2017-03-10 22:28:45+0000 - Compton, California, United States

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod; First Look

Harley-Davidson has finally unveiled their highly anticipated new Street Rod and based on the reception the bike has received in the past 24 hours, this one's gonna be a big seller for the American brand.

Yesterday Harley-Davidson officially released facts and photos about their all-new Street Rod. If that name rings a bell it's because H-D used the same moniker for one of their later and more notably sporty machines in recent decades. The previous Street Rod was fitted with components that made it one of the most aggressively performing road-going two-wheelers ever built by H-D without the name "Buell" painted on the tank. From what can be gathered thus far, the 2017 model seemingly lived up to the name.

Though the new Street Rod is based on the Street 750 it really is an all-new bike. The final product would make it appear that the American manufacturer took some serious time listening to journalists and reading comment sections thoroughly because the new Street Rod offers what many riders have been asking for and love about motorcycle's in spades. Though there are obvious similarities to the Street 750, the Street Rod's having a separate name appears to be well deserved.

With a rear suspension travel of 4.6" and an amount of ground clearance not typically associated with H-D bikes, the new Street Rod should allow for some serious lean angle. On top of that the engine has been changed to cater to more aggressive performance with a higher rev limit, reworked cylinder heads, higher compression and different cams all found on the 2017 Street Rod. According to H-D the sum of this new changes is a sportier engine with 18% more ponies and 8% more torque (than the standard Street 750). This adds up to the new Street Rod putting down 68 horse power at peak (8,750rpms) and 47 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpms.

Fitted with a sporty inverted front fork and rear piggyback shocks that both sit on 17" wheels, this is clearly a bike that's been engineered with performance in mind. The dual disk brakes should offer a nice bite with a suplmentary option of ABS for an additional $750. This may offer better stopping power than the vast majority of motorcycles previously made by H-D for overall weight reasons alone. The swingarm is slightly longer meaning the bike should have a wider wheelbase. The rake angle jumps from 32 to 27, which is a lot for anyone unfamiliar with this kind of spec, so much so that I wouldn't necessarily classify this bike as a cruiser. The seat height is roughly 4" higher at 29" which further adds to the sporty feel that was clearly the aim for this project. It also includes new forged foot controls and aluminum foot pegs and triple clamps.

So on top of a very sport heavy rebuild, Harley also updated the new two-wheeler's appearance. The addition of a fly screen, new rear bodywork, LED tail light and signals, bar-end mirrors and drag bars have all made it onto the very updated Street Rod, not typically features H-D has previously opted for. Finally the use of a perforated-leather seat was used, another premium feature found on this reasonably priced Harley.

As someone who's not personally a big fan of cruisers (or any non-sportbike really), I sincerely admire the time H-D took to get it right when putting together the new Street Rod. All of the new design elements and components come together in a very cohesive way. A final product with a distinct feel and solid performance should be what ever manufacturer strives for. Obviously pricing is of extreme importance and the American moco seems to know that because the MSRP for the new Street Rod in "Vivid Black" is only $8,699. "Charcoal Denim" and "Olive Gold" are going to run you an extra $295.

It's become increasingly clear that H-D has set their sights on a younger demographic than they have in previous years. The company's blatantly intentional display of the rider's hip choice of apparel and helmet in the press photos only further solidify this fact. Also with the success of mid-size naked sportbikes, it seems logical that Harley made sure the 2017 Street Rod's power plant would be comperable to that of the FZ-07, Z650 and SV650. At least on paper. It's no secret that cruiser manufacturers have been targeting this emerging market. Harley will be inviting Journalist to Daytona to get a crack at the new Street Rod so in the near future we should be able to confirm whether or not they hit or missed the mark on this one. It really seems like HD has put the effort in to revamp the Street 750. The new generally sporty upgrades along with the cosmetic changes really make this feel like an all new offering from the iconic American company. This is the first time this thought may have ever crossed my mind but, "I'm actually pretty excited to ride this new Harley".

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