Harley’s Looking Different?


Hands up. I’ve never been a Harley man. It’s not just that I’ve never owned one. I’ve never bought into the whole burly, knuckleheaded, chrome clad idea that is a Harley Davidson.

It always seemed to me that that riding stance, that garrulous V-Twin – all those Harley-isms that put clear water between themselves and Euro-Jap bike culture – were so essentially other than myself as a European biker that it would be absurd to aspire to their unreconstructed Americana.

But my mind was changed recently whilst browsing in my local Ducati dealership (which happens of course to have a Harley outlet grafted onto the side, an extremely non-identical conjoined twin), when I glimpsed the latest XR 1200.

With its flat tracker aesthetic, those trick pipes and powder coated engine – and especially in its stripey orange trim – this looks like the sort of bike I could own.

We suppose that purist superbike jockeys will scoff at HD’s attempt to placate the other end of the market, and that card-carrying hog heads will wince also at such a jockish bike bearing the Harley Badge.

But if anything, I have always occupied the section of the biker subcult that cares self-consciously about how bikes look, how they hold themselves; where they sit in the panoply of the biking tribe.

I, on other words, am one of those bikers that fundamentalists of every hue can’t stand. So should the fact that I dig this Harley’s stance send the purists into a slathering frenzy of poseur-hate?

You decide.