Harley Davidson XR1200 Unveiled for North America

Harley Davidson XR1200 LaunchThe North American debut of the new Harley Davidson XR1200 motorcycle was featured at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA, on December 5, 2008.

The all-new Harley Davidson XR1200 had its world debut in Europe earlier in 2008.

I took the bike out for a test ride and found the upright ergonomics comfortable, and was impressed with the low-end response.

This is a “performance” bike – at least for Harley – although it is not to be compared with any modern sport bike from any other manufacturer: Harley is positioning the XR1200 in the “standard” category of motorbikes, which is a fair placement.

The XR1200 is a unique machine for the Motor Company in two distinct ways:

  • It is not a cruiser
  • It is the first bike in Harley’s history (over 100 years) that has not been launched on US soil.

The XR1200 design is based on Harley’s famous XR750 racing bike manufactured in the 70’s and 80’s where it was a prominent figure in dirt-track competitions (and still is to this day).

I like the bike, although I would like it even better as a smaller and lighter machine, with a 750 motor: not to emulate its race-bike heritage, but simply as an around-town playbike without any pretensions of being performance oriented – since there are other manufacturers and machines that fulfill that need more aptly.

I agree with the assessment of Harley’s Paul James, that this is a “fun” bike.

Further to that, Paul says sales are doing well for HD in Europe and the initial pre-sales of the bike in the United States indicate success here at home. North American MSRP for the XR1200 is $10,799. This is a great addition to the Harley lineup and presuming it does well here in the US, it could signal a new direction of expansion for the Motor Company.

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