2016 Harley-Davidson XG750R flat tracker  (6)

What many may not realise is Harley-Davidson, the purveyor of chrome-laden, laid-back cruisers, also has a very serious racing heritage. Dating back to the first decade of the last century, riders raced on the deadly wooden boards of the speedways, and on oval pony dirt tracks, giving rise to the “flat-tracker” racing class.

The essence of a flat-tracker is a stripped-down, no-nonsense racing motorcycle, tuned to go fast, go left and go sideways on a dirt track surface. The Harley-Davidson XG50R is the Milwaukee firm’s next-generation flat-tracker, moving forward from the air-cooled V-twins that traditionally carried Harley’s ‘XR’ race bike designation over the previous half-century.

Using the 750 cc “Revolution X” V-twin, the new XG750R’s power plant – taken from the Harley-Davidson Street 750 – is fuelled by EFI, and liquid-cooled. This racing machine was developed by motorcycle performance specialists Vance and Hines, who modded the engine and constructed a flat-tracker frame.

Several modifications were made to the Revolution X engine, including the addition of a custom CNC-machined twin-throttle body, to allow the engine to draw in more air. The engine cases were substituted with custom Vance and Hines items, as the original cases were too wide to go racing with.

In a step away from tradition, the racing mill now runs on plain bearings, a definite performance upgrade from the roller bearings used in the XR-series bikes for over forty years. A two-tone paintjob decorates the tank, making the XG750R look like two different bikes when viewed from either side.

Kris Schoonover, Harley-Davidson racing manager, said, “after decades of flat-track racing success behind the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat track motorcycle, we knew it was time to develop the next-generation Harley-Davidson to compete in one of the best spectator racing sports out there today.” The XG750R will campaign under the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Racing banner, and will be ridden by Davis Fisher and Brad Baker.

While Harley-Davidson has never been quick to capitalise on the success of the previous generation ‘XR’ series flat-trackers – the XR1000 from the 1980’s sold poorly and was withdrawn after two years, while the XR1200 from 2008 received a slightly better reception – the XR-series bikes remained potent race weapons in their day.

While no information has been made available if the XG750R will make it to the market, it can be reasonably assumed that some form of race replica or race kit will be issued, based on the Harley-Davidson Street 750. The Street 750 retails in Malaysia for RM62,888.

GALLERY: 2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750