It was a good summer, all in all, made better by hanging out with the friendly, fun-to-be-around Harley-Davidson Street 750. We were only supposed to have the little hog for a couple weeks, starting in mid-June, but it wound up being a puppy that wanders into your yard you hope nobody comes looking for, so we asked to keep it around a little longer. It’s supposed to be an entry-level/beginner bike, and my 20-year old son liked it so much he went and got his motorcycle license, something no other bike at the compound had gotten him to do. The Street even got him to do a little work for MO, which nobody and no other thing has ever been able to accomplish.
The kid’s been back at college for the last couple of months, but I still find myself hopping on the Street for short jaunts around town, even though there’s also right now on the premises a KTM Super Duke R, a Moto Guzzi Norge and a Yamaha FZ-07. It’s hard to believe the 505-pound Street is 102 pounds heavier than the FZ-07. Even so, the Street’s long lowness and easy-riding nature make it almost as nice to ride and as relaxing as my couch. Both the Super Duke and the FZ-07 require more involvement.
A lot of other bikes came and went over the summer, too, and sometimes the Street stayed parked for weeks at a time, but it never failed to fire up instantly when called upon. It seems like we put many more miles on it, but in fact we returned the bike with only 1722. I remember checking the dipstick once, the oil was fine, and that’s the only maintenance the bike got or needed. It takes a long time to pile up miles when you’re only doing 20 or 30 at a time. Even in that kind of urban use, once we’d upgraded to Harley’s Screamin’ Eagle Nightstick exhaust, Air Cleaner, and Stage 1 ECU reflash, the bike returned 43.5 mpg on average.
The only other thing we did was to fortify the Street’s entry-level front brake with a set of SBS Sinter brake pads, which did extract noticeably improved performance from the single-disc front brake. Other complaints include a clutch basket that may be a tad on the soft side, metallurgically speaking; the Street’s clutch is a little grabby in the mornings, less so as its engine oil heats up.
Discuss this at our HD Street Forum.
Meanwhile, over at HD Street Forum, nobody’s complaining about much of anything in particular, though everybody agrees the mirror extensions and horn relocator brackets are a good idea, while the battle rages on with the loud pipes guys. Amazingly, I found no “which oil should I use?” thread. It was interesting to take a virtual ride with some Indian HOG members to Karjat, Khandala and back.
Why Harley didn’t build the Street 10 years ago is a worthy question, since there’s really nothing about it that’s close to cutting-edge technology. According to the Motor Company’s third quarter report, it sold 73,217 motorcycles over the three-month period, up from 70,517 motorcycles sold in the same period last year. In Q2, Harley stated its plan was to ship between 7,000 to 10,000 Street motorcycles worldwide in 2014, and our Harley person hints about 7000 of those are inside the U.S. – so not bad for a bike that didn’t make it into showrooms until well into summer. It seems the Street is pulling its share of the load.
Suddenly, though, there’s a lot more competition in the $7K range, including Yamaha’s sportier FZ-07 and now Kawasaki’s cruiseresque little Vulcan S – and who knows what they’re up to at Indian and EBR? None of those have the famous bar and shield on the gas tank, which has always been a wide-enough moat up till now. In any case, it should be fun to watch H-D’s efforts to keep up with the Joneses, now that it’s finally built a bike to compete with them.