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ALL AMERICAN MOTORCYCLES

Harley-Davidson VR1000 for sale

Harley-Davidson VR1000 #37 on the market

by Guy 'Guido' Allen, June 12 2020

One of around 55 homologation specials with just 4 miles on the odo

An ultra-rare Harley-Davidson VR1000 'harlequin' homologation special recently came on the market in the USA, via website Iconic Motorbike Auctions.

Bidding stopped at US$74,900 (Au$109,000). In 1994, they were priced at US$59,000 (Au$87,000) - a huge amount of money at the time.

Just 55 of these were built, although the numbers are a little loose according to an excellent development history published online by OddBike. They famously were painted in H-D racing colours, but orange one side and black the other.

The VR project had its birth around 1987, when the much-reformed company, which had recently undergone a management buyout, wanted to see road racing re-introduced as part of its marketing and development strategy.

Just as an aside, Erik Buell played a role in the development process and, perhaps unsurprisingly, was behind the trialling of numerous innovations along the way.

While ostensibly a road bike, in reality the VR1000 was near enough to being a basic version of the racers with lights attached. Any form of registration would have required a fair bit of creativity in most countries.

According to Harley-Davidson's wishes, the end product, which was launched in 1994 to coincide with the company's re-entry into the AMA superbike championship in USA, was very much an American unit. While the front suspension was by Ohlins, pretty much everything else was locally-sourced. The engine and chassis were in-house units, while the rear suspension was by Penske and the brakes by Wilwood. Roush played an important part in the late engine development.

One of the issues faced by the factory was the development process from a clean sheet of paper took longer than it might have hoped and the machine always seemed just a little behind its competition (such as Ducati) when it came to development.

Harley-Davidson V-rod

Harley-Davidson nevertheless found a broader use for the whole liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin concept in the V-Rod (or VRSC) series launched in 2001 (pictured above). While the 'bones' of the idea belonged to the VR1000, Porsche was hired to help redevelop the final engine, which had no components in common with the originals.

Harley-Davidson VR1000 for sale

Harley-Davidson VR1000 for sale

Harley-Davidson VR1000 for sale

 

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