VRSCF V-Rod Muscle

2014 model. 1250cc (76 cubic inch) OHV, 60-degree liquid-cooled V-twin  



What's hot about a V-Rod muscle


Looks: Svelte. Butch. Macho. Attitude. It's got the lot.

Rear tyre: 240mm wide rubber for this big, big boy.

Power: 122 horses propel this dragster to maybe 140mph.

Slipper clutch: Smoother downshifts, boosts control.

Brembo brakes with ABS:  Controlled emergency stops.

Security: Optional "smart" fob activates alarm. Fit. Forget.

Revolution engine: Reliable liquid-cooled 1250cc V-twin.

Mirror embedded LED indicators: Neat. Bright. Clean.

Gearbox: 6-speeds. A little klunky, but confident changes.

Finish: Quality materials and paint, but care is needed.

Forks: Those inverted tubes keep it tight and predictable.

Seat height: One size fits most. Platform heels not needed.

Power: 122 horses propel this dragster to maybe 140mph.

Sound: It ain't a Stradivarius. But it hits some great notes.

Mudguards/fenders: Chopped/bobbed for added "coolness".

... and what might cool your ardour


Price: 13,800. A lotta dosh, but comparatively good value.

Weight: 670lbs (wet) makes this a heavy metal roller.

Fuel economy: We tested it at 35-38mpg.

Forward controls: A contradiction in terms?

Centre stand: Be serious. Call for roadside assistance.

Cornering: Think more in terms of lazy bending.

Handling: Feels very awkward at first. Improves with distance.

Radiator: A necessary evil for a water-cooled Hog.

Hype: People will call it "raw" and "mean" and "awesome!"

Pillion: You've heard of the word "afterthought"?

Forks: Way too soft for many riders. Soft enough for soft riders.

Silencer: Overblown. Ugly. Needs an aftermarket fix.

Design: Like all Rods, it gets fussy in places.

Unforgiving: Not much fun on anything but dry roads.

Mudguards/fenders: Chopped/bobbed for added splash.



The V-Rod Muscle for 2014. The same, but different


2014 Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle. 67-inch wheelbase. 34-inch rake. Satin chrome exhausts and silencers. It's not a great leap forward for the V-Rod project. But it is arguably a sound move up. The truncated look takes a little getting used to and won't appeal to all V-Rod fans. We can't make up our minds.

2014 Harley-Davidson V-Rod instruments V-Rod Muscle combined indicator and mirror

Left: V-Rod Muscle tachometer, speedometer and ... well, fuelometer. Nothing too fancy. Just yer average space-age on-board instrument cluster. The combined indicator/mirror tidies the frontal view. We doubt that many riders will be (traditionally) ditching these "turn signals".



 The 2014 V-Rod Muscle on the move 


 ▲ The V-Rod Muscle showing a bit of hustle. These bikes really crack on when you want them too. But they demand that you approach them on their own terms. Sports bike riders take care. The Rod plays a long game and is not a scratcher.




Copyright Sump Publishing 2014


When the V-Rod was launched back in 2001, the motorcycle world divided into two camps; the Harley-Davidson traditionalists who were still lamenting the demise of the "Shovelhead" whilst getting over the shock of the Evolution "Blockhead" engine, and the Harley-Davidson modernists anxious to embrace Milwaukee's next great leap forward (and Messrs H & D have always got something interesting cooking).

We took a test ride on an early Harley-Davidson V-Rod and returned three or four hours later with mixed feelings.

You couldn't fault the build quality. The factory stuck its neck out a long way when it launched this one, and despite the opinions canvassed from the various focus groups, the factory knew it could fall flat on its face with this bike. Ultimately, the only test that mattered was the showroom test; specifically how many bikes actually rolled out to new customers.


V-Rod Muscle arrival


This bike isn't breaking any new ground. The original V-Rod did the trail-blazing. It was then up to Harley-Davidson engineers to re-develop the platform and keep it just far enough in front of the old one, but not so far that it gets "ahead of its time" and breaks the connection. Tradition is the keyword.

Overall, they did this pretty well with the 2014 V-Rod Muscle. The rear tyre became fashionably fatter.

The front indicator/turnsignals have become fashionably smaller (and have vanished into the mirrors). The rear indicators have merged with the tail light. A side-mounted number plate mount has been added. And a new 5-spoke wheel design has been introduced.

Rider comfort has been improved/tinkered with in the shape of a new and deeper seat contour.

The new colours are: Vivid Black, Brilliant Silver, Dark Blue Denim and Red Hot Sunglo.

Lastly check those handlebars, now with buried wiring.

Conclusion? Harley-Davidson has achieved what it set out to do, and rider/owner feedback has been very good. We'd prefer standard positioned foot controls, and their absence would (alone) encourage us to look elsewhere.

But beyond that? It's a worthy enough upgrade assuming, that is, you fundamentally "buy" into the V-Rod concept.


Sump V-Rod buyers guide