American Racing History: Harley-Davidson 750 XRTT
I did not expect to find less information on a Harley than I did on the Derbi I wrote up but that is exactly what happened when I sat down at the plush RSBFS offices to begin my search for info. This post will be filled with, “I think”, “I don’t know” and “maybe”. If you are an knowledgeable on the XRTT post away in the comments section.
If you are like me you just see another big, heavy HD V twin and can’t get past that. It sounds like the though, the XRTT was quite the bike back in the day. One Cal Rayborn had some success with the bike. By the way, his XRTT sold for $175,000.
One of the major upgrades to the XR series was the introduction of aluminum heads in 1972. Horsepower is in the mid 70’s (another site said 100hp) and they rev up to 8200rpm. Descendeants of this engine have been powering Harley to dirt track wins ever since.
What I’m interested in but can’t find info on is the value of these bikes. Do they have to have a race history to be valuable or is just finding one a battle? I could not find any solid production numbers but I come across this from hi-speedmotorcyles.com to save my skin:
There were 10 original factory XRTT’s made. They were raced for several years and then interest went away on them. At that time, they were just a road race bike that the factory put out. These were not really considered a production racer. The 10 factory riders used them just as they would any other race bike. The H-D race department would build and tune their bikes.
There were quite a few other XRTT frames that became available to privateers. These came in the form of a kit; frame, wheels, forks, glass, everything but the motor.Back in the 1970’s racers would compete on a TT course, dirt track course and a road race course. Riders that wanted a lot of points would compete on the road race circuit when they weren’t dirt tracking. This meant they had to take the TT rolling chassis along with their dirt track bikes. They would pull the dirt track motor, refine the gearing and put the motor in the road race chassis. Few were lucky enough to have a spare motor to put in their TT chassis.Over the years these XRTT’s were just parked around the country and never given much consideration. When vintage racing began and collectors realized that the XRTT was an extremely rare bike, everyone wanted one.The original factory race bikes were raced, modified, disassembled and the parts were scattered throughout the country. There may be an original out there somewhere but I have yet to see it.
There wasn’t a whole lot of concrete info from the auction (seller wasn’t even sure of the year), so let’s jump to the video the seller posted:
Looks much sleeker from the rear.
Why didn’t Harley stick with it? Why bury your head in the sand and only race dirt track? I just don’t understand why this company will not embrace technology and move on with the times. Is there a law somewhere that says they can’t keep the cruisers if you they build sport bikes? Obviously things aren’t changing since they chased Buell out of the building.
What’s it worth? I’m taking a pass on this one. I’m just making the assumption this one of the kitted privateer type bikes but even so I would just be throwing out a number. Bidding looks to be pretty active so get on over there if you are interested. I just find the whole thing a bit depressing that we have a (once?) great American company and we have to go back to the 70’s to find a bike with some road racing glory. .
And here’s a video of the bike for sale:
For Sale: 1977 Harley-Davidson XLCR
Behold, in all its glory, the bike that didn’t save The Motor Company. Although originally designed by Willie G to cash in on the cafe racer craze, the XLCR did not appeal to the core Harley Davidson crowd, and failed to sell. Fortunately, H-D was able to reverse their downward fortunes, and better yet, a few of these rare bikes still survive.
From the seller:
This is for VARY RARE Harley Davidson XLCR Cafe Racer [PERFECT SURVIVOR] a vary low production model. This XLCR has all the options that were avaiable for that year and they are OIL COOLER / BRA plus TWEAK BAR. This bike is so origanal it still has the origanla GOOD YEAR A/T EAGLE TIRES [just standing next to this bike is like going back in time]. This XLCR has the origanal miles of 7728 miles on it [not even brook in yet]. This is a 3rd owner bike one of the best in sellers collection. Every nut, bolt and componant original to this bike. Also the original trifold brochure from the dealer plus two XLCR News Letter booklets and the original owners manual not shown here. For the collector out there this is a once in a life time find, don’t miss out
From the comments regarding the last XLCH posted here on RSBFS, we can conclude that nobody really ever thought of this as a performance bike, but most readers wouldn’t mind one (leaking) in their garage today. Such is the wonder of time; Willie G had the right idea, but the wrong audience.
Today, an XLCH in clean, original condition is worth a fair amount of money – the last one posted on RSBFS was bid up to $21,300! In this particular case, the auction for this bike is up to $11,700 with spiritied bidding. H-D didn’t make many of these glorious machines, and even fewer survived in this kind of condition. If you are one of those who missed out on the original opportunity, here is your chance on the rebound. The reserve is off and this bike is going home with someone. , and tell them RSBFS sent you!
I must admit, I don’t know a whole lot about The Motor Company’s foray into GP roadracing. HD purchased 50% of Aeronautica Macchi’s (Aermacchi) motorcycle division in the 1960s, and purchased the remainder of Aermacchi in the mid 1970s. From the Aermacchi division HD imported many two-stroke bikes as entry-level machines in the US. HD sold off the entire works to Cagiva in 1978.
From the seller:
This is a very nice example restored in Germany and imported by me. The engine has been started once since the rebuild (rebuild documented by photographs) and I have the shop manual and some spares. It is not perfect, it has several small scratches from the import process. There is not a lot of information on these bikes available but one source does say that there were only 35 built. The 350cc was built for Walter Villas successful attempt to win both the 250cc and 350cc GP World Championships in 1975. The frame and engine numbers are as follows. *350/2c/2t/10027* on the frame steering neck and *350/2c/2t/10027 on the transmission case which is where the shop manual says they should be located indicating, to me, matching numbers. The bike has been stored for about 6 years. I have a matching RR250 listed on ebay in another ad and a 350 ERS also listed. I will deliver the bike to forward air for shipping, crating can be done by forward air. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer. This is a very nice bike. Any questions please ask.
So what price does a piece of history like this bring? The seller claims that only 35 of these machines were created. Given the rarity of these bikes and the lack of recent auction data, that is a hard question to answer. The auction is at $8,200 at the time of this post, and the seller is apparently looking for more as the reserve has not been met. This could be a very interesting auction to follow, as the bidding has been relatively spirited. For more information, or to get into the action, .
Here is another very rare Harely-Davidson roadracer, brought to us by the same seller of the RR350. This time, we are looking at the RR250 model. This came from The Motor Company’s association with Aermacchi during the AMF years.
From the seller:
1975 Harley Davidson RR250. This is a very rare very complete example imported by me from England 7 or 8 years ago. I have not started it as it has been stored. It was run just prior to the import. It is not perfect, it has some surface rust from storage but it is easily rectified. This was originally a monoshocker but somewhere in its race history it was converted to a twin shock. The mono shock mount tabs are still there. It also has a single disc forward. There is not a lot of information on these bikes available but one source does say that there were 25 water cooled examples built each year from 72 through 76. The frame and engine numbers are as follows. *250/2c/2t/10118* on the frame steering neck and *250/2c/2t/10118* on the transmission case which is where the shop manual says they should be located indicating, to me, matching numbers. I do not know if the sequence of serial numbers began with the air cooled version. The bike has been stored for about 6 years.
Like its RR350 brother, this auction has attracted good attention. Value of this bike is difficult to gauge as we just don’t see too many of these bikes crossing the block. If interest and bidding is any indication, though, this will be a good auction to watch. The current price is just north of $11k, with the reserve still firmly in place. To check out the action, .
For sale: 1977 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCR Cafe Racer!
In the mid-1970s, the cafe racer craze was in full swing. Bikes like the Ducati Super Sport, Norton John Player Special and Moto Guzzi LeMans were gaining market share. Willie G Davidson, then Vice President of Styling for Harley-Davidson, decided the cafe racer scene could help grow the fortunes of AMF-controlled H-D. He was wrong.
You can almost see the mental checklist used to create this unusual bike: Sporty bikini fairing (check), blacked-out paint (check), cast “mag” wheels (check), triple disk brakes (check) tachometer (check). In all, these features led to the creation of a unique motorcycle that simply didn’t sell. H-D produced but an estimated 3,123 units during a limited, 2-year run.
From the seller:
1977 Harley Davidson XLCR Cafe Racer Never used, Never registered, Brand new condition, always kept in climate controlled area, with only 4/10th of a mile, Yes under 1 original mile!!!
Hello everyone I am very proud to offer this near once in a lifetime chance to own a Unused, Untouched, never registered 1977 Harley XLCR Cafe Racer motorcycle that has only 4/10th of a mile from new.
This bike is on the 1 owner title and has always been kept inside in a climate controlled area since it was new in 1977. The bike was ONLY pushed outside of it’s showroom area to take all the pictures. I wanted to take the pictures in the sunlight to show the beautiful condition. The bike could use a good wiping down to get the dust off and the chrome to sparkle, but rest assured this bike is in perfect condition in everyway…
It would be safe to say, without a doubt, that this IS the absolute lowest mile and completely untouched, most original XLCR in the World!!!
As it turns out, the Harley crowed wasn’t very interested in sportbikes, and the sportbike crowd wasn’t very interested in Harleys. This perfect storm created a rare collectable, and this particular bike has yet to turn over a single mile. So what is the current price for a “new” 1977 XLCR? This particular unit has a BIN price of $27,500 (!) and the auction is at $12,500 with the reserve still in place. , and determine if this is the sportbike of your dreams.
For those of you who don’t need a zero mileage bike, there is another lightly used XLCR with 5,286 miles , with a BIN of $15k. Although not as original or clean as the new bike above, it represents another avenue if the XLCR is your goal. Some pictures of this alternate bike are below.
Predecessor to the VR1000 and the Buell lineup by many years, the XLCR was an idea a little too strange to catch on. These models do appear to gaining in value over the years however, so now might be the time to jump on the collectable cafe racer bandwagon!
This is a Buell RR1000 that ran for the factory in AMA competition! Located in Tring, United Kingdom is a 1985/86 Buell RR1000 Battletwin.
Supposedly there are 50, or so, of these running around the world and due to collectors eating these up early on–Gasp!–the majority of the bikes were never raced. The chassis that is featured here has, as the seller claims, been run in the 1985/86 AMA Battle of the Twins events and a Battle of the Twins event in Italy. To know the entire history of this bike, we must go to the seller:
This bike was purchased as a kit of parts directly from Erik Buell in 1992 (less wheels, forks and brakes) by an Italian collector who then built the bike to it’s current specification in 1993. The bike was then raced in the italian BOT (Battle of the Twins) of that year under the CR&S banner.
The chassis varies slightly from the production RR1000 chassis and is described by Erik Buell as a “lightweight version which is better for racing”. This chassis and other parts were used by Buell Racing in 1986 as part of the “works” supported race effort.
This bike is top spec inside and out built with Brembo billet brakes and race discs, Ohlins suspension; front forks are GP type and rear shock was built for Buell and the wheels are Technomagnesio. The Engine, primary and gearbox were completely overhauled in 2002 receiving new pistons, titanium valves, race springs, rods, all bearings and crank rebuild. Cams are Storz and the heads are fully gas followed and twin plugged. Carbs are 42mm flatside Mikuni’s. Exhaust is Buell works. The bike has done very little work since but has been maintained regardless.
This bike seems be made up of some very real factory parts with a very real race history. The seller claims to have, and shows, the documentation of this bike’s history. Recently, everyone seems to have become sentimental to anything with a Buell badge–except perhaps a blast–because of the recent demise of Buell. The sale of this bike seems to coincide perfectly with this rose-colored rush to remember the good times before H-D brought everything to a halt. This bike is all the money at $155,000; however, it is one of the first Buells and actually carries an AMA season and European race history. This bike is very rare no matter what your thoughts of Buell as a company are; What will reassure that this bike stays insanely valuable will be a large number of people feeling that this bike is very, very special–I don’t think this should be a problem. See a fantastic write up by Dave Gess here. See the RR1000 on eBay .
1994 VR1000 with only 120 miles is up for grabs on ebay.
Now, before you all go waving your arms and shout: “Harley don’t make sport bikes!”, please read up on the VR1000 as listed on the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame website. Or check out another VR1000 listed on here previously.
With that knowledge in hand, I present you a :
The 1994 VR 1000 was the first pure racing motorcycle Harley-Davidson ever built. Every other Harley racer, from 1915 through 1993, had been a modified production machine. The VR was purpose-built from the ground up.
Milwaukee has never been comfortable with the concept of purebred competition machines. Eighty years earlier the founders had ‘been dragged mumbling into the racing game, convinced of its necessity only after Indian had captivated the sporting enthusiasts of the 1910s and 1920s.
But once installed in the Milwaukee hierarchy, the racing department proved itself a continuing resource of team spirit and public good will. People rode their motorcycles to the races, and supported their favorite riders and manufacturers.
Harley-Davidson had maintained its support of dirt tack, the traditional American fairgrounds racing, and built a few XR 1000 production-based roadracers. But nothing on Milwaukee’s menu suited the demands of Superbike racing in the 1990s. At the upper outposts of “street bike” competition, the track-wise roadsters weigh 375 pounds (170kg) and produce 150 horsepower. Handling and braking factors are tuned to millisecond response margins. All of which is enormously expensive to achieve.
With some money in the bank, Harley decided to build its second eight-valve racer, with an American engine, chassis and brakes. Engineer Steve Scheibe headed the team, and called in experienced help from NASCAR and Indy Car racing. The project took five years and produced a double-overhead-cam, 60-degree V-twin, with 4-valve heads, Weber-USA electronic fuel injection and liquid cooling. Power went by gear to a multi-disc dry clutch and through a 5-speed transmission.
The first bikes used a Penske inverted fork and Wilwood six-piston brake calipers. The road model carries an Ohlins fork with titanium-coated stanchions. The body work is constructed of carbon fiber, and the factory listed the dry weight at 390lb (176.9kg). The production schedule was set for 50 copies of the VR 1000, the price of each listed at $49,490.
The VR first appeared on the racetrack for the Daytona Superbike race in 1994.
There were few illusions about the early chances, and teething problems were anticipated, but the motorcycle handled remarkably well. Top speed was not at the level of frontrunners, though rider Miguel Duhamel turned in good results on some of the tighter circuits. Results for the 1995 season were disappointing, and rider Doug Chandler had difficulty coming to
terms with the machine. National dirt track champion Chris Carr was also on the team and showed a quick learning curve.
Rumors circulated during the offseason that management disputes in Milwaukee cast doubts on the future of the VR 1000. The factions split as they had a half-century before; the economic rationale perceives big-league factory racing as large expense versus small return. The sporting enthusiast segment says racing pays huge dividends in public relations, and puts the company logo on television. And wins hearts and minds.
This is a great example of 1 of the 50 motorcycles built to homoligate the VR-1000 for the AMA race circuit.
Now, I am probably one of the last Harley fans on earth, but I must say the VR1000 is one special Harley that I would not mind having – and I didn’t even know that only 50 were made! Any serious collector should have one of these in their collection (0r museum)!