Updated: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 03:45:00 GMT | By The Hindu Business Line

Harley Davidson Street 750 review

The Street, for many reasons, doesn’t really feel like a traditional Harley-Davidson, but in a good way. It’s quick, it’s agile, it’s light and for all practical purposes, it’s very youthful


street 750 (© AP)

Before we jump into the ride report, here’s a bit of a back story for the Harley-Davidson Street 750. In November 2013, Harley-Davidson unveiled to the world its first new platform in 14 years. The Street 750, along with the Street 500, were showcased as the American brand’s new entry-level motorcycles, positioned below the Superlow family.

At the EICMA International Motorcycle Exhibition in Milan, Harley-Davidson officials had told The Hindu Business Line that the Street 750 would hit the roads at a sub-₹5 lakh price tag. Sure enough, at Auto Expo this year, a ₹4.1 lakh ex-showroom price made our jaws drop. But when we rode the Street 750 on the streets of Delhi over the weekend, we discovered how strikingly honest this motorcycle is.

DESIGN AND BUILD

While we had written in detail about the overall design in our preview, this ride let us inspect the Street 750 a bit more closely. The bike draws design traits from a lot of older generation of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, but the final result is a fresh and rather simplistic bike. And that’s because the Street 750 is intended to be a blank canvas for imaginations to run wild. But every bit of this motorcycle’s designs screams that it’s meant to be on urban roads.

Right from the skinny tyres and café-style headlamp fairing, to the flat teardrop tank, over the low slung frame and the LED tail-lamps, everything about the Street 750 has a very young look. But the first impression, a rather lasting one at that, is that the Street 750 is a rather compact motorcycle, by Harley standards.

The paint job is brilliant, and so is the overall finish. The buttons and electricals are of very good quality, and none of the plastic attachments rattle away. The seat height is at 25.4 inches off the ground, which gives it a rather comfortable upright riding stance. However, taller riders may have to opt for the additional ‘Tall Boy’ saddle. Looking at the motorcycle, and after being on it, we don’t think there has been any compromise with quality.

ENGINE PERFORMANCE

The liquid-cooled 749cc Revolution X V-Twin engine that powers the Street 750 is an all new one. And it screams refinement. The most impressive bit about the engine is how it feeds the healthy torque to the low and mid range of the power bands. The torque peaks out at 60Nm, and kicks in rather early at 4,000 rpm.

This results in an engine that is peppy, with really sharp throttle response – but it isn’t overdone, so you can easily crawl in heavy traffic too. Mated to the engine is a six-speed gearbox, which has very reasonably distributed gear ratios. There’s a sharp audible response too, when you shift gears.

There are a couple of niggles though. While the overall heat dissipation is quite good, thanks to the new liquid cooling system and the engine’s geometry, you do feel a bit of the engine heat on your left thigh when you’re at a standstill in traffic after a good, long run. Second, the exhaust note just doesn’t pack the Harley-Davidson character. As opposed to the Forty Eight or the Iron 883, which literally roar when revved, the Street 750 produces a rather docile whirr. But then the manufacturer does give an option to upgrade to the Screaming Eagle exhaust kit, so a better exhaust note can be had for a price.

RIDE AND HANDLING

If we had to summarize the Street 750’s ride characteristics in one word, that word would be ‘surprising’. This has to be the most agile and manoeuvrable motorcycle that Harley-Davidson has ever built. The higher ground clearance (higher, if you consider other Harleys) saves it from scraping its underbelly on Indian speed humps, and the low and centralized centre of gravity lets you do some insane cornering.

During the few hundred kilometres that we rode on the machine, we encountered some very tempting curves to attack, and the Street 750 did not disappoint us. We were even temped to scrape the footpegs, but we resisted the urge somehow. The skinny front tyre and an overall slim profile make this bike very easy to weave in and out of traffic too.

The suspensions soak up more bumps on the road than one could imagine. The travel on the rear suspension was enough to go over some of Delhi's worst roads, and the front telescopes are neither too stiff nor too spongy. The stock suspension setting is spot on, for India. Braking is a bit of a disappointment, though. The rear brake feels very spongy, and we are not happy with the stopping distances. For a motorcycle with such sharp riding characteristics, braking could have been a bit sharper.

There’s hardly any vibration to be worried about, even when the needle crosses the 150kmph mark. Sure, the wind blast is rather unsettling, but we’re guessing that the optional windscreen might fix this to an extent. Also, while the turning radius has improved over its bigger siblings, it’s still just a bit wide by Indian standards.

BOTTOMLINE

The Street 750, for many reasons, doesn’t really feel like a traditional Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but in a good way. It’s quick, it’s agile, it’s light and for all practical purposes, it’s very youthful.

Most importantly, it’s a simple and honest motorcycle. The way it’s built and the way it rides, lets the rider interact a lot with the motorcycle. The machine deliberately leaves a lot of room for imagination. A rider who loves tinkering with his machine, would love the Street 750.

And while Harley-Davidson may call it well suited for urban riding, we think that this can take on a bit of touring as well. For an ex-showroom price of ₹4.1 lakh, this is a Harley-Davidson that entry-level riders, especially the younger ones, would love riding.

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