Harley have launched the new Street Rod in Singapore today, but does it live up to the name?
First things first, this Street Rod is based on the US spec Street 750 and NOT a V-Rod. With the V-Rod going the way of the Dodo thanks to its water-cooled heart being, in Harley’s own words, the dirtiest engine we produce, the street performance torch has been passed on to the Street family, which is where the Street Rod comes in.
While the rest of the Street family is unashamedly aimed at the entry level rider, the Street Rod rolls into the range with a slightly more experienced rider as its target.
It’s taller, sportier, and more aggressive than the pudgy, yet incredibly popular, little LAMS Street 500 that has been so successful at getting Kiwis (and Aussies) into the brand since its arrival. Just looking at the spec sheet I’d put Street Rod’s closest family competition as the Roadster in terms of target audience, with in-excess of 37 degrees of cornering clearance either side, sporty riding position and centrally mounted pegs. Sure the Roadster is real pukka Harley in every way, but at a much higher price point, but what Harley are hoping is that the Street Rod will retain riders of the 36,000 Street models sold thus far who want to upgrade to a more grunty bike but enjoy their Street. On the other hand Harley also hope it has the appeal to draw in newer riders who like the styling concept but wouldn’t otherwise be a Harley customer. Time will tell how successful it is, but Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand Marketing Executive, Adam Wright, has high hopes for the Street Rod in our market.
Where it differs the most from the Roadster is firstly in its size, which still compact owing to its Street roots. Secondly is in the power to weight department, and it’s not particularly favourable for the newcomer. Weighing in at 238kilos ready to ride it is only 19kg lighter than the Roadster, while it puts out 33Nm less grunt. Where it has the Roadster beat however is in cornering ability, with nearly 10 degrees more lean angle possible and 17-inch wheels doing the grippy business.
That’s all well and good, but how does it ride in the environment it was design for – the city?
Well it’s been thundery and raining heavily here in Singapore today, but that didn’t stop us getting out and about on the Street Rods.
Jumping on, the first thing you notice is how high the pegs are. This is doubtless one of the ways Harley have achieved their great lean angles on the Street Rod, though I get the feeling taller than average riders will probably find it cramped.
Now, I entered this with low expectations for the performance side, the Street 500 didn’t float my boat so I was dubious about how much better that 60degree lump could be improved. Turns out, it was a lot! I was blown away by how good the high output Revolution X performs. It makes a mockery of traffic light drag races, and happily charges to “the ton” and beyond.
Braking is equally good, though the feel is initially a little spongy, it clamps right down into some very capable stopping power. Especially when you have to jump on the picks to stop before one of Singapore’s countless speed cameras.
To find out just how good that headlight is in the dark and the full rundown of Harley’s new performance street machine. Grab a copy of issue #157 of Bike Rider Magazine, on sale May 22.
AT A GLANCE
Engine: 749cc Liquid-cooled Revolution X V-twin
Power: 65Nm @ 4,000rpm
Seat height: 765mm
Rake and Trail: 27 degrees, 99mm
Pros: Looks sharp, High-Output Revolution X a step forward, fun factor
Cons: Heavy, awkward foot pegs