Denim, chrome, skull caps, chains and lots of leather of leather to accessorize; these are the pre-requisites, of sorts, to own and ride a Harley. It’s been the unofficial list of requirements for some time and while it’s kept Harley-Davison’s following strong over the years, the faithful are beginning to age.
In spite of the bad boy image that most other motorcycle manufacturers would kill for, Harley-Davidson is hoping to broaden its appeal to a younger market.
This is a decidedly different market — one that loves matte, tight fitting denim jeans and uses an iPhone. It’s a market that prefers to spend long hours at the coffee shop than on the road, and maybe even, gasp, prefer wine over draft beer.
As a result, Harley-Davidson of Manila had invited members of the press, not very familiar with the brand or motorcycles to begin with, to Korea for the unveiling of its newest, and arguably most vital model in a long time.
Meet the Harley-Davidson Street 750. You might recognize it as Captain America’s bike in the movie, Winter Soldier. Yes, it has the Harley shield, the low seat posture and even a V-Twin engine, yet you’ll notice something distinctly Harley that’s gone missing — the chrome, flame job, and the usual parts, accessories and flair its other models have become famous for.
The Street 750 is a number of firsts for the motorcycle brand. It will be the first to be assembled outside of the US, the first to be water-cooled. The new bike will be Harley’s smallest, but also one expected to lure in the most new customers to the brand.
Taking a page from its contemporaries, Harley will be assembling it in India and will sell the bike in China and the rest of South East Asia. It will be made available locally, very soon.
So what’s the big deal? It’s a Harley but not as you know it.
The Street 750 is inspired by Harley Davidson’s Dark Custom line of accessories and apparel. The amount of chrome has been tastefully reduced in favour of a matte finish. It features a low seat height, low tank mounting and Harley’s smallest ever, 750 cc engine. The tiny twin is liquid-cooled, SOHC, four-valve per cylinder and is fuel injected. This Revolution X engine features a broad powerband, delivering mounds of torque from 2,000 to 8,000 rpm. A six-speed gearbox brings it up to speed.
It’s a bike designed with the urban area in mind. There’s 3.5 inches of rear wheel travel and 5.5 inches up front from a 37mm fork, giving the Street more than double the travel of its Sportster cousins while maintaining a low seat height.
It’s no featherweight, tipping the scales at 222kg with all the fluids, yet its design reveals it’s meant to do quite a bit more banking than your typical cruiser.
Finally, the ergonomics have clearly been designed with Asians in mind. It’s easy to swing a leg over the low rear. The handlebars are an easy reach. Knees are at just the right height to hug the tank. Finally, there’s still a bit of clearance underneath to roll over pock-marked roads.
The bike currently sells in the US at US$7500 (PhP340,000), though expect local prices, with taxes, to hover around the PhP400,00-500,000 area).
All told, the Street 750, though bearing the Harley badge, is not your usual Harley. It’s a young, dynamic and refreshing take on the typical cruiser and could very well attract the broad appeal the brand is hoping for. I may be a sport bike fan but this is definitely one cruiser I’d consider.
2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750
ENGINE TYPE Liquid-cooled 749cc 60-degree V-twin
BORE & STROKE 85.0 x 66.0mm
INDUCTION Mikuni EFI 38mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1
VALVE TRAIN Four valves per cylinder, sohc
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual
FINAL DRIVE Belt
FRONT SUSPENSION Fork
REAR SUSPENSION Twin rear shocks
FRONT BRAKE Single disc, dual-piston caliper
REAR BRAKE Single disc, dual-piston caliper
FRONT TIRE 100/80R-17
REAR TIRE 140/75R-15
TRAIL 4.5 in.
WHEELBASE 60.4 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 28.2 in.
WET WEIGHT 503 lb.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.5 gal.
0-100 KPH 4.6 sec.
0-1/4-MILE 13.69 sec. at 93.8 mph
HORSEPOWER 57.6 hp at 7955 rpm
TORQUE 43.2 lb.-ft. at 3790 rpm