Harley isn’t exactly known for its race machines, but as far as word association goes. Nonetheless, here we have a 250cc Harley-Davidson purpose-built racer: the 1974 RR250. Developed during Harley’s time in AMF competition, this bike is supposedly one of 180, though the RR250 was made for a number of years. While this example needs its restoration to be completed, it’s still a great little runner – that according to a reliable source – gets up to 145mph. The RR250 also borrowed components from Yamaha’s TD model as a way of saving on costs for Harley and Aermacchi in development and production.
The two-stroke 246cc air-cooled twin power plant reportedly made 49hp at 11,400rpm and 22.6ft-lbs of torque at 10,250 rpm. Married the engine is a 6-speed dry-clutch transmission with chain final-drive. Wrapped around the engine and transmission is a Aermacchi steel tube frame that was developed in conjunction with Harley during the companies’ partnership. 34mm Ceriani telescopic forks are used up front while twin Girling suspenders damper the rear end. A 230mm Ceriani 4-leading shoe front brake is used along with a 230mm Ceriani twin leading shoe brake in back. The RR250 featured a Magneto ignition and 30mm Mikuni carbs, and weighed in all together at 247lbs (or 112kgs).
As previously mentioned, this example’s restoration has yet to be completed. However the engine did see a compete rebuild roughly a decade ago. A new rear wheel, new carbs, and a new exhaust was added since the engine rebuild. Sourcing some parts for these machines has been made easier with some Yamaha components being used, but these are rare machines with historical significance so specific parts are seldom come across and expensive. In 1971 Renzo Pasolini won three GP wins aboard the little RR (possibly 350) along with bagging first place at the prestigious Italian championship. Several years later he was killed while competing in the same prestigious event.
The seller of this H-D example is the same purveyor who was also selling the 1913 Indian Boardtrack Racer I recently featured. The Motorcycle Factory is a Herselt, Belgium-based high-end vintage motorcycle dealership that features some genuinely interesting rare and exotic offerings from all over the world such as this Harley Racer. They also sell rare parts for exotic and vintage models. Lastly, changes were made to the The double-“R” 250 over the years it was produced, so specs or components may have changed before or after the ’74 model featured here.