2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200 Sportster

Street-tracker on sale in the USA!

Photography by Brian Blades

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200 Sportster

It seemed criminal that the European market should get a motorcycle so bare-knuckled American as the XR1200 Sportster before we did. And we weren't even sure we'd get the bike over here at all! Yep, the XR1200 street-tracker was, according to Harley, "conceived by and for the European market." So we thought we might have to move to France get one!

But H-D has come to its senses and taken the plunge by putting the XR1200 on sale stateside. It's made 750 bikes available to its dealers on a pre-order basis, so that those dealers—with multiple customers who were willing to put money down—could get all the bikes they wanted. And so far, with just a "whisper campaign" to spread the word, the bikes have definitely been wanted and are selling at a good clip. More units should be available in late January, says Harley, with the Vivid Black version selling for $10,799. Pewter Denim or Mirage Orange Pearl are $11,079.

But putting the bike on sale here wasn't an easy decision. "Every time H-D has stepped out of 'This is what an H-D looks like' box, going back as far as XLCR Café Racer, XR1000 and even the more recent V-Rod Street Rod, the company has been rewarded with lackluster customer response," said an insider. "So there is a deserved amount of skepticism about a more sporting Harley. There was a lot of internal hand-wringing about whether the bike had a home here in the U.S. or not. But the response we got—especially from the Cycle World road test (August, 2008)—was the tipping point to sell the bike in the U.S., and it actually got us to release it a little early."

The XR1200 makes its American debut at the Long Beach, California, stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show, December 5–7.

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200

2009 Harley-Davidson XR1200