Harley Davidson Street Rod 750 review: More power, more matte, more Harley | autos$bike | Hindustan Times
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Harley Davidson Street Rod 750 review: More power, more matte, more Harley

Is Harley’s new dragster-style Street Rod 750 a capable machine?

autos Updated: May 29, 2017 16:18 IST
The Harley Davidson Street Rod 750 will appeal to customers who wouldn’t have considered a Harley as their next motorcycle.
The Harley Davidson Street Rod 750 will appeal to customers who wouldn’t have considered a Harley as their next motorcycle.(Autocar India photo)

Harley seems to be busy churning out sportier versions of its motorcycles. Earlier this year, we got the Roadster – an amped-up version of the Sportster series – and now, we have the Street Rod, a sportier derivative of the brilliant Street 750. This little tyke takes inspiration from Harley-Davidson’s drag-style bikes such as the V-Rod and the Night Rod and packs in aggressive styling that spells speed from every angle. Apart from a healthy dose of matte black paint for the engine and exhaust, the Street Rod gets split seats with a new saddle that helps riders cope with hard acceleration. The rear fender too has been shortened to give it a sportier makeover. The drag bike motif continues to the front that has a tall cowl around the round headlight along with flat ‘drag-style’ handlebars and bar-end mirrors. But it’s not just about looking fast. Harley-Davidson has ensured that the Street Rod has the performance to match its menacing appearance.

What you get here is the same 749cc, V-Twin, Revolution X engine that powers the Street 750, but with a new fueling system, a larger throttle body and a higher compression ratio. All of that allows the engine to produce more grunt. It makes 62Nm of torque (an increase of 3Nm) and while Harley-Davidson doesn’t reveal power outputs of its motorcycles, it claims that there’s an 11% increase in horsepower.

With an increase of only 5.0kg in kerb weight, this increased power and torque figures translate to sharper acceleration on the Street Rod as compared to its cruiser sibling. The bike also gets shorter and wider exhausts that add a slightly more aggressive soundtrack to the motor. On the other hand, the six-speed gearbox is carried over exactly as from the Street 750.

While the main frame of the bike has been maintained, it gets a shorter sub-frame, and this is where the Street Rod really differentiates itself from the Street 750. It now gets beefy 43mm inverted forks at the front while the twin rear shocks now get piggyback reservoirs for improved damping.

And in order to maximise cornering performance, Harley-Davidson has also upgraded the tyres to radials, which are now sized at 120/70 R17 (front) and 160/60 R17 (rear). The foot pegs too are more rear-set, and this means you won’t have to worry about scraping them when going around bends.

Even the brakes have seen an immense improvement thanks to the dual 300mm rotors up front with two-piston calipers, as opposed to the single disc on the Street 750. The rear brake stays the same, with a single 300mm disc with twin pot calipers. However, Harley is offering ABS as standard on the Street Rod which should really help increase safety to offset the boost in performance. Although the brakes do feel a bit vague and lack feel, the stopping power is strong and confidence inspiring.

The Street Rod’s handling is positively impressive. The aggressive seating position means you’re already quite leaned into the handlebars. So dipping deep into corners feels quite natural, especially because the increased seat height of 765mm makes for a higher centre of gravity. Once you’re into the corner, the Street Rod has a rather composed feel that really encourages you to push it harder. And the engine here is definitely punchier than the Street 750’s; once you wring that throttle, the bike surges forward with a sense of purpose. In short, the Street Rod is a hoot to ride. There are a few niggles though. The seating position may make things a bit uncomfortable on longer hauls. It’s also not as nimble as you expect a modern sport standard to be.

Let’s talk about ride quality. The Street Rod manages to handle bad roads brilliantly. While the suspension is soft, it doesn’t get the bike wallowy around turns. One major issue worth point out is the heating problem. Although the 749cc mill is liquid-cooled, it does get quite hot in slow-moving traffic or when at a standstill. And thanks to the seating position and position of the cylinder heads, your left thigh might touch the cylinder head when you put your feet down; and the cylinder head does get quite hot.

All in all, this is one of the best Harleys out there. Unlike some of Harley’s past efforts in this space, the Street Rod is a value-heavy proposition. At Rs 5.86 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it does command a slight premium over the Street 750 (priced between Rs 4.91 lakh and Rs 5.18 lakh), although it undercuts the Bonneville family and has better components. And even though many may find it uncomfortable, or heavy, the Street Rod will appeal to customers who wouldn’t have considered a Harley as their next motorcycle.

(in arrangement with Autocar India)