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The Harley Davidson KR engine (45 cubic inch racing engine from 1959 to 1969) was of a side valve configuration with only a 6:1 compression ratio. However, it was very competitive until the overhead valved British motorcycles hit the racing scene, causing the AMA to limit the total displacement of the British bikes.

I raced both a KR and a BSA Lightning 650 on the dirt track in the late 60s early 1970, and I felt the overhead valve higher compression engine (9:1) outperformed the side valve flatheads hands down, even with the 100cc difference.

John W

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