With competition from Indian heating up, Harley-Davidson has ramped up promotion for its new XG750R flat track bike, starting by announcing its factory flat track team this weekend.
Harley-Davidson issued a press release this week playing up the XG750R’s connection to the production Street 750. For instance:
“With a custom chassis purpose-built for flat track racing, the XG750R flat tracker is powered by a race-modified, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 750cc Revolution X V-Twin engine originally engineered for the Harley-Davidson Street 750, a motorcycle designed for maximum urban maneuverability with rebellious Dark Custom attitude.”
Follow that up with:
“Unlike our competitors, we are going flat track racing behind an American-made production engine …The XG750R is a purebred racing motorcycle, but its modified engine is based on the same Revolution X V-Twin anyone can buy from a Harley-Davidson dealer in a Street 750 motorcycle, an engine designed by Harley-Davidson engineers and assembled at Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations in Kansas City. There’s a direct link from the Street 750 to the XG750R flat tracker the Factory Team will be racing for a championship, and that link is our passion for performance.”
That last paragraph is a direct shot at Indian, whose FTR750 flat tracker uses a purpose-built liquid-cooled 750 cc V-twin; overall, that bike bears very little resemblance to any factory Indian model.
But realistically speaking, the new Harley-Davidson flat tracker likely won’t bear much resemblance to the Street 750 either. The frame will be different, the suspension will be different, and the bodywork will be different. Even the engine will be highly modified.
In other words, it won’t be much different from the XR750, the bike it’s replacing, in spirit. The XR750 dominated at flat track racing for decades, and the engine traced its roots to a production bike (the old 900 cc XLR Sportster model). However, the XR750’s technology never really trickled down to street level, and Harley-Davidson missed its chance to put all that R&D to good use in consumer sales. That frame, that engine — none of it did the average Harley rider much good.
This time around, the future might depend on Indian. If the FTR750 results in a street-legal model, Harley-Davidson might follow suit. We’ll see.
What we do know is, Harley-Davidson’s factory flat track team will race the new bike at 18 events in the national championship next year, and that team will be unveiled at 2:44 PM during ESPN’s X Games broadcast on Saturday, January 28.