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Old 02-07-2009, 08:52 AM   #11
mscuddy
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Great shoot-out. Like that Harley. Youse guys can put together an excellent bunch of words. Dig the right side case on the XR, should have a shifter sticking out of it though...
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by longride View Post
"I've been a little critical of the XR; calling it a "warmed over Sportster," .."


And you were correct. Harley could have done so much better with this bike. A serious diet along with more oomph would have gotten my interest. I saw one at the dealer last week. I stand unimpressed. International Motorcycle Show is today, so I can go drool and see what I want for this year. Time for a new bike I think. Screw the recession.
This test only cements my belief that one would be better served doing a performance job on an 883 than buying the XR1200 porker. The change to 17" rear is definitely a plus and it's good they hopped the engine a bit, but that weight issue is ridiculous. They weigh more than the originals now. Progress, I guess. Like the Bonnevilles.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:17 AM   #13
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I (predictably) like the XR1200. I wonder why they used Nissen calipers instead of the Brembos they're using on touring models and Vrods? probably would have made a difference, At any rate I'd take the Sporty. I'm 6'1 and doing the sit-n-bounce at the IMS I found it a near perfect seating position, how that works in a dynamic setting remains to be seen but the initial feel was just right. Over all I think it's a definate step in the right direction and I'd love to have one. A set of decent rear shocks shouldn't be too hard to find and springs and spacers or playing with the fork oil can dial the front end in if needed. I think Harley did a good job, it's on the short list..
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Kenneth_Moore View Post
This is an excellent article! You found the perfect pair of bikes to compare; yet it's a comparo that never crossed my mind!

Any chance of some performance numbers aside from the dyno charts? We can see the HD holds it's own on the charts, but what does that 130 lbs. mean on the street; the 0-60 and 1/4 mile department? Hopefully the HD isn't totally outclassed..
Without the time or the budget for doing our own performance testing, I can provide only a guess. The longer wheelbase of the XR would allow a harder launch than the Duc, so it would probably be the 0-30-mph champ. By 60 mph, the Duc would've caught up thanks to its lighter weight and slight hp advantage. By the end of the quarter-mile, the Duc would be far ahead.

Sport Rider says the Duc will do the quarter in 11.46 seconds. Cycle World says the XR does it in 12.42. Different magazines and different riders, but it gives you some idea...

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Old 02-07-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by sarnali2 View Post
I (predictably) like the XR1200. I wonder why they used Nissen calipers instead of the Brembos they're using on touring models and Vrods? probably would have made a difference,
Ain't nothin' wrong with the XR's brakes, especially considering the bike's weight. They are plenty strong.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:33 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Buzglyd View Post
The air-cooled Ducati motor is a gem.

It would have been interesting to compare the Buell as well, but that's been done already and the Sporty is the new kid on the block. Plus, I think the tone of the article was iconic motorcycles and both of these meet that description.

I would have helped out on this test for half a carne asada burrito.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:54 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke View Post
Without the time or the budget for doing our own performance testing, I can provide only a guess. The longer wheelbase of the XR would allow a harder launch than the Duc, so it would probably be the 0-30-mph champ. By 60 mph, the Duc would've caught up thanks to its lighter weight and slight hp advantage. By the end of the quarter-mile, the Duc would be far ahead.

Sport Rider says the Duc will do the quarter in 11.46 seconds. Cycle World says the XR does it in 12.42. Different magazines and different riders, but it gives you some idea...
As long as you get to humiliate virtually every cage on the road, who cares.

Stronger low end torque makes for easier launches as well which is really the most important factor in good 1/4 mile times. Pro riders can get excellent times in these tests but the average rider in my experience never practices enough to get really good launches.
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:11 PM   #18
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But why oh why can't they get the weight down on the XR? Some classic link to the past where "It's heavy so it rides like a Caddy." The Sportster motor weighs what, around 130 lbs? If Harley wanted, thay could have copied any number of aftermarket frame designs for flat track, and come up wtih a bike that weighed around four hunderd pounds, and handled better than the Duc. Looked the part too (single injector excepted). I guess an erstatz XR is better than no XR at all...

Just shows flash over function is alive and well at HD, and no one there is really serious about making something never seen before, an excellent handling, competitive street-tracker Sportster right out of the box.

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Old 02-07-2009, 01:39 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mscuddy View Post
The Sportster motor weighs what, around 130 lbs? If Harley wanted, thay could have copied any number of aftermarket frame designs for flat track, and come up wtih a bike that weighed around four hunderd pounds, and handled better than the Duc.
Just cuz a racebike XL might possibly be around 400 lbs doesn't mean a street-legal one can be built by an OEM that meets EPA/DOT emissions regs. And just cuz a flat-tracker might be that light doesn't mean it would go around corners like the Duc. Those little frame tubes would allow plenty of flex in road conditions.

Some weight could be saved by doing away with the rubber engine mounts, but then the thing would be a paint shaker.

Also, I'd bet the Sporty motor weighs more than 130.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:58 PM   #20
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From the 11/08 Motor Snycylist comparo of the XR to the KTM SuperDuke: XR 1/4 mile:12.28@107.8 mph. The Sportster's torque curve isn't a curve, it's a tabletop. Which is probably because 1/2 the 130 lbs weight penalty the XR carries is in it's crank and flywheels.

I could pay for this if I put a pizza delivery box on the pillion:
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