Alan Cathcart rides the 1994 Harley-Davidson VR1000, the street bike homologation version of the famous VR1000 racer.
1994 Harley-Davidson VR1000 Street
Engine: 996cc water-cooled 8-valve DOHC 60-degree V-twin, 98mm x 66mm bore and stroke, 10.8:1 compression ratio, 135hp @ 10,000rpm (at crankshaft)
Top speed: 165mph
Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
Weight (dry): 389.4lb (177kg)
Fuel capacity: 4.5gal (17ltr)
Price then/now: $49,490/$60,000-$80,000
In 1994, with Harley-Davidson’s production of the motorcycles that made Milwaukee famous about to break the 100,000 annual barrier for the first time, America’s Finest had a new, radically different “street” bike in its catalog: the VR1000 Superbike.
For the first time ever, you could buy a V-twin Harley road bike that was A) liquid-cooled, B) had anything other than a 45-degree angle between the cylinders, C) used some means other than pushrods to work the valves, and D) could break the 55mph speed limit in second gear.
The fastest street-legal production motorcycle ever made in America could have been yours for just $49,490, a huge sum back then, in exchange for which you had to promise you’d never ride it on the streets of America. Poland was OK, however, because that’s where the street version of the bike that brought H-D back to road racing in 1994 was homologated for everyday use. After all, American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Superbike rules didn’t say WHERE a bike had to be approved for street use for it to qualify for homologation, and you had to build at least 50 bikes with lights and a number plate — then go racing.
That’s just what Harley did with the VR1000, which formed the basis of an 8-year AMA Superbike campaign from 1994 to 2001 in the hands of such star riders as Miguel Duhamel, Doug Chandler, Chris Carr, Pascal Picotte and former World Superbike champion Scott Russell. The effort yielded one pole position, two second-place finishes and a handful of thirds — but no race wins.
Order the March/April 2016 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 1994 Harley-Davidson VR1000. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.