KHR and XLR the myth

Racing K Models

KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:50 am

Many times one sees Harley competition models listed that were never produced. Two good examples would be the KHR and XLR which were only produced as KHRTTs and XLRTTs. The home page of this website lists both the KHR and XLR as flattrackers. The rules of the period prevented any bike larger than a 500 OHV or 750 SV from competing in track racing (flattrack). The KHRTT and XLRTT were specifically built for TT racing where the rules permitted motors of up to 80 cu. in. Harley was a huge supporter of the AMA and it's rules and did not offer motorcycles for "outlaw" racing. Many riders with factory support were told not to ride the Badger outlaw series in the 1970s or risk losing factory support. All the KHR and XLR motors do not have TT in the serial number (same for KR, WR, CR...) which contributes to the confusion. Sometimes people offer the Pohlman pictures of an XLR motor in a brakeless rigid chassis as proof of the "XLR"s existence. Those photos are of the proposed 1969 XR 750 dirt tracker which was never approved by the AMA because Harley could not show 200 examples as required by the rules. Those photos along with photos of the "TT" version were used in the 1969 XR750 brochure which is one of the rarest of Harley brochures.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby thefrenchowl » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:45 pm

Hi Bill,

I have seen the errors of my ways (when I was younger!!!) so I would agree with what you've written above

But there's always one bike that will not comply to the general rules:

Image

Dan is not at an outlaw race, the bike wears his AMA numbers... It's deffo what most guys would call and XLR, BUT, it has brakes and is still a TT bike, shot in 1959 at Ascott...

I can only think that Dan, probably well used to riding big ungainly ""FR"" or ""FLR"" with rigid ends at previous TTs, though why not an XLR-TT with no springing, few pounds lighter, might have had an edge over std XLR-TTs at Ascott???

Since KR to KRTT or KRTT to KR "reverse kits" were still in the race part books in 1959, it can't have been that difficult to buy/apply one to this bike...

Patrick
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:47 pm

I would agree that, with the plethora of parts available for the Harley racing models, some extreme combinations were possible and subsequent to delivery to the owner with the owner or tuner's involvement this did happen. My point was that based on review of numerous Racing Department assembly Motor Test cards and the bikes in question the bikes were only offered and delivered as a KHRTT and XLRTT not a KHR or XLR.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby Ferrous_Head » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:23 am

My parts books lists the contents as for "KRTT and XLRTT" only. Same for the price list.
You would think that HD would put XLR and KR on there if they were considered to be models covered by the lists.

I also think HD knew some people would be willing to buy parts to turn those bikes into Flat Trackers. And back then, you ordered a bike the way you wanted it. Not off the show room floor so to speak.

So I suspect some people would have ordered an XLRTT with the brake-less wheels etc to convert the bike right from the factory build. But I also suspect the invoice would have been for an XLRTT.

A LOT of publications I have read don't mention the XLB which did exist.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:13 am

There is no provision on the "R" order form for KHRTTs or XLRTTs wheels without brakes.
There would have been no point in a KHRTT or XLRTT without brakes as the rules for track racing limited OHV engines to 500cc and the SV engines to 750cc.
The KHRTT and XLRTT could be ordered with the optional 54R big brakes.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hennesse » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:59 am

hugoct wrote:Many times one sees Harley competition models listed that were never produced. Two good examples would be the KHR and XLR which were only produced as KHRTTs and XLRTTs. The home page of this website lists both the KHR and XLR as flattrackers.


The "model list" on the home page was compiled from the Production Figures section of Harley's publication The Legend Begins The production figures are repeated on our production figures page. TLB shows for 1955: 1 KHR, 77 KHRM, and 6 KHRTT, along with the KR and KRTT. For 1959, they show: 5 XLR, and 13 XLRTT.

Harley's production figures are, in their own words, "not to be regarded as totally accurate", and certainly live up to expectations. There are a number of anomalies. 1 XL produced in 1956? That was probably the prototype. 90 KH produced in 1957? No one has ever seen one, so these may have been assembled in August 1956, and mistakenly counted as 1957 production.

XLA and XLB? The 1957 XLAs are pretty well documented. Later production is pretty iffy. Several people have reported the factory saying "There are no records of XLB production". Reminds one of the CIA's slogan "we can neither confirm nor deny". It appears that a number of XLBs (and perhaps XLAs) were furnished to southeast asian governments in the 1960s, and this might have been politically sensitive during the unrest of the times. Perhaps these were "special government contracts", and the records were purposely destroyed. We may never know.

Circling back to 1955, and the 77 KHRMs. TLB makes no other mention of KRM or KHRM. We know that KRMs were produced. Do you think these 77 were KHRM - or perhaps they were KRM?

And back to the home page model list. I've kept the KHR and XLR since Harley shows them in the production figures. But I've changed the description to just "Competition" rather than "flat-track".


---
TLB - look at the 1962 production figures. They report 1,276 45's, and 703 G & GE. Huh? The 703 G & GE fits right in with Servi Car figures for 1960 and 1961. 1,276 fits right in with Topper (A & AH) production for 1960 and 1961. Whoops! (Although a 45ci Topper would be a real beast!) Strangely, there are no figures for 1963 Servi.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:13 pm

Thanks for the change. Interestingly there was one KHRTT built in 1958 for Monte Miller in Fresno for Joe Leonard to ride.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby Ferrous_Head » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:38 pm

I can confirm that Harley did have build records that covered the XLB's. When I first contacted them they denied such a thing existed. Not in their memory. But Kathie Olenski who was their Research Officer at the time then went searching for a build record based on the engine number I gave her and - she found it. She provided the build date of that bike.
So, I believe they could have (if they wanted to) compile a list of what they actually built if they ever wanted to do so.
I believe these were paper documents and I do wish I havd been avble to get a copy of that build sheet.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:32 pm

I imagine that there are a lot of records, photos, and blueprints in the archives that would put a big smile on forum members faces. With the current economic climate it may be quite a while, if ever, that those documents come to light.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby Ferrous_Head » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:36 pm

There's an oportunity for someone. If HD were to allow someone acess to their records I suspect one or more books would result. I for one would be interested in buying something from their archives.
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