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An American made racing motorcycle, theÂ Harley Davidson XR-750 has been in production since 1970. The XR-750 has an air cooled, v-twin 748cc engine and a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h).
The XR-750 was designed in 1968 in response to a change in AMA Grand National Championship rules. The change leveled the playing field for makes other than Harley-Davidson, allowing Japanese and British motorcycles to outperform the previously dominant Harley-Davidson KR race bike.
With limited time and money in 1969, Harley-Davidson's racing manager Dick O'Brien and his team used elements of existing designs to put together a new racer.The iron cylinders and aluminum head 748 cc V-twin four-speed engine, was based on the mass production Sportster XL, but with modified heads and cylinders, a magneto instead of generator, and improved oiling. The frame and the running gear were parts from the KRTT racer, with a Ceriani front fork and two Girling rear shocks. The fuel tank, fenders, and rear seat/fender combination were made of fiberglass, with a snap down seat cover made of foam cushion.
The XR-750 went on to become the most decorated race bike in the history of American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) racing. Riders on XR-750s have won 29 of the 37 AMA Grand National Championships from 1972 to 2008. It has been called the ‟most successful race bike of all time” and Harley Davidson claims it has more wins than any other racing motorcycle in history.
The XR-750 got a popularity boost when famous dare devil Evel Knievel chose the bike to be his stunt bike of choice. Evel Knievel began jumping the XR-750 at the height of his career from 1970 to 1976. Knievel jumped either cars or trucks (or a combination of the two) on the XR-750; the longest jump over cars was 129 feet in 1971 and was featured in the movie Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton. The longest jump was over 13 buses (120 feet), in his first attempt he crashed at Wembley Stadium in 1975. Five months later, Knievel jumped the XR-750 over 14 buses (133 feet) for his personal record, and the world record for almost 25 years, at Kings Island. The current World record for longest jump on the XR-750 was made by Bubba Blackwell in 1999, when he jumped 15 buses at 157 feet.
To comply with AMA rules, only two hundred examples were made yearly, and could be made upon request at Harley-Davidson dealers, at a price of US$ 3,200, which today with inflation would be about US$ 19,150, bikes in good condition now sell in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. Today the XR series is still around because of its dominance in the racing world and the popularity Evel Knievel gave it. Whether you're an aspiring racer, an avid collector, or just somebody that loves seeing cool motorcycles, this one is a must have classic still in racing condition.