An offroader’s dream come true, the Harley-Davidson XR750 is a dirt-road classic specifically designed to bring home the gold on off-road racing tracks such as the AMA flat track racing circuit.
Built for the Dirt
Prior to the 1969 racing season, Harley-Davidson consistently lost in the world of flat-track racing; however, the 1970 change to the AMA rules put other manufacturers on an even footing for the first time. The XR750 was Harley’s attempt at vying for superbike dominance.
The original XR750 was a motley arrangement of other designs and parts that ordinarily wouldn’t be thought of as great fits for one another. Somehow the engineers at Harley-Davidson not only made it work, but did so in a way that would cement its position as a classic for decades to come.
Designed for Speed
Unlike scooters, motorcycles, and even other superbikes of its time, the XR750 was built with a claimed 295 pound weight, 82 horsepower at 7,700 rpm, and reported top speeds of 115 miles per hour.
Combined with the steel twin loop full cradle frame and aluminum-rimmed spoked wheels designed specifically for dirt tracks, the XR750 was a bonafide powerhouse.
Masterwork Improvements for a Top-of-the-Line Racing Bike
- XR750 (1970-Present)
Specifically designed for dirt-road racing, the XR750 has retained its general design since its inception in 1969, only making additions to modernize technological specifications from individual model to model. This model has become so successful, in fact, that 29 of the 37 AMA Grand National Champions from 1972 to 2008 won behind the wheel of an XR750.
- Sportster XR1000 (1983-1985)
The XR1000 was meant to be a version of the XR750 optimized for street racing; however, due to poor performance and low sales, it was discontinued after only two years.
- Sportster XR1200 (2008-Present)
Thirteen years after the failure of the XR1000 came the XR1200. Though it is far from the street-racing version of the XR750, it has so far been better received than the XR1000.
XR750s in the News
While the XR750 is still in production and still widely in use by professionals in the flat-track racing circuit, other models are being produced in the same or similar niche, leading to the possibility that the XR750 might be on its way out.
Harley-Davidson announced in 2018 four new motorcycles, including the Streetfighter, which is derivative of the XR1200, essentially making it the grandchild of the XR750.
Celebrity Endorsement of the XR750
Professional motorcycle racers in AMA flat track racing use quite a few XR750s, though the most notable rider of the XR750 model would definitely have to be Evel Knievel. He famously used XR750s in many of his jumps and other stunts, a testament to the high-performing power of these superbikes.
XR750 Social Clubs
If you’re looking for a community of like-minded individuals fascinated by the XR750, look no further than AMA racing groups. Consider going to events near you or joining one of the many on Facebook.
The Harley-Davidson XR750 – An Unexpected Classic
While it may have been built in only four months and as a reaction to an apparently spontaneous decision to change AMA racing rules, the engineers at Harley-Davidson nonetheless managed to craft an awesome sports bike to last the test of time both on and off the track.