2006 Exclusive: Harley-Davidson Destroyer

Harley-Davidson's latest CVO model makes 170 horsepower and reportedly gets into the 9s at the dragstrip. Too bad it's not street-legal

Harley-Davidson's press release says it all:
MILWAUKEE (July 23, 2005)--The thunder of wide-open exhausts and a cloud of tire smoke will announce the arrival of the VRXSE Screamin' Eagle V-Rod Destroyer, a 170-plus-horsepower, professional-level dragracing motorcycle designed exclusively for competition by Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations [CVO] and available to racers through Harley-Davidson dealers.

It's true. Harley-Davidson, creators of much that is custom and desirable in the two-wheeled world, is back in the racebike business after abandoning its VR1000 roadracer for good in 2001. This time, however, the bike in question is a dragracer, one based loosely on Milwaukee's own VRSCA V-Rod streetbike and packed to the rafters with high-performance engine and chassis parts. There's even a wheelie bar.

Designed specifically for competitive dragracing in a new All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) class to be introduced for the '06 season, the V-Rod Destroyer highlights a unique collaboration within Harley-Davidson itself. "The Screamin' Eagle Destroyer represents a synergy between CVO, Screamin' Eagle Pro Products and our involvement in dragracing from the professional to grass-roots levels," says Harley-Davidson racing manager Anne Paluso. "It's the radical twin to the street-custom Screamin' Eagle V-Rod, a turnkey bike tuned to make 9.5-second quarter-mile runs in the hands of a pro-level rider." According to H-D, only 150 examples will be built, with delivery scheduled for late '05 at a price somewhere in the mid-to-high $30s. That's thirty thousands.

The liquid-cooled Destroyer engine displaces 1300cc (or 79 cubic inches) via 105mm bore and 75mm stroke numbers. Forged pistons offer high compression (14.5:1) while high-flow cylinder heads featuring special valves and springs (designed to work with radical high-lift cams) dramatically increase flow.

A 2-into-1 ceramic-coated exhaust handles the burned mixture provided by 58mm throttle bodies, while an MTC slipper clutch and electric/air shifter help harness the bike's power through a specially built transmission. Final drive is via the same chain powering Andrew Hines' championship-winning Pro Stock racer, while sprockets are designed to simplify trackside gearing changes. Peak power of more than 170 rear-wheel horsepower is reportedly produced at 9700 rpm.

Chassis tricks are just as numerous, including a custom swingarm, solid rear struts, a steering damper, a wheelie bar and a massive 7-inch-wide Dunlop rear slick. Brakes are via a single disc up front, while brake and clutch lines are braided steel. RC Components builds the wheels, a 3.0 x 18-incher up front and a massive 7.0 x 25-incher in back. Rider-oriented features include a mini instrument panel, race-position risers and a drag handlebar with controls that include an emergency shut-off tether and a programmable shift light. The Destroyer will come with a Screamin' Eagle race tuner and is data-acquisition capable.

Interestingly, Harley says the Screamin' Eagle Destroyer's "final design" was completed with input from Matt Hines, crew chief for the NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion Screamin' Eagle/Vance and Hines team.

We expect to have a full report of the Destroyer and its point-and-shoot abilities in an upcoming issue. We're just hoping the thing doesn't destroy us in the process.