Those who are fortunate enough to have a Ferrari, Lamborghini or something similar, have something in common – that they tend to drive very slowly. No, they’re not being civil – it’s just that they want passers-by to envy them, and the women to look at them. Harley-Davidson XR1200 riders should be in the same league…
In some ways, the XR1200, with its 91bhp air-cooled v-twin, five-speed gearbox, double-cradle steel tube chassis and twin rear shock absorbers, is quite basic. Style-wise, the XR1200 pays homage to Harley’s XR750 flat-tracker, which was successfully raced by greats like Jay Springsteen and Scott Parker. But an imposing presence is not where it ends – it seems the XR1200 engineers eat at the same cafeteria as the Buell guys, and that is reflected in how the bike performs.
Open the throttle at low revs, and the XR1200 bellows – you love the way this bike sounds. And while it makes music, this ‘Lara Croft on two wheels’ also accelerates hard. Sure, the engine vibrates a bit when you rev it hard, but it never gets annoying…
Riding the XR1200 through the mountains of Madrid, we found that the bike has reasonable cornering clearance. Be careful in fast right-handers though – you may ground out the exhaust pipes hard enough to lever the front wheel off the ground, which could be dangerous! Acceleration out of corners is steady and builds up strongly – you enjoy riding this bike in the twisties.
Traction is good and the XR1200 is quite agile, changing direction quickly and without any fuss. The high centre-of-gravity, wide handlebars, the weight distribution and the riding position itself all combine to make the bike easy to maneouver at high speeds. Overall, performance is quite all right – the 152-kilo XR1200 accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds, and hits a top speed of 193km/h.
The bike is available in black, gray and orange, and we’d take the last colour option. For 11,200 euros (about US$17,500), the XR1200 is just brilliant. Just remember to ride slowly to collect all those admiring glances!
Aussie stunt rider Kain Saul backflips an XR1200!