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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone see this article?

    Opinion: Why Harley Should Bring Back The XR1200










    [COLOR=var(--post-date-color)]OCT 02, 2019 at 1:14PM

    23+






    [COLOR=var(--black-color)]By: Sabrina Giacomini[/COLOR]




    To each their own and this one's definitely my own.

    Last week, I got the chance to visit a new and used motorcycle dealer outside of Toronto for work purposes. The shop mainly sells used Harley-Davidsons, so of course, walking in was like stepping into a sea of Roads, and Electras, and Kings of all ages and sizes. Among the impressive collection of bikes, I laid eyes on what I thought was a really neat-looking bike. I had to do a double-take because the bike I was looking at was a Harley. While I respect people’s opinion of the brand, I can't say I've ever caught myself looking over my shoulder at a passing Harley. So that was a new feeling for me. Me? Eyeing a Harley? I walked up to it. It turns out I was looking at a 2008 Harley-Davidson XR1200. It all made sense.
    Just Harley Stuff:

    First Ride: 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
    Ask RideApart: Where Do Harley's Trikes Come From?

    I knew the XR1200 has a chapter in Harley's history book, based on its successful flat-track racer, the XR750. It was the first time, however, that I got to see one in person. My lack of enthusiasm for the brand means I don’t usually hang out where Harleys abound. Although the model I saw on the floor was a 2008 model, it hadn’t aged at all. The company could decide tomorrow morning to bring it back unchanged and it would perfectly fit with today’s aesthetics.
    The model was formally introduced in 2008 in Europe—the market for this sportier-than usual Shield-branded bike. It landed in US dealers a year later in 2009. Despite favorable feedback from test riders, the sales didn’t meet the expectations which lead the company to discontinue it in 2013.

    https://cdn.motor1.com/images/mgl/MQ...son-xr1200.jpg 2x" srcset="https://cdn.motor1.com/images/mgl/MQL0p/s1/harley-davidson-xr1200.jpg 1x,https://cdn.motor1.com/images/mgl/MQ...son-xr1200.jpg 2x">
    I totally dig the whole flat-track aesthetic.
    Looking back at that move from a 2019 perspective seems ludicrous—think of how popular it could be today. I think the XR1200 simply suffered from a similar illness to the Pontiac Aztec or the Nissan Cube called "being ahead of its time". A decade ago, Harley-Davidson didn't have to deal with the same "aging demographic" issues as it does today—or at least, it didn’t express the same concerns about it at the time. It lazily surfed its wave of tranquility, propelled by its legacy and its clients' loyalty, perfectly content with its following of devout Orange and Black-clad enthusiasts.
    The Sportster XR1200 was a departure from what the public was used to see from the brand and possibly wasn't ready for it. I have a feeling the marketing for it didn’t do it justice either—especially not in Europe where the price was set at €9,495 or roughly $14,675 in 2008 moneys. When it launched in the US, a more reasonable $10,799 price tag was attached to the bike, which represents a value of $12,900 in today’s market. Oh, the perks of local production! It wasn't enough to encourage customers to take them home, however, and after only four years, the model got axed.

    ... But What About Today?

    Fast-forward half a decade and the company's tune has dramatically changed. It's finally facing the reality of an aging customer base and is making strategic moves to try and rejuvenate its image. While I have nothing against the Harley scooters, pushbikes, the Pan America, or even the Streetfighter, deep down, none of these H-D “innovations” feel all that special. What I know is that if Harley decided to reintroduce a modern-day XR, that’s the bike that would have the biggest potential of turning me into a new-generation Harlista.
    Yes, adventure bikes and naked sportbikes represent important shares of the market, important enough for Harley to depart from its usual lines to try something new but what Harley is bringing to the table for 2020 has yet to rile me up. The Streetfighter isn’t bad looking, but its silhouette is one we’re oh-so-familiar with (Diavel anyone?). And while I’m a self-proclaimed Adventurista (can I say that?), the Pan America hurts my eyes. That Robocop headlight and square 80s’ silhouette already look outdated to me. (Edit: Director Jason strongly disagrees with my statement about the Pan America; he does have a thing for square headlights. That's the beauty of having "opinion" in the title: my opinion, my rules.)
    If the excitement surrounding the launch of the Indian FTR1200 is any indication, people are ready for a model along the lines of the XR1200 to come back. Not only is flat-track racing compiling the best audience numbers it’s seen in ages, but tall, all-purpose bikes are gaining popularity and fast. In fact, while many companies are facing declining sales, Indian posted positive global numbers for 2019’s Q2 which it attributes partly to the market’s interest in the FTR.
    Harley already has an entire collection of modernized V-twins, it wouldn't take much work to tune one up for a sportier application and fit it on the XR. The bike still looks really good and doesn't need any major updates to be relevant and exciting by today's standards.
    I’m surprised this isn’t part of Harley’s master plan—at least not the one the company announced last year. Maybe in a dark office, somewhere in Milwaukee, there’s a team already working on a new-generation XR. While I’m here hoping the brand does something with what I think is a golden goose, maybe I’ll have to go back to the dealer to take that orange 2008 XR1200 out for a spin...
    Sources: Biltwell, Motorcycle News, Cycle World, Top Speed




    [/COLOR]

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  3. #2
    Habitual Linestepper
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Yeah, I saw it this morning on my thread! Always nice to get a shout out on a bike you own.

  4. #3
    I got no friends 'cause they read the papers, they can't be seen, with me.........
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Saw it yesterday, MadDog posted it in FB. Interesting read.
    Forecast for Tonioght: ALCOHOL,
    Low Standards and Poor Decisions

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  6. #4
    Whistling Dixie!
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Awww HAIL naw!!! They don't need to make these bikes again. I am counting on this thing to skyrocket up in price by orders of magnitude so that when I get old I can sell it to retire on!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    You know my friend, i thought that would happen with the Buell and i haven't figured out why they haven't appreciated in value, any ideas on that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sadwingsragn View Post
    Awww HAIL naw!!! They don't need to make these bikes again. I am counting on this thing to skyrocket up in price by orders of magnitude so that when I get old I can sell it to retire on!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Funny when they came out I didn't care for them as they didn't strike me as similar to the XR 750. Then a couple years later I was actively searching for one. I agree with Sadwingsragn I don't want it to come back as I like the exculsivity of mine. Sadly I don't see them becoming highly appriciable assests. But I sure can hope.

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    I'd buy a new one in a heartbeat, as long as they made a few improvements i.e. little less weight, little more power (15-20hp) and maybe a little more fuel capacity.

  10. #8
    Whistling Dixie!
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Jarvis View Post
    I'd buy a new one in a heartbeat, as long as they made a few improvements i.e. little less weight, little more power (15-20hp) and maybe a little more fuel capacity.
    Just drop 20k in suspension, lightweight aftermarket parts, and engine work on her and voila!!!

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  11. #9
    Whistling Dixie!
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Quote Originally Posted by dj121 View Post
    You know my friend, i thought that would happen with the Buell and i haven't figured out why they haven't appreciated in value, any ideas on that?
    The Buell isn't a Harley and just like any other sport bike that isn't/wasn't insanely expensive to begin with that class of bike gets to the point of being able to trade someone a Happy meal for it as long as you up size to large fries. The XR,,, I predict that when they get around the 20 to 25 year old mark the price will start to climb and the ones with all the right aftermarket parts made from pure Unobtanium will command considerably more.

    I hope...

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  12. #10
    But I really mostly enjoy the shouting
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Occasionally I will run across an ad for one of the Harleys that "nobody wanted" when they came out, but certainly caught my eye when they did, i.e. the 77-79 XLCR and the 83-84 XR1000. They did have their glitches - vibration and oil leaks from the XLCR, funky asymmetrical handling, tiny tank, and (Hmm, somebody's having a BBQ...Oh, crap my left leg!!) high pipe heat from the XR.

    Can't touch either one now for under 20K, unless it is a fixer-upper (money pit eventually costing you 20K anyway). So yes I believe our XR1200s will sooner or later appreciate. I'm sure you all know how much positive attention they draw, and I read more than one article before getting mine that said "If you find a good one, buy it before collectors snap them all up!"

    I plan on keeping mine a loooong time, with no plans to ever sell. Will I eventually reach that sad and hopefully distant day where I finally decide I can no longer safely ride? Yes, it will probably be worth several times what I paid if I do sell it, but what if I am like that stubborn skier (I once was and probably will always be) that insists on "..just one more run"..?

    I just love riding and always will. It is entirely possible that my last ride will be...my Last Ride..

    Okay Mike, step away from the computer...go outside and play..

  13. #11
    Whistling Dixie!
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clunderthoud View Post
    I just love riding and always will. It is entirely possible that my last ride will be...my Last Ride..
    Aye-freaking-men!

    The thought of passing a squid on the inside of the last turn before the turn-in at Deals Gap and slumping dead onto the tank after putting the kickstand down with a grin that couldn't be wiped off with a Brillo pad is rather an appealing thought on how to go out.

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  14. #12
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    First, let me say i am an XR1200 owner and love my XR , but i took an indian FTR 1200 for a ride and was amazed at how light it felt, how powerfull it was and how good the brakes are. Sorry HD but these indians are amazing. Les.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    I rode an XLCR first time around.

    What can I say? A cynical underdeveloped marketing exercise. It was a dog, and showed a total commitment to form over function. Once the Sportster lost its vibes, things like the 1200R and even the 883R were fine competitors for Triumph's, in its earlier days, underwhelming retro Bonneville. Even now, I encounter guys who see my XR and say 'had I known this existed, I'd have bought one'. But at the time anything with the name Harley just didn't register with guys who liked to go round corners.

    But by then, Harley was so entrenched in it's tasseled lifestylefest that somehow it missed, in my view, a whole potential customer base. The XR, and I love mine to bits, was too little, too late, and particularly in its first incarnation, too compromised by component choice.

  16. #14
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Quote Originally Posted by Les Duncan View Post
    First, let me say i am an XR1200 owner and love my XR , but i took an indian FTR 1200 for a ride and was amazed at how light it felt, how powerfull it was and how good the brakes are. Sorry HD but these indians are amazing. Les.

    I was just recently nudging my 22 yo son that we need to get up to the local Indian dealer to ck out the FTR .
    The weight is the most important edge for me . Of course more power is always a good thing too .

    The dealer is snotty and they leave me uncomfortable with the thought of buying from them though .
    Feels more like a Macy's than a motorsickle dealership .

    Guess they deal all day long with upper bracket weekend riders buying 30K cruisers .......


    George
    I wasn't born in Georgia , but I got here as fast as I could !

    2010 XR in BLACK , with Supertrapp , V&H fuelpak , X shocks , Biltwell Tracker bar , Oberon bar-ends . Sargent seat .

  17. #15
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    My 'local' Harley agent (60 miles away), recently gave up Harley to become an Indian dealer. He still sells Harley spares, but admitted they were going downhill too fast to survive. Nice down to earth guys, I'd buy from them.

  18. #16
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    I love my XR. It is a great bike for me and I intend keeping it for a host of reasons, not the least of which it just makes me happy. But HD should not re-release a ten year old bike (which is really just a modified twenty year old bike). People want more. Look at the 2020 Street Triple RS. It weighs 150 lbs less, has 40 more horse power, brembo M50s, TFT dash, riding modes, quality controls, etc. etc.. That's a modern roadster.

    Maybe a modern XR with such specifications is not possible. Maybe for a HD, quality/safety/longevity/touring/and general riding require a beefier motor and frame. Still if they could just split the difference, make an XR weighing 475 lbs with 100 HP, they would be on to something. The style is definitely a winner. They don't need to change that at all.

  19. #17
    But I really mostly enjoy the shouting
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
    I love my XR. It is a great bike for me and I intend keeping it for a host of reasons, not the least of which it just makes me happy. But HD should not re-release a ten year old bike (which is really just a modified twenty year old bike). People want more. Look at the 2020 Street Triple RS. It weighs 150 lbs less, has 40 more horse power, brembo M50s, TFT dash, riding modes, quality controls, etc. etc.. That's a modern roadster.

    Maybe a modern XR with such specifications is not possible. Maybe for a HD, quality/safety/longevity/touring/and general riding require a beefier motor and frame. Still if they could just split the difference, make an XR weighing 475 lbs with 100 HP, they would be on to something. The style is definitely a winner. They don't need to change that at all.
    I think you've got something there. I love my XR but if Harley had instead hotted up an 883 version, it may just have had those numbers and perhaps they would have sold more.

  20. #18
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Great to be reading some honest feedback here for a change instead of koolaid bs.
    Its a major factor why HD did not keep up with competitors models if ppl buy HD even if its served as a shit sandwich. Its not too hard to make a frame from aluminium instead of old Texas Oil drill rods, a 6 speed gearbox, suspension setup with better rated springs and 100hp std is very easy.
    I always wonder what it was that stopped progress to meet global customers expectations

  21. #19
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    Perhaps so, i was just looking at it from the standpoint of a one-off American sportbike with a Harley powerplant. However, as you said, ultimately the Harley brand will carry the day and appreciate in value, and i think you're right, once they become more rare and bikes of the day become more futuristic-looking and angular, i think they'll go for a lot of money.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sadwingsragn View Post
    The Buell isn't a Harley and just like any other sport bike that isn't/wasn't insanely expensive to begin with that class of bike gets to the point of being able to trade someone a Happy meal for it as long as you up size to large fries. The XR,,, I predict that when they get around the 20 to 25 year old mark the price will start to climb and the ones with all the right aftermarket parts made from pure Unobtanium will command considerably more.

    I hope...

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk

  22. #20
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    Default Re: Anyone see this article?

    I too agree with you, it was very Harley-esque and foolish to make a bike that had no adjustable suspension, not enough horsepower. Buell had laid out the template for them in terms of the motor and components, and the XR is a more beautiful than the Buell, but just too heavy as you said. I went and looked at the FTR and it looked as though Indian used the XR as a starting point and just improved it. The components and the build look high quality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
    I love my XR. It is a great bike for me and I intend keeping it for a host of reasons, not the least of which it just makes me happy. But HD should not re-release a ten year old bike (which is really just a modified twenty year old bike). People want more. Look at the 2020 Street Triple RS. It weighs 150 lbs less, has 40 more horse power, brembo M50s, TFT dash, riding modes, quality controls, etc. etc.. That's a modern roadster.

    Maybe a modern XR with such specifications is not possible. Maybe for a HD, quality/safety/longevity/touring/and general riding require a beefier motor and frame. Still if they could just split the difference, make an XR weighing 475 lbs with 100 HP, they would be on to something. The style is definitely a winner. They don't need to change that at all.

 

 
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