Harley-Davidson's notoriously nostalgic, 108 year practice of building only air-cooled engines (with the exception, of course, of the V-Rod Night Rod Special and V-Rod Muscle) is about to come to a screeching halt. Thanks to certification documents leaked by the EPA and California Air Resources Board, all engines in the 2012 Harley-Davidson lineup will feature a radiator discreetly wedged between each model's downtubes.
A Harley-Davidson representative reluctantly admitted that the change was coming when confronted with the allegation. "For over a century, our bikes have exuded a singular feel and an unmistakable exhaust note," the spokesperson said during a phone interview, "but toughening emissions regulations and practical considerations have forced us to modernize our powerplants."
The rep suggested that the benefits were not limited to clean air; the new liquid-cooled engines produce up to 35 percent more horsepower, and run considerably cooler than their predecessors-- with a reduction in the signature potato-potato exhaust volume. The radiators, manufactured in Japan by Denso, are purpose built for the H-D application, and feature a similar design to the slim units found on Honda's Fury chopper. All models will feature traditional placement except the XR1200X, which will incorporate a side-mounted radiator. Rumors that the V-Rod will be discontinued due to "redundancy" have not yet been confirmed.
"The time has come," the rep told me, "and our valued customers will soon see that Harley-Davidson is committed to embracing a cleaner and greener future."
>>If you believed this story, check the date-- yep, it was published on April Fools day! Harley-Davidson has not released any plans to add water-cooled engines to their lineup.<<
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Photo © Basem Wasef; click to enlarge