Harley-Davidsons are for fat, grizzled, middle-aged weirdy beardies, right? Hogs may have their Hell’s Angels image, but that hasn’t stopped the world’s most famous motorbike manufacturer having a go at something different.

The high-performance XR 1200 gets its first official outing at the NEC in Birmingham. Bosses at Harley will keep a close eye on public opinion of the new machine, which purports to be a real sports bike. Harley already manufactures crazy sports two-wheelers under the Buell marque, but this is the Harley brand’s first real go at this kind of bike.

The XR 1200, which could be in showrooms as early as next year, is designed specifically for European riders’ proportions and tastes, and has a 1200cc engine, specially developed tyres, and a design based on the Harley XR 750 dirt-track bike.

With around 90bhp expected from the powertrain, coupled with plenty of lean angle, the XR 1200 Prototype is likely to be the best handling Harley yet.