Nice review, it's good to see Harley moving away from 50's style barges and offering something more rideable. Me and a bud went to Destination Harley in Tacoma the other day to check out Buells and they had a sunglo yellow one of these.
Looking at the castings and overall machine work and fit and finish it really is a quality piece. Pretty comfortable too, I wouldn't mind riding one or even (gasp) buying one at some point in the distant future though it wouldn't be from Destination. They still valiantly cling to the vasoline tax, when everyone else is selling at MSRP.
At last a sort-of-new Harley to use the V-ROD engine
Great article Sean and MO!!
No need to start with the sport bike disclaimer in your article, I doubt many of the young squids will be reading this article anyway they are too busy worrying about which bike is a 1 tenth of a second faster in the ¼ mile or which bike is 2 mph faster on top end.
Anyway its great to see that Harley didnt waste such a great engine on just one basic design even if its just changed a little. The changes that were made from what you guys say seem to add up to a totally different motorcycle.
Now if Harley had only designed a new from the ground up touring motorcycle to go against the Honda Goldwing using the V-Rod engine I would have bought it instead.
Maybe in the future we will see even more radical or different designs using this great engine.
Keep up the great work!! Love the increased frequency of your articles!
1) It's the first Harley (non-Buell) I'd consider actually buying.
2) It's a great $12,500 motorcycle. But it's 17 plus (out the door). Why would I buy this bike instead of a Triumph Sprint S/T for 6K less?
Hell, I could use that savings to upgrade my GS750E (which is still 150 lbs lighter!), and this old phart will still give 90% of the Street Rod pilots fits on the right road. All I need to do is get in front of him just once... and then I empty my pockets of the ball bearings.
Age and treachery will ALWAYS overcome youth and skill.
Re: At last a sort-of-new Harley to use the V-ROD engine
Agreed.....Im holding onto my old EVO Geezer Glide until HD comes up with a VROD powered touring bike. I sat on a Street rod at a bike show this weekend and liked it much better than the current VROD. Ive considered trying to convert one to a tourer,but with the 16,500 buck starting point Id thin it would be cost prohibitive.
When we asked why they didn't simply switch to 17" wheels for better clearance, geometry and handling, they replied: "Because it wouldn't look right."
I found this sentence sums up the reasons it must be a challenge to be an engineer at HD. I wonder how many times sound engineering is sacrificed at the atlar of "style". Harley has the Buell brand for sportbikes. Maybe they should create antother label for bikes like this. Maybe then we'd see a compact engine, 150 less pounds & a better seat.
Street Rod riders may indeed be faster than "Old geezers on GS 1100Gs", but an GS 1100E might just cause the Street Rod rider to cough up even more money on Screamin Eagle parts.
As one who's been there, let me just say that it's nice to finally have someone recognize just how challenging it is to properly engineer a motorcycle when every radius you increase, every fillet you enlarge, and every angle you soften in the name of structural integrity is subject to the all powerful veto of the styling department.
The 17" wheel example provided in the story is merely the tip of a very large iceberg.
Ugly pipes, ugly paint, ugly seat, ugly wheels, ugly fork brace & too much rake. Other then that, it's at least an attempt to satisfy the rest of us. Why in hell won't they drop that engine in a Buell. Now that would be a bike!
If I get the Gist...of, the Crux...of, the Point...of Things:
The Street Rod is a two-wheeled version of the Oldmobile Aurora: it's a -- mildly pretentiously ostentatious, fairly comfortable, somewhat capable, middle-aged-geezer friendly...Hey, maybe I ain't so old, Afterall. SLED Fair Enough! And, when it comes right-down-to-it, that's not an entirely bad thing!
Personally, though Ive always had a soft-spot in my heart for the American Super-Luxury-Super-Cruiser; I cant say that I like it...when, its translated onto Two Wheels! However, if anyones got the Money and Need / want / desire, for Public approval / lack, of common sense/ lack, of self-esteem...to, actually pony-up for one of these things...More Power To Em!
Hey, If I take my tongue outa my cheek...and, stop tryin to start something...(for a Harley)...I gotta admit that the Street Rods probably a pretty nice bike; and Honestly, not everybody has to be riding around, with their knees dragging, and their butts hanging-off the side...to have fun (Hey, I just do it cause Im 51 years old...and it DRIVES MY KIDS NUTS).
2- That's GSX1100G, not GS1100G. I've had both and the GSX is about a magnitude faster.
3- I've already dragraced a first year V-rod. It's a bit slower than the GSX1100G. The "G" rips the 1/4 mile at 11.38 sec at 112mph, according to Cycle World. The Vrod does 12.55 @ 108mph. As it is the Street Rod has about 7 more hp, 4 fewer ft-lbs and weighs about 50 lbs more. If a Street Rod owner wants to put in Screaming Eagle upgrades, the GSXG owner can always put in GSXR cams and smoothbores.
This all begs the point that there's not much point in playing "I'm so fast" on 600 pound motorcycles, is there?
4- Don't know about mountain roads. The "G" is much more top heavy. Who's faster probably depends on who's more insane.
5- In any case I'm not crazy enough to race Sean on anything.
Kudos to HD, for the first time since the XLCR it seems that they are moving in a positive direction according to my tastes. It is a shame that their faithful won't seem to allow faster paced change or bikes perceived as too different to emerge. Buell seems the best hope for me these days, since most "Harley Guys" don't seem to recognize the "Harleyness" of Buell's maybe they can slide a modern engine in one and get away with it.
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