In yesterday's release about the 2018 Harley-Davidson factory team there were hints about the development of the XG750R. We knew, having seen it with our own eyes, that Robinson's bike at Perris was markedly different to previous iterations, but Vance & Hines denied it (and why should they admit what they're up to?).
To remind you, the idea behind the XG750R was to build a race bike around a production-based engine, the Street XG750, but cycleworld.com report a change of heart in Milwaukee. Scott Beck, head of global marketing, posited the question, 'Would we rather win or be production-based?'
It seems they've tried the production-based thing, and they'd prefer to get back to winning. With that in mind, the engine has developed from its current 4-valve per cylinder single overhead cam design, to a DOHC configuration for 2018. We're not sure what problem the change is trying to address, but DOHC allows for a wider valve angle (compared to SOHC), for improved breathing and combustion area design. DOHC does away with rocker arms, too, the valve actuation can be more accurate.
The XG750R has a new chassis too. All this backs up what one team insider told me after the end of last season, when describing why the new liquid-cooled Harley wasn't more competitive more often, 'It's not one thing. If it was we'd have fixed it.' No one on the team, the experienced riders, crew or chiefs, could pinpoint one specific flaw, for instance, geometry or weight balance, or c of g, that was holding the bike back. It sounds, from the tone of the cycleworld.com piece, that a major redesign has occurred, and a major rethink on the spirit and focus of Harley-Davidson's AFT race programme, too. This could be exciting...
Photo: Courtesy of Harley-Davidson