Harley-Davidson “Torque” Brings Star Harley Engine Back Into the Spotlight

In the world of motorcycle makers, there are few pieces of hardware important enough to have earned their place in the industry’s history books. As it happens, many of those who do have been created by Harley-Davidson, one of the oldest companies on the planet, and perhaps the only one to have dodged the bankruptcy bullet on more than one occasion.
The two sides of a 1999 Evo engine 10 photos
Photo: Bad Land/edited by autoevolution
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It did so, naturally, thanks to the engines and motorcycles it launched at key points during its existence. And one such pivotal moment came and went in the 1980s, placing Harley perhaps the closest it has ever been to biting the dust.

The reasons for that are, of course, well known, and have to do, as usual, with poor sales, the subsequent lack of money, and a buyout and restructuring that nearly killed the company. Despite them all, Harley survived, and it did so in no small part thanks to the Evolution engine.

This piece of hardware came to be in 1984, and it is considered by many responsible for the company being able to save itself from doom. It was kept in production until 1999, and went on to power a wide range of Milwaukee two-wheelers, including the Softails that were just coming into existence.

The unit became famous for eating up less fuel than what came before it while at the same time generating more torque, and was simply adored by the people living out their days in the motorcycling world.

More than two decades have passed since the engine was finally pulled from the market, and, naturally, most of us have nearly forgotten it, especially since a number of other incredible powerplants made their way into existence. But all it takes to remind us of that piece of tech is a well-baked custom ride.

Harley\-Davidson Torque
Photo: Bad Land
We discovered one on the lot of the Japanese shop Bad Land, a black and chrome wonder that’s here to remind us all of how Harley used to make two-wheeled machines. It was originally a 1999 Evo, meaning it’s part of the engine’s last official year on the market, only modified in the shop’s usual style.

The bike is propped on chrome Performance Machine wheels of the Torque variety (hence the name we chose for the ride). They are sized 21 inches at the front and 18 inches at the rear and sit under custom fenders that make them stand out even more.

The Evo engine of the motorcycle is responsible for getting the wheels moving. Fully exposed to the elements, it is highlighted in shiny chrome to match the rims, but remains the centerpiece of the motorcycle even in this custom form. It doesn’t seem to have been modified in any way, with the exception of its breathing bits and pieces, with the one responsible for exhaling, the exhaust, also wrapped in chrome.

Although this is an older Bad Land build, the Evo 250 Wide, as the shop calls it, is a true visual delight, a beast that would be great next to the more modern Fat Boys and Breakouts the custom industry spits out with incredible speed these days.

As for the cost of the Torque, which is bike number 63 in the Japanese crew’s 155-bike-strong portfolio, that’s the big unknown. For reference though, a used Evo from 1999 presently sells even for as much as $15,000, depending on condition.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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