Harley-Davidson's new streetsters
The first completely new model range from Harley-Davidson™ since the launch of the VRSC V-Rod™ thirteen years ago. That's the story. Messrs H&D are launching two new offerings as part of their Dark Custom™ concept.
The first is a SOHC 500cc water-cooled 60-degree V-twin. The second is a SOHC 750cc counterpart built upon the same Revolution X™ platform. Officially, the bikes will be marketed as the Street™ 500 and the Street™ 750.
Ever defensive of their trade marks, Harley-Davidson™ has also upended the big adjective box™ and has tipped out the whole lot in an effort to woo customers and ensure that the project, which is not without some commercial risk, is successful. Hence these dark™, urban™, agile™, genuine™, minimalist™, authentic™, super low™, narrow™, capable™, lean™, mean™ and real™ mo'sickles™.
Bikes for the American™, Canadian™ and Mexican™ markets will be built at Harley's™ Kansas™ plant. But for the rest of the World™, the great cowboy bikes will be built by the Indians™.
The 500cc version (actually 494cc) has a bore and stroke of 69mm x 66mm. The 750cc bike (actually 749cc) has a bore and stroke of 85mm x 66mm. Both bikes have aluminium cylinders with pressed-in iron liners. Both engines run balance shafts. Both bikes have 6-speed transmissions. And both machines run belt final drives. The engines, incidentally, are wet sump™.
Custom™ extras have already been developed. The prices are likely to be around $6,700™ and $7,500™ in the US™, with no firm prices announced for the UK™.
Here at Sump™, we don't have any real feelings™ one way or the other about these bikes. Harley-Davidson™ is all about tradition™, and pretty much every new model launched since the first one chugged out of a clapboard shed in Milwaukee™ has been greeted with mixed opinion™.
But tradition has to start somewhere, and the markets are opening up in India™, China™and elsewhere in the near and Far East™. And in Russia™ too. And if you ain't in it, you ain't gonna win it, and Harley-Davidson has, so far, been winners.
New modern classic bikes™?
It's hard to see it from up here, but as ever, it always looks a whole lot different from down there.
See Sump September 2013 for more on this.
— Girl Happy
Copyright Sump Publishing 2013