Urban Street Brawler
When the original Revolution 500 and 750 engines came out in the new Street series, I believe it was safe to say that the line between tradition and embracing a new market was almost as clear-cut as a double yellow in a school zone. The Street series was meant to draw in new riders to the Harley Davidson lifestyle, with the hopes of providing a more affordable yet respectable motorcycle. I believe it’s also fair to say that the local market reacted very well, with many existing owners of Harleys picking up the Street 500s and 750s as second bikes, as well as giving new and aspiring riders a more attainable option. Those bikes had the punch needed for city riding and the occasional jaunt on some country roads, especially the 750, which provided nice power yet the riding characteristics one can expect of a Harley Davidson. Now, we have the 2017 Street Rod locally, and it uses the same respectable 750cc liquid-cooled power plant, but with a few new additions and surprising features.
At first glance, the Street Rod 750 makes the right impression; the fit and finish is evidently many steps above the rest of the street series. Gone are the floppy indicators on the other Street bikes, and in are classy bullet-type LED indicators. The plastics are well put together, and the screws and bolts are all nicely done. The metal tank is of an interesting shape, with an offset chrome filler for gas. An LED rear taillight is standard and extremely visible at all times of day. Big points for a 43mm upside down front fork for increased travel, and the use of double 300mm front disc brakes with ABS. A very welcome change here is the 17-inch blacked-out wheels with a really good-looking spoke design. Increased ride height means more lean angle and the Street Rod can do at least 40 degrees on the non-exhaust side, so expect your pegs to get their scrape on during those “spirited” rides. Chassis changes are thorough, with a rake that’s steeper at 27 degrees, a trail reduced to 3.9, and a shorter wheelbase at 59.4.
The handlebar controls are a standard affair with a mid-control layout for your feet, which can get awkward if you happen to be anywhere near 6 feet in height. With my height, the sensation of riding the Street Rod had me in a slightly weird crouched position, almost like doing crunches on EDSA, but looking way more badass. The exhaust can get in the way of walking the motorcycle, or putting your feet down, and we all know how hot those things can get even with heatshields. It takes some getting used to, but a few days of riding and anyone will have it down pat. But, kudos to HD for a nice pair of standard bar end mirrors and drag bars, they are the biggest standout on the Street Rod and make the machine even more aggressive. Instrumentation is basic, with a speedometer dominating the entire cluster. A small digital readout displays trip meters and a switchable gear and RPM readout. The rest of the warning lights are there: ABS, low fuel, temperature, and indicators.
Ride the Street Rod and you’ll immediately notice two things: one, it handles extremely well thanks to the handlebars and riding position, and, two, it’s a reasonably quick motorcycle. The leverage of those drag bars is great, especially in low-speed traffic. The bar end mirrors might polarize since lansplitting and filtering requires a little more width consideration, but, if splitting is not your thing then be prepared to be stared at by other road users as you wait in line. The 750 engine also gets a slight bump in compression in the Street Rod, together with revised intake ports and higher lift cams, coupled with a larger airbox that feeds 42mm diameter throttle bodies. These changes result in a higher rev limit of 9,000rpm, and 68.4 bhp at 8,750rpm and 47.2 lb/ft of torque at 4,00 rpm. More than enough power to conquer the streets of the metro, and make those commutes to work a little more exciting. Power is linear and smooth in delivery, with nice deceleration pops here and there. The exhaust note is restrained but an aftermarket one should solve some of that. Initial throttle bite can be snatchy, so some clutch modulation is needed to smoothen out stop and go traffic. Brake diving is almost non-existent, and the new rear piggyback twin shocks are well suited for our roads; stable yet forgiving. When you’re done riding and wiping that smile off your face, you’ll also be surprised that the Street Rod comes with an alarm system installed. Park your bike, walk away, and two chirps will signify its activation. Any movement to the motorcycle lets out a warning beep, with continuous movement triggering a loud beeping alarm complete with flashing lights. Handy when street parking and a great deterrent.
The Street Rod is sporty enough to be called a standard motorcycle, sprinkled with Harley Davidson bits to make it even more of an urban warrior. When all is said and done, this is the motorcycle I’ll be pointing out whenever someone asks me for a Harley Davidson that handles well and rides just as good.
2017 Harley Davidson Street Rod
Engine: 4 stroke liquid-cooled Revolution X V-twin
Max Power: 68.4bhp @ 8750rpm
Torque: 47.2 lb/ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Seat Height: 765mm
Fuel Capacity: 13 liters
Curb Weight: 234kg
Top Speed: 140+ kph
Price: Php 667,000.00
+ Fit and finish is great, fast enough and the 17in wheels are extremely welcome
- Seating position can be awkward; placement of exhaust can be tricky