My three-month test on the Harley-Davidson Street Rod is coming to an end and it’s been a love affair tinged with a little “hate”.
While I love the engine, the styling and the positive comments from young riders, my old arthritic knees hate the riding position and my ageing back hates the harsh shocks.
But right now there’s a whole lot more to love about this bike is it has been reduced from $12,995 ride away ($13,995 New Zealand) to just $9995 ($NZ10,995).
I attended the world launch for the bike in early 2017 in Singapore and most journos were impressed by the comparatively deep lean angles, the responsive engine and the youthful styling.
However, it’s been a hard sell for Harley, hence the price reduction until the end of August.
Harley-Davidson Australia offered me a test bike straight out of the crate to get the new-buyer experience and maybe get a few more people excited about this bike.
After a couple of thousand kilometres of town and country riding, I have developed a love affair with the bike.
My biggest love is the robust engine.
At 51kW, the 749cc, liquid-cooled, Revolution X V-twin is not exactly a power player.
However, with 65Nm of torque on tap from low revs, it propels the 220kg beast smartly off the line in the traffic light derby.
Meanwhile, it’s Harley’s second most economical engine behind the Street 500.
The best fuel consumption figures it returned was 4.2L/100km and the worst was 4.5L/100km.
I also love the feel of the engine, its vibe reminding me of the late V-Rod.
The engine looks neat with a nicely flared air intake and a discrete radiator tucked into the frame.
Styling is obviously a matter of taste, but it seems this has hit the spot with young riders.
On many occasions, I got the thumbs-up from other riders, pedestrians and passing motorists, most of whom were much younger than me.
It’s great to know it’s appreciated. If someone else admires your bike, it makes you feel much better about it.
But in any love affair, there are little things that annoy you and it wouldn’t be a fair review without me mentioning them.
While it’s been cold during my test, I noticed the heat pouring off the engine at the Singapore launch.
Most noticeable was that when you stopped and put your left foot on the ground, your inner thigh would rest against the cylinder head.
Harley listened to the early criticism and has added a piece of plastic that protects your leg and the plug lead.
My concern about the firm ride could easily be resolved with new shocks.
However, there is not much you can do about the riding position short of changing the drag bars and the fat muffler which pushes the right footpeg up too high.
If you are supple and young, you probably won’t mind at all.
My other hate is the bar-end mirrors. They look great and work just fine with no vibration from the engine.
However, they stick out a mile. Well, almost a metre (980mm to be accurate).
That’s very wide and the mirrors sit up at the height of most car mirrors, so they make lane filtering particularly difficult.
I hit several car mirrors in my travels and must apologise to those drivers!
At less than $10k, this is a great introduction to Harleys.
I dare you not to fall in love with its looks and engine!
Like any love affair, it’s sad to end it, but the bike is now returning to HDA.
Harley-Davidson XG750A Street Rod tech specs
- Price: $12,995 rideaway ($13,995 New Zealand) – discounted $3000 until the end of August 2018
- Engine: 749cc, liquid-cooled, Revolution X V-twin
- Transmission 6-speed constant mesh spur gear
- Torque: 65Nm @ 40000rpm
- Length: 2130mm
- Width: 870mm
- Seat: 765mm
- Clearance: 205mm
- Lean angle: 37.3 degrees (right), 40.2 (left)
- Wheelbase: 1510mm
- Wheels: 17-inch
- Fuel: 13.1 litres
- Wet weight: 238kg
- Colours: vivid black, charcoal denim, olive gold