Thirty years ago, Harley-Davidson purchased the rights to Armstrong, an English motorcycle manufacturer that had supplied bikes to armies around the world. A few years later, Harley officially announced its arrival into military market with the release of one of the rarest, fastest combat motorcycles ever built: the 1999 MT500.
The secret behind the MT500 is its 500cc, 4-valve Rotax engine. Austrian-engineered and designed for every possible landscape, this dominant dirt track engine was the ultimate prize for Harley in its acquisition of Armstrong — and the reason these bikes can handle rough terrain and hit 90 miles per hour despite their burly frames.
Unfortunately, these features weren’t enough to make this motorcycle a military staple. Due to its exposed engine’s easily detectable heat profile — which the ammo case panniers were meant to disguise — and other hangups, the MT500 never lived up to its potential. As a result, many estimates claim there are fewer than 500 in the entire world, making this rugged rarity a favorite among collectors.
If you’re in the market for a pristine, never-ridden Harley-Davidson MT500, you’re in luck: there will be oneon the block at the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on Jan. 26. Have your checkbook ready — the asking price will likely exceed $20,000.
For those of us who don’t have 20 grand lying around, the MT500 will also be on display Jan. 25 at the auction site from 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Take a look if you’re in town — you might never lay eyes on one again.
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Soldiers, family and community gathered in Morehead City to render honors and witness the transfer and memorial of U.S. Army Sgt James Slape Nov. 9-11, 2018. Slape will hold a temporary resting place in Morehead City before ultimately moving to Arlington Cemetery. Slape supported Operations Resolute Support and Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard)
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