Motorcycle: Sportsters - XR1000 Sportster, 1983 - 1984
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 22:54:53 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
XR1000 Sportster, 1983 - 1984
Unveiled at Daytona in March 1983, the XR1000 was the closest Harley-Davidson fans would ever get to a road-going XR racer. Even this far on, it's still many people's idea of the ultimate Harley Sportster. This should have come as no surprise because the big XR roadster was designed (and the prototype built) in the official factory race shop under the direction of Dick O'Brien. The 1000 could scarcely have enjoyed a better pedigree - O'Brien had managed Harley-Davidson's racing efforts since 1957 and overseen every moment of the XR750's career. Fittingly, O'Brien retired in the same year as the XR1000 roadster was released, making it an appropriately snarling swansong.
The $6,995 1000 wasn't quite a big-bore factory racer with lights but it was pretty special all the same. The engine employed a normal Sportster bottom end capped by special cylinder ban-els, heads, fuel and exhaust systems. The aluminium heads were based on those of the racing XR, each reputedly shipped to Los Angeles to be ported and polished by legendary tuner. Jerry Branch (although it's likely that Branch simply oversaw the work, since a total of 1,777 XR 1000s were built).
Induction was in the capable hands of twin 1 1/2 in (36mm) Dell'Orto carburettors with accelerator pumps, each breathing through huge, free-flowing K&N air filters stacked, flat-Irack slyle, on tlie engine's right side. Although stock Sportster camshafts were employed, valve-lash was adjusted by racer-style eccentric rocker shafts. The push-rods, too, were special lightweight alloy components. Lumpy pistons gave a 9:1 compression ratio. Paired high-level black megaphone exhausts growled back along the machine's left side. This bespoke engine was red-lined at 6,200rpm but there was no earthly need to spin it that high, since the spread of power was immense. Peak power — a claimed 70bhp — arrived at 5,600rpm but the engine pulled strongly from as few as 2,000rpm. Maximum torque was 48 lb/ft (65Nm) at just 4,400rpm. The speedometer was calibrated only to 110 mph (177kph), a figure a good XR could reach comfortably. With optional performance kits offering more than 90bhp, the sky was almost the limit.
In truth, the XR's chassis was far less impressive than its engine. The frame and running gear were based on the XLX61, which was also new for 1983, with a nine-spoke, cast 19in (483mm) front wheel and 16in (406mm) rear. Rear suspension was in the hands of twin shock absorbers of no great quality, adjustable only for spring pre-load. Travel was quite short and the action harsh, making the XR nervous when ridden hard on bumpy surfaces. The brakes, however — twin 11 1/2 in (292mm) front discs — were surely the best Harley-Davidson had put on any roadster model up to that time and improved even further for 1984. During the model's second year, it was offered with optional black and orange "factory" racing paintwork as well as the original steel grey. This seemed to be a suitably fitting livery for such a great machine. The XR1000's reign as the ultimate sporting Harley-Davidson ever to have been produced by Milwaukee came to an end when production of this model ceased in 1984.
Engine: oliv V-twin
Weight: 487 lbs (221kg)
Wheelbase: 59.3in (1,505mm)
Top speed: 115 mph (185kph)
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