We applaud Harley-Davidson's effort to honor its proud dirt-track heritage with the XR1200. After all, is there any American motorcycle more iconic than the XR750? That said, when we first heard The Motor Company was building its sportiest Sportster yet, we hoped it would follow in the tire tracks of its original superbike: the 1977 XLCR Café Racer.
It's doubtful Harley will ever bring back the XLCR. Too sporty for their traditional buyers and too heavy and slow for anyone else, the jet-black XLCR was one of the company's worst-selling models ever. Memories are long in Milwaukee, and no one at Juneau Avenue wants to take that risk again. But if you're handy with hand tools (and resourceful enough to import the parts from overseas), French aftermarket company Jewel Racer makes a cosmetic kit to transform an XR1200 into an XLCR.
Consisting of the correct quarter-fairing, fuel tank cover, solo tail and low-rise, drag-style handlebar, Jewel's $2200 café kit includes all necessary hardware and installs in an afternoon. The fiberglass bodywork comes with a black gelcoat that's ready to paint, though badges or emblems (available at your local house of Harley) are up to you. Jewel Racer's products aren't currently imported to the U.S., so you'll have to order the parts directly from the manufacturer (www.jewel-racer.com) or through the company's UK distributor, Adrenalin Moto (www.adrenalinmoto.co.uk).
Couple one of these body kits with a Vance & Hines XR1200 race kit and you'd have the makings of a real Harley-Davidson sportbike!