If you read the boss’ first ride of the Harley-Davidson XR1200, you know he liked it. And what’s not to like? It looks great, has acceptable handling, and has plenty of smooth, reliable, classic Harley power.
Well, I’ve spent a few weeks tooling around on one of the big orange bikes, and while I also liked it a lot, I found it too heavy for the sort of ill-advised backroad antics I sometimes choose to engage in. And Steve Storz agrees.
Storz, a former H-D race-team mechanic, started Storz Performance in 1980 to supply parts to AMA dirt track racers. After a while, he started selling parts for Sportster owners to build street-going, flat-track replicas. When the 2003 Sportsters came out, with heavier new frames that rubber-mounted the engines, he developed a kit for the bike he dubbed the XR-1200. That modified machine made about 80 hp (like the new XR1200), handled sweetly, and weighed in at 474 pounds. Of course, the parts run you $14,000 on top of the cost of a new Sporty, but perfection has its price.
That kit is still available, but now Storz just calls it the “Dirt Track Style Conversion.” That’s because last June, the Motor Company purchased the right to use the name “XR1200” in the U.S.A. from Storz (the details of the deal are confidential, so don’t ask). But what if you are in the Being John Malkovitch-like position of desiring to modify your new H-D XR1200 with Storz parts? Not to worry; Storz has been riding the XR and feels your pain.
“I do like it,” said Storz, when I asked if he liked the new bike. “I just don’t understand why it has to weigh 560 pounds.”
Steve is all ready to lighten the XR1200’s load, if you don’t mind lightening your wallet. New parts from Storz include a BUB exhaust system (that saves 15 pounds over stock and adds “big gains” in midrange and top-end power with FI mapping), billet footpegs, a solo tail section, ride-height adjustable YSS shocks and 320mm full-floating front brake rotors. Storz is developing more stuff, like a rear-brake kit, steel-braided brake lines and, possibly, a wire-wheel kit that could go a long way towards slicing enough pounds off the XR1200 to make it a really memorable ride; Storz told me the stock rear wheel, disc and pulley weigh in at over 43 pounds.