2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod Preview

John Burns
by John Burns

H-D builds what appears to be real-live Dark Custom sportbike

Suck it up all you Harley haters, and behold the new Street Rod – pretty much what we wished the original Street 750 could’ve been in 2014.

At the heart of the matter is a snarlier 60-degree SOHC V-Twin: The High Output Revolution X 750 is said to produce 18% more horsepower and 8% more torque than the standard Revolution X 750 engine, via larger airbox feeding a new 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 – and the hotter enchilada is now revvable to 9,000 rpm instead of 8,000. Extrapolating from our last 54-hp Dynojet-measured Street 750, the Street Rod should be good for about 64 horses at the rear tire and about 47 lb-ft of torque.

All that would be for naught if not for significant (and very non-Harleyesque) chassis developments: Longer, piggyback reservoir shocks out back provide a full 4.6 inches of rear-wheel travel and a much more purposeful stance, while also helping reduce the rake angle all the way from 32 to 27 steepish degrees. The fork itself is an inverted unit with 43mm sliders, anodized black along with its alloy triple clamps. Them brakes is 300mm dual discs which appear to be clamped by the same just okay two-piston slide-type calipers the standard Street uses. But at least there are two of them on the Street Rod, and ABS and H-D’s Security System are standard features.

Suddenly we’re looking at a bike H-D claims can be heeled 37.3 degrees to the right and 40.2 degrees to the left instead of 28.5 degrees either direction, a big-boy motorcycle that’ll make good use of the 17-inch Michelin Scorcher radials it flaunts front and rear. Curb weight is said to be 516 pounds. The whole thing actually looks pretty swell, too, following in H-D’s Dark Custom motif (and just like the Street that was in the last Captain America movie, notes the ever-observant Dennis Chung).

Taller riders will be happy that the seat’s now 3.7 inches higher, at 29.4 inches in its laden state (30.1 inches unladen), which will provide more legroom to new forged aluminum footpegs that look like they’re in the same perfectly acceptable mid-mount spot as before. It all looks quite nice and standard-bike comfortable, really. And don’t forget the color-matched speed screen, the streetfighter-inspired tail, the new LED taillight and turn signals and bar-end mirrors.

“The Street Rod will put the thrill in any urban commute,” said Mathew Weber, Harley-Davidson Chief Engineer for the Street Rod. “Tires, wheels, suspension and frame geometry are engineered to work together and deliver handling that’s light and precise at all speeds.”

The Street Rod starts at $8,699 in Vivid Black; Charcoal Denim and Olive Gold retail for $8,994. That puts it near the $8,700 Triumph Street Twin that trounced it in last year’s comparison, so the sweet little Triumph could be in for a much tougher tussle this year. Let the Harley-Davidson/Triumph/Indian wars begin, on track and off!

The great and all-knowing JB is off to ride the Street Rod next week in Daytona. Stay tuned for his bipartisan findings.

Harley-Davidson’s Street 750 is a Highly Customizable

John Burns
John Burns

More by John Burns

Join the conversation
2 of 133 comments
  • Meaty Midrange Meaty Midrange on Mar 20, 2017

    I looked the bike over up at Daytona. The demo lines were extremely long so I didn't ride it.

    It's a nice looking machine; sort of an "sporty Japanese cruiser look." What I'd really like to see is how it looks after a year or two of riding and weather. It may not age well; the finish and materials didn't look as high a quality as you'd see on a Honda or Yamaha. That's strictly subjective, of course.

    I doubt anyone is going to trade in their FZ-7 for one, but it may get new people into HD dealerships for their first "real bike."

  • Joe Bogie Joe Bogie on Mar 20, 2017

    With Victory closing, you can get a brand new Octane or Vegas 8-Ball for $8600.......no way in Hell, I'd choose this bike over those!