Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt

This wild Sportster is proof we need more Harley dirt bikes in our lives.

By Brett Foote - November 28, 2018
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt
Harley XR1200X Sportster Built to Sling Dirt

Dirt Toy

The tradition of Harley-Davidson and dirt track racing goes back decades. But today, outside of flat tracking, you don't see a ton of MoCo offerings out playing in the dirt. When they look as cool as Cohn Racer's custom Sportster XR1200X, recently featured over at Bike EXIF, it makes you wonder why.

Photos courtesy of raw350 for BIKE EXIF.

Rare Sight

Despite enjoying a relatively short life span, the XR1200X was lauded by pretty much everyone who rode it. Combine solid handling with loads of power, and it's easy to see why. But there aren't many of these things floating around, which makes custom builds a rarity.

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

Exclusive Ride

All of which made building a custom XR1200X that much more appealing to Cohn Racers' owner, Chete P-Ilzarbe. And since they're located in exclusive-hungry Miami, why wouldn't you want to jump on the idea?

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

Perfect Base

The client for this particular build didn't specify that they wanted an XR. But the crew knew that it would make the perfect base for what they were looking for. “We looked at the Dyna and the Sportster, and then realized the XR1200X was the way to go—it had that flat tracker vibe,” said P-Ilzarbe.

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

Broad Search

The team wanted to build a bike that had a classic muscle car stancemean and athletic. But of course, locating an XR proved to be the biggest challenge. “We searched nationally for several weeks with very little luck. And ended up finding a really clean one. It’d been traded in at a Suzuki dealership, 175 miles up the coast in Melbourne.”

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

Chop It Up

The bike's rarity didn't stop the team from chopping it up right away, of course. Starting with a flatter rear frame and new tank mounts. The entire front end was then transformed with Öhlins forks, a Brembo racing master cylinder, 320mm rotors and 8-piston calipers.

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

Hard and Fast

The stock wheels went to the scrapyard too, replaced by custom wire pieces wrapped in knobby Shinko tires. And to enhance the performance a bit more, a custom ECU tune helps make the XR's V-Twin even more responsive and capable.

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

Old and New

Perhaps the coolest thing about this Harley, however, is the mix of old and new. “We worked closely with our customer to come up with the leather theme on the tank. It’s reminiscent of 1950s race cars with the leather hood straps. Vintage racecars always inspire our builds, with cues like wire wheels, loud exhausts, and headlight grills.”

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

OEM Good

Despite that old-school vibe, the bodywork on this XR is fashioned completely from modern carbon fiber. The end result is so good, in fact, the builder points out that it could have come straight from MoCo themselves. “It looks like something CVO at Harley could have built. We try not to be tacky or over the top with our builds: I’ve always thought that was what brought the chopper craze down.”

Photos courtesy of raw350 for BIKE EXIF.

>>Join the conversation about the Harley XR1200X Sportster right here in HDForums.com.

For help with your maintenance and repair projects, please visit our How-to section in the forum.

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