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

They have

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

Gear Check

Rider: Ravi Chandnani Hel­met: KYT R8-Matic Jacket: Rev’it Warp Gloves: Spidi Wake-E Boots: XPD X-One WRS

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