2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Review – First Ride

H-D’s first all-new bike since 2001 proves less really is more

Share this Article

2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750

Editor Score: 75.5%
Engine 15.0/20
Suspension/Handling 11.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls3.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 6.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score75.5/100

Even for those of us who came up on Japanese bikes, the new Harley-Davidson Street 750 – the Motor Company’s first new model since the V-Rod of 2001 – is perfectly acceptable. All six gears click in and out with nary a bang, and you don’t even need the light-pull clutch past about third. Steering’s quick and light, and ergonomics are really close to standard if you’re not tall.

Nobody expected a drag racer, so nobody should be disappointed, but the new liquid-cooled V-Twin runs great, with no stumbles or flat spots, right from idle – and it’s flexible enough to pull from 35 or 40 mph in top gear no problem.

One of our competitors managed to get a pre-production Street on a Dynojet 250 a few weeks ago, where it made 57.6 horsepower at almost 8000 rpm. That’s 11 hp more than an 883 Sportster on the same dyno. This more than makes up for the fact that the 883 makes more torque down low, and tells you all you need to know about how the new Street 750 compares to the old Sportster: One’s an old-fashioned, undersquare, cam-in-block two-valver with 9:1 compression; the other is a modern, 85 x 66mm, 4-valve-per-cylinder with single-overhead cams and 11:1 compression that likes to rev right into its (hard) limiter at 8000 rpm.

Splaying cylinders 60 degrees apart instead of 45 lets the tank snuggle down nice and tight on top of the 38mm Mikuni throttle body.

Splaying cylinders 60 degrees apart instead of 45 lets the tank snuggle down nice and tight on top of the 38mm Mikuni throttle body.

Mainly what strikes you when you see the Street in the flesh for the first time is how small it is. Harley has always gone overboard trying to keep seats low on its “entry-level” motorcycles (all its bikes, really), but this time they decided to just shrink the whole bike. On its website, H-D says a new Iron 883 tips the scales at 562, ready to ride. For the Street 750, it claims 489. That’s a huge difference you can feel every time you pick the bike up off its kickstand, every time you accel- or decelerate, every time you go around a corner.

Discuss this at our HD Street Forum.

Wider-splayed (60-degree), shorter cylinders allow everything to be lowered and compacted. In short, the boys in Milwaukee have built a modern motorcycle. (They’ve also built one that will require its eight valves to be adjusted every 15,000 miles – no big deal really, since they’re screw-and-locknut swivel-foot adjusters, just like your old Porsche 911.)

The Street 500 starts at $6799; $7,499 for the 750. But a Mysterious Red Sunglo 750 is going to set you back $7,794.

The Street 500 starts at $6799; $7,499 for the 750. But a Mysterious Red Sunglo 750 is going to set you back $7,794.

And now for the bad news. To keep the 750′s price down to $7499, a few fit-and-finish corners were cut. The triple clamp castings look like they came out of the sand mold, got painted black and bolted onto the bike. The last time I saw anything like them was on the Cleveland Heist, made in China and no bones about it.

Where H-D sometimes goes to great lengths to hide cables and wires on some of its bikes, on the Street it seems to have left everything exposed on purpose. Maybe they’ll be selling a Dark Custom Trim Kit, like they sell to cover the wheels and propane tank on your mobile home? Maybe that’s unfair?

It’s my job to find fault, but if you’re looking at what might be your first motorcycle, you won’t notice any of it, will you? Overall, the little Street cuts a low, lean, dashing figure. Its forward-leaning lines, especially the new gas tank, reminded me of the old Yamaha Radian, which was also a great little urban runabout.

060914-2015-harley-davidson-street-750-topclamp060914-2015-harley-davidson-street-750-yick060914-2015-harley-davidson-street-750-rsideugly

I can’t say something nice about the bike’s triple clamps and wiring harness, so I won’t say anything. Wait! The fork lock is integrated into the ignition switch!

Urban is exactly how H-D’s mighty marketing arm is positioning this one, right down to its name and tagline: “The Street is where I live” almost implies it’s cheap enough for a homeless person to afford. At a bar on 6th Street in Austin, while I was there for the bike’s launch, a guy actually stole my half-drunk can of Lone Star. Now that is poor.

At 5’8” and about 160 pounds, the thing fits me pretty well. Tall people appeared to be a bit cramped, but I didn’t really hear any complaints after our shortish ride.

At 5’8” and about 160 pounds, the thing fits me pretty well. Tall people appeared to be a bit cramped, but I didn’t really hear any complaints after our shortish ride.

In town, the other Great Leap Forward is 3.5 inches of rear suspension travel – which is about 1.5 more than the Iron 883, and the Street actually absorbs most bumps instead of bludgeoning them with its back tire. The back tire itself is an unusual-sized, flat-profiled Michelin Scorcher with unusually tall sidewalls, which also seems to be really bump-compliant. It’s a 140/75 R15, which I thought maybe the design department had asked for. But Mark Daniels, lead designer on the Street, says the tire was specced by engineering. In any case, the Street goes wherever you point its skinny little 37mm fork tubes with enthusiasm, and likes to be treated disrespectfully like some kind of naked sportbike, even. It’s happy to be flung into corners and put away wet.

Suspension is not exactly sophisticated, but well-sprung for my 160 pounds, if a little underdamped when the going gets sporty and bumpy. There’s enough cornering clearance to have some fun but not enough to let you forget you’re riding a Harley. The brakes are old-school ABS, ie., the 292mm front disc doesn’t feel powerful enough to lock the wheel. Actual ABS is not available.

The dance of the seven veils is over. H-D’s first new model since 2001 seems worthy.

The dance of the seven veils is over. H-D’s first new model since 2001 seems worthy.

The seat is actually remarkably comfy, soft and nicely shaped, for about an hour. Later in the day, after you’ve been on it a few hours, it feels maybe a little too soft, but that’s such a personal thing. Your numbage may vary. (And H-D’s accessory catalog is already on the case with three seats – a Tallboy, a café solo and a reduced reach one, which scoots the rider even lower and 1.5 inches forward.)

Speaking of which, H-D claims 41 mpg; I saw 60 miles on 1.5 gallons, so that’s about right. The 3.5-gallon capacity might cause problems for Western-state riders. The other thing that might limit long-distance range is significant vibration that creeps into the handlebars at around 80 mph in spite of the engine’s counterbalancer.

Whichever marketing genius at H-D decided to throw in with the X Games deserves a medal. They’re pushing to make flat-track racing a new XG discipline, which really could breathe new life into the sport.

Whichever marketing genius at H-D decided to throw in with the X Games deserves a medal. They’re pushing to make flat-track racing a new XG discipline, which really could breathe new life into the sport.

After it was all over, as I sat there killing time waiting for my ride to the airport and watching the rally car track get set up for the X Games at Circuit of the Americas, I really wanted to like the kids (some of them bearded) on the BMX bikes on the Jumbotron, but it’s hard. I think my generation needs the gasoline, preferably Ethyl.

My lunch beer had me almost dozing there in the shade when suddenly a couple of Stadium Super Trucks! making their X Games debut fired up in front of me and started testing out the track – hot-rod V-8s flexing serious muscle – and my eyelids sprang to attention. That’s Harley’s challenge maybe: Will a generation of deprived, clean-living youth, happy well into adulthood with self-propelled children’s vehicles, hop on the fossil-fuel bandwagon? Can they be converted?

H-D already has the designers at work showing what’s possible. Aftermarket support is a big advantage for any bike that says H-D on the tank.

H-D already has the designers at work showing what’s possible. Aftermarket support is a big advantage for any bike that says H-D on the tank.

I’m going to go with “yes.” Harley’s display at COTA for the X Games drew plenty of young attention, and my own 20-year old skatepark rat is dying to get his hands on a Street. He already has modifications in mind, which do not include a loud exhaust. He’s still traumatized from his time in the stroller when loud Hogs used to scare the hell out of him.

H-D’s Mark Daniels was lead designer of the Street. The boys in the back room have already been working hard on new concepts like the Café bike here, and the jockey shift custom above.

H-D’s Mark Daniels was lead designer of the Street. The boys in the back room have already been working hard on new concepts like the Café bike here, and the jockey shift custom above.

+ Highs

  • The opposite of intimidating
  • Thoroughly modern drivetrain
  • The aftermarket has already sprung into action
- Sighs

  • Expense has been spared in some areas
  • End of an era: H-D goes mainstream
  • Not exactly groundbreaking; wonder what Erik Buell might’ve come up with?

Free Insurance Quote

Enter your ZIP code below to get a free insurance quote.

Harley-Davidson Dealer Price Quote

Get price quotes for Harley-Davidson from local motorcycle dealers.

Harley-Davidson Communities

Get Motorcycle.com in your Inbox
  • Ken Lindsay

    For some reason, it still looks like a toy. I’m ecstatic that they built it, but something is off. It almost looks like a bike CCW would have made instead of HD. I think its the combination of plastics by the seat, the headlight cowl and the fork covers. But again, I’m very glad they made it.

    Now, the flat tracker pictured above has everything right! Give it a light in the number plate and some MULE approved signals and tail light, and you’ll have a hard time keeping them stocked!

    • john burns

      Street chief designer agrees with your 2nd paragraph.

      • DickRuble

        Street chief designer ( the blind person who designed this thing I suppose) is so clueless (the contraption itself as evidence) that we don’t care.

        • john burns

          Ruble, you’re the guy who swiped my Lone Star aren’t you?

          • DickRuble

            I was in TX a few days ago but I only drink beer, so no, it wasn’t me. I’ll buy you one if we ever run into each other in CA.

      • Ken Lindsay

        What size rims are on the tracker? I just went and sat on one this weekend and the wheel size looked all wrong for some reason.

  • DickRuble

    Way to go HD!! This looks far worse than any critic would have anticipated.

    • John A. Stockman

      Damn, I’d own that! Reminds me of the SR500 I fixed up to club race in Washington and Oregon through the mid-80s and 90s. Great donor bike, cafe’d out, clip-ons, rear-sets, braided brake lines, minimalist other bits and after a month of fixing it up, one fine amateur-racer. I could still put the lights back on and have a good blast up in the Cascade mountains. Not a horsepower monster, but with good technique, it was more fun than many other bikes I have ridden. One thing I do like is the less weight of that HD 750 compared to the Sportsters I’ve ridden. 70+ pounds is significant, as is the rear suspension travel. One of my complaints is always not enough suspension travel/performance from HD, and a lack of useful cornering clearance.

      • DickRuble

        You may still be able to get this one. The pic posted is from a 4sale ad. Less that $6000.

  • Kevin

    I don’t know why, but I want to ride one.

    • DickRuble

      Take a look at the pictures with a rider on. That is not a comfortable position to ride. Two hours max and your back and shoulders will be aching badly. Wait, maybe that’s part of the HD experience..

      • Kevin

        At least now I have an figured out why I don’t know why. Through out the entire article the author would offer a statement and then offer a contradiction or caveat to it all in the same sentence.

        • John A. Stockman

          I had to read through it twice to make sure I was noticing the same thing you did! It seems that in many write-ups about HD, the same contradictions appear. Blah-blah, but….yak-yak, but…
          I think it’s a good direction from a company that has been so afraid to offend, uh, some people. We shall see where it goes, but it does show a mind-set of more opportunities, new buyers and not the same-old-same-old, tarted up with marketing and some of the best paint & chrome around. I would not pass up a chance to ride one, as I have on many other Harleys. From the old Aermacchi light-weights (Sprints and the little 2-strokes from the 70s), AMF debacles, FLs, Dynas, Sportsters, you name it. If you’re going to have an intelligent discussion about the merits and short-comings, you have to know what they are from a personal perspective. I do think some are still questioning the actual origin and manufacture-location of the engines, frames and other parts. Even though I’ve read about it, I still have questions because I’m not keen on what the OEM has been offering. Any definitive offerings from those in the know? I’m not one to dismiss one way or the other, because what matters is this: is it a great bike or not. If it gets more folks out riding, that’s what is important.

  • 12er

    Whoo hoo, Harley just came out with a new tribute to Honda’s ’84 ascot.

    • Reid

      Except the Ascot isn’t embarrassing. Other than the name Ascot.

      • rudedog4

        Embarrassing how? That it runs and shifts smoother than a Sportster? That it also is quicker in 0-60 and 1/4 mile than the Sportster? That it weighs 80 pounds less than the Sportster?

        • Reid

          The Street lineup is embarrassing because all HD did was make a better Sportster (one that will never be looked upon as a “real HD” by the HD people who also look at the Sportster as a girls’ bike) when they could have made a legitimately good motorcycle that appeals to people outside the usual HD Kool-Aid drinker audience. I’d love to own an American motorcycle, but since I don’t have $20k for an EBR and I don’t like underpowered, bloated, generic cruisers of any make…

          • rudedog4

            from a Cycleworld article: “Using our VBox data logger, we measured the Street 750’s acceleration and braking. It’s quick. The Street hits 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and streaks though the quarter-mile in an impressive 13.69 seconds at 93.8 mph. The Star Bolt, for the record, does the quarter in 13.78 sec. at 93.5 mph, whereas Honda’s NC700X clocks in at 13.86/94.2.

            But how does the Street compare with the 883 Iron? The Street squashes that Sportster, which has a best pass of 14.53/90.8 mph. While the Street 750’s results were not gathered at the same test venue under common climatic conditions, it’s safe to say the new Street has performance that’s at least on a par with its peers.” http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/03/24/2015-harley-davidson-street-750-first-ride-review-photos-dyno-run-specifications/

  • Luke

    Of all those customs, only the flat tracker looks like it belongs. It’s also the only one that says “harley” to me including the bike in stock, which to me looks like a Japanese cruiser to me for some reason. I think the comment about the bike being “shrunk” might be why I feel that way. I just feel like a small Harley should embrace it’s smallness, not try to hide it in photos that feature small (or no) riders.

    I do think they will fix some of the fit-and-finish things by year 3 though. It can’t be seen as the “not well put together” harley.

  • frankfan42

    It is wonderful that the bike is functional in ways that ordinary Harley sportsters and such aren’t. The wiring does not bother me much but that triple tree would be seen every time the bike is ridden and it looks awful. While I welcome the newfound functionality I can’t help but wonder how the cheap finish on such a visible part will impact sales. Will Harley embrace a bike that works fairly well but lacks the top notch fit and finish? Or does appearance trump functionality in Harleyville? Time will tell. Ride what you like, as long as you ride.

  • Ser Samsquamsh

    I like simple bikes but that one is pretty homely. Imagine the badge said “Hyosung” and ask how much you’d pay for that.

    • Tim Quinn

      I like metrics and Harleys too. I was one of the first people in the US to own a Bolt last year. Nice bike…hell. even my Harley loving older brother gave it a BIG thumbs up after riding it. I have a Star Stryker 1300 now and I stopped by the HD dealer last week to look at a new Harley Seventy Two, my current lust bike,
      They had a Street on the showroom floor and some of the castings, welds, and wiring looked cheap as hell…like a Chinese clone of a Japanese clone of a Harley. I think the 883 is a cool looking bike, I don’t care if the faithful call it a girls bike, and there is no way in hell I would buy a Street 750 over an 883 if I were in the market for an entry level Harley.
      Why does the Street’s radiator/plastic have to be so damn big? The rad on my new Stryker is not what I would call attractive, but it looks way better than the one on the street does. Also, on many of the custom Street 500/750′s I’ve seen…where’s the damn radiator?!
      I’m not bashing Harley…as I said above, I’m lusting over a new Seventy Two, but IN PERSON, the Street is a huge letdown.

      • Ser Samsquamsh

        True, the bike cleans up pretty good if you spend $20K turning it into a XR1200 or a miniature V-Rod!

      • rudedog4

        The Street 750 is quicker in 0-60 and quarter mile than the Bolt, too.

    • pdad13

      Hyosung’s 650 cruiser is supposed to be pretty decent. Comparo, anyone?

    • BikeMan

      HD keeps trying to fool everyone that this bike is a HD/USA designed and will be built in house here in the states…But i dont think there fooling anyone!, it is being built and manufactured in India and the engine was designed there!, all the parts are going to be sent over here and HD/USA will assemble it!, my thoughts the engine does look like a Hyosung copy of a wanna be of something!

    • Paul Cypert

      Yup, I’m actually considering the bolt to drive for a few months and then do this to it. Oh my sweet Lord why wasn’t THIS the bike Yamaha release? LOL – http://www.pipeburn.com/home/2014/06/13/14-yamaha-star-bolt-hageman-motorcycles.html#.U55REY2Sy6Q

    • rudedog4

      To say that Hyosung doesn’t have the dealer network of Harley would be the understatement of the year.

  • Steve

    Looks great, I’m sure they sell millions to everyone who wants to be apart from the crowd…..

  • allworld

    For HD to build a modern bike brings hope, but the HD faithful will most likely reject a small modern bike. I don’t know if it will be successful or not and able to compete with other entry level bikes, but EBR is something HD should keep their eyes on. Eric is very competitive and Hero has a lot of money and vision.

    • John A. Stockman

      With Buell finally having the freedom, I can see a great future for Erik Buell. Harley has the dough and certainly the resources, but look what they did to Erik and his ideas. We only know a miniscule part of what that we’re-giving-you-the-boot contract contained. The part about not being able to use his OWN NAME, wow. I have no clue about legal issues; but it was the best thing that could’ve happened. For Erik, that is. I’m looking forward to seeing what Buell has in store and how the vision of a company not mired in the past/tradition can offer someone like Erik Buell, who has his own vision and ideas. A great combination.

    • Kirk Kelley

      You are correct sir, the HD crowd will reject it, just like when Cadillac tried to market a small car in the 80′s. Its not what this demogrphic is looking for…….

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    I’ll admit that this bike reminds me of growing up not too far from the Mexico border and always getting knock-off toys for Christmas, but I do hope it does well. There’s a gap in the market when it comes to bikes that don’t look like insects but still deliver any kind of basic performance. The weak brakes and lack of ABS is a disappointment. I wonder how this fares against a Star Bolt…

  • Craig Hoffman

    “Urban is exactly how H-D’s mighty marketing arm is positioning this one, right down to its name and tagline: “The Street is where I live” almost implies it’s cheap enough for a homeless person to afford. At a bar on 6th Street in Austin, while I was there for the bike’s launch, a guy actually stole my half-drunk can of Lone Star. Now that is poor”

    Laughing so hard, I about spit my coffee all over my screen. Thought to myself, “Burns had to have written this”. Checked the tagline and was right of course.
    Burns, I love your style!

    That triple clamp is about the ugliest thing I have ever seen affixed to a motorcycle. The bike seems to have a good engine and may spawn all kinds of customizing though, which would be cool.

  • Buzz

    So Burns, did you switch to E-cigs like all the hipsters?

  • ducatirdr

    Take one Street 750, give it to that guy that did the flat tracker and have him convert it to a Cal Rayborn replica. PLEASE!

  • bbtowns

    I’m not a Harley guy, but this is pretty close to a bike I might own. Give it a bigger tank, not sure I’m enthusiastic about a 15″ wheel, and need more ground clearance, but otherwise it’s the Harley I’d be most likely to buy.

  • Reid

    HD had a chance to build a legitimate motorcycle and not another HD, and they built a bargain-basement HD. Congrats to whoever buys one and joins the club. The rest of us will continue to ride real motorcycles.

  • Mark D

    Congratulations, Harley, you have successfully built a 1998 Honda Shadow.

    http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg153/jbird152/1998%20Honda%20Shadow%20ACE%20750/HondaShadowACE750.jpg

    • DickRuble

      Ahem… sorry no, they didn’t. The 98 Honda Shadow was a great motorcycle.

      • Mark D

        Ha! Fact.

  • halfkidding

    Harley is the prisoner of its brand but it is one of the strongest brands in the world. Stray an inch from the icon and they will probably miss by a mile in the market and on the bottom line.

    I sort of like the urge to break out a bit but the “a bit” part guarantees disappointment on almost every level.

    I guess the hope here is to win global sales and based on that it makes some sense.

  • bsnyder

    Harley had a nice bike…..XR1200… the Pirate crowd killed it…..they are a one trick pony

    • Buzz

      So you went out and bought an XR1200?

    • Infadel Macgee

      Pirate Crowd ahahahahahahaha

  • pdad13

    The flat tracker is proof that this bike could be something appealing someday…

  • Sentinel

    Nice try Harley, but no cigar! lol

  • Chris_in_Kalifornia

    Move the footpegs back under the seat and I might like one, if it had another gallon and a half of tank capacity and automatic valve adjusters.

  • http://www.BrocksPerformance.com/ Brock Davidson

    It says Harley-Davidson on the tank and it doesn’t cost $20K… Scoff all you like. In this global economy, smart money would purchase stock in the Motor Co.

  • michael jackson

    What’s there to say. Harley is now part of the jab crap bike builder club.

  • michael jackson

    Well not to be to hard on Harley these past years have made them build bikes more in line with other bikes less worry about the bike.falling apart. My Harley is old. I look it over a lot seems like its always needing something lose or not check recheck. To me that’s what a bike should be. You have to be mechanical to keep it on the road I say more and more riders do not know much about working on their bike for them ride it and oil change itsl good. Well old school. Its a bike needing lots of TLC. And with that it has a Soul sounds stupid but my bike has more life in as it idles other bikes not so much I out can feel and hear the difference. I guess you can have a bike or cookie cutter bike. Old school. Its living. Or be just another drown Mc rider

  • rudedog4

    I test rode a Street 500 and an 883 back to back. The Street is a much more refined motorcycle, smooth engine and shifts. The Sportster felt like driving a tractor in comparison. My wife will be getting a Street 750 later this month. She doesn’t have her motorcycle license yet, so I’ll get to ride it until she does :)

  • ron17571

    Harley’s all look about the same for me. Didn’t they market this as a cafe racer style bike years ago? Harley should sell an Enduro style bike,around 350 cc with single cylinder engine. Maybe even make them affordable. At least this model has a reasonable seating position, not the typical lazy boy recliner thing.

    • Chris_in_Kalifornia

      Hahahaha! Call it an Aeramachi. Probably spelled wrong but they sold Italian Singles back in the 60′s in 250 and 350 that I know of, plus some stupid little, not sure if they were mopeds or what but they had 3 speed, shift by pulling in the clutch and turning it and the twist grip to the next gear position, 50 or so cc 2 strokes.

  • Chris_in_Kalifornia

    Wow! Awful lot of hate comments below. Are you guys nuts? Anything that gets more people into motorcycling is good and this bike will do that. No one likes exactly the same thing as the next guy, you like supermodels and I like farm girls, or other similar differences. Geeze guys, live and let live. It’s a cool bike. So what if it’s not got a tractor engine? Tractor engines have their place, so do short stroke engines. I drive a truck with a 5.9 cummins in it. Tractor engine first class, I liked my Vstrom 11,500 rpm. It’s all good. (wait, did I say 11,500, no way, I’d never do that.)

  • Infadel Macgee

    Looks like a Honda shadow now . HD’s are supposed to have pushrods . Or at the very least style it like the Vrod engine .

  • D Ghostwalker

    I see a lot of good and bad from many different directions. Im 50 years old. Haven’t rode a Motorcycle since i was a teen. Im 5’5 tall and about 150lbs. I like the Street 750 because of the size, weight, handling, customization available, and I just like that is a a good solid foundation. I also like the 48, and the V-ROD. Could possibly wind up with all three at some point. What i like most is that they are all at the same place and thats a comfort. I listen to different types of music and ill probably want to ride a different type of bike depending on my mood and application. I was thinking a Buell Blast as well because i bet its a real blast to drive.

  • Mike C

    I remember a time when the metric cruisers just never seemed to get the Harley styling right. Now, there are metric cruisers out there getting the Harley style more right than Harley is with this new model. I don’t mind the new bike, think Harley should be applauded for making an affordable platform with a new engine, and some of those customs based on it — especially the dirt-tracker — look great. But to my eye, it looks more like a Kaw Eliminator or even Yam Radian than any Harley…

  • jeff fearnow

    If they make XR1200-kit for these they will sell like freaking mad. Screw the Pirates.