Harley Davidson Street 750 Test Ride Review
2014 Harley Davidson Street 750 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

2014 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Review

Bike Tested: 2014 Harley-Davidson Street 750

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 4,67,950/-

The Harley-Davidson Street 750 gets you closer to living a part of the American dream.

India loves America. These three words pretty much sums up the relationship between both countries. No matter how bad or good the political ties are. Anything which comes from America, is India’s favourite. The lifestyle of people in both countries is followed by each other too. Americans now eat “chilies” and do Yoga while we have started eating bacon and donuts. Same things apply to automobiles as both countries share the same taste. We both love big, long, huge things, which is true for both motorcycles and cars. Comfort has been the sole criteria when it comes to the people in both these countries and hence the cruiser market is huge in both these great nations. Harley-Davidson was insanely famous even before they came to India, when people just heard about it and rarely saw it on the streets. Since the brand has officially entered India, there are groups of Harley bike owners who come out every week to make their presence felt. Even if you are sleeping on a Sunday (not riding) you will at least hear one roll by in the morning or late evening.

Premium is the way Harley-Davidson motorcycles are considered in India and hence bought by the rich and famous, not the case anymore. Harley-Davidson is here in India with super aggressive plans to cash in on those foundations. Right from assembling their top of the line models to making the first ever Harley-Davidson motorcycle outside the Milwaukee factory. The Street range of motorcycles is what we are talking about and we spoke about it in our world exclusive first ride review. The initial impressions of the Street 750 were not that good. However, does it cut the cake after we spend four days with it and do 500 kms on it? Let us find out how it is to live on the streets with the Street 750. Meanwhile, grab yourself a burger and order your favourite donuts, as this is going to take time!

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14157768720/[/flickr]

Long, low and matte black colour project an image of substantial, sporty motorcycle

Styling – The styling is very Harley and there is no doubt about that. The design of the Street 750 is inspired from the V-Rod and it looks like a mini V-Rod or you can call it the next-generation V-Rod. Personally, the old V-Rod styling still looks pleasing and is super sleek and much better than the new Street. The matte black colour is used in abundance, which gives it the sporty feel rather than chrome, which would make it look retro/classic. There are the gators on the front shocks and huge round fairing on the headlight to give it the retro look at first glance from the front. The tank is old school type and is another piece on the motorcycle, which struts off the retro feel. Harley-Davidson has tried to put in a modern touch by giving multi-spoke alloy wheels but they are just not visible as the motorcycle sits very low. Anyways, a good effort but sadly in the wrong place.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14157704349/[/flickr]

The swell looking air filter box in between, notice the irregularities as well

The air filter box between the two-cylinders looks swell. The box also has the “capacity” badge. The rear looks un-inspiring in the day, but as dusk approaches, both LED tail lights and white light for the license plate makes the rear end pleasing and grabs your attention. Paint job is excellent and when it is cleaned and polished, it can show you the reflection of the sky above you partly because of the size of the tank. Fit-finish is as we all know the most talked about topic on this Harley in a negative way. Exposed wiring near the exhaust is in abundance. The wires are tied up, but not covered up well. Quality of materials is ok, but they will not pass the test of time. Lack of attention to detail has led to a poorly finished motorcycle (wiring near the tank are exposed) which ruins the sight of the machine when confronted up close. Overall, a motorcycle that scores six out of ten for its aesthetics and the points lost are because of the finish.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14342745072/[/flickr]

One single pod has it all; missing tachometer, clock and DTE is a shocking omission

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The instrument cluster is just one single chrome ringed pod which showcases everything. The dominating speedometer, two trip meters, an odometer with solitary indicators on both sides, high beam, engine oil warning, engine check light and a fuel warning light because there is no gauge and it comes on only when the tank is left with 3 litres of fuel. The meter is surprisingly small for this bike and is devoid of a clock, something which is seen on entry-level commuters these days. The Street 750 is devoid of a tachometer, which is also a glaring omission given the fact that newbies (at whom the bike is aimed at) like to shift according to the RPM. The Harley-Davidson logo on top and the one written below is a neat touch. A special mention goes to the meter light, which is red in colour and looks purely like satan’s colour at night, very devilish, very Harley. Switchgear is good to use and we particularly like how the buttons work. However, the switchgear quality is not that great and feels cheap to the hands. The high beam button shockingly does not fall to hand as it placed higher and is a bit of a stretch. The biggest news is that the left switch is devoid of a pass light switch. A motorcycle made in the year 2014 does not have a pass switch? We do not see any reason or any old tradition to support this fact.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14341026761/[/flickr]

Foot peg positioning is something you get used to but the handlebar is ordinary

Ergonomics – Ergonomics on the Street 750 is a thing which is also in doll drums. The extremely low seat height and the size of this motorcycle already throws tall riders out of the context. Short riders also have problems which they will confess after living with it for some days. The seat cushioning is so soft that after 40 kms of riding, you start experiencing uncomfortable-ness but after 60-80 kms, it becomes very evident which results in an absolute numb derriere. Four years of long distance touring and seven years of riding, I have never experienced such a tale before. Harley executives have told me that we have many types of seats available for customers as an accessory which can be pre-ordered before delivering the bike. I suggest getting the optional one, which has a pillion seat conjoined to it.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14157771350/[/flickr]

Single piece stock seat, cushioning extremely soft, not good for long rides

The foot peg positioning should have been far more ahead to make the riding experience more comfortable, but they are set in the middle like a regular motorcycle, which just gives you a back pain after 150 kms of riding. The handle bar position is way too forward towards the rider, which is not done right and does not fall in a typical cruiser way of doing it either. Shoulder view mirror is perfect. No, they are not rear view mirrors, you got that right, and I will not explain much after this. Remember I told you the air filter box looks swell, but do you know it will touch your thigh in crawling traffic. Also your right ankle will touch the exhaust in traffic and your left thigh will touch the rear cylinder itself. Mind you, all these things have high temperatures, which cannot be barred by our skin. All in all, your legs are going to be targeted every single time you head out in city. As you can see, the ergonomics are not well sorted out and long distance touring on the weekend or rides once a month is going to be a troublesome and tiring affair.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14157770320/[/flickr]

The Revolution X engine produces as much torque as a locomotive train

Performance – Until now everything looks mostly disappointing but not anymore. The Street 750 is powered by an engine, which is denoted as Revolution X. The motor displaces 749cc, produces 58 HP of power and a mind numbing 60 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM from its over-square engine. It comes rarely to our notice that such a huge engine, which has an over-square layout, produces so much torque. The Street 750 has to pull 221 kgs of weight and hence the high amount of torque and as we all know, cruiser motorcycles are always known for their torquey motors. A 6-speed gearbox transfers power to the rear wheels via a belt drive rather than a chain drive. The gearbox is really smooth but after an entire day of riding, dragging it for VBOX runs shows that it has become tired for the day, shift quality isn’t consistent. Belt drive offers smoother power delivery to the wheels when compared to chain, but the drivetrain losses are huge when compared to chain drive.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14321227916/[/flickr]

City driveability is excellent but engine heats up dramatically if progress is not brisk

Thumb start the motor and it comes to life with a 20-second high rev idle, which automatically settles down no matter if the engine is boiling hot or dead cold. Depress the feather light clutch and get ready to hear the soft clunk from first gear as you hardly tap on it. The engine feels very tractable and has almost all the torque slightly above idling RPM. The engine is very smooth and refined throughout the rev band. There is torque throughout the rev range thanks to the flat power band achieved by Harley-Davidson due to taller gearing. Throttle response is linear and the engine revs quite fast to its redline where slight vibrations are ready to welcome you. Redline cut out is not smooth either. You cannot hold it because it becomes jerky. The throttle is also snatchy, when leaving the throttle after accelerating, blipping the throttle does not make any sense either. The mileage we got on our test was a respectable 25 km/l.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14364547013/[/flickr]

Acceleration is brutally fast, Street 750 takes only 6.17 seconds to reach 100 km/hr

Accelerate hard off the line and you are bound to make the wheel spin or go sideways if you are being overly aggressive with the throttle. The amount of torque is huge and rear wheel size is a puny 150 section. A 150 section tyre handles 35 Nm of torque on the KTM Duke 390. If you want me to compare it to the nearest cruiser than the Hyosung Aquila, which has more power, less capacity and same torque has a 180-section tyre at the rear. Whatever the figures and facts are, the way the Street 750 delivers power is linear and progress is properly fast. The engine sounds like a Harley but the traditional potato-potato sound is missing and whatever sound the engine emits, is very much muted. Liquid-cooling plays a crucial role in this case. We like the engine very much for its character and kind of noises it erupts while cruising, accelerating, idling and even when leaving the throttle to hear the over-run.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14341026761/[/flickr]

Taller gearing helps the engine cruise with minimum stress on highways

As I said previously, performance is good. 0-100 km/hr is achieved in 6.17 seconds according our VBOX tests which is very fast. Sticky tyres, a better engine oil and other factors would make it even faster off the line. Top speed we achieved was 178 km/hr on our VBOX. Top speed figures are so high despite low horsepower and high weight is because of how the Street 750 sits so low to the ground. There is so much torque throughout the rev range that you can pull from as low as 30 km/hr in top gear and take it all the way to its top speed. As you can make out, there is power in every part of the rev band to enjoy the performance which makes the motorcycle feel light all the time. In-town too, you can rumble around in top gear and it will close the gap instantly. However, if you do not close the gaps and stay brisk, the heat from the engine is going to cook your inner thighs. If you are stuck in traffic, the heat is directed in such a way that it will go to the pillion’s feet and thighs and if there is no pillion, the heat will reach the back and neck of the rider!

Harley-Davidson Street 750 Test Ride
Low centre of gravity, stiff suspension and an able chassis make it handle really well

Dynamics – The Street 750 is equipped with a twin-tube frame which is backed by a 17-inch wheel at the front and 15-inch wheel at the rear. The tyres on both ends are on the skinnier side. The Street sits quite low as the clearance above the ground is 145 mm only, which helps it achieve a low centre of gravity. Let us talk about comfort first which is the main criteria for cruiser buyers. The ride quality is excellent. The damping and spring rate is spot on. The way the ride quality is done makes the Street 750 feel like a mature sports motorcycle. There is no compromise on the dynamics either. The handlebars are narrow and as expected, the turning radius is also quite high and will be a pain in the city.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14341021561/[/flickr]

Long wheelbase, 221 kg of weight and low height keep it stable even at 170 km/hr

The motorcycle handles well and chassis tuning deserves an applaud. The chassis feels stiff all the time at any given speed. There is a lot of cornering clearance and the Street 750 does not scrape when it nears the limit. Turn-in is slow and not crisp either. Reason? Lock to lock of the handlebar is miles away and it is quite raked out. Sure, the rake is quite inward compared to other cruisers or elder siblings of the Street but still it is on the higher side. The front feels light all the time and at any given speed. As you can make out, the harder you push the Street 750, the more rewarding it is. However, we felt that the front-end is always light and the weight is biased towards the rear. Even taking sweepers at 140 km/hr, the front-end feels light and at those speeds, it should definitely feel heavy. At any given speed and even while accelerating off the line, the front-end feels light and bounces around (with clutch or without clutch), while shifting gears aggressively.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14342743962/[/flickr]

Light front-end at any speed and poor brakes are sore points of the Street 750

The front-end issue can be contained by slapping a 120-section tyre at the front, which should help by a good margin, but not completely. The front is also light because the fork diameter is quite inadequate for this capacity of a motorcycle. There is a lot of grip, but the grip from tyres as we said in the first ride, is not that great. They are not completely hard compound tyres but they are no specially made soft compounds, which we have seen on some bikes which use MRF rubber. We are talking about Nylogrip here and not the REVZ. The brakes too are the sore point of this motorcycle which we mentioned in our first report. The brake calibration seems superior to the bike that we tested earlier and the stopping power is good. However, still they are devoid of any feel or sharpness, which is offered by entry-level motorcycles in our country. Endurance brakes, in the year 2014, on a Harley, big disappointment. Even KBX would fail to help. Brembo/Bybre is in fashion for a reason and is being used right from Pulsars to Ducatis.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14321226706/[/flickr]

Ride, handling and manoeuvrability is good but could have been better

Verdict – There is absolutely no doubt that despite some niggling issues, the Street 750 could have been an absolute path breaking motorcycle but that something did not happen and something which was not expected from the brand either. It is the attention to detail, which is sorely lacking but the overall package and price is appealing. What you are paying for is what you are getting. We Indians are used to getting more for our money, something which has spoiled us. The performance is breathtaking and the aesthetics for the most part are appealing. The things that are not being made standard on the Street 750 can be put on through Harley’s heavy customisation options. Brakes, tyres and suspension can still be upgraded but the rest of the parts cannot be changed. However, if you are a person who can live with a compromise, go ahead and get this baby Harley because there is no cruiser in this segment and at this price, with this badge. A badge which is a dream for most Indians out there, a badge which every cruiser lover always wanted. If you want to pursue a small part of the American dream and not leave your country? The Street 750 is your chance!

If you always dreamed about the brand Harley-Davidson, the Street 750 can make your dreams come true. If you always wanted a Harley and were ready to make any compromise to own one. Then make some more compromises and get one because this is the only way of getting near it.

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14157872787/[/flickr]

The Street 750 is capable of taking you anywhere in comfort and in quick time

What’s Cool

* Performance and stability
* Ride quality and comfort
* Badge

What’s Not So Cool

* Fit-finish and quality
* Brakes and tyres

[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/14344362115/[/flickr]

Rubber smoking performance is guaranteed from the Harley-Davidson Street 750

2014 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Specifications

* Engine: 749cc, liquid-cooled, V-Twin, SOHC
* Power: 58 HP @ 8000 RPM
* Torque: 60 Nm @ 4000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 6.17 seconds
* Top Speed: 178 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 23-28 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Twin-Tube
* Suspension: Telescopic Forks (Front), Twin Shock (Rear)
* Tyres: 100/80/17 (Front), 150/70/15 (Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Disc (Rear)

2014 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Dimensions

* Length x Width x Height: 2225 mm x 815 mm x 709 mm
* Wheelbase: 1535 mm
* Ground Clearance: 145 mm
* Seat Height: 640 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13-litres
* Kerb weight: 221 kgs