American Flat track racing is dominated by Harley. It's success is of limited relevance to road bikes though
October 11, 2006 In an intriguing move, Harley-Davidson will use Europe’s premiere motorcycle show, Intermot in Germany, for the world premiere of the XR 1200 prototype motorcycle. As visually appealing as the bike may be, it is styled on an American-only racing motorcycle, the XR 750 dirt tracker, and is debuting in order to “gauge media and public reaction to a new kind of Harley-Davidson, with an emphasis on performance, handling and sporting style.” Though the XR 1200’s 85-90 bhp is hardly a “sporting” output (and would see it blown into the weeds by any self-respecting 600 class bike), the company is touting exceptional handling characteristics as its strength so we’ll reserve judgement for now. It will be interesting to see how Europeans respond to the decision to base the styling on a racing heritage that will mean nothing to most of them. Finally, amongst the PR for the XR1200 was the claim that the bike is based on “the most successful racing machine in the history of motorcycle sport.” It might be true in terms of outright wins (though nearly all of those wins were in homeland race series where the rules were sculpted), but if you’re going to make claims like that, don’t you need to back them up with numbers?