Words: Aatish Mishra
What is it?
It is the latest addition to Harley-Davidson’s Street family of motorcycles. So far, the Street 750 was the sole member of this line of motorcycles in India and the Street Rod is the newest addition to it. However, instead of just a cosmetic job, Harley-Davidson have worked properly hard to update the Street platform to match the vision they had for the Street Rod — the Street Rod is designed to be the sporty, more aggressive counterpart to the relaxed, more laid back Street 750.
Quite a lot actually! Lets start from the top. The Street Rod gets the same 749cc Revolution X engine that is found in the Street 750, but here in its ‘High Power’ guise, power and torque figures have been bumped up slightly. Harley doesn’t disclose power figures for their motorcycles but claim it is up by 11 per cent; torque is up by 3Nm to 62Nm. This is courtesy a bigger intake, a shorter exhaust and increased camshaft lift. It also gets new 42mm dual throttle bodies, higher compression ratio and redline that’s been bumped up by 100rpm.
The chassis has been updated as well. The rake angle is now a sharper 27 degrees (it was 32 degrees on the Street 750) shortening the wheelbase and the trail and it gets USD forks up front. The ground clearance is higher and this translates to more lean angle on both sides. The Street Rod also comes with dual 300mm discs up front, with ABS as standard. While the Street 750 has a 17-inch front and 15-inch rear, the Street Rod gets 17-inchers front and back.
The design is more aggressive than the Street 750 with a lot of fresh stuff going on. The cowl is new, the stance is more hunkered down. The pegs have been moved up and further back, while the bars are wide and forward making for an aggressive riding position. The rear of the bike has been significantly updated, it is more chunky and the split seat makes it look more purposeful. The lead designer on the project was an Indian, Chetaan Shedjale, and he says his aim was to make the bike more bullish, to appeal to a younger audience. A lot of the inspiration comes from flat track racing and drag racing, and it shows — from the handlebar, to the rear set pegs and the overall stance of the motorcycle.
Fun to ride
Oh, yea! The changes in its geometry make it far more flickable — something quite uncharacteristic of cruisers of this nature. The Street Rod is far more effortless to filter through traffic in and that’s what Harley are going for — they’re showcasing the bike in Singapore (the entire island is a city) because it’s meant for the urban outlaw. And it fits in to that role perfectly. The bikes we rode come shod with Michelin rubber, though the Indian bikes come with MRFs as standard and Michelins as an option. We did ride the Street Rod on some twisties on the outskirts of the city and the Street Rod felt very comfortable around bends. Grip from the motorcycle was good around corners and the tyres work well with the revised chassis to really inspire confidence while pushing it. The different seating position also has a role to play in this.
Speaking about this new riding position, it takes a while to get used to. The first time you sit on the bike, you’re constantly shifting around trying to find a comfortable position. The pegs are set rather high and it is slightly unnatural to be positioned like this. However, spend some time on the motorcycle and things start to fall in to place and become more comfortable. Rather uncomfortable at first, the seating position grew on me and by the end of the ride I didn’t find this bothering me.
The suspension felt firm but not overly stiff. Singapore’s roads don’t have a single pothole but on the smooth tarmac it felt great. It will be interesting to see how the suspension hold up on our terrible roads in India.
The engine is a familiar one and it is rather similar to the one in the standard Street 750. It has got tremendous reserves of torque, and pulls strongly when you get on the throttle from as low as 2000rpm. This is actually the sweet spot — between 2,000 and 4,500rpm, after that vibrations start to creep in to the handlebars and foot pegs. It is most comfortable when you short-shift and ride the wave of torque available low down to get the speedo up to where you want it. We hit about 110kmph on Singapore’s speed restricted roads, but the Street Rod is capable of so much more and should make the occasional touring trip a breeze. The gearbox is carried over from the Street 750 with the exact same ratios as well, and is a real nice ‘box to use. It is rather slick, and not hefty and clunky, again quite uncharacteristic of Harleys.
The Street Rod was launched in India last month for Rs 5.86 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. What you are getting for that is bike that is a significant improvement on over the Street 750 on the dynamic front, and also a bike that looks far more appealing. The Street Rod makes for a compelling buy when you consider the fact that it costs a little under a lakh more than the standard 750. If you are someone who can stretch your budget a little more to get the Street Rod, I’d say it makes a lot of sense to get one. More thrills, and you look far cooler while you get your fill.