“Goliath” – 1980 Harley-Davidson XRTT

In America, Race by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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The XRTT was a fully-faired road-racing motorcycle based on Harley-Davidson’s XR750 flat tracker. With at most only two-dozen-or-so units produced in total (some say it was as little as 12), XRTT’s are incredibly rare finds. The story of this particular example, dubbed “Goliath”, starts back in ’79 when Alan Sputhe joined forces with Vance Breese to take the XRTT to the next level. Alan was an ex-racer and the force behind Southern California’s Sputhe Engineering (and the 1998 Sputhe Spectre), while Breese was a seasoned racer with a slew of wins to his name including a 500GP title and a total of five AFM championships in the 1970s.

Sputhe got to work designing and producing a bevy of go-fast bits for the racer, including aluminum big-bore barrels and heads, before turning the XRTT over to Harley guru, Jim Belland (who helped develop the XR chassis and formally served as Mert Lawwill’s race mechanic) to build the motor. The result was a total beast of a Harley that in 1980 set an SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) Bonneville National MPS-AG class record of 176.615mph before being ridden to a 1980 AFM series Unlimited Class road racing championship title. That year also saw Cycle World test rider John Ulrich clock a 10.554-second quarter mile at over 130mph (for an article written by Peter Egan in the July 1980 issue).

Goliath’s success attracted the attention of Harley-Davidson, which began backing the hopped-up racer. Over the next decade the machine was further refined, and by 1989 the thing boasted a Sputhe all-aluminum alloy 1,300cc short-stroke engine with forged flywheels, pistons, and connecting rods from S&S, Sifton cams, a total loss ignition, 40mm Dell’Orto carbs, and a custom race exhaust built by Tony Williams. Goliath’s XRTT chassis was paired with a Sputhe oval-section swing-arm and top-shelf suspension and brakes. That year, noted British racer John Cronshaw rode the specially-prepped XRTT for (Team Obsolete) to a class lap record at the Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire, England.

After the ’89 season in Europe, Goliath sat dormant until 1996 when Duncan Keller of Yankee Engineuity Inc. began a 150-hour+ ground-up restoration. Keller de-stroked the 1.3L mill (from 3-13/16inch to 3-1/2inch) resulting in its current 1,200cc displacement, while also increasing the redline to 8,000rpm. Other changes included the addition of an XR750 “mini-sump”, Dyna S ignition, “R-Ratio” transmission, and a bigger oil-tank.

Last January, Goliath made headlines when it was announced that the bike would go under the hammer at Bonhams’ January 2018 Las Vegas auction, though for whatever reason it didn’t sell. Fast forward to today and Rob Iannucci and the rest of the guys at Team Obsolete have once again listed this unique piece of Harley racing history for sale.

You can find this ex-Vance Breese H.D.factory and Sputhe Motor Company-backed “1980” Harley-Davidson XRTT “Goliath” (Engine no. 4A18468H2) for sale here on RaceBikeMart in Brooklyn, New York with a price of $150,000.

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