KHR and XLR the myth

Racing K Models

Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby Simon » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:03 pm

The KRM was 53 only.

I had a 55 KHR case that I definitely regret selling. It was stamped KHR, without the TT. I saw one set of cases stamped XLRTT, but even the owner commented that this was incorrect and not done by the factory.

Harley could take a leaf out of the book of the likes of Alfa Romeo and especially BMW, where the factories actively support archival research and even restorations. Might help maintain generational interest in the brand.

hugoct - you seem to have an excellent knowledge of the history and race scene - were you active back in the day? Your input is very welcome and greatly appreciated!
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:44 pm

I really would not rate my knowledge as excellent but I have an excellent library.
I attempted to race CRs, KRs, Iron XRs, and Alloy XRs.
I've rescued a number of historic bikes from becoming someone's "build".
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby thefrenchowl » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:13 pm

Hi all,

For those that don't quite know what was in the race part books or how easy it was in them days to swap race trims by having a few spare parts...

If you had a KRTT and wanted to try flat tracking, you could buy these KRTT > KR kits with all the parts necessary:

Image

And if you had a KR and wanted to go TT or road racing, you bought these KR > KRTT kits:

Image

Extracts from the 1959 race part "folder" (same format as the current Service Manuals that can be opened up to insert later issued sheets or revisions. That the only one done that way, all the others are books.

Cheers, Patrick
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby Ferrous_Head » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:32 pm

To quote from some long dead poet ..... "A rose by any other name ......"

I'm not sure why people do get so emotional about a particular engine or frame stamping. Two identical parts except for a number stamped into it. Seriously.
Where one part has evolved and been "improved" by the factory, then yes. That part may have more value, or less depending on some emotional attachment to what is in effect a part number.
There is no doubt in my mind that HD attempted to improve their bikes over time. And for a time, they did so. Others will disagree with me on that point but I just don't value a 1989 Sportster as much as I do a 1965.
Had HD put aside one bike as a reference for future generations that would have been fantastic. Alas, for me, unless I bought the bike brand new from the dealer I can never really be sure it's as the factory built it and without the proper factory paperwork I just can't be sure what THEY considered it to be.

I read an article recently that described how an owner bought a new XLRTT in 1965. And he ordered it from the factory with a vertically mounted magneto. Now, does this deviate from the "factory specifications" that decide what is an XLRTT ? It now is a mix of XLRTT and xLCH parts. So, an xlrttch ? If the factory makes the change it's ok but if an owner makes it, no ?

Ok. Ok. I know I'm a heathen. I'll slink slowly away now.
"I know only too well the evil that I propose, but my inclinations get the better of me."
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:48 pm

The XLR and KR could be ordered with a vertical mag. I've got a number of Motor Test Cards where the motorcycle was delivered with a vertical mag. Bart Markel built some KR motors with two magnetos, one vertical and one horizontal. In one case you have provable "as delivered" provenance and in the other you have provable "as raced" provenance.
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby Ferrous_Head » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:43 pm

Is there, anywhere in the records a definitive description of what each bike is ?
For years people have pointed to Pohl Studio pics as a resource to determine what is correct. But most of us are aware that ads and studio shots weren't always what was actually delivered.
My thinking is that what your saying is that an XLRTT ordered without brakes would still be an XLRTT. Just that "most" people would consider that an "XLR".
I probably agree with that view. My parts books only lists XLRTT's except for some "special" parts. (The conversion kit for example

I have to wonder why HD didn't use XLRTT in the VIN number. Just too many letters I guess.
"I know only too well the evil that I propose, but my inclinations get the better of me."
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby hugoct » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:44 pm

1) The factory Competition Bike brochures only mention a KHRTT or an XLRTT. There is no mention of a KHR or an XLR.
2) The factory Competition Bike order form offers the KHRTT or an XLRTT depending on years. The bike is offered with standard K or Sportster brakes depending on the year or optional 54R big brakes. There is no brakeless wheels option.
3) There is a "Bill of Materials" for each of the motorcycles which lists all of the parts and the quantities necessary to build them. Since the twin race bikes were built in the Race Department that list of parts to requisition for the assembly process was critical. No such "Bill of Materials" exists for a KHR or XLR but they do exist for the WR, KR, KHR, XLR, XR as a "motor only".
4) AMA Track Racing (Oval Track) rules limited displacement to 500cc for overhead valve engines and 750cc for side valve engines. There would have been no place within the AMA's rules structure for a 900cc brakeless track racing motorcycle. Harley Davidson was a big supporter of the AMA. Harley riders risked the Motor Company's wrath should they choose to ride an outlaw event. The Factory was not going to offer motorcycles that defied the AMA rules.
5) In the Competition Price List the motorcycle is referred to as either a KHRTT or XLRTT while the motor only is referred to as a KHR or XLR. The production numbers could very well be for complete bikes and motor only as separate numbers. In that sense there would be a KHR or XLR as shipped from the racing department as motor only. (See # 3)
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Re: KHR and XLR the myth

Postby EKHKHK56 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:28 pm

I have seen a 1957 KH engine. I called the fellow in NY who had it and his number is the only one that still works from 90s. I thought it was an error or bogus back then. He sold it. But they are listed in production sheets. Must have been last batch of late KH56s...built and sold as 57. Joe Leonard won Peoria in 53 and in 54 Smoked both classes on the Sifton Tuned KRTT and KHRTT. Erik
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