2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod

Editor Score: 74.0%
Engine 16.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.5/10
Brakes 8.0/10
Instruments/Controls3.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 4.0/10
Appearance/Quality 8.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score74/100

As a lifelong rooter for the underdog, I really wanted to like this one. Almost three years ago, I was a big fan of the original Street 750, which wasn’t so easy because it did have a couple of glaring shortcomings. But it was such a friendly little approachable motorcycle I liked it anyway – then H-D gave it a better front brake and cured its main malfunction. But the critics still panned its lack of cornering clearance, its mundane parts manifest and its frankly sloppy fit and finish. All legit complaints, but I always liked the little Harley’s potential. The cut of its jib.

So when Harley let fly the press release and photos of the new Street Rod a couple weeks ago, I felt personally vindicated, like watching your spaghetti-armed kid suddenly pound one over the centerfield fence. Yess! Four-point-six inches of rear suspension travel?! Inverted fork, 17-inch rubber, 18% more power, excellent cornering clearance? It had seemed like none of these are in the Motor Company’s playbook. But now it all appears to be an old-school medium-displacement standard sporty motorcycle, one like the recent Triumph Street Twin, upon which you can motor comfortably around on all day every day, but with H-D’s dark custom murdered-out-in-America swagger, a bike you can wear skulls on and pack heat. Home run!

The U.S. motojournalist corps swings into action.

The U.S. motojournalist corps swings into action.

Fast forward to Daytona Beach and yours truly climbing aboard for the maiden voyage. It’s a bit difficult to put my right foot down out there pretty far abeam of the exhaust collector, but not too big a deal (don’t think you’ll want to wear your capri pants on this one). And there’s a little jockeying for position between your left foot and its peg, too. Did I say jockey? I sort of felt like one as I pulled my legs way up onto the pegs to motor off for the first time. I got those little hip cramps in both of mine. But I imagine it’s a thing I’ll adjust to and be fine. At least they’re stylish footpegs – Brian Dondlinger the lead engineer says they’re H-D’s first aluminum ones.

To get that increased cornering clearance, the pegs had to come up, which they did, and also back a few inches. But the right one also had to move outward a bit (because using a new exhaust system was forbidden), and then so did the left peg in order to keep things symmetrical. The seat was raised, too, but also moved forward a bit on a revised frame, along with the fuel tank – all to shift a bit more weight onto the front contact patch. Then Styling went back and forth with Engineering (and who knows who else), and decided to use a flat, drag-style handlebar instead of the pullback one from the original Street.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod action

At the end of the day, it’s not a bad position for tooling along at a nice 65 mph or so in the Florida outback or riding Seabiscuit down the stretch, but it’s a pretty uncomfortable one for being stuck on in Bike Week traffic. Because every time you stop, you have to either stick your right foot pretty far out past the exhaust and right peg, or just leave it in first gear, hold in the clutch, and keep the right foot on the peg. Careful with the left leg, though; the back of your thigh is now in close proximity to the rear cylinder head since they narrowed the seat up there. At least the clutch is pretty light, but it’s also grabby/juddery in a way the Street 750 only hinted at occasionally: That could be because overall gearing is taller due to the greater circumference of the new 17-inch rear tire.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod

From behind, tall guys riding the Street Rod look like they’re sitting on milking stools reaching up under a cow. Honestly I think I could be less critical of the cramped legroom if they’d left the pullback handlebar in place. You have to bend a bit to grab the flat one that won out in committee. What worked best for me at 80 mph and 5000 rpm on a chilly Florida morning wound up being prone on the tank, feet on passenger pegs. I hate to be a jerk, but hasn’t anybody at Harley ridden a Triumph Street Twin or a Honda CB500F? Being able to go around corners and being comfortable are not mutually exclusive goals.

Those sweet new aluminum footpegs are high and wide, and the flat handlebar would be better if it wasn’t flat.

Those sweet new aluminum footpegs are high and wide, and the flat handlebar would be better if it wasn’t flat.

Then again, I could just be getting crotchety. The kids this bike wants to attract put up with some pretty ridiculous things for the sake of fashion. Sunglasses inside the faceport of old-school full-face helmets without a shield on a 45-degree morning. Old-school full-face helmets with shields that don’t open at all. I saw more than one of their pants cuffs snag on those footpegs, too.

My final complaint is that the flat handlebar transmits more vibration than the original pullback one did. The new engine makes a bit more power and revs out to 8950 according to the tachometer (the one you can scroll to in the LCD panel), but past 5500 or so, things get increasingly vibey.

It is a spunky little V-Twin, though, that processes more air beginning with the big supercharger-looking air cleaner that lives where your right leg would like to. As we learned in our Preview of the bike, The High Output version of the Revolution X 750 is alleged to produce 18% more horsepower and 8% more torque than the standard Street 750 engine through the use of a new 42mm dual-throat throttle body, revised four-valve cylinder heads, new high-lift camshafts and a higher-volume muffler. Compression ratio is up from 11.0:1 to 12.0:1.

By our calculations, the Street Rod should be good for about 64 horses at the rear tire and about 47 lb-ft of torque, but the taller gearing brought about by the taller rear tire masks much of that new power. (Not manufacturing a new rear sprocket with a couple more teeth was less expensive.) Anyway, there’s plenty of power for street use, but not enough to really scare anybody.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod action

This bike’s mission, though, like the dearly departed Sportster XR1200 of yore, is to go around corners. I only wish Florida had a few to chuck it into. As it was, I never got a chance to lean the thing over nearly as far as H-D claims you can lean it. But those new shocks at the rear, the ones with 4.6 inches of wheel travel, feel like they’re up for it and so does the front fork. For there being two of them now instead of one, the front brakes could be a bit more powerful: As it is, stopping power is adequate, and the ABS is just cutting in, a tad too soon, when you’ve pulled the not-that-firm lever about as far onto your ring and pinky fingers as possible. The rear brake is hard to find even in non-emergency situations, because you wind up riding with the ball of your right foot on the peg and your heel on a rubber pad strategically placed atop the exhaust heat shield.

Meh… twice as many brakes don’t result in twice as much braking power. Those two-piston slide-type calipers seem designed not to scare beginners with too much power. ABS will set you back an extra $750.

Meh… twice as many brakes don’t result in twice as much braking power. Those two-piston slide-type calipers seem designed not to scare beginners with too much power. ABS will set you back an extra $750.

Where were we? Oh yeah. The new Rod feels like it could definitely negotiate your winding mountain roads, but for me it would do so even better with the handlebar from the Street 750. Who can deny that the flat bar looks cool, though, with its tres chic and functional bar-end mirrors. It’s a Harley at the end of the day, and lead designer Chetan Shedjale was after a tough, aggressive look – as well as a higher quality of fit and finish compared to the original Street. No more sore-thumb wiring connectors or cable snakes. The right footpeg bracket is now a steel forging instead of a bent piece of sheet metal. Taillights and turn signals are LEDs, and a Daymaker headlight is available in Parts and Accessories.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod

This one’s for a different demographic than the original Street: It’s a “bulldog concept bike with an urban focus,” says Shedjale, “for the customer who knows how to ride and goes fast from stoplight to stoplight.” H-D describes it with a video of a rider zipping through Los Angeles traffic and alleyways before pulling up to park via the sidewalk. H-D also claims the Street 750 is already the best-selling small cruiser out there, so this new Street Rod should just extend its range.

As for me, I fell in strong like with the Street Rod as soon as I read 4.6 inches of rear wheel travel and gazed upon the photos. But as with the original Street, I’m forced to admit there’s a big but when it comes to riding the thing: Its ergonomics are kind of like watching your spaghetti-armed kid bounce one off the center-field wall, then trip over his own big feet rounding first base. So close and yet…

Making the Street Rod right might be as simple as bolting on a handlebar with a bit more pullback, but making it really good (i.e., comfortable and really rideable) would seem to require a different exhaust which would allow the footpegs to be in a more natural place – one that’s a tad lower and more inboard. You can’t really blame Brian the Engineer or Chetan the Stylist; it seems like there are many levels of bureaucracy at Harley with differing agendas that seem to not always mesh perfectly together in the final product.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod

Still, it’s nice to see Harley take a big swing for the fences at a kind of bike they seldom attempt, and we know they’ve got it in them to knock one out of the park. The Street Glide is one of the sweetest rides on the planet, for instance. Maybe they can draft somebody from the FL ergonomics department when it comes time to draw up the next Street Rod?

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
+ Highs

  • Great looks, greatly improved fit/ finish
  • More power, more rpm
  • Good suspension, good components and brakes
– Sighs

  • Wonky ergonomics
  • Increased engine vibration above 5500 rpm
  • Triumph Street Twin, Yamaha FZ-07
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod Specifications
MSRP $8,699 in Vivid Black, $8,994 for other colors; ABS add $750, Security System add $395
Engine 60-degree liquid-cooled SOHC V-Twin; 4 valves/ cylinder High Output Revolution X V-Twin
Displacement 46 cu in (749 cc)
Fuel System Mikuni twin-port fuel injection; 42mm bore
Transmission 6-speed
Final drive Belt
Front Suspension 43mm inverted fork, no adjustment; 5.2 in. travel
Rear Suspension Dual nitrogen-charged piggyback shocks; preload adjustable, 4.6 in. travel
Front Brake Dual 300mm discs, 2-piston calipers; ABS optional
Rear Brake 300mm disc, 2-piston caliper; ABS optional
Rake/ trail 27 degrees/ 3.9 in. (99mm)
Wheelbase 59.4 in. (1510mm)
Seat Height 30.1 in. (765 mm), unladen
Fuel Capacity 3.5 gal. (13.2 l)
Dry weight 497 lb. (225 kg), claimed
Wheels Black, 7-split open spoke cast aluminum
Tires Front 120/70 R17 V
Tires Rear 160/60 R17 V
Color Options Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, and Olive Gold

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Harley-Davidson Communities

  • Kenneth

    Great review! Journalism is still alive.

    • Mark D

      The Ducati Monster would like to disagree with you. As well as the Buell XB bikes.

      • TheMarvelous1310

        Man, why can’t Harley-Davidson just make another run of Lightnings with Buell, with those turbos he wanted in the first place?

      • TheMarvelous1310

        Man, why can’t Harley-Davidson just make another run of Lightnings with Buell, with those turbos he wanted in the first place?

      • Kenneth

        Oops – the (air-cooled!) Monster, yes.

  • DickRuble

    Thanks for (what seems) a fair review! I hate to say (he, he ,not really) “TOLD YOU SO!!”.. This bike is the poster child for HD Vision and Engineering… Between their management and their “engineers”, they wouldn’t be able to build a paper airplane.

    • TheMarvelous1310

      The only categories that it did bad in were Instruments and Ergonomics. All H-D bikes have instrument and ergonomic issues, can we just be happy they nailed the dynamics and let people eat cake?

      • DickRuble

        If you read carefully, you’ll find out that the brakes aren’t really that good, that the transmission and clutch are ho-hum, and that the engine .. well.. it’s there..Sure.. go ahead .. eat cake..

        • TheMarvelous1310

          So the brakes are good, the clutch and trans work fine, and the engine is reliable? Sounds like a good bike! Reviews are hyperbolic, I haven’t heard a single thing that surprises me or turns me off about the Street Rod.

          • gjw1992

            Trouble is there are a lot of other very good bikes now. Not as many dreadful ones as once might have been the case. This HD seems to have the right idea, but implemented in an OK rather than good fashion.

          • TheMarvelous1310

            Not to let H-D off the hook, because they do often børk easy things, but it never really needed to be great or even good, just not terrible or unreliable. Harley-Davidson cultivates and appeals to the custom and aftermarket scene – and always has, they like the parts sales they get as a result – almost to the point that it’s odder to have a completely stock H-D than it is a custom. I think they expect people to swap of parts and upgrade things, so they’ll put it out if it’s passable and leave the specifics you’d expect them to do stock – like, say, a larger rear sprocket to send the increased power through the taller gears to the larger rear wheel more effectively – to the aftermarket, so they can drop the bottom line a bit.

            Now, is that going to work on the guy who’s also looking at the Scrambler or the FZ, neither of which really needs to be upgraded day one like most Harleys? I don’t know, but it worked with iPads and those ‘accessory’ keyboard covers and stylos everybody bought without a second thought.

    • Hot Stuff

      Other manufacturers wish they could fail with as much success as Harley-Davidson

      • gjw1992

        But it should be a thriving company rather than one that has a few reasonably good years and at other times barely survives.

        • JWH

          Huh? They recently slipped to a 48% market share, so they aren’t quite selling more bikes than everyone else combined anymore. How the hell does that equate to reasonably good years and barely surviving?

  • Mark D

    Hey John, what’s your height/inseam? Curious if the cramped feeling has to do with long legs or just awkward placement of the pegs. I know the Streets were made with shorter (especially women) rides in mind, so maybe its a YOU problem 🙂

    • DickRuble

      Yeah.. he’s known as Johnny On Stilts in the business.. The bike was designed for midget-cow-milking folks..It’s the ROW’s problem..

      • TheMarvelous1310

        You can’t blatantly state a disputed opinion as fact while acknowledging the dispute! Who do you think you are, Trump?

    • john burns

      Oi, sorry, I usually include that when I’m whining about ergos: I’m 5’8 on a tall day with a 30-inch inseam and size 8.5 feet. Another guy my height with 29″ legs and a long torso was equally uncomfortable.

      • Mark D

        Ooof, yeah, then its a problem with the bike.

        They need to talk to the designer of Kawasaki’s Vulcan S about figuring out good ergos.

      • TheMarvelous1310

        My legs are the same but I’m taller(6 ft 3) will I be a bit more comfortable?

        • john burns

          are you Shrek?

          • TheMarvelous1310

            No, I’m Donkey Kong! I like to ride when I’m not throwing barrels at Jumpman.

            Seriously though. 31 inch inseam, 84 inch wingspan. If I touch my toes my back is a level table, it’s cool. So do you think I’ll be more upright?

          • john burns

            You might like it! H-D at least offers test rides, they even encourage them! If it fits you, it’s a cool little bike.

          • TheMarvelous1310

            You actually answer questions! Awesome! Serious question, would you have liked the bike better with high bars? http://dragtimes.com/img-videos/2013-Dyna-Street-Bob-Group-ride-v-Q–Jy5zNZZ4.jpg

      • JWH

        Lol, who’s it for then? I’m thinking my 5’1″ self would be hard pressed to get both feet down, but it’s too cramped for a 5’8″ rider? That kinda leads to a Goldilocks situation where it’s looking for the rider who is just right.

  • RandleMcMurphy

    Typical H-D. Believing the little things don’t really matter. After all, you get to wear H-D swag now.

    Seriously, the ergos would drive me insane! Why anyone would choose this over a Triumph, Guzzi, Honda or Yamaha? How about a Kawa Z900 with ABS for the same price? Yamaha FZ-07 for $1500 LESS? Indian Scout Sixty for $200 more? Man, I’d save almost $4K and be happy with a KTM 390 Duke!

    Personally, I’d give any rider I see riding one of these H-D’s the same look I gave people who bought Gremlins or Pacer’s!

    Much better bikes with great ergos, better design and cheaper prices than these parts bin bikes.

    Maybe I’m being a tad harsh. Nah!

    • TheMarvelous1310

      This bike is gonna be worth a hundred grand one day, and you’ll be the idiot who scoffed at the second coming of the XLCR!

      • RandleMcMurphy

        At 60 now, I’ll be long gone if that day comes! LOL.

    • michael jackson

      So true

    • Auphliam

      Hey, I owned a Gremlin once…probably couldn’t get me to own one of these, though 🙂 Like you said, way too many better option out there these days.

      I do give them credit for trying, though. To continue JBs baseball analogy, to me this feels like when your favorite team signs an aging, has been slugger. Every time he comes to the plate, you wait anxiously to see his at bat because you know what he’s capable of. He takes a mighty hack, but alas…just another swing and a miss.

    • MountainK1ng

      But then you don’t get to dress up like Biker Ken, so you can try to pick up Biker Barbie and hang out with all the other people playing adult dress-up.

  • JMDGT

    I have to admit that for some reason I want HD to be successful if for no other reason than they are an American company. It is possible that when viewing these bikes that the salespeople sprinkle some kind of hallucinogenic material on the prospective customers that inhibits their ability to discern reality. Just like when the ugly chicks at the bar seem beautiful after a enough beers right at closing time. It happened to a friend. He ended up buying a Forty Eight.

    • Mark D

      To be fair, the Forty Eight is actually a pretty bike. Its just barely functional doing things motorcycles are supposed to do.

    • JWH

      The 48 is an awesome bike. Your friend just has excellent taste is all.

      • JMDGT

        Everyone has their own idea of what they want in a motorcycle. Just because I may not like it or understand the rationale behind it doesn’t mean it isn’t a good bike for them. All you need to know is what you like. Regardless of what bike you choose you are still part of the brotherhood.

  • DickRuble
  • TheMarvelous1310

    Are you telling me a Harley-Davidson needs work as soon as you buy it? SHOCKING!

    But seriously, the ergos don’t matter to the potential buyer. If you are buying a Harley-Davidson you know you’re buying accessories, the difference is this H-D starts FUN and needs work to get COMFORTABLE instead of the other way around. Nothing you mentioned should scare off anybody who was considering this bike.

  • Rob Mitchell

    Couldn’t read all the article as the first part of it is covered by a bank add. But no matter how much you polish a turd it will all ways be a turd. A HD will always be a HD.

  • Old MOron

    You’ll forgive me if I borrow your phrase from the Street Rod preview:
    Suck it up, Harley wishful thinkers.
    http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/harley-davidson/2017-harley-davidson-street-rod-preview.html

    On a positive note, this was an ace review. MO is the best.

  • halfkidding

    Harley is a prisoner of its success, or something. Any move outside its core design philosophy always comes off as a sort of half baked committee project. An idea good in theory but somehow not hitting any mark squarely. Besides which whatever it may be it isn’t going to be a Harley. Once you abandon that miles long list of cultural and social things a Harley represents, why have one?

    • spiff

      I’ve ridden a couple different Harleys. If crusin is your thing they’re cool. Not my thing, but if you have the money.

  • I was one of those “kids” catching his cuff, and boot on the pegs. Drove me nuts. Problem could be easily solved with a spring to pull the peg back in place.

    • john burns

      what up, Trashcan?

  • michael jackson

    Get back to basics. Seems like these bikes are designed by someone whom never understood what a bike should be. Almost is not enough. Trying to build bikes like bakeing girl scout cookies this is what you get. Very sad. But on the bright side you can buy Harley stock on Facebook. Then by it at Kmart Sears. Harley you are so screwed

  • John B.

    I’ll save this article for the year end MOTY award when some contingent of MOrons will again allege with great conviction the MO team is beholden to motorcycle manufacturers, on the take, and otherwise in the tank for its advertisers.

    HD and its status as U.S. motorcycle market leader fascinates me. It’s hard to argue with a 35% market share in the world’s biggest market. Yet, they make a motorcycle like this one.

    • spiff

      Are we the biggest market? Big bikes most likely, but Asia, India, and China have lots of little bikes.

      • DickRuble

        On a $ basis, possibly the biggest market. For each Harley sold in the US you could buy 15 average bikes in India.

        • John B.

          Don’t forget all the merchandise HD sells, and aftermarket parts, apparel, and the like. The U.S. motorcycle market is gigantic and goes far beyond bike sales.

          • DickRuble

            I used to believe the same, until I checked their 10Q. Motorcycles are by very far their main source of money, followed by financing, at a distance.

          • John B.

            When I refer to the U.S. motorcycle market I mean the total value of goods and services related to the motorcycle industry. I should have been more clear.

          • DickRuble

            I used to believe the same, until I checked their 10Q. Motorcycles are by very far their main source of money, followed by financing, at a distance.

          • JWH

            The numbers for clothing and merchandise runs between 11% and 15% depending on the report in question. It’s not the moneymaker many believe.

          • Steve T

            Once you buy it, you’re entitled to buy boots, jackets, coffee cups and bath towels all with the HD logo. Transformed you’ll be.

      • John B.

        We have the biggest economy, and companies like HD sell all kinds of merchandise here that has little or no market abroad. HD remains the biggest dog in the biggest pound.

    • JWH

      It’s 48%, and we’re far from the world’s biggest market. Of course, the big market is for 50-125cc underbones that most Americans wouldn’t be caught dead on.

  • DAVID

    HD can keep their badge if the day ever comes when they get there head out of there asses and realize it’s 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • michael jackson

      Yes

  • looseparts

    Learn something new all the time – how refreshing to find a reviewer that actually answers the comments posted about his article. Being 5′-4 (I could lie and say 5′-5 but what’s the point?) I generally have to modify all my bikes to get on the balls of my feet, but this thing sounds hopeless. I’m not opposed to suffering for fashion, but there has to be pay off in extreme good looks or extreme good performance. My Thruxton R looks like it would suck after 20 minutes, but after adding the lower bars and taking the dome shape out of the seat I can hit 6+ hour rides every weekend. AND. It looks better than anything and hauls A$$! You’re never going to get any comfort or performance out of the Street Rod, but if you like the look maybe you can suffer?

    • Prakasit

      My compliments for your choice of bike.

  • Patriot159

    ” I hate to be a jerk, but hasn’t anybody at Harley ridden a Triumph Street Twin or a Honda CB500F?” How dare you point out that the emperor has no clothes! It is not just HD though, lots of mfg.s screw up the ergos part in some way. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said; “Did anyone at (insert mfg.) actually road test this thing!” when trying out different bikes. Keep being a ‘jerk’ Burns!

    • TheMarvelous1310

      Reviewers, man. I don’t wanna say ‘whiny’ but… You gotta realize these guys test EVERYTHING awesome from race bikes to high-dollar customs, they’re really sensitive to problems. It’s like the Princess and the Pea, but every H-D is like a beanbag mattress – you either love or HATE it!

  • Jim

    The gas tank looks weird, the rear shocks look cheap, the front brake lines stick out like a sore thumb, and the front fender appears to be useless. If a new rider really compares this against a Street Twin, a new 700-series KTM, an FZ-07, a 650 Kawi or SV 650, I don’t see how this comes out ahead.

    • Dan

      no one who buys this bike will do an objective comparison with those on your list. They will be folks who want a Harley

      • DickRuble

        Sigh.. true…

      • Jim

        You might be right. First time buyers often fail to ask all of the right questions, no matter what they’re buying. They either don’t know to ask or are too excited to step back and take an objective look. Only after the purchase does the true examination begin. That being said, I don’t see buyers hanging on to these bikes for more than a few years. Maybe that’s Harley’s plan. Lord knows they have plenty of other options to upgrade to.

    • DickRuble

      Don’t forget: lean angle to the right is bigger than the lean angle to the left.. That’s something the Teutuls would “engineer”

    • BDan75

      Finally, somebody else who thinks the gas tank on these bikes is weird!

      • Paul Bryant

        Looks a lot like the old Yamaha Maxim tank to me…..

  • SteveSweetz

    I find it increasingly stupid that Yamaha doesn’t sell the XSR700 here with marketing to attract the same kids that this Harley will be sold to.

    The Yamaha FZ-07 is a better bike everywhere but styling – the one thing that the XSR700 fixes.

  • SteveSweetz

    I find it increasingly stupid that Yamaha doesn’t sell the XSR700 here with marketing to attract the same kids that this Harley will be sold to.

    The Yamaha FZ-07 is a better bike on all fronts except appearance – the one thing that the XSR700 fixes.

    I mean look at this damn thing. They even fixed the ugly silver radiator from the first model year. What unparalleled fool at Yamaha decided this wouldn’t have a viable market in the US?

    https://cdn.yamaha-motor.eu/product_assets/2017/XS700/950-75/2017-Yamaha-XSR700-EU-Forest-Green-Studio-001.jpg

    • DickRuble

      Hmmm.. no.. the fz-07 is fine thank you…

    • hipsabad

      tank’s all wrong

    • Mark Vizcarra

      Problem is that yamaha dealers will not give you test rides. Maybe during a demo day or if you plan on buying the bike that day. Either way, that is why HD and other dealerships that give free test rides with no complaints sell so much inventory. You are not obligated to buy after riding. While other dealerships pretty much assume that you are buying the bike after test riding it.

  • Paul Bryant

    Am I the only American that is totally disgusted by Harley Davidson motorcycles? They are an embarrassment to the nation. Someday, I hope before I die, there will be an American motorcycle that doesn’t suck. I’m so tired of these over priced pieces of shit and dare I say the idiots that ride them. I’m so sick of bandana wearing (to cover their balding shhhh) old men on Harleys. Harleys are not a motorcycle, they are a fashion (or lack thereof) statement for those with more money than brains.

    Everytime I ride a Harley I have to bite my tongue to not hurt the guy’s feeling. Meanwhile, on the inside, I’m screaming “What a way over priced POS!!!”

    The whole “patriotic” made in America BS is sickening. Harleys are a joke and so are the people that ride them a mile to the bar because they match their $200 “Harley” jeans.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Would you buy them if they were cheaper? The bandana wearing old men don’t have more money than brains. They have day jobs like everyone else. What year and model bike do you ride? If most people who like big bikes ride Harleys, why does that upset you?

      • Paul Bryant

        What upsets me is that there is no American motorcycle that even comes close to Japanese or European motorcycles. Not even close.

        Would I buy one if they were cheaper? Hell no, junk is junk no matter the price. America has the greatest people on the planet yet our motorcycles are laughable.

        If you like them, that’s great but, for myself and a lot of other people they are an embarrassment to the nation.

        What do I ride? Currently Japanese motorcycles. I can afford them, they are modern masterpieces of engineering and because I can’t afford a European motorcycle (I’m looking at you BMW) if I wanted one.

        Personally I have always owned Hondas and still do. That’ll be changing this Spring when I buy a Yamaha FZ10 or FZ-09. I haven’t decided which yet.

        • Superlight

          I’m not a Harley fan, but you have to admit they have the American motorcycle market pretty well figured out – just look at their sales numbers year after year! They’ve been able to project a “bad ass” image on entirely docile machines to get there. It’s all about perception.
          In one sense Harleys developed just like American cars did – to suit the many long, straight roads we ride on and for great distances, unlike most in Europe or Japan.

          • Paul Bryant

            You’re correct, which would me back to 99% of Harley riders buy them as a fashion statement as opposed to actually riding them. I’d bet most are wrestling and Nascar fans as well. In my opinion it’s a reflection of Americas declining intelligence. As for straight lines and long distances, there’s much better motorcycles from both Japan and Europe for both and at a much lower cost.

          • Buzz

            You know where you can stuff your elitist BS. I know plenty of high mileage Harley riders (I’ve been one myself) and many of them are college educated career people who aren’t interested in hauling ass.

            Harley touring bikes are a great companion on the open road. That being said I wouldn’t buy the one in the article here.

          • Paul Bryant

            Elitist? Hardly. Pointing out what pieces of crap Harleys are is sure to get a lot of people angry, but that doesn’t change the facts. It’s about time people start telling the truth, even if it burst a lot of bubbles.

            Take any motorcycle at or near the same price as the Harley listed here and you’ll see every one of them out performs and is better quality than the Harley. Performance is much more than “going fast”.

          • Buzz

            These are your words “I’d bet most are wrestling and Nascar fans as well. In my opinion it’s a reflection of Americas declining intelligence.”

            That has nothing to do with motorcycles. Mouth-foaming Harley haters have been around forever. You’re nothing new.

            I don’t currently own a Harley. I have a BMW and a Moto Guzzi. Odd that a know-it-all elitist like yourself can’t afford expensive motorcycles. Those NASCAR watching dopes seem to find the cash.

          • Paul Bryant

            It certainly does have a lot to do with motorcycles. If people were smart enough to see they are paying way too much for an inferior product we might actually get an American motorcycle that is comparable to world class motorcycles.

            Tell you what, you name a single Harley on the market today that is comparable to Japanese or European motorcycles in price, performance and quality. Just one.

          • Buzz

            There is no point in telling you anything. You already know it all.

            Even if I could make the case for a H-D you’ve already stated it is out of your price range. That Liberal Arts degree can barely make the student loan payments these days.

          • Paul Bryant

            I’ve construction worker, have been all my life. Sorry your liberal arts degree isn’t allowing you to make your student loan payments. I’ll be waiting for that magical Harley you’re being so secret about.

          • Buzz

            Maybe the next time you’re on a job site, yell really loud what idiots all the other workers are for liking, Harleys, NASCAR and Wrestling.

            Sorry pal, no student loans for me. My name has been on the front of the paycheck for almost 20 years now.

          • Paul Bryant

            I’m still waiting for this mythical Harley you all seem to have hidden in the closet with you. Where is it? Show me a single Harley that can compete with foreign motorcycles for price, performance and quality? You can’t do it.

          • Buzz

            Good God KPaul is back. Now he’s a construction worker.

          • Paul Bryant

            How about you produce this mythical Harley? I understand you’re red ass because I made fun of your cool clothes, bar buddies and personal television viewing habits but, that aside, show me a single Harley, as requested several times, that can compete with foreign motorcycles for price, performance and quality? Where is it?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            People who ride Harleys wouldn’t touch a Japanese motorcycle with a 10 foot pole (but they will with a baseball bat), regardless of how cheap, fast and better quality it is. They like the power, sound, look, feel and badassness of a Harley. There is nothing else in the world like it.

          • Paul Bryant

            I agree there is nothing else in the world like it. No other manufacturer would sink to that level and embarrass themselves, except for recent Chinese offerings.

            You are a perfect example of the imagined power and “badassness” as neither actually exists with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Most of you are stealing the thunder of days gone by when badass powerful men rode Harleys. The men that rode them made the image not the motorcycle. These days neither the Harley or the people that ride them are powerful or badass, except maybe 1%, of which I’m certain you are not. That, much to my amusement, is the biggest joke of all.

            I’ve seen thousands of people play dress up with their overpriced Harley gear go pretend to be “badass” on junk over priced motorcycles. No matter how much money you sink into your Harley or how many bandanas and orange/black stuff you wear you’re still not badass and neither is the Harley. Thinking something is powerful and badass doesn’t make it so.

            It’s great you all can get together, park your motorcycles and walk around pretending to be badasses. Much like Cosplayers, I envy your ability to separate yourselves from reality and have fun, but Cosplayers know they aren’t really superheroes and go home back to reality, Harley people like yourself do not.

          • Ryan Flowers

            Well that’s untrue. I own one and several Japanese and British bikes to go with it. Painting everyone with this broad brush is idiotic. Paul is doing it as well and it smacks of idiocy. Enjoy whatever bike you want and allow others to do the same.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I own a 2015 Austrian bike in addition to my 2007 Harley (and bought a Japanese bike a week ago) but in general most Harley riders don’t care for any other bikes.

          • Superlight

            You’ve gone too far with your rant. Quality? Have you ever looked closely at Harley paint and chrome? Flawless. From a performance standpoint Harleys give many Americans what they want – instant, bountiful torque at low RPMs, just like they experience in V8 American cars. Price? Harleys command higher prices because buyers see value in the machines.
            I’ll probably never own a Harley (they don’t do sport bikes), but I respect those who do.

          • pdad13

            Going through this thread, I was wondering when your light bulb would go on. Ah, the bad good old days are back!

            If he addresses me as “peebad” we’ll have confirmation.

            Hope you’re well, man.

          • Buzz

            Hey Pee. All is good. I made a community on Google + called motorcycle flame wars. Some of the old farts are there. Just a way to crack jokes from the old days. Check it out!

          • Chuck Smith

            Construction Worker?

            Guessing it is the one from the Village People.

          • Chuck Smith

            You should be sorry because if you actually do have a job and aren’t the overly-medicated shut-in I suspect you are then people like you and I are stuck with the bag when student loans default. Another thing you didn’t quite think through.

          • Bill Hawley

            I totally understand why people buy Harleys. They have fabulous fit and finish (for the most part), and hold their value. They also sound great when they have mufflers on them. They hold great appeal to people who like to “buy American” – even though the bike featured here is not a domestically manufactured product, and probably could and should be priced closer to a Royal Enfield Continental GT. I do think they should spend much more time in actually riding and refining their products before releasing them. Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) is the enemy to an enjoyable ride; and the ergonomic issues JB whinged about are utterly unacceptable in today’s moto-marketplace. Yes an aftermarket (or perhaps H-D catalog) exhaust with a rework of the foot pegs and bars can make it more comfy, but at what price?

            Give them credit for trying to break away from their same old. As to people’s preferences, there really are no bad motorcycles – people have their own reasons for riding what they do, and that should be respected as fellow riders. If Baskin and Robbins only sold vanilla, they would have been out of business a long time ago.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Well said. I have put 155,000 miles on my 2007 Softail Custom.

          • Buzz

            Most likely riding to NASCAR events!

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yup! And bar hopping and posing in front of coffee shops.

          • Superlight

            I don’t know. The first guys I see riding after a long cold winter are the Harley guys.A lot of them really put on a lot of miles.
            In addition to being a “fashion statement” Harleys work pretty well as cruisers and as two-up tourers. Not my cup o’Joe, but I understand (some) of the attraction.

          • Paul Bryant

            I see more Harleys than foreign motorcycles almost all the time, That doesn’t make them good. I see high school kids all wearing $200 Nike gym shoes too, that doesn’t make them any better than a $50 pair of shoes. The simple fact is this: Harley Davidson motorcycles are inferior products to foreign motor cycles at a much higher price, no matter how many people ride them.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Paul, I know you are going to keep saying the same thing over and over again, but you are contradicting yourself. In the previous comment you said “99% of Harley riders buy them as a fashion statement as opposed to actually riding them” and in the above comment you say “I see more Harleys than foreign motorcycles almost all the time”. Which is it? Are they buying them as a fashion statement or to ride them? Why don’t you keep buying your Hondas and leave the Harley riders alone?

          • Paul Bryant

            I’ll stop when one of you can produce a single production Harley that is comparable to foreign motorcycles in price, quality and performance. So which one is it? Prove me wrong.

            As far as seeing Harleys, I see them on their way to the dressup bar and/or on the way home. Other than that I see more in the repair shop than any other place.

          • Brian E. Trumpower

            Saying it a thousand times doesn’t make it true. That’s like saying a ferrari isn’t any better than a chevy because they do the same thing. NONE of those foreign bikes come close to Harley in regards to fit and finish. And resale value? Again, none hold a candle to HD. These are easily provable facts.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Paul, there’s no stopping you, is there?

          • smoketrain

            I have owned many Harley’s all were reliable and fun for the type of riding I did at the time (just cruising). I sold them and made money on all of them except one. Now I own a Triumph Scrambler, which is just fine on and off road. If HD ever makes a Baja 100 again (really made in Italy) I would probably buy that, but until than I will stay with Triumph.

    • michael jackson

      I see point I am Harley rider more less then 1% r less I can’t stand the ducking clones like they pop-up out of a Harley fashion statement l don’t like these sonofbitchs riding around. But that’s what Harley wants us freedom,loving bikers types are black eye to them. So don’t throws us all in that box clone riders

      • Paul Bryant

        I feel your pain and would certainly exclude the 1% from my criticism in regards to the fashion statement and “not riding” them. I would imagine what I call “real bikers” on Harleys hate the posers more than I do.

        • michael jackson

          Well put

    • BDan75

      I tend to agree on certain aspects of the Harley “culture,” but you’re painting with a pretty broad brush there. I’ve always been a more sport-oriented rider of Japanese/Euro machines, but for a time I owned an HD (a dyna). Despite my own prejudices, I found it a thoroughly entertaining machine to ride. I was never a “real” Harley guy, though, since I always wore a full-face helmet and ass-full chaps (aka pants), rode to places other than bars, didn’t do poker runs, etc.

      Perhaps you’re projecting some of your political angst into the motorcycle realm?

      • Paul Bryant

        Nothing “political” about it. Harley Davidsons are inferior machines in every way to Japanese and European motorcycles. One certainly has the right to choose what they like and don’t like but, anyone that believes or tries to get others to believe a Harley is comparable to Japanese and European motorcycles are simply fooling themselves and others.

        Some say Harleys are in a class of their own, I’d agree. I haven’t found any other overpriced low quality motorcycles I’d lump in with them yet either. Perhaps Chinese motorcycles, but they tend to be even less expensive than Japanese or European bikes, so there goes that one.

        If there was a comparable American made motorcycle in regards to quality, price and performance to bikes from around the world I’d be first in line to own one. Until that happens I’ll continue to buy and ride foreign motorcycles.

        People tend to buy Harleys for the “image”, certainly not for the price, quality or performance.Unless of course one is into overpriced, low quality and poor performance. I get that many Harley people will be offended that I dare point out the obvious because, well I assume they’re mad because their color coordinated Harley gear and imagined “bad ass” image doesn’t work on me. Not you personally of course, I have to say the fact you don’t wear bottomless chaps has elevated my opinion of you well past the typical Harley person.

        • Steve T

          I wouldn’t trade my old Vmax for two of these even.

    • Chuck Smith

      Awww,, all triggered and outraged because some people choose to do things differently. Interesting statement about more money than brains. Perhaps if you were are smart as you believe you could afford more than the Japanese bikes you currently own? All quite ironic given your commentary on the decline of intelligence in America. You are too deficient to even recognize it in yourself.
      Perhaps if you had any sense of self you wouldn’t need to have your choices validated by strangers? Maybe then you could appreciate that others make their own way in life to find happiness and it doesn’t have to appease or make sense to you. Despite what you think you are owed nothing. I can only hope you are 13 years old or younger because anyone else, even with the most marginal social skills, should have been over this a long time ago. I feel bad for you and more so anyone that has to have any contact with you. It must be a drag.

      • DickRuble

        Ok, outhouse manners professor.. go back to your toiling now.

        • Chuck Smith

          sure thing Dick. Wouldn’t want to ruin the safe-space passive aggressive nothings like you use to get out their frustrations. So ineffective and angry.

          • DickRuble

            Passive aggressive? Me?? No.Just aggressive..

      • Paul Bryant

        Did I hurt your feelings? I apologize. Your Harley is amazing and worth every penny you spent on it. .

        • Chuck Smith

          Nice straw man argument. Look it up. It is another example of you not being nearly the intellectual you think you are. I never once debated the merits, good or bad of Harley motorcycles so no, you didn’t hurt my feeling a bit. Anyway, I ride a Triumph. But keep ranting about how Harley riders are idiots or poseurs because nothing says “I’m a well adjusted man’ more than obsessively ripping on strangers from the safety of the internet. You and Dick Ruble should get a room. You are made for each other.

          • smoketrain

            You folks argue like two old women, ha ha ha!

    • Jon Jones

      Completely agree.

  • Randy Darino

    test rode one at bikeweek:Pegs are so high my ZX14 seems like a goldwing,had to take foot off peg to downshift.Left side cylinder head roasted my leg at stops way too much for such a cool day,it almost hurt.My old DRZ400SM seemed faster.Handled fine and looks cool but switchgear is so crappy it belongs on a chinese motorcycle.Epic FAIL for a bike that could have been so much more.Make it a 1000cc motor and put some money into it.raise the price if you must cause it just dosen’t cut it Harley.Who gave the OK on this project anyway????

  • allworld

    So will HD market this as a “:super premium” bike?
    Perhaps some refinement and adjustments are in order………

  • TC

    I hear there’s a guy name Eric Buell that is available for design consultation. He has some experience with the Sportster V twin. This Street Rod is a half assed attempt to capture part of the domestic market that doesn’t want a cruiser.

  • Tim Sawatzky

    Ok, to be fair, this Street Rod actually looks pretty cool. Sounds like it would be fun to ride, and as with all Harley’s, a few modifications are needed. If someone gave me one, I would ride it, and probably enjoy it. It really only falls down when you start to compare it to everything else available in the same price point. My only hope is that it sells well enough to get Indian to make a Scout 60 like this. A cafe/streetfighter/classic Scout 60 with suspension and cornering clearance.

  • John B.

    Every summer I ride in the Rocky Mountains. If I didn’t know anything about the motorcycle industry other than what I see on these rides, I would swear HD had a 90% market share. Moreover, Harleys travel in gaggles, which makes them seem even more ubiquitous. These HD rider groups roaring through the mountains look like they’re having a blast. Isn’t that the main reason to ride a motorcycle as a hobby?

    It’s kind of like Mexican food. I don’t understand why anyone eats it. Yet, when my kids come home, they insist we stop at Torchy’s on the way home from the airport. Nothing could lure them away eating Tex-Mex. Go figure. When it comes to HD motorcycles and Mexican food, I know I’m missing something, and I’m okay with that.

    • jeff benson

      The exception is Moab in Utah. Every BMW GS in the country is there. Each one entirely spic and span without a hint of the ubiquitous red dust one would get if they went off-road in that part of the country.

  • Jens Vik

    That cheap and ugly exhaust destroys what could have been a cool bike.

  • Bruce Allen

    96 comments Burns. Effing amazing. Without going through them, I will assume you posted 75 of them. 😛

  • Jim James Lucia

    Next Bike Week (or Fall Cycle Scene for that matter) if you’d like to ride some twisties (there are plenty actually), just let me know. They’re only about 20 minutes west of where you were riding. Locals know the good stuff 😉

  • Ricky Lepre

    There are people who are going to fall in love with the bike. Your opinion or mine on here won’t matter. Most bike purchases are a choice from the heart. Like choosing a partner with faults and all. So reading some of the unwarranted insults on here I ‘m appalled by the behaviour and comments. Personal attacks on each other’s opinions is school yard bullying and has no place on this medium. Just stick to the subject. Pass your opinion if you seriously can contribute to the discussion and simply not make your judgement on someone else’s here say like a jounalist. And no i don’t or intend on owing a Harley.

  • sgray44444

    I really wanted to like this bike. Seeing other pictures around the ‘net with a larger rider confirms that H-D screwed up the ergonomics big time. When are they going to understand that form should follow function? It’s like the design team is hyper-focused on creating a bike that appears to be a sporting Harley, to the extent that they sacrifice the ride-ability of the thing. They clearly don’t understand the market they are trying to break into. https://simkl.net/episodes/30/303006261e1b321b5_w.jpg

  • jeff benson

    Well well. KPaulKook is back in all his unhinged glory. Trying to expand the size of his miniscule tackle by knocking other people’s rides. Another Harley expert who never owned one.

  • Takagawa Kurosi
  • Dale

    John, I just road the Street Rod and loved it but got cramps in my hip flexors also. What would you get instead if I liked how nimble and responsive this bike is?

  • Dale

    I also got cramps in my hips when I rode the Street Rod the other day. Kind of painful. It was fun to ride though. I found it nimble. Looking for something else similar with better ergonomics.

  • Barry Ervin

    It’s a shame that the first Harley I might be tempted to actually buy (not that there haven’t been others I’ve liked, but they were all over priced) seems to have so many drawbacks. Surely Harley’s engineers could design a better bike, if only they weren’t always required to play JV to the all powerful styling department. Meanwhile, this thing seems like Harley’s answer to the Royal Enfield Continental GT.

  • Phil Klostermen

    2gallon tank