Remember the launch of the Street 750 in India, at the India Bike Week? Well, I do and I remember there being a trio of customs based on it. One of them, the RDX 800, sees the light of day in this here Street Rod. Lead designer, Chetan Shedjale, says his design was inspired by the world of flat trackers, drag race motorcycles and cafe racers. Here’s how the Street Rod stands out over the regular Street 750.
Take for example the new front and rear cowls, which are a cafer influence, both which look aggressive. The new front end adds a nice personality to the face of the motorcycle, along with the drag-bike flat bars with bar end mirrors. Wheels at both ends are 17-inches in a particularly nice design, wearing Michelin Scorcher radials though India might have to do with MRFs. The rear subframe has been shortened and the seat height increased to 765mm, which makes it easy for even shorter riders to get their feet down. The tank has been forwards too, along with the raised and moved rearwards foot controls, results in a riding position that is much more sporty than the Street 750. This also means the Street Rod can lean more – up to 40.2 degrees to the left and 37.3 degrees to the right, way more than the 28.5 degrees of the Street 750. We’ve also noticed that the wiring is routed much cleaner, so kudos to Harley-Davidson for listening to some of the specific pain points of customers.
Which brings us to the other changes on the Street Rod – the uprated brakes, chassis geometry, and totally revised suspension. The front brakes now get dual 300mm rotors, the rear gets a single disc, with ABS as standard. The rake has been reduced from 32 degrees to 27, resulting in a shortening of wheelbase and reduction of trail – essentially making the bike feel smaller on the road but we’ll get to that. The suspension components could be considered a massive leap forwards, with the 43mm upside down forks up front and piggyback shocks at the rear, with preload adjustment only for the rears.
As for the new High-Output Revolution X engine, it’s essentially the Street 750 engine on steroids. Compression now stands at 12.0:1, up one point from before, with the help of new pistons. High lift cams, a revised air intake and shorter exhaust all come together for an 8 per cent bump in torque and a claimed 18 per cent increase in horsepower. Redline has moved to 9,000rpm, one thousand revs more than before. Honestly, you probably won’t notice that fact since the motorcycle feels best when ridden under the 6,000rpm mark. Vibes creep in post 5,000rpm but the experience becomes buzzy shortly after. Quick trips into the upper reaches of the rev range aren’t an issue, the bike sounds good on the way there. The engine feels tractable though, with 3rd gear being good down to 20kmph without lugging.
Now, for the part most prospective owners will have been waiting for – the braking and handling. Both of which are impressive. Brake feel is progressive but the bite is there at the end of the lever pull. The Street Rod also does feel very nimble, more nimble than its 238kg wet weight would suggest – the quickened rake is to thank here. One particular corner we tried over and over for our photo sessions tightened up quite a bit as the corner went on and the Street Rod was more than willing to lean further and tighten its line too, without making the rider reach for the brakes. You will probably want to brake for bad sections of road though, since the new suspension is set up on the stiff side, transmitting most minor road imperfections through to your hands and saddle.
With everything that’s gone into the Street Rod, it’s worth the asking price of Rs 5.86 lakh, or about Rs 85,000 over the Street 750. That the character of the Street Rod is completely different makes the deal sweeter, especially if you’re looking for a big bike that doesn’t feel like one to ride. The Harley badge helps its case too.