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If you google up the "documentary" called "Birh of the V-Rod" you can see Porsche's contribution to the V-Rod engine. They took a selection of VR-1000 race engines and redesigned them for durability on the street and to meet emissions requirements. For anyone who has lived with and worked on BMW motorcycles, the components of that engine and it's basic feel are instantly recognizable as German. I joke the bike speaks English with a heavy Bavarian accent! Harley and Porsche formed a joing venture company in 1996 to design and manufacture the V-Rod engine, and the joint venture's manufacturing site was located inside Harley's Kansas City assembly plant. You can google around and find old articles in business magazines and corporate disclosure documents that describe the joint venture.

Harley's association with Porsche goes back many decades. Raise your hand if you ever saw a bike Harley nearly produced called "Project Nova"? This was a modular engine, with two bores on a single stroke that could be built as a V-twin, V-four or V-six. The bike was ready for production in 1983 when the program was cancelled due to lack of funds. Porshce was retained to do the major engine design on that bike.

Porsche was also hired to help Harley develop the Evolution engines and the Twin Cam engine, primarily with emissions control matters. Inside all Harley engines you will find German pistons from Mahle and in the V-Rod and Big Twins you will find gears and shafts sourced from Getrag. Early V-Rod engines had even more international content, with French head castings, German powder forged conrods and a forged steel crank from Hatz, a German manufacturer of small diesel engines. Even the gaskets have "Germany" cast into them! As an old "propeller head" (BMW bike enthusiast) this gives me a lot of confidence in this engine. I am guessing, until I know differently, the Revolution-X engine is every bit a quality piece as the V-Rod mill is.
 

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Here are some images of a V-4 Nova from the Harley museum. All the magazines had grainy spy photos of this new water cooled Harley and I had money saved for one when the company left AMF, went private and cancelled the Nova for lack of money.





 

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The Nova had some interesting features. The bike was liquid cooled but you don't see a radiator. Those intakes alongside the "tank", which isn't a tank but an airbox, feed both the airbox and a radiator located horizontally under the bike behind the engine! Fuel is carried under the seat, and you can see the filler is behind the seat on the right side. BMW copied this design with the F-650 and F-800, but Harley was there first.

I like this particular prototype Harley has on display because it is the sporting model, and notice the perimeter brake. That prototype dates to about 1981, when Erik Buell was working as an engineer at Harley. Coincidence? You tell me.

 

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I would buy one of these tomorrow if Harley would just build it! The design of the wheels is very nearly identical to the XR-1200 wheels I have on my Street Rod.



If that fairing looks familiar, it is. When Harley cancelled the Nova they put that fairing on an FXR chassis and called it the FXRT. Look how clean the guage package is, with a central tach, speedo and coolant temp guage. No retro nonsense, just a modern sport touring bike. How different Harley could have turned out!

Here is that fairing on an FXRT.






And the Nova:

 
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