- Published: Friday, 02 June 2017 12:25
Harley-Davidson's Street Rod 750 is arguably its most radical production model to date, and could win over a whole new type of buyer
Text: Tim 'Mackin Fighta' McIntyre
What the heck's a Street Rod? Is it like a Rhuby Rhod? Or something you hit people with in the street?
Not really, but since it's a Harley some level of flamboyance is inherent. It is about street 'fighting' though: The Motor Company has taken great pains to evolve in recent years, from its Livewire electric bike, to the entry-level Street 750 model, and the truly sporty Sportster model, the Roadster.
Oh so H-D has gone 'modern'?
In a big way. And this bike is arguably it's most audacious effort yet: The Street Rod's 750cc V-twin, retuned for more power and gusto, with a more competent chassis than the bare-bones Street 750. In short, the Street Rod is Harley Davidson's answer to riders who want a motorcycle with more aggressive ergonomics and performance, but who want something other than a Triumph Street Triple or a Ducati Monster.
No way - Harley takes on the Europeans?
It's not the first time either, as the XR 1200 Sportster from 2008 did a mighty fine job of it before. The Street 750 should be taken seriously, too, as it's spec-sheet shows it has all the proper bits to go quick: 70bhp from the retuned 750cc engine, dual-disc two-piston calipers and ABS front brakes, USD forks, tighter chassis geometry. Harley purists might raise an eyebrow here since nearly 70bhp on a ‘entry-level’ Hog is quite something, and eclipses some of the air-cooled range easily.
That sounds convincing...
And it is. In fact, Harley is aiming it firmly at the urban crowd, which is why it did the regional press launch right here in Singapore. First impressions while riding down Bras Basah Road are that the engine feels refined and smooth. Second are that the handling is light and responsive and the brakes are reassuringly good. The ergonomics are definitely more streetfighter than street cruiser with flat, drag-style handlebar canting you forward. The Street Rod is a bit taller too, with seat height raised 104 mm to 757 mm and the footpegs set further back, increasing lean angle to a not-insignificant 28.5 degrees.
So it's not a traditional relaxed highway roared?
It very much isn't. A photo-stop at the Old Upper Thomson circuit gave us the chance to see how the bike handles corners. And it takes to them very nicely. There's ample ground clearance so you'd have to be pushing pretty hard before you start grinding metal on this Harley. If fast bends speak to you, it’s far better than a traditional Harley like the 48 which will scrape its footpegs at the merest hint of aggressive cornering.
But it's a Harley, so that means it's big?
Although the bike looks and feels compact, at 238 kg, it is not exactly light. At least it carries its weight low so it never feels cumbersome. There's plenty of juice between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm, which makes for very usable real-world overtaking power. The engine note is characterful without being obnoxious. The straight bars are narrow enough for drama-free lane splitting and with its usable power and good ABS-equipped brakes, the Street Rod was perfectly at home navigating heavier traffic on the return journey on the AYE.
And it looks the part too...
Kudos also to Harley-Davidson's design team. This is a handsome bike with a stout muscular profile and styling cues that integrate bobber and dirt tracker elements. The olive gold version, in particular, turns heads. Bar-end mirrors are a nice touch and can be mounted above or below the grips. They can also be folded back without interfering with the rider’s hands.
What's the damage?
The Street Rod sells for $19,900 without COE or insurance. Budget for an on-the-road price in the ballpark of $27,000. That's a lot of dinero. But with ARF rates and COE prices where they are, "affordable" two-wheeler now means anything under $30,000. Fortunately, that money still buys you a Harley - one that's fun, street-wise, and easy to live with.
Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750
Engine type 749cc, 8V, V-twin
Bore X Stroke 85.0 x 66.0mm
Gearbox type 6-speed manual
Max power 68hp at 8,750rpm
Max torque 61Nm at 4,000rpm
0 to 100km/h Not stated
Top speed Not stated
Wet Weight 238kg
Seat Height 765mm
Price $19,900 (machine only)