Stylish and Affordable - Harley's New Street Rod

Just in time for a season of motorcycle rallies and summer riding, Harley-Davidson have released a new model they hope is as popular as it its dark.

Just as the famous criminal Willie Sutton explained that he robbed banks because ‘that’s where the money was', Harley-Davidson is excited about this new, smaller, urban model as apparently, that’s where motorcycle sales seem to ride. A recurring theme faced by manufacturers of heavier and larger motorcycles is a seemingly shrinking biker appetite for anything over 900cc.

Joining the Milwaukee manufacturer’s Street family, the new Street Rod has the potential of drawing a new demographic of riders into the Harley way of life promising power, styling and a great price point. Steeped in tough Harley-Davidson Dark Custom styling, bearing a stance that’s poised and aggressive, the Street Rod is more than a few accessories and different paint.

“The Street Rod will put the thrill in any urban commute,” said Mathew Weber, Harley-Davidson Chief Engineer for the Street Rod. “We’ve paired the potent new High Output Revolution X 750 engine with a revised chassis and up-rated suspension components to make the Street Rod quick, light-handling and easy to ride.”

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Depending on which country the Street Rod is bought in, the High Output Revolution X 750 engine produces 18 percent more horsepower and 8 percent more torque than the standard Revolution X 750 engine. Helping the new model on its road trip to this increased power, the new single overhead-cam V-Twin engine features a larger air box, a new dual-throat throttle body, revised four-valve cylinder heads and high-lift camshafts, and a higher-volume muffler. The compression ratio is bumped from 11.0:1 to 12.0:1, and the engine redline is increased from 8,000 to 9,000 rpm.

The numbers Harley give has the engine producing 47.2 ft-lb of torque at 4000 rpm. The engine continues down the inevitable road of liquid-cooled, pretty much a requirement to meet tightening regulations around the world.

“We’ve improved air flow and then tuned this new engine to maximize mid-range torque,” said Weber. “It really delivers a punch between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm, power you can always feel and use in real-world riding situations. Liquid cooling helps maintain that performance and rider comfort in stop-and-go urban traffic.”

It may be surprising to note that even with all that power as well as the stop and go, the Street Rod gets an impressive 54 mpg.

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The new Street Rod chassis is engineered to match the performance of the High Output Revolution X engine. The front end features rigid 43mm inverted forks gripped by a lightweight aluminum triple clamp. Fork rake angle is tightened from 32 as seen on the Street 750 to 27 degrees to quicken the steering and make handling that much lighter. Of course, this change also offers a visual clue the Street Rod is different to its model siblings.

It appears Harley-Davidson engineers had ‘handling, handling, handling’ on sticky notes around their workplace. Coil-over rear shock absorbers have an external reservoir to increase fluid capacity and improve control. The shocks increase the rear suspension travel by 31 percent, to 4.6 inches offering more comfort. Lean angle is increased from 28.5 degrees left and right to 37.3 degrees right and 40.2 degrees left.

“The Street Rod is the most nimble motorcycle in the current Harley-Davidson line-up,” said Weber. “Tires, wheels, suspension and frame geometry are engineered to work together and deliver handling that’s light and precise at all speeds.”

Opening up the smaller motorcycle to larger riders, a new swing arm is slightly longer to accommodate the taller ride height, as well as enjoying new performance-inspired styling. This mix of styling and handling is also seen with the wheels. Light-weight, the 17-inch front and rear Split 7 Spoke Black Cast Wheels feature new Michelin Scorcher 21 radial tires. To back these up in a paractical manner, dual 300mm-diameter front disc brakes deliver confident stopping power.

“We made this new bike look tough and aggressive,” said Harley-Davidson Lead Designer Chetan Shedjale. “This aligns with the environment our riders will experience this motorcycle in.  The inverted, black-anodized forks and triple clamps along with a new speed screen combine to add visual mass to the Street Rod front end. The increased ground clearance and new 17-inch wheels give the Street Rod an intimidating stance. Finally, a supercharger-inspired air intake and the deeper growl of the exhaust note draw attention to the High Output Revolution X engine.”

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The press release announcing the new model states ‘The Street Rod backs up its performance with a liberal dose of Harley-Davidson Dark Custom styling.’

Whether bikers are fans of Harley-Davidson or not, everyone should concede the statement is pretty much dead on. At first glance bar-end rear-view mirrors catch the eye. These can be mounted above or below the grips and for those with some rebellion in their soul, a patent-pending design that allows them to fold back without interfering with the rider’s hands.

That’s right, where some biker’s ride, they don’t need mirrors!

A new seat shape is designed to fit the rider’s contour, and seat height is raised by 3.7 inches, to 29.4 inches, a move meant to enhance the rider’s view forward over traffic. The bar-end mirrors were mentioned above, these are connected to a flat, drag-style handlebar which puts the rider in a fist-forward posture on the bike and definitely declares the Street Rod is not a cruiser. The Street Rod also features new forged foot controls and aluminum foot pegs that are positioned for a comfortable seating position that also makes it easy for riders to get feet down to the ground at stops.

While the design follows the simple approach, it’s not lacking in technology. Anti-Lock Braking (ABS) and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System are factory-installed options for the Street Rod. The bike’s styling highlights include a new color-matched speed screen, a short aggressive street fighter-inspired tail, and all-new LED tail lamp and turn signals with a Street Rod signature look.

While this is priced as an affordable motorcycle, Harley-Davidson appears to have delivered on its celebrated quality. The simple gas tank shows no manufacturing shortcuts sometimes seen on other budget motorcycles. The pictures show dark styling that enjoyed as much attention as Harley-Davidson more expensive models.

The Street Rod will be offered in three color options: Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, and Olive Gold with prices starting at $8,699.

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