H-D street Rod
H-D’s new bike, the Street Rod, hits hard with its street cred and that’s a good thing
Popular Street 750 in a more aggressive avatar
done it again. The Americans, more specifically the folk at Harley-Davidson, are an ardent bunch and they have surprised us once again with a new bike called the Street Rod. It may sound like a new variant of the Street 750, but it is an experience quite different from that second most modern Harley in the line-up today. So to see how the changes have affected the sweet little Street, we spent a day astride it to find out just that.
Harley-Davidson do things differently. Their approach involves retaining the century-old legacy that makes their products stand out in a crowd and the Street Rod is no exception to this rule. To the uninitiated, the Street Rod might not look different and that is where the difference lies.
The devil is in the details. Take a closer look and you will appreciate the new front end that features beefier 43-mm upside down (USD) forks that hold a wider 120-section tyre on a 17-inch wheel. Harley have also addressed the brakes on the Street Rod as there are two 300-mm rotors with dual-piston callipers at the front. There’s a new bikini fairing, too, which is colour-coded with the rest of the bike. The tank is similar to that of the Street 750, which, we think, was necessary in order to retain the family look. However, it is repositioned to gel well with the rest of the new bodywork. The rear three-quarter panel and seat are new, reminiscent of the XR1200, a lovely motorcycle that is no longer in production. Twin gascharged shocks are also new, adding millimetres to the height, allowing a larger and wider wheel/tyre combo at the back. Changes in the suspension have increased the seat height by 45
mm and ground clearance by 60 mm, allowing you greater cornering clearance. And there is a 300-mm single brake rotor with a dual-piston calliper as well.
The biggest change, however, comes in the form of the new USD forks that are set at 27° rake unlike the 32° rake of the Street 750, making the front end steeper, which results in the Street Rod being even more nimble. The flat drag-bar handlebar comes straight from the drag strip, where Harley bikes have achieved considerable success. The one thing that did bother us was the narrow seat that leaves the rear cylinder-head exposed, something that might not be good for your left inner thigh. If you are careful enough to remember it, there is nothing to worry about. We love this design because it evokes the memories we have of the erstwhile XR1200.
The Street Rod is fairly new and not just a cosmetically upgraded Street 750. What remains the same is the heart of these two motorcycles, although in the Street Rod it gets an extra shot of adrenaline. The 749-cc, liquid-cooled V-twin has the capacity and same bore X stroke. But the High Output Revolution X motor has a higher compression ratio and twin throttle bodies that are larger (42 mm) than before, allowing it to produce 62 Nm of torque, three Nm more than the Street 750. Harley also claim that the power output has gone up, though they have not provided any figures to enable comparison. The six-speed gearbox has been retained with the same ratios as in the Street 750.
To ride, the Street Rod is even more delightful than the Street 750. Its torque delivery is super smooth and the fuelling is on point, which makes it an easy bike to ride within the city and on the highway. In fact, there is so much torque even at low rpm that you will not have to shift down to overtake buses/ trucks or even cars. This makes
The Street Rod not only performs well on the highway, it conquers the city terrain and also dominates the twisties
it effortless to ride the Rod in almost any gear. The smoothness of the liquid-cooled V-twin is remarkable and sometimes you wonder whether this is an American V-twin. The throttle response is smooth and the acceleration brisk. The six-speed gearbox is pretty good with its smooth shifts.
Performance is noticeably better thanks to that extra torque. The bike accelerates quickly and there is ample torque pushing it to triple-digit speeds in no time. In fact, the Street Rod can easily post a higher top speed than the Street 750 despite being slightly heavier. However, it was the bike’s ability to cruise at high speed that impressed us the most. I was going at 80 km/h, in sixth gear, and the engine was running at just 3,000 rpm. There were virtually no vibrations from the motor. When I opened the throttle, there was enough torque to overtake a car without shifting down. I have to say that the power and torque of the Street Rod are simply more than enough for our needs.
Riding the bike is very easy; be it in town or on the highway or the twisties. One more thing the Street 750 impressed us with was its nimble handling. It takes the handling quotient gracefully up from the Street 750. The compact dimensions of the bike allowed me to weave through traffic effortlessly and it felt even better on the highway. It was in the twisties where we had the greatest fun. The sharper front end of this bike allowed for quick turn-in that made going from corner to corner quite delightful. It went from one corner to another to then to another like clockwork and
it was here that I noticed that the Rod is highly forgiving as well. I made a mistake entering one of the corners, but the bike let me correct it without scaring me. Stability is as good as or better than the Street 750. I was also really impressed by the way those MRF tyres worked. The grip was quite good in wet conditions and, in the dry, those tyres provide excellent traction, which boosts confidence. MRF have done a good job with these new tyres.
The thick front forks and new rear shocks, with more travel, are set perfectly to handle our roads as they have the right amount of dampening, making for a good ride quality. The Street Rod can handle most of our roads and come out unscathed; that’s how good the suspension is. HarleyDavidson have paid special attention to the brakes of this bike as it comes with a twin disc setup upfront and single 300-mm disc at the rear with dual-piston callipers. The brakes also feature ABS, but it is the bite and the feel that has improved tremendously as compared to the Street 750.
Overall, the new Street Rod is a hard-hitting statement for those who believed that Harley-Davidson bikes are good only for the highway. This one not only performs well on the highway, it conquers the city terrain and also dominates the twisties. It has a modern, liquid-cooled, 750-cc V-twin motor that will change your perception about Harley-Davidson’s engineering capability. Moreover, it comes with a price tag of Rs 6.04 lakh, which makes it an irresistible option that lets you savour H-D legacy while letting you enjoy the modernity that is the new Street Rod.
XR1200 inspired seat is narrow but comfortable The rear-end also gets a wider tyre on a 17inch rim New shocks at the back are set perfectly for India The new airbox, higher compression ratio, and twin throttle bodies have resulted in more power and torque The front is considerably new with a beefier USD fork, a bikini fairing, twin brake rotors, ABS, and a wider tyre
Rider: Ravi Chandnani Helmet: KYT R8-Matic Jacket: Rev’it Warp Gloves: Spidi Wake-E Boots: XPD X-One WRS