The Harley-Davidson XR1200R’s riding position is upright but comfortably neutral and the steering is sweet and true (helped by decent Dunlops and the fact that all that weight is carried low).
The suspension is set firm and the ride is purposeful rather than classy (the forks and shock may be sporting but they’re by no means sophisticated).
The Harley-Davidson XR1200R’s engine is a familiar pushrod V-twin based on that of XL1200 Sportster but with high compression 10.0:1 pistons a raised rev ceiling of 7000rpm, an all-new downdraught electronic sequential port fuel injection system and an upswept, high volume 2:1:2 exhausts.
The result is 90bhp and 74ftlbs, compared to the Sportster’s 60-odd, and although suffering slightly from a slack throttle at low revs, it is, in the midrange up to the 7000rpm redline, brisk enough for an old school V-twin with a certain hunger to be thrashed.
For a Harley-Davidson, the XR1200R has simply horrid build quality and detailing. With a Ducati Sport Classic you can lose yourself for hours in the garage just gazing and admiring the detailing and quality.
With the XR1200 the opposite is true. There’s little to admire and the more you look the more you find that offends. It’s as if it was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The pegs, sidestand and exhaust bracket look like offcuts from a shipyard.
The cable and wiring routing is, to be blunt, appalling and only Harley could make a new, lightweight aluminium swing arm or wheels look so heavy. Harley have been building the Sportster engine for an age now and the motor is bulletproof. They even had a one-make race series using completely standard engines!
Used prices have steadily been climbing for the last three years. They are rare on the used market and as a result a tatty one will go for £6000 and minters can go for close to £10,000.
Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
As it’s inspired by a racing bike, the XR750 flat tracker, it’s no real surprise that Harley-Davidson’s XR1200R road version is pretty basic, too. Clocks are a slightly disappointing standard Harley fare tacho with a fairly tacky LCD speedo tacked on the side.
Switchgear is Harley’s usual, bulky cruiser stuff, complete with oddball separate-switch-on each-bar indicators. The mirrors are crude and barely passable, there’s a grab strap but no rail for pillions and the much trumpeted aircraft fuel filler was probably from a Sopwith Camel rather than a stealth fighter. Otherwise, that’s yer lot.