Rumors have long persisted that Harley-Davidson is working on a true sportbike, even well before the demise of the Buell Motorcycle Company back in 2009. Much like the mid-engined Corvette, it always seemed like the final production product was just on the horizon for years, but never surfaced. Now that the new Corvette has finally arrived, is it time for H-D to step up and fulfill their perceived destiny?
As a company that has relied on tradition and image to drive sales for decades, Harley-Davidson has changed its tune lately to embrace forward-thinking ideas such as electric propulsion and alternate forms of urban transportation. With its traditional customer base rapidly aging, the Milwaukee-based manufacturer needs a significant infusion of new and different product to stay afloat, and they have already started on that path the with announcement of their plan to produce 100 new models over the next decade.
The folks over at Japan’s Young Machine magazine took some clues from Harley’s own promotional material to take an educated guess at one of those 100 new models – a sportbike featuring a half-fairing and a slight resemblance to the VR1000, H-D’s mid-1990s foray into AMA Superbike racing.
Another piece of the H-D sportbike puzzle comes from patents filed by Harley for some sportbike fairings, as revealed by Visordown.com late last year. The patent, Harley’s own render, and a shot of a Harley designer working on a clay mock-up next to a VR1000 (both in the mage above), all point to the distinct possibility of an H-D sportbike in the near future.
The renders show a V-twin, dirt-tracker-style high pipes, slick (or at least road-oriented) tires, and a high, stubby tail section that is in keeping with current sportbike style.
With Harley-Davidson hiding all of these clues in plain sight, could the real thing be that far off?
Sources: Young Machine, Visordown.com