but this would be the bike I would ride if I was forced to make a choice with Harley. It has 1970's retro behind it so its not as antique as the rest of the bunch. Overall its not bad looking and is similar in appearance/style as the other naked bikes out there from Japan and Europe. Other than the similar styling that is about the only comparison between the XR and the others. Performance wise it is not competive with other like bikes but should be fine for the average commuter/rider.
Dave -XR  July 13, 2010 04:21 PM
Skeeter, I don't think people are jealous because they have dislikes for Davidsons just like you have dislikes to metric bikes. Does that mean you are jealous for your dislikes. I dislike them for a number of reasons namely the noise and the problems that quite a few of bikers create in the surrounding communities. As far as people riding other manufactures bikes wearing Harley t-shirts, that is a remote scenerio that you may or may not have observed. Let's be real here.

A reader said that a Ninja 250 is faster than the Harley and you jumped on him for that with your misinformation. Yes he was off base with the Ninja being able to out run in top speed the XR1200, but I did read that it has a top speed of 103 mph in one magazine. You were saying he was an idiot and it wouldn't come close when it does.

You also state that the XR will easily do 130 but the article says 122 mph with the rider speculating it could go another 10 mph if it wasn't governed. Well that's speculation and it may very well do that. Other than this bike most Harley's won't do much more than 110 mph and some just over 100.
Nate -Suprising bike  July 13, 2010 01:51 PM
I test rode a 2010 at Bikeweek last year and was pleasantly suprised at it's abilities. Posers stop talking until you ride one. I was however extremely disappointed in the suspension of the 2010. I look forward to trying this one on for size. Granted the price is a wee bit high for what it is...

For the record, I don't currently own a Harley and never have.
Big Ron -Re: Skipper  July 13, 2010 12:11 PM
You make me laugh! I am 6-4 and 260 lbs and I do not have a beer gut. I would love to do a track day with you so that you can spend all day looking at my backside. For the street I ride an FXD as I dont feel the need to terrorize my neighbors.
John -HD  July 13, 2010 11:34 AM
This would have been a better sport bike if HD put the Bombardier VTwin engine Buell had on his last bike.
roy005 -Triumph Rules!  July 13, 2010 10:53 AM
Triumph Rules! 'Nuff said.
Skipper -Wrong bike for wrong riders  July 12, 2010 09:06 AM
I can believe comments from Milwaukee Mike as most Harley riders can not ride a real sport bike. Most Harley riders are in the 200 lb range with a large beer gut and would not even fit on sport bike or sport touring bike. I have a friend with a Harley Ultra. It is the only bike he can ride due to his huge gut. Also, a sport bike would be too light weight to handle a rider with a Harley vest. A Harley vest must weight at least 100 lbs by itself with all the metals and such that are on them. I can not imagine a 200 lbs Harley guy withe his 200 lb chick on a sport bike. The XR1200 will never work with the Harley crowd for the same reason. The seat is too small and the bike is not powerful enough to haul all the weight around and that is why the Harley guys call it a girly bike.
Ralph -Let it Die  July 11, 2010 03:00 PM
Lets get things straight here fellas. The XR1200 "is not" a sport bike so why all the complaining. It is just another variation of the old sportster so live with it. It does not have performance but is does have the Harley name and that means a lot to some people. It will never compete with anything other than another sportster but the people that buy a Harley do not care about performance or they would not by a Harley so get on with your life. I think the sporster or xr1200 or whatever Harley will call that bike next year is not a very good buy for $12K but then the Harley guys overpay for there bikes anyway so why cry about it. A Harley Davidson is an overpriced and outdated motorcycle but many people seem to not care. Ride what you ride and let the Harley guys ride. They like the Harley sound and the lifestyle so let them be as you will never change them. With a customer base like that it is no wonder that Harley does not need to improve there motorcycles. The typical Harley rider will buy anything with Harley on it and they do not care about anything else.
Mitch -Group Therepy Session  July 11, 2010 07:58 AM
I'm glad you were able to vent for us and all Spades but any opinions pertaining to the actual bike or article it's self? =)
skeeter -Why so jealous?  July 11, 2010 07:06 AM
You Harley-haters say that we are all insecure showoffs that dress up like pirates, but it's just Harley-envy. You are just jealous and want to be like us. I see more guys riding metric bikes wearing Harley t-shirts and attending Harley events than ever before. Ride what you want...we don't care! Don't be pissed off if we don't wave to you though. Stay out of our way with your his & hers matching gear, and drink at your "pubs" because they don't serve latte's and expresso where we drink. For the idiot that says his Ninja 250R will blow the XR1200 away...stop talking out of you a**! The Ninja won't come close to 100mph, while the XR1200 will easily do 130mph. If you people can't keep it real, don't make it so obvious that you're full of crap!
milwaukee mike -XR1200 should have been a Buell  July 10, 2010 07:32 PM
Let me say that the XR1200 is not my kind of HD,....I prefer my Ultra.

However if Buell were to market this type of V-twin sport bike rather than their Lightnings, Firebolts, & Ulys, they would still be around today.

Metric sportbike riders weren't the type to be lured into HD dealerships, and HD dealers certainly did not want metric trade-ins littering their showrooms.

Buell thus had to go,...but there are buyers that still beleive in a good solid performing M/C, without being covered in plastic and with character. A bike that can be ridden for more than just a few miles before visiting your local chiropractor. It is a reasonable sportbike,....period.
Spades -Not Interested  July 10, 2010 08:19 AM
I am just plain sick of Harley Davidson and I have no interest in anything that HD puts on the street. I am sick and tired of being forced to listen to the Harley idiots with there loud exhaust and stupid riding outfits. More and more communities are passing a noise ordinance to combat these morons, mine included. As of May of this year any motor vehicle must have original factory exhaust or face a large fine and impoundment. I sold my motorcycle last week and I am now in the market for a replacement. Will I buy a Harley? Absolutely not. I will not go to a Harley dealership and be almost forced to buy all the Harley accessories. Harley Davidson and there dealers almost force the buyers to buy the loud exhaust. If a nationwide ban on loud exhaust was in place Harley Davidson would be out of business in 6 months. The only reason people buy a Harley is to show off. They are insecure people and they get a good feeling with there "hey look at me with my loud exhaust - I must be tough and ride a bad bike". It is all bullshit and it pisses off 90% of the public. If you want to dress up like a pirate and show off your loud Harley - so be it but your days are numbered. Harley should spend money on improving there antique line of bikes instead of spending 4 million dollars on a "sound lab" to improve the sound of there crap motorcycles. Harley knows that the sound sells there bikes. Without the loud exhaust Harley Davidson is dead in the water.
andy -uuurgh  July 9, 2010 12:44 PM
nice example for perfectly waist of material, time and energy !!

HD never gets it ,I guess??
gb -where's milwankee mike?  July 9, 2010 06:15 AM
i'm sure he's polishing the pole over this new HD.
Joe -A Step in the Right Direction  July 9, 2010 12:13 AM
This bike looks like a lot of fun to ride! Sure its not going to beat a 140hp race replica, but this bike isn't about being the fastest, its about pure motorcycling. The bike has a lot of character and while its heavy, its also probably very durable and will still be on the streets 20 years from now. If Harley continues to upgrade this bike every year and starts integrating lightweight durable materials, along with continuous engine refinements, we could have a sub 450lb, 100+ horsepower XR1200 in the next few years. THAT Harley Davidson would be one helluva bike and comparable, if not better, than the best air cooled naked V-Twins anywhere. I'd buy that bike in a heart beat and put it next to my 883C, which is also a hoot to ride!
An XR Owner -Good Post Big Ron  July 8, 2010 11:50 AM
Any motorcyclist worth their salt knows it's 80% rider and 20% bike where it counts, in the twisties. Modern bikes these days are so over-built for public roads, that 90% of the riders simply do not have the skill to use them anywhere near their potential, and the 10% that do, simply won't because they are smart enough to value their lives and licenses. Yes, there are many, many bikes that will technically out-perform the XR, but that is largely academic as most good experienced riders will maintain a street pace well within the XR's (and many other street bikes) capabilities. I apologize for reducing myself to the level of some of these juvenile lip-flapping bench-racers, but their blind hatred gets exceedingly annoying, particularly when posted with this overall good and fair review of the bike from experienced journalists who have the luxury of testing everything out there - Yup, the XR ain't gonna win any races at the track.... it's just a good, fun bike with loads of character to ride on the street. If it's too costly, or not your style, fine state so. But you nay-sayers shouldn't bother slagging the bike on performance, particularly if you can't offer any shred of evidence that you could possibly take advantage of that performance.
Sparky -No Thanks  July 8, 2010 11:31 AM
Well, this is typical Harley Davidson. Take the old outdated sportster and dress it up with a new paint job and different forks and shocks and now you have a "new" Harley. This is still the same old overweight and slow crap that HD has been throwing at the public for years. Harley Davidson just wants to get you in the door so they can sell you there aftermarket crap. Loud exhaust pipes, do rags and bet buckles. There motorcycles are all outdated and over priced. This is a company that just refuses to change and must think all the American public wants to dress up like the Village People and ride an outdated motorcycle. No thanks, I'll spend my money elsewhere. For $11,900 I can buy a real motorcycle.
unclewill -It's time...  July 8, 2010 09:28 AM
...to stop judging others and ride your own ride.

HD makes the first steps toward putting good suspension on a bike and is met with derision! Do we want HD to fail? (Those big piston forks are sweet by the way)

It's time to chill out people - get on your bike and ride it and quit worrying about what others do with themselves - it's really none of your business.
Big Ron -Haters need to look into the mirror  July 8, 2010 09:09 AM
I have a Harley Super Glide (FXD) and a ZX-10R so I think I have a pretty good prospective on this bike which I have ridden and really enjoyed. First of all it is an air-cooled V-twin standard. To compare it to my ZX-10 would be like comparing a monster to my ZX-10; Stupid! This bike wasnt intended to put out 165 HP or go 165 MPH. It handles well, is comfortable, is a good street bike and is fun to ride; its not a track bike. This brings me to the gripe session. I live in the mountains of Colorado and I LMAO at the local "sport bike" guys. They ride with there helmets strapped to there bikes, not there heads; they wear shorts and flip flops; there girlfreinds wear shorts, flip flops and no helmet; they pull wheelies in town; they drive 150mph on the STRAIGHT sections of the interstate pissing off everyone. I think a guy with his helmet strapped to his bike looks alot dumber than a guy without a helmet. They have no training and cant ride the twisties which is why we lost two of them in the first month of riding season this year in an area that has less then 100 sport bikes. There chicken strips are wider than the worn portion of there tires. One guy trashed and RC-51 (irreplacable) and another a new CB 1000 RR stunting them, now thats smart. I told them both to get a @#$%ing dirt bike if they want to do stunts. These guys need to sell there "sport bikes" and get street bikes. I dont care which one, get a triumph air cooled twin, or a ducati retro bike or heaven forbid a Harley. These guys are the worst posers I have ever seen. They ride these bikes at a fraction of there performance except of cours in the straights. I couldnt get one of them to join me at Jason Pridemores track school last year; they said they didnt have the money, I think they didnt have the balls since the school was on $350! Lastly if your going to dress the part play the part. Sunday I smoked a guy on a Monster covered in Ducazi garb going over McClure pass on my Harley; a very curvy road. I came up behind him and waited for him to pass the traffic in front of us and he just sat there. I passed him going down hill at a moderate pace and figured he would follow me past the traffic and then leave me. I didnt see him again until I pulled over to wait for some freinds, took about a minute. He couldnt even look at me when he rode by. Probably went home and burned his Ducazi outfit and put his bike up for sale on ebay; poser. FYI, the assless chaps are for wind, rocks and debris.
Not a sucker -Used sportsters are cheap  July 8, 2010 08:39 AM
This is a total joke. Harley better stick to there outdated cruisers. The loud pipes Harley crowd will never buy this thing and everyone else thinks its a joke, which it is. Why would anyone waste $12,000 on this dressed up sportster? Used sportsters can be bought real cheap as the newspapers are full of them. People buy them then realize what a piece of s**t they bought and will sell them at any price to get rid of them. If you are stupid enough to want one of these things then buy someone else's mistake cheap.
unclewill -A Ruckus Owner  July 8, 2010 08:32 AM
I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of my chewed up Ruckus tires...my Ruckus rules the streets!
An XR Owner -Re: Doc46 comment  July 8, 2010 04:41 AM
"For thousands less I could buy a bike that would blow this junk off the road.  A Kawasaki Ninja 250 would totally spank this junker."  Wanna play internet bench racing?  Post up a pix of your well-worn street tires, compare them to the XR tires I've posted below.  Until then, I guess we can all assume that you are just another lip-flapping squid that only knows how to twist a throttle in a straight line.     
merc -a good standard bike  July 8, 2010 03:26 AM
The XR1200 is as good as any in its class, such as the Ducati GT 1000, in price and performance. You guys want to compare it to a R1, your dumb. I like Buell's, but if he did not want someone else with controlling interest in his company, he shouldn't have went public. The HD riders I see have just as much riding gear on as import cruiser riders. Oh, I guess it's ok for sportbike riders to wear a ff helmet, shorts and flip-flops. I'm also sure it's great for sportbike riders to have just as loud of a exhaust, stretched swingarm ( 'cause they are all pro stock quality rider/bike) and also pop wheelies on public roads because they are top quality stuntaz.
Doc46 -There still out there......  July 7, 2010 02:22 PM
I can't believe there are still suckers out there for bikes like this. Harley Davidson has been selling this outdated junk for years and they change the name, model number or color and then its a "new model". This is 1960's tech and there is no way this bike can be competitive with today's modern bikes. Sure it will sound tough with loud exhaust but it is still and outdated pig. It is a total waste of money at $12,000. For thousands less I can buy a bike that will blow this junk off the road. A Kawasaki Ninja 250 will totally spank this junker. This is such a joke that it is funny. I really can't believe they dressed up in a total racing outfit to test this bike. You need the typical Harley outfit to ride this crap. Jeans with assless chaps, t shirt with leather vest with a eagle on the back, do rag and fingerless nose picker gloves. Then you would fit right in with the rest of the Harley morons.
An XR Owner -Gotta love these closed-minded performance-bike posers V V  July 7, 2010 01:58 PM
I'm glad they think the XR is a piece of crap.... makes it all that much more satisfying passing them through the twisties. I've always enjoyed sleeper bikes, ones that you expect to be slow, but can actually be ridden very quicky through the twisties.... sure as heck beats all those performance-bike posers that ride a lot slower through the twisties than you'd expect. Guess there is some merit to comparing spec sheets at the local Starbucks though (LOL). Truth is that the XR makes better power than most bikes where most people tend to ride them - in the lower 2/3rds of the RPM range. Peak horsepower is for flat-spotting tires in a straight line, Torque is for shredding the sides of tires. Speaking of which - still no nay-sayers willing to post a pix of their well-worn street tire? Beuller.........? Beuller.......??
Michael -Sir  July 7, 2010 12:25 PM
I have to admit, when I rode the XR1200 at last year's Harley Demo Days it blew me away and left a HUGE smile on my face. Not that I brought the suspension into the danger zone, but I'm very excited to get on those new shocks. The only criticism I had about the bike was the the vibrations through the handle bars, but then again... A Harley is supposed to rumble. VERY FUN BIKE.
Aaron -why the hate?  July 7, 2010 07:45 AM
This is a perfect standard motorcycle. Similar to the Ducati Monster or the Triumph Speed Triple.

It boils down to preference. Real sport bikes are like riding jet engines. They are awesome for what they are. The XR 1200 is an everyday all-conditions street bike. The reason for the extra weight is so that when you are riding on a highway some huge Mack truck won't blow you out of the way. Please, people.

A bike should be good at lots of different types of riding, not just one. Of course a sport bike will be faster/ perform better than the XR 1200. Just the same way a cruiser will be more comfortable.

You are of course right that that specs of the Monster or the Speed Triple are better. For my money, though, if I could buy an extra motorcycle, I would totally buy this bike over them. It has a ton of character and it's really fun to ride. Let's not forget that H-D's build quality is really high, too. They do make great motorcycles, period.

My only complaint with H-D as of late is that they display no one but tattoo/ skull wearing, non-safety gear-wearing, cigarette smoking, post-teens in their ads. It's possible to both like both motorcycles and H-D without falling into that category. Anyway, eat it, haters, and ride what you like. That way, everybody wins.
Roy -Lenny  July 7, 2010 05:15 AM
Okay you have ridden one and still dont like it I can respect that. They are not for everyone. But I still think may who condem without riding could be pleasently suprised. I mostly ride a mildy modified M900 becasue I think it is the most fun for my backroads riding. I had sportster on the same roads and had fun with it too. I have watched many come on weekends to ride the backroads with their high powered uncomfortable bikes and seen then ride. They would have more fun on the sportster which is more in tune with their abilities.
I guess what I am reacting to is the appearent hostility to the sportster. Why? Obviouly there are those that enjoy cycling through the sportster as it out sells the bikes used as examples of being better. Why not let them be appreciated for what they bring to many rather than what the dont bring to some?
riverlife -sportbike in cruiser market  July 7, 2010 05:13 AM
I love this bike, it looks American, sounds American, has enough sporting capabilities to satisfy the erg to speed things up on the ribbon.
If the new Harley XR1200X and XR1200 are designed to be a sport bike why is this story posted in the cruiser section. I know Harley is primarily a cruiser manufacture but still this is a sport bike and should be in the sport bike or street bike section or at least also displayed on the street bike section. Might help the bike out a bit if it was shown to the correct audience.
I went into the Harley shop to see if they had the XR1200 and that was the salesmen main problem with the bike. He said they weren't getting one this year because they only sold 2 last year. The customers they get in the store aren't interested in a sport bike, they want a traditional cruiser.
Harley really should team up with another manufacture to help their sells on this type of bike, say Triumph or even one of the Japanese Manufactures.
Is see the future of this model dieing out like Buell did. They need to put these bikes in the sport bike stores. Get off your high hourse Harley you might actually make a good profit off a sport bike if you show it to the right customers.
Dusty Roads -XR1200-My Daytona Ride  July 7, 2010 04:42 AM
At 2010 Cycle Week I twisted the throttle all the way and managed a 124MPH.Being NOT water cooled it did make differant engine sounds as I roll into return it.I give Harler a BIG PLUS for the course around the airport and man is it sooo easy to ride one with just a slide of your drivers liscense.
The XR1200 model I rode would not standup the a road race and I have 200+ roadraces under my belt.I think it's overpriced,more like $8500 it should be.At that $11,799 asking price one coulkd have the ultimate show room stock 600 Jap sport bike that will absolutely SMOKE the XR.The XR is a fine nice cival street performer ,NOTHING more.
Mandingo -Sport Tractor  July 6, 2010 08:56 PM
Just plain dumb: "The ONLY new tech that this xr1200x is missing is desmo valves, everything else is NEWER or as NEW as the top of the line sportbike", please. The weight alone says otherwise, let alone the steel frame, air cooled engine, and rear suspension. Harley makes great cruisers, and in my opinion they should just focus their resources on making them better, the Japanese are already making better performing cruisers. Instead of getting distracted, Harley should keep focused on doing what they do 2nd best, making cruisers. Of course, their number one skill is branding/marketing...
An XR Owner -It's more fun riding a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow  July 6, 2010 08:45 PM
First off, I have to complement Motorcycle-USA for a well written and completely fair article on the XR. You guys seem to get it and have accurately hit on both its advantages and disadvantages. For the performance bike nay-sayers, I'll tell you one of the most fun things to do with this H-A-R-L-E-Y is blow by most of you through the twisties (ok, so you'll catch me in the straight-aways). They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a recent set tires off my XR1200. I invite you nay-sayers to post a pic of your "performance" bike's well worn tires (street-use-only). Short of actually riding together, your tires are the best record of how you really ride - or don't ride, as the case may be ;-). http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4013/4505757001_812919374b_b.jpg
Jigery -Dude you like getting blown off the road?  July 6, 2010 06:47 PM
Shhhh Let me tell you one secret....... The ONLY new tech that this xr1200x is missing is desmo valves, everything else is NEWER or as NEW as the top of the line sportbike, of course the the first production motorcycle was water-cooled, OHC predates OHV etc. ect... Silly kids learn your history, and your laws of physics (and how they apply to motorcycles) before criticizing any motorcycle
Fred -ratman@aol.com  July 6, 2010 06:05 PM
What a JOKE !!! LOL
RT Rider -Not a real sport bike  July 6, 2010 06:03 PM
Harley Davidson better stick to making there overweight cruisers. I really do not think anyone will want a pretend sport bike with a huge heavy 75 hp outdated motor. What a piece of crap and Harley must think the American buying public is stupid or something or why else would they have the balls to put something as ridiculous as this on the market. As it has been stated - even the low tech Harley crowd thinks this and the V-Rod are sissy bikes.
Slippery -Too Late HD  July 6, 2010 05:59 PM
Buell did not sell because they had the heavy outdated Harley v-twin for power - or lack of it. Now Harley wants to take this pig and call it a sport bike. Get real Harley Davidson, nobody wants your fake sport bike. You had your chance with Buell and just when Buell was getting smart and dumping the dated Harley boat anchor motor you had to dump the brand. I will never cross the threshold of one of your stores. Besides I would look stupid in a pirate costume and I don't have any tattoos or do-rags.
Bob -I'll tell you why...  July 6, 2010 01:55 PM
this bike gets good suspenders.

I used to field a Buell in Heavyweight Sportsman and a XL in Sportster class in the CMRA. These were very fun to race. Naturally they were set up for their purpose, but still, the XL being heavy, long and down on power, it was fun to back it in and shoot out of the corners.

In stock form, the 1200X should make a fantastic standard for the street and have a little extra guts and better handling for when you want to act like a bit of a bastard. The engine has gotten 3X smoother than the XL I raced and the chassis is comfortable for long trips I you want. Trust me, I took a FXR to Alaska from Houston.

I had actually bought my last HD in 2000...a FXDX, still have it. I haven't considered another HD because they took away adjustable suspension. Now that it's back, I'm intrigued again. But there are other changes I need from them first before I lay down my cash. Weight loss is one of those things.
kpaul -The Great Motorcycle Prophet  July 6, 2010 12:15 PM
Why would you buy this bike when you can buy a Ducati Monster, Speed Triple etc.???? 2010 DUCATI Monster 1100 for $11950 2010 Triumph Speed Triple for $11299
Lenny -Roy  July 6, 2010 12:01 PM
I have ridden a sportster many times, have two friends who own them, and always can’t wait to get back on my bike after riding it. “Yes they are relatively heavy and lack the latest motogp techno wiz-bang” The sportsters don’t even have 1980s production bike technology let alone Moto Gp tech.

“Sportsters are very competent fun to ride STREET bikes”. No, a Speed Triple is a fun and competent street bike so is the Suzuki Bandit 1200S/1250S and a Ducati Monster. The sportster can’t even compare to these fun and competent street bikes on any level.

There is a gap between “racing” and “street riding”, it is called sport riding, blasting, wicking it up or what ever you want to call it. You don’t need a pro-license to do it but neither do any of the people driving their Corvettes and Porches. So to justify the XR1200’s short comings by saying it is a good “street bike”, which it is not, is just a lame, sympathetic, apologetic, excuse.

“You race HP but you ride torque” This is very true, so thankfully there are street bikes like the Speed triple, Monster, and Bandit that have torque AND hp.
unclewill -Gen X and Y  July 6, 2010 11:30 AM
The younger generations seem to understand HD culture better than the baby boomers, albeit with a new twist, if this is any indication:

kpaul -The Great Motorcycle Prophet  July 6, 2010 11:01 AM
lipstick on a pig. :) Seriously doubt they sell a hundred of these bikes. Buell gone Harley soon will follow. Gen X and Y say no to bikes like this or anything else Harley puts out. Aging Boomers are the only guys that will buy Harleys and doubt they will want this bike. Can't forgive Harley for getting rid of Buell especially after they finally hit their stride with the new 1190RR that bike would have been a market hit.
unclewill -I agree...  July 6, 2010 10:43 AM
...of all the HD offerings, the Sportster is the most fun. It has the HD character without semi-truck handling.
Roy -Yeah but have you ridden one  July 6, 2010 09:41 AM
I have owned and ridden a wide range of bikes from 916s and 1000rrs to sporsters to street singles over 40yrs. I have enjoyed the heck out of each in there place. It has been my experience that those slamming the sportster for the most part have never actually ridden one. Yes it is not a full on race bike but how many of you are full on racers? And if you are you have enough sense not to use your "sportbike's" capability on the street. Yes they are relatively heavy and lack the latest motogp techno wiz-bang but have you ridden one? The author knew this too but by riding found something he did not expect. You race HP but you ride torque. Sportsters are very competent fun to ride STREET bikes. If riding for you is racing on the street there is nothing I can tell you, but if entertaining non antisocial rideing has some appeal try one.
unclewill -About Buell  July 6, 2010 09:09 AM
Lest we forget that Buell was shuttered because nobody bought their bikes - the Japanese and Euros ate them alive and the company was a money pit for HD.
Vince XB -What it needs  July 6, 2010 08:23 AM
What the XR1200X really needs is a lighter frame, lower bars, better lean angle, maybe an exhaust that is hidden under the engine.... oh yeah, then it would be a Buell. Can't have that now, can we?
pedro gaspar -buell nostalgia  July 6, 2010 07:23 AM
still can´t find out why hd closed buell motorcycles. rotax engine said it all about bikes like these...
KK -UGh  July 6, 2010 06:16 AM
nice handle bars HArley, from the pics, it looks like the most uncomfortable thing to race at the track ever. For christ sakes, at least give it some clubman bars... i can agree it looks decent for a harley but it just still screams cruiser to me which instantly turns me off. Make it a proper street fighter, bad ass and modern
froryde -Variety?  July 6, 2010 04:02 AM
Variety is a good thing, but in this case it's an alternative choice for a overpriced ($12,000?!) but inferior product (580 lbs and has its goolies dragging everywhere?!). Honestly I like the way it looks (but please do away with the ridiculous colour references - 'Hot Denim white'?! Can anyone even try saying that without giggling like a girl [including the HD folks]? Seriously...), and I don't even mind that it's low on power, but charging a hefty premium for a overweight sled powered by an antiquated tractor engine (i.e. inferior product) is what's stopping people from reaching for their wallets. And if you think you need lots of power or the best performance bits to have fun, you should read this article: http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2010/06/motorcyclings-missing-link.html
gunther -not all is sportbike  July 6, 2010 01:13 AM
really no fan of HD, but at least this is one you can have fun on. Laptimes are irrelevant on the road, there are plemnty of sportbike riders who barely reach 30% of their bikes limit, so they might have more fun finding the limits on this thing, they actually might find them :)
vince -radial calipers  July 5, 2010 10:37 PM
Too bad HD didn't equip the bike with radial mount calipers. They would make the bike look modern for not much extra $
Morvegil -eh  July 5, 2010 10:01 PM
Its got a lot of SOUL..i rode one its nice. I probably wouldnt buy it unless i really fell in love with it or had extra cash
MItch -Market?  July 5, 2010 08:58 PM
It's an interesting concept/gimmick and it's nice to see H-D starting to come out of their comfort zone & develop performance related bikes on their own. I think there is a niche market for the XR with MOCO die hards and some collectors. However given it's price and limitations I don't see how this model is going to sell as many or more then some of the more popular Buell sport models did if that is their goal.
David -Why?  July 5, 2010 08:42 PM
When they had Buell adn canned it.. Why this bike. ????
They should have just keep Buell and made it a proper sportbike.
Why put lipstick on a pig. ????
Lenny -XR1200 makes no sense  July 5, 2010 08:20 PM
Variety is one thing HD has none of and this bike certainly has no spice. I agree with Irksome Triumph, Moto Guzzi, Aprilia that’s variety. The XR1200 is same-old-same-old different day with a few modern upgrades mixed in with out dated junk. It’s like hooking up a 30’’ LCD high resolution flat panel monitor to a 1980s Apple II C computer. Sure, what’s on the screen looks good but it will be slow, unreliable, out dated and quite frankly a stupid waste of money.

Why would you bother with a fully adjustable suspension and really good tires specifically made for the bike if you can’t lean the bike very much before hard parts start to grind off. It’s like having a Mustang GT500 with a 90 mph governor on it.

If the XR1200 didn’t weigh as much as a supersport bike AND its rider you may have not needed the upgrade to the brakes.

It is somewhat of a handsome looking bike…but there are plenty of bikes that look good AND perform well for less money so why would anyone buy this bike other than for posing. Who would you pose with? Harley riders think sportsters are a girl’s bike and real sport bike owners will leave you in their dust.
irksome -"Haterade"?  July 5, 2010 07:25 PM
HD deserves absolutely zero respect after killing off a TRULY modern American sportbike. Sorry Steve but after they pulled that stunt, I wouldn't even buy an old XLCR. Besides, I never really wanted to be a pirate as a kid. Variety? If I sell my '98 Speed Triple, maybe I'll look at a Guzzi. Or, at 52, maybe a 1700cc T-Bird. "Pretend to ride, ride to pretend."
Steve Atlas -Less Haterade Guys...  July 5, 2010 07:08 PM
Fellas... Variety is the spice of life. Enough with the hating on something just because it's not the lightest or makes the most horsepower. Like you I was a bit skeptical before riding the XR around the track but it surprised me and I bet it would surprise a lot of you. So keep an open mind and try new things. You might like what you find...
Mr T. -Embarrased  July 5, 2010 06:41 PM
How embarrassing. I sure hope no one else was at the track when you tested this thing. Boy, it sure would embarrass the hell out of me if anyone saw me riding that, especially with the full riding gear on. You would have looked much better with the full Harley pirate outfit and a do-rag instead of a helmet. I really can't believe you tested this thing at a real race track, wow what a joke I just can't stop laughing. If I bought one of these just who in the hell am I supposed to race against? Everything else will blow my ass off the street except maybe a few of the small scooters. My sons 650 Burgman scooter will spank this thing real good.
Frank_J. -I don't Believe It.  July 5, 2010 06:27 PM
Oh my God - get serious will you. Road testing a Harley at Road America - how dumb. This thing is a piece of 1960's tech at 2010 prices. It is a lame excuse for a motorcycle much less a "sport bike". I sure would hate to go up against a "real" sport bike with this toilet. Just pure over priced, over weight and out dated junk and even the moron Loud Pipes Saves Lives Harley crowd thinks this is a girly bike.
Morvegil -Huh  July 5, 2010 04:58 PM
How is the VROD dumb?
Gentleman Jon -Message from Planet Earth  July 5, 2010 04:02 PM
This latest "sport bike" from the Motor Company is just as silly as its predecessor, which hardly sold at all. This is the kind of bike that American Harley riders have no interest in: it will be a miracle if they sell another 750, because no riders of other brands want them either. What is very pathetic about this whole exercise is that Harley just killed off Buell, which made real Sport Bikes. In addition, they were in such an unseemly rush to get rid of the brand, that they sold them off for peanuts. As someone who owns a Buell, and a Harley FXDX, (and a Ducati), I am often amused by the sheer stupidity of the the Motor Company. This bike rivals the V-Rod for dumb.
Mr Bill -none  July 5, 2010 02:29 PM
"Slamming the footpegs onto the ground the third corner out of the pits was startling"
"Once really off the seat it kept the bike more upright and away from the solid and scary parts"

Boy, who wouldn't want to buy one of those? Not me!
b dunk -Funny  July 5, 2010 01:32 PM
What's wrong with Harley? How do they call this a "performance" bike? I guess frightening could be exiting. They need to put higher handle bars on it. They're idiots and think we are too.
telepicker -XL1200x  July 5, 2010 11:25 AM
Whaen will we see an actual "roadtest(?)" so far it's been nothing but H-D controlled track time. I appreciate that Harley has tried to give the Sportster a "performance edge", but why not test the bike in a real world enviroment? If Buell were still in existance they would have an XL powered sports bike.Although I'm sure the squids would still be lambasting that bike,too!
noale1 -1985?  July 5, 2010 09:37 AM
If todays date was July 5, 1985 may-be HD. but please quit insulting
Ck -lol  July 5, 2010 07:51 AM
Clutchless upshifts on a harley? lol Its a good street bike not a supersport with a quick shifter installed.

I am curious where everyone lives that always wants the power of a liter class sport bike. I respect them as great track bikes but on the roads around here usable low end torque matters more. To get the high end hit from first gear alone on a liter class sport bike would cause me to lose my DL if I got caught.
BRKNtibia -Different Standards  July 5, 2010 07:19 AM
I always get a chuckle over how reviewers seem to go out of their way to say something good about HD's. And they do the same to downplay their obvious deficiencies. If this were a Japenese machine you'd be blasting it and calling it the piece of crap that it is. Why the double standard?
Kirk66 -Pro MC insurance guy  July 5, 2010 06:43 AM
Here's my question for Harley? When do you put the Chromoly frame into place? If HD would build the frame like the frame of a Griso or Ducati (not a copy of the frame but the material used) then I might be in. I like the look, but the weight is insane. I'd pay the extra grand for 80lbs of shaved weight.
Mcguire -sewer rat  July 5, 2010 05:57 AM
You are right the Buell lightning is a better sports/competition package. At least they started putting the extra disc on the front wheel. These are nice looking bikes as Harleys usually are but still very overpriced and underpowered. With the long production runs Harley has had on their powerplants, parts for Harleys should be the cheapest of any brand. But that ain't so. If you think its because they are made over here you should know that labor is more expensive in Japan than the US, as is the cost of living. Considering you can get a CBR1000 honda for a little less than the Harley and there is absolutely no comparison performance wise between the two I just cannot see buying one.
Dr. Sprocket -Time for a diet...  July 5, 2010 03:20 AM
I just don't get the curb weight. My Buell makes more power AND more torque with roughly one hundred pounds less weight. C'mon, H-D!