Vance & Hines/Screamin' Eagle race team Harley

INDIANAPOLIS--From the outside, the Vance & Hines facilities are nothing special--just a couple of large warehouses next to a cornfield. But some of the fastest motorcycles in the world come out of its drag-racing engine program.

This completed, 640-pound Vance & Hines/Screamin' Eagle drag-racing Harley-Davidson motorcycle can do more than 199 mph in a quarter mile. Breaking that 200 mph wall is the holy grail for Vance & Hines designers.

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Engine workshop

Vance & Hines engineers machine and fine-tune drag-racing engines in this workshop. Note the tarps covering some of the tables. While Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson authorized this media tour, the engineers who work on these tables also perfect engines for racing teams from Suzuki and Buell. Since those companies want their engine secrets quiet, that work was literally kept under wraps.
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Engine testing station

The Vance & Hines engineering facilities include three engine testing stations, one each for Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, and Buell engines. Here, a Buell engine is hooked up for a test run. The control panel controls engine load capacity, fuel flow, liquid-cooling setting, oil flow, and other variables to push engines to their limits.
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Harley-Davidson engine ready for testing

Though Vance & Hines tests and improves the capacities for Suzuki and Buell engines, it races Harley-Davidson engines itself. Here, a 2.6-liter Harley-Davidson engine waits for a load test in one of the engineers' three testing stations.
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Engine stripped down

Vance & Hines racing engineers and mechanics can strip an elite drag-racing engine down to its essential components to refine its performance. Here, one workstation is covered in piston rods, cam heads, transmission gears, and so on from a Harley-Davidson/Screamin' Eagle engine.
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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET / Caption by:

Vance & Hines precision drill

Vance & Hines mechanics carefully hand-tool each engine component to squeeze every bit of speed out of an engine. Here, a Harley-Davidson engine block is prepared for a precision valve job.
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Vance & Hines design

Engine parts designed by Vance & Hines technicians start on paper and are carved out of metal. The engine shifter part seen here was precision-carved out of a block of aluminum similar to the one pictured. Note the ancient 3.5-inch floppy that holds much older design files on Vance & Hines engine parts.
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Precision drill bits

Vance & Hines carves new engine parts out of block aluminum and steel with precision-tooling and grinding machines using these specially designed bits.
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Vance & Hines dragster motorcycle

While Vance & Hines mechanics fine-tune their dragster bikes' 2.6-liter Harley-Davidson engines, the frame, drivetrain, and rear tires wait to be saddled up once again.
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Carbon fiber test frame

To test weight, comfort, and functionality of its drag-racing motorcycles, Vance & Hines engineers forge test frames of unpolished carbon fiber.
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Vande & Hines racing exhaust pipes

Apart from the drag-racing division, the Vance & Hines consumer division produces 250 specially designed racing exhaust systems for custom motorcycles.
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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET / Caption by:

Vance & Hines consumer testing lab

To calibrate its consumer special exhaust systems away from its racing division, Vance & Hines engineers test products on standard Harley-Davidsons.
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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET / Caption by:
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