Harley restyling yields a "Street Rod"

August 12, 2005|by ARV VOSS/Motor Matters

The newest bike to join the futuristic VRSC lineup is the R for the 2006 model year. Harley-Davidson refers to the new redesign simply as the "Street Rod," a term that can apply to two wheels just as appropriately as four, especially with this ride.

The V-Rod "Street Rod" is still powered by the Porsche-designed 1130cc DOHC, eight-valve Revolution V-Twin, liquid-cooled motor with electronic sequential port fuel injection, but this version generates 120 horsepower (five more than its predecessor). Exhaust exits from a modified, two-into-one-into-two right-side system. The motor develops 80 pound-feet of torque (six more than before), and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, with a high ratio spur gear primary drive and final belt drive.

The Street Rod rides on massive 43 mm inverted, twin fork shock tubes raked 30 degrees (8 degrees less than before) up front, with the steering head set at 32 degrees. The futuristic headlight - with integrated instrument pod including a speedo with resettable trip meter, flanked by a tach fuel gauge on the right - is cleanly executed. Wheels are now staggered 10-opposing spoke aluminum alloy units front and rear, replacing the wind-resistant solid disc types. The wheel up front is 19 inches, while the rear is 18 inches, wearing a 180 mm performance tire. Both front and rear fenders are aluminum. In terms of appearance, the Street Rod still comes across as a member of the V-Rod family, but with a more aggressive nature and sport-bike attitude. Brembo four-piston caliper brakes with 300 mm dual front rotors provide serious halting potential.


An aerodynamic, tank-shaped cover for the velocity stacks and air box that feeds the engine appears to be the fuel tank, while the actual tank is hidden beneath the hinged, locking forward seat section for a lower center of gravity. My Black and Silver VRSCR test bike's base price was set at $16,495, while the price as tested came to $17,108 - considerably less than the "B" version V-Rod that I tested last year.

SUMMARY: Harley-Davidson's new Street Rod is very well balanced, and tips the scales at 617 pounds dry (an increase of nearly 22 pounds). The seating position has been elevated from 26 to 30 inches. Aero-cut, polished, forged aluminum triple clamps are more robust, delivering a steeper rake and fork angle. The fuel-injected motor's redline is 9,000 rpm, with a soft rev limiter kicking in earlier.

The Street Rod's foot pegs, shifter and rear brake pedal are set back on the elevated frame, which sports a shorter wheelbase than before (0.7 inches). Leaning into turns may now be accomplished in a more aggressive manner with a 40-degree lean angle, due to the bike's increased height.

The Harley-Davidson VRSCR Street-Rod should appeal even more to sport-bike riders who have never before considered a Harley. It remains a stylish work of art and a pleasure to ride. I still personally prefer the lower, forward control versions for their cruiser-style riding position, but admittedly, the Street Rod has a way of growing on you. Traditional Harley loyalists probably won't care one way or the other, as they'll be inclined to hang in with the legendary "old-school" rides.

Harley-Davidson VRSCR "Street Rod"

Base Price: $16,495

Price as Tested: $17,108.27

Engine Type and Size: 1130 cc Revolution 60-degree V-twin, liquid-cooled w/ESPFI, straight shot dual (over/under) right side exhaust.

Horsepower: 120 at 8,250 rpm.

Torque (lb.-ft.): 80 at 7,000 rpm.

Transmission: 5-speed manual.

Drive Train: Primary drive: Gear, Final drive: Belt.

Suspension: Front: Wide dual inverted 43 mm forks; Rear: Polished one-piece cast aluminum swingarm with performance calibrated rear shock absorbers.

Brakes: Dual discs front and rear with Brembo 4-piston calipers up forward.

Tires: Dunlop 120/70 ZR19 front / 180/55ZR18 rear mounted on staggered 10-spoke cast aluminum alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 66.8 inches

Length Overall: 93.7 inches

Steering angle: 32 degrees

Curb Weight dry: 617.4 lbs.

Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons

Seat height: 30 inches

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2005

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