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Harley-Davidson Sun Rod

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by Daniel Patrascu from

For many bikes lovers out there, the Harley-Davidson VRSC is the most extreme motorcycle to have come out of Milwaukee. More or less short for V-Twin Racing Street Custom, the nameplate entered the Harley portfolio back in 2001 as the first bike using a modern-day DOHC engine with liquid cooling – the Revolution powerplant.

Born as a weapon to fight off other muscle motorcycles, especially Japanese ones, the V-Rod as it came to be known was made until 2017 in a number of variants, including a non-street legal one called the Destroyer and meant for the drag strip.

Of the ones that were allowed on public roads, the Night Rod, available for just two years between 2006 and 2008, is one particularly appealing canvas for a certain German custom shop we like to feature: Thunderbike.

About a month ago we showed you the Thunderbolt, a Night Rod-based build meant to advertise a certain Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system. Given how V-Rods, especially of this variety, are rare, we thought we’d bring another one to your attention.

This one is called Sun Rod, as if denying the nature the original creators bestowed upon it. Described by Thunderbike as “optically perfect on the ground,” it too uses a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust, but several other pieces of hardware too, making it significantly different, at least visually, from the Thunderbolt.

Overall, not many parts went into changing the natural face of the bike, but the ones that did are very effective. We’re talking about an air ride suspension that can lower the height of the two-wheeler, a new forward control kit, a new, 18-inch rear wheel, and other minor tweaks like front turn signals, grips, and a custom tank cover.

The special changes made to the VRSC (mind you- that’s a guesstimate based on the info provided by Thunderbike) amount to around 3,600 euros, which is around $4,400 at today’s exchange rates.

Porsche vs Harley-Davidson Drag Race Video

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by Vlad Mitrache from

Up until very recently, the thought of a drag race between a Porsche (any model) and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (any hog) was one of the most preposterous ones that anyone could come up with.

On the one hand, you have a German automotive brand with a strong history and deep roots in motorsport. Sure, it’s guilty of also building SUVs – with some even powered by diesel – but you’d be pushing it to call any of its models “slow”.

On the other hand, you have an American motorcycle specialist with an equally strong history and plenty of racing connections throughout its history, though less so in the more recent years. Indeed, these days Harley-Davidson is better known for its range of cruisers and choppers, the type of machines that don’t necessarily value speed.

However, when things go electric, speed always has a knack for making its way into the center of it. That’s probably because making electric vehicles go quick is surprisingly easy – there is no complicated transmission, no engine with a million moving parts – just an electric motor and tons of instant torque.

There’s also the fact that you can’t get too much range out of a 15.5 kWh battery pack – and you can’t fit a larger one on a bike – so if reaching faraway places is out of the picture, you still have to offer the buyer something. And that something is speed.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) from a standstill in roughly three seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 114 mph (183 km/h). Its motor produces 105 hp and 86 lb-ft (117 Nm) of torque to battle the 549 lbs (250 kg) that the rig weighs.

The Porsche Taycan Turbo, its competitor for the day, has obviously got very different figures, but the one that matters the most in this case is actually identical. Like the LiveWire, the Turbo will reach 60 mph from a complete stop in three seconds. Does that mean we have an even race on our hands?

Well, motorcycles very rarely manage to keep up with their four-wheeled counterparts during these drag races, and it’s usually in the second part of the competition where they make up ground as finding traction stops being a problem. With the Taycan Turbo being the grippy monster that it is, it’s hard to imagine the LiveWire stands any chance.

As the driver of the Taycan says (opinions about how likable or not he is in the comments below, please. I want to know if it’s just me), the most important thing to take away from this race isn’t so much the winner, but the performance potential of electric drivetrains for both cars and motorcycles.


Here’s What It Takes to Drag Race a Harley-Davidson LiveWire

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Electric cars have been around for about a decade now, but electric motorcycles are sure taking their sweet time to come into existence. There are a number of startups in the market of making electric two-wheelers now, but the established names of the industry are just beginning to dip their toes into the segment.

To date, only one of these established names has ventured into the electric motorcycle sector: Harley-Davidson. Its LiveWire came into the spotlight last year, and came with high hopes in tow. Hopes that, for better or worse, are yet to be met.

The LiveWire is not killing it sales-wise, and Harley knows it. That’s why the bike maker embarked on an intensive effort to promote the EV through unconventional means.

First, Harley handed two of them (modified) to Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman for their 13,000 miles (21,000 km) trip from the city of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego all the way to Los Angeles, captured on film under the name Long Way Up. Apparently, the bikes not only survived, but they also handled their jobs beautifully.

Then, the company took the LiveWire to the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis for some live audience action. There, rider Angelle Sampey (who usually rides an FXDR Pro Stock) accelerated the LiveWire to the records of best elapsed time and top speed for an “electric-powered production motorcycle on a drag racing course.”

Following the run, Harley became even more convinced electric drag racing is definitely the future in the motorcycle world. So the company released a dedicated episode of its Science of Speed YouTube series, describing “the mental and physical techniques used by top racers” before, during and after the race.

“Let me tell you what’s amazing,” said Sampey about her experience with the electric bike. “That was the first time I rode the LiveWire. I could not wait to get it on the track. The LiveWire is so easy to ride. Just twist the throttle and go – and you really go!”

You can have a look at the 10-minutes clip below.


Indian Challenger Beats Harley And Wins King Of Baggers 2020

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At the MotoAmerica King of the Baggers Race at Laguna Seca 2020

A nearly two-second lead over the competition is pretty impressive.

The first-ever Drag Specialties King of the Baggers race is officially in the books, and Indian Motorcycle’s only two entries in the entire field took first and third. Any rider or team would have to be pretty pleased with that kind of performance, exhibition event or not.

Tyler O’Hara raced the S&S Cycles Indian Challenger and quickly got out in front of the pack at Laguna Seca, but ran wide at Turn Two. He was able to get back on track and win, but not before dropping back down to third for a short time.

The most exciting moments of racing typically happen when racers have to pass each other—not go around in a big, fast parade around a track. O’Hara managed to claw his way back up to the front, eventually finishing the race with a healthy 1.9-second lead over Hayden Gillim, who piloted his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to second place. O’Hara’s best lap time was a 1:36.211, while Gillim’s was a 1:38.815.

Frankie Garcia followed in third on his Roland Sands Design Indian—definitely a good end to what could have been a rough weekend for the guy. While doing a practice start prior to race time, Garcia had a big get-off that involved his ginormous race steed going over completely backward and landing on him at the start line, as you can see in this video. Thankfully, he was completely fine afterward—but that’s a pre-race trick that no one wants to do.

Three racers who took the start line did not finish the inaugural King of the Baggers event. Ben Bostrom was the first racer out, followed by Michael Woolaway and Josh Herrin. Racer Michael Barnes was unfortunately unable to start the race at all. The eight-lap race completed its run in just over 15 minutes from when racers first rolled off to when the final racer crossed the finish line.

Will this become a regular annual event—or perhaps even a short series? All that remains to be seen, but no matter how you cut it, it does seem like this event was pretty well-received by all concerned.

by Janaki Jitchotvisut from



AHDRA pre-race report

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AHDRA motorcycle drag racing series pre-race report

event: AHDRA’s MTC Engineering Sunshine Nationals

when: October 17-18, 2020

where: Orlando Speed World, Bithlo, Florida, USA

AHDRA Bringing Nitro to Orlando

AHDRA is bringing all-American motorcycle drag racing and the smell and fury of nitro to Florida’s Orlando Speed World with their MTC Engineering Sunshine Nationals on October 17-18.

Click Here to read this drag race report on Bikernet.

JOIN THE CANTINA –  Subscribe Today

Zero Miles Harley-Davidson VRXSE Destroyer Is a Speed Junkie’s Dream Ride

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by Daniel Patrascu from

So, a decade and some change ago, the world’s favorite motorcycle builder, Harley-Davidson, decided to do something crazy: come up with a factory-build dragster that would shred the hell out of the competition on the strip.

This is how the VRXSE Destroyer was born, a CVO-handled monster of a two-wheeler powered by a chunky Screaming Eagle engine. 1,300cc in displacement, the powerplant churns out 165 hp and, aided by things like stroker crankshaft, high compression pistons, a racing transmission with a multi-stage lock-up clutch, and two-stage launch control, it had enough punch to shoot the missile to the end of the quarter-mile distance in under 10 seconds.

Initially, Harley planned to make at most 300 units of the thing, but the impact it had it was (naturally) immense, and before you knew it, the production run doubled in size to 600 units.

The motorcycle had such an appeal that not everybody bought one to race it. In fact, there are quite a few people who paid the little over $30,000 asking price just to have sit around in a garage somewhere, as a museum piece.

This is what happened to this here Destroyer. Now available for sale at the hands of Porsche specialist Canepa, it shows “no miles, no driving, no wear, nothing,” as its description says.

The bike was purchased new and sat for a very long time in a larger collection of dragsters, in the select company of a Kent Fuller nitromethane dragster and the likes. It then ended up over at Canepa, who is selling it for an undisclosed price.

Now, don’t go thinking this is the only Destroyer on the market. There are others, of course, but most of them, if not all, have been put to some use in the past, and are not quite as pristine as this one.

We only hope whoever buys it chooses to enjoy it the way it was meant to, not only visually.

Harley-Davidson Killer S&S Indian Challenger Begins Testing

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by Daniel Patrascu from

In the weekend of October 23, during the MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest, an incredible battle is about to be fought: 13 Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be on the same field, fighting for the Drag Specialties King of the Baggers title against each other and a single non-Harley bike, this S&S Indian Challenger.

The event, which will be held at Monterey, is the first of its kind since this whole health crisis mess began all those months ago and, at least on paper, it should be something to remember.

The bagger Challenger is an Indian project backed by S&S and it calls for a stock bike to be modified even further that the already incredible specs: 122 horsepower, an inverted front suspension, and a hydraulically-adjustable FOX rear shock.

Since we first learned about this back in July, things seem to have progressed quite nicely. Not long ago, the team behind the build, let by the one who will ride it during the October event, Tyler O’Hara, took the bike out for what was supposed to be the first testing session.

It kind of wasn’t because rain put some dents in the team’s plans, but we are told that even this brief outing was enough to “gather valuable information around rider ergonomics, suspension and more.” And they also took some photos, which you can see in the gallery attached above.

“When the Indian Challenger was released last October, it set a new standard for performance-oriented, stock baggers and offers the ideal platform, from which to base our race modifications,” said Paul Langely of S&S in a statement back when the project was announced.

“That said, we’re leaving no stone unturned when evaluating the modifications needed to be successful at Laguna Seca.”

With about a month left to go until the event, keep an eye out for more info on this project in the coming weeks.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Claims the Crown of a Barren Kingdom

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by Daniel Patrascu from

At the end of last week, drag racing fans were back in business as the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis took place. A lot of interesting things happened there, including an appearance by the 1,400 hp electric Mustang Dragster and some demonstration runs with Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycles.

A couple of days ago the Milwaukee bike maker released a very short video showing the highlights of the LiveWire runs with riders Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec, and Angelle Sampey holding the handlebars. As it was, the video showed nothing impressive, as fast, drag racing motorcycles we’ve seen before.

Socially-distanced people in the stands seemed to confirm nothing spectacular happened, as they seemed unimpressed with what was happening down on the strip. As such, few could have anticipated records being broken.

Only that they were (sort of), and Harley confirmed this with an announcement made on September 10.

As per the bike maker, one of the three riders, Angelle Sampey (who usually rides a FXDR Pro Stock) accelerated the LiveWire to the records of best elapsed time and top speed.

In short, the LiveWire covered the eighth-mile distance (201 meters) in 7.017-seconds and the full quarter-mile (402 meters) in 11.156 seconds, while reaching a top speed 110.35 mph (177.6 kph), which is a bit more than the official top speed of the motorcycle.

“Let me tell you what’s amazing,” said Sampey in a statement. “That was the first time I rode the LiveWire. I could not wait to get it on the track. The LiveWire is so easy to ride. Just twist the throttle and go, and you really go!”

So, great numbers, and that made Harley confident enough to claim it set the all-new records for an “electric-powered production motorcycle on a drag racing course.”

So, this is the baseline for future electric bikes to beat. But given how there is virtually no competition in the electric-powered production motorcycle segment on the drag strip at the moment, it’s like Harley crowned itself the ruler of an empty realm.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Drag Races at NHRA U.S. Nationals, Who Was Impressed?

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by Daniel Patrascu from

There’s only one mainstream bike maker with an electric motorcycle on the market: Harley-Davidson. The Americans launched the LiveWire last year, hit a few snags along the way, and now the entire thing looks like a lost bet.

Maybe it’s the fact that the world is not yet ready for electric motorcycles – we lost track of how many startups came and went while promising a revolution in the industry – or it could be that Harley really messed up the LiveWire, but the reality is riders do not really flock to dealers to order one.

Truth be told, the bike maker itself didn’t make a big fuss about the electric two-wheeler, and kind of left it fending for itself because, well, it really has no competition.

That approach is about to change as of this month. Harley is finally putting some big names and some more dollars behind promoting the bike, in the hopes its fortunes would change.

Starting September 18, people with an Apple TV+ subscription will have the chance to see what the LiveWire is really capable of. After all, it did travel over 13,000 miles (21,000 km) from the city of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego to America’s West Coast, ridden by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they were shooting their Long Way Up show.

And also from September, expect to see it more on the drag strip, just like it happened this past weekend in Indianapolis, where the NHRA U.S. Nationals took place.

Three Harley riders – Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec, and Angelle Sampey – enjoyed themselves between races by taking the LiveWire down the strip in exhibition runs, trying to convince people an investment in the LiveWire would not be a bad idea.

Don’t expect anything spectacular to have happened. There’s a short video below this text with the highlights of the Harley runs, but don’t look forward to records being broken or the crowds going wild with excitement.


Malloy and Winters lead AHDRA Numidia Winners

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AHDRA motorcycle drag racing series

race coverage report

event: AHDRA Numidia Nitro presented by Vreeland’s H-D

when: August 29-30, 2020

where: Numidia Dragway, Numidia, PA, USA

The revived AHDRA all-American motorcycle drag racing series thundered into the bucolic countryside of Numidia, Pennsylvania this past weekend, August 29-30. Delaware legend Bob “Opie” Malloy led pro class winners, while Illinois sportsman Kevin Winters showed that any weekend is a good weekend for winning twice.

Malloy’s win came on his iconic nitro Buell in Top Fuel. “I went there to test (for the following weekend’s NHRA U.S. Nationals) and was fortunate enough to win,” said Malloy, who qualified third while focusing on half-track hits.

Malloy raced past Cordova winner Rich Vreeland in round one of eliminations. Vreeland is a bona-fide Numidia hero, and along with his brother Ray is the Harley-Davidson dealer in nearby Bloomsburg.

“Billy Jack” Jackson was Malloy’s final round opponent, and the number one qualifier. “Came out of trailer after not running a bike since June 2019 at NHRA’s Epping event and ran a 6.72 at 201—which put me as number one qualifier for event.

“Second pass we ran a 6.64 at 220 miles per hour, clicking it off at 5.50 seconds. 220 is my personal best.

“Had a bye in E1, then hopped it up for the finals against Bob. Unfortunately, we had a starter cart malfunction.”

That allowed Malloy to solo for the win, running only 8.51 at 107 after dropping a hole, and no doubt Jackson’s heart through the sole of his boot.

“The crowd wanted to see another pass so we blew it out,” said Jackson, who clicked off at 1000 feet, running a 6.94. “So we settled for a runner-up

“Kevin Garrow is owner of the bike but could not attend due to his birthday party, and let me represent Showtime Racing Team. Nice to be back in the saddle again.”

“I really want to see (AHDRA boss) Bill Rowe and the AHDRA succeed,” said Malloy. “I am going to try to support him when I can.

“That track up there is really nice. That brought me right back to grass roots racing.”

Grass roots racing means sportsman racing, and there’s no AHDRA sportsman racer more successful this year than Kevin Winters—so successful that it’s notable that Winters won “only one” class at Rockingham.

But Winters won two at Cordova back on July 4 and doubled up again at Numidia, winning Pro Eliminator 10.90 and Crete’s Performance Street Eliminator 11.50.

Winters had to race his venerable Buell past 10.90 number one qualifier Derek Christensen in the semis. The 10.90 final was all about the tree, as Winters’ .018 was nearly a full tenth over runner-up Chris Hoppe’s .116 and Hoppe was unable to make up the difference.

Ditto for the Crete’s Performance Street Eliminator 11.50 final. Winters, himself the 11.50 number one qualifier, took another big—even bigger—advantage at the tree with a .008 to runner-up Loren Potter’s .171. Poor Potter broke out by large margin with an 11.276 on his mad charge to the stripe.

Don’t feel to badly for 10.90 runner-up Hoppe. He went on to win Super Pro 10.30 Index. In the final, Hoppe faced Jeff Jampo, who beat number one qualifier Gary Degrange in the semis. Hoppe took the tree in the final by .044 before Jampo encountered a problem and ran well off the index.

Degrange went on to win Zippers Performance Modified, beating Rockingham winner Jeff Workman in the final. The race would have been the best one of the day in all classes, with Degrange running a 9.553 to Workman’s 9.558, were it not for the .076 that Workman gave to Degrange at the tree.

Gary Douglass was the Modified number one qualifier, but his son Charley Douglass found winning success in Horsepower Inc. Hot Street.

“This was the first race of the year for Douglass Racing,” noted Charley. “We have not even been to our local track to test.

“My first pass of the year on my Hot Street bike started off good with a .012 reaction time but went down hill from there. I was very rusty when it came time to footshift through the gears.

“We ended up with three number one qualifiers—one in Hot Street, one in Pro Mod, and my dad in Modified. The cool thing about being number one in Pro Mod was that I was riding my dad’s bike. This was the first time in 20 years that I had ridden a bar-bike, I always ride no-bar bikes and my dad rides bar-bikes.

“I went on to run 9.82 for the win in Hot Street against Scott Schenkel.” Rockingham 9.70 winner Schenkel gave it up on both ends of the track to lose Hot Street at Numidia to Douglass.

“Dad and I are a father and son team that has been racing together since 1999,” continued Charley. “We had crew help from my nephew Jacob Bush. We usually have a large crew with us, but due to COVID and other health issues, the rest of team Douglass stayed home.

“I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing us with a safe, fun and successful race weekend. I also would like to thank my very supportive wife Angel Douglass and all of our family, including cousins that traveled to this race to watch and cheer us on.

“We have some faithful sponsors as well—Energy One clutches, Zipper’s Performance Products, CP-Carrillo, SA racing, Chad Hart, and Xlxbhorsepower.

“We plan to race the rest of the AHDRA circuit this year.”

Charley qualified number one in T-Man Performance Pro Mod but redlit in round 1. In a replay of the Rockingham final, John Price took the win when Keith Carper—like Douglass—lit the redeye.

A redlight also decided the 9.70 Index final when John Shotts nicked it by -.006 and Bob Maier ran out to the win.

Like Winters, Mike Motto also picked up two wins—GMS Racing Engines Extreme Gas and Outlaw Street—both against Rylan Mason. Motto took a whopping .291 advantage at the tree over Mason in the Extreme Gas and ran a strong 8.36 at 157 while Rylan cruised through the traps at highway speeds.

Motto had it even easier in Outlaw Street when Mason broke.

Cordova Mad Monkey Motorsports Draggin’ Bagger runner-up Branon White took the win this time around, ceding the tree by .175 to Crosby Blair and driving around with a 9.90 at a class record 142.78 to Blair’s 10.67 at 127.68.

“We fought a clutch issue and I left easy—late not to redlight,” said White. “I have lost two semis and not been able to win. I had the bike, no questions, so I chose to limp it out and let it eat.” White’s previous best was 138 mph.

Back to nitro and we find Cordova Hawaya Racing Pro Dragster winner Preston Bartlett bagging another one at Numidia. Number one qualifier Bartlett faced John McConnell in the final, and both put in two good green lights at the tree. But Bartlett had the Team LSR power between his legs to power across the finishline first with a 7.52 at 169 to McConnell’s 7.72 at 158.

“There were two rounds of qualifying, and our first pass locked us in for the number one qualifier,” reported Bartlett. “We had a bye (in E1) but made a pass anyway and improved our time, and then went faster for the win. That’s the Long and Short of it!”

The Workhorse ET final saw Steve Kajewski and Kevin Laughman leave within .006 of each other before Laughman took way too much stripe, handing the win to Kajewski.

Laughman rebounded to put .115 on Eric Kuhns at the tree in the Lumbee Racing Trophy final and carried a strong advantage over the stripe for the win.

Bill Rowe and his crew thank all the racers, crew and sponsors and look forward to seeing further growth for the new AHDRA at Atlanta Dragway on October 2-4 in Commerce, Georgia.

The AHDRA website is at

The AHDRA Facebook page is at

The AHDRA Facebook group can be found at