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Review: Harley-Davidson Street 750

Driven March 2014

Review: Harley-Davidson Street 750

Ideally, fourteen years is a very long time for any bike maker to introduce a brand-new model. But in this case, it’s completely acceptable if Harley-Davidson told us it was working behind the scenes, burning the midnight oil to come up with something as impressive as the Street 750. It was something the US marque had never done before. It was something we had never expected of Harley a few years ago.

And still, it’s every bit of what a Harley should be and then goes on to do its job in an absolute un-Harley way. It looks like a true-blue Harley, but minus the chrome and considering the badge it carries on the tank, it IS small in size. It looks like a Harley that’s undergone a crash diet - it’s the perfect size for someone who wants to upgrade to a big bike. And that’s exactly whom H-D is targeting. The 750 is not for someone who already has a Harley or a premium motorcycle proudly parked in his garage. It’s for a bloke like you and me who wants to upgrade his ride and fulfil the dream of owning something special.

And special it is. The Street 750’s all-black body work, blacked-out exhaust pipe, attractive alloy wheels, and minimalistic rear-end styling with a sleek fender and a slender tail-lamp, it all looks the part. If only there was a thing we would change, then it would be that headlamp cowl. We aren’t big fans of that and the motorcycle would look a tad sexier without it. Apart from that, the Street 750 has an extremely endearing design. There are also options aplenty to pimp up your ride if you wish to, obviously at extra cost.

If you think Harley has nailed it with the styling, wait till you ride it. The 750 has been developed using completely new chassis and engine platforms. And that shows in the manner which the 750 takes to the streets. This new liquid-cooled, 749cc V-Twin motor, christened ‘Revolution X’ will surprise you with its eagerness to build up speed. Be it rolling from a standstill or whizzing away from annoying cars pulling up to your sides wanting to click a picture while cruising at 120kph, there is not a moment you are left wanting for more. Power delivery is butter-smooth, and ambling around town doing 50kph on the speedo, this is one Harley motor that won’t cough at a hint of a drop in speed. In fifth and sixth gears, it’s as comfortable taking on the grinding city traffic as cruising on the open highway.

If you had ever sampled a V-Rod before, that is exactly what you feel while riding the 750, perhaps a little less bulky and less menacing. There is no Harley-style bark from the motor, just a throaty melody that gets louder as it picks up pace. This little Harley is capable of speeds in excess of 160kph on the speedo and it’s not just about uncontrollable power, even at those speeds, the 750 feels composed.

That’s the best part about this Harley’s overall package. The newly-developed chassis takes to the motor like salt and lime to tequila. For a change, this Harley doesn’t get nervous at the glance of a corner, and is more than happy to lean its way out, sure to surprise you with its agility. It’s not as nimble as your naked street bikes, but for a cruiser that weighs in excess of 220kg, it will be as eager as you are to find the next set of twisties. The 750 is also game to snake its way out of city traffic, and the wide handlebar only makes matters effortless out there.

What’s also stress-free is the Street’s ability to cruise comfortably at high speeds for miles, without giving the rider an aching back or a numb backside. The suspension is well set up to soak up most bumps, the rider is seated in an upright position and the well-cushioned seat offers great comfort. Reaching the handlebar or the pedals isn’t a stretch either. Everything on the 750 is exactly where it should be. However, there are a few minor glitches that we couldn’t help but notice. First up, because the Street 750 was built to a price, gone are some of the signature Harley touches. Starting with the switchgear. Switches are like the plain-Jane ones found on cheaper Indian bikes, and the 750 doesn’t even get a pass switch. Then there are exposed wires and crude-looking metal parts used in places, which are quite un-Harley. And the rear view mirrors don’t offer great visibility with the rider’s arm blocking half of the vision. If Harley-Davidson could look into these minor but fundamental elements then the Street 750 could be the undisputed king of mid-level premium motorcycles in India. Not that it has great competitors at this price point, at this time anyway.  

With Street 750, Harley has got things fairly sorted – good looks, an excellent motor, impressive handling and great comfort. It’s a great cruiser available at a great price. For Rs 4.87 lakh (on-road, Mumbai), you get the cheapest Harley on sale today and a perfect motorcycle for those wanting to be a part of the big bike culture in India.

The numbers
Liquid-cooled, V-twin, 749cc, 60Nm, 222kg, ground clearance 145mm, length 2225mm, Rs 4.87 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)

The verdict
Not exactly for existing big bike owners. For the rest of us, this is one motorcycle worth giving priority in your bucket list.

Devesh Shobha

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