The Hammers of Hell: 1972 Harley Davidson XRTT
When I see the state of Harley’s current lineup of overweight retro-sleds, it makes me sad to see that they’ve no interest in building bikes like this beautiful Harley XRTT anymore, as clearly evidenced by their shoddy treatment of Erik Buell. Their original Sportster was a genuine alternative to bikes like Triumph’s Bonneville but, while the current Bonneville is possibly the ideal “modern classic”, today’s Sportster is compromised in virtually every way, the epitome of “form-over-function.”
Now obviously, this isn’t hurting sales any. But it’s a shame that Ducati and Triumph can both create a range of bikes that celebrate their heritage while still providing modern performance and safety, Harley can’t or won’t, when they produce more motorcycles annually than Triumph and Ducati combined.
But they’re obviously happy to rest on the laurels of bikes like this one.
When Harley decided to go roadracing in the 1970’s, they started with what they knew best: dirt-track racing. The 1972 bikes featured a significantly updated motor that used aluminum heads and barrels. The 45° twin’s compact design still featured pushrods, but the compact design had many of the same advantages of the famous small-block Chevy: perhaps not the most modern or best-breathing configuration, but the compact design and light weight allowed for a potent package
Careful preparation let the simple engines rev to over 8,000rpm and pump out 90hp from 750cc’s. A four-speed box and a huge them rev over 8k and they made 90 plus HP. A 4-speed box put the power to the ground while a huge Ceriani drum brake up front and a disc at the rear provided very effective stopping.
From the original eBay listing: 1972 Harley Davidson XRTT for Sale
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Racing bike. The engine was redone by Carl Patrick less than three months ago and the engine is documented with the Harley-Davidson time cards. This bike is in flawless condition and was on display at Harley-Davidson. There are no current fluids in the bike. This is a once in a life time opportunity!
It’s a shame that this bike hasn’t been used as intended, buy the upside is that it’s in spectacular shape, and I’m sure it could be made to run if that’s your interest, since the engine was just rebuilt. The chin-pad on the tank is a particularly cool detail although, given the 45° twin’s reputation for vibration, it might not be the most practical place to rest your head while tucking in behind that screen…
Starting price is $55,000 with no bids so far. While that’s a ton of money for a motorcycle, I’d expect that’s perfectly fair, given the bike’s rarity: opinions vary, but less than 25 were ever made, and very few of those are in this sort of condition.