2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod | First Ride Review

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod is based on the Street 750, with sharpened handling and styling. It has a steeper rake, longer suspension travel and a higher seat height that enables deeper lean angles. (Photos by Brian J. Nelson)
The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod is based on the Street 750, with sharpened handling and styling. It has a steeper rake, longer suspension travel and a higher seat height that enables deeper lean angles. (Photos by Brian J. Nelson)

Now that The Motor Co. has apparently satisfied the global demand for an urban-oriented line of inexpensive entry-level Harleys with the cruiserish Street 500 and 750, it has begun targeting specific competitors. The new Street Rod gets a High Output version of the liquid-cooled, 754cc “Revolution X” SOHC 4-valve V-twin, with improved airflow, a new dual-throat throttle body, valve changes and a bump in compression and redline that give it 8-percent more torque and 18-percent more peak horsepower, the better to have it nipping at the heels of bikes like the Suzuki SV650, Triumph Street Twin and Yamaha FZ-07. Muscular Dark Custom styling includes a supercharger-styled air cleaner, speed screen and streetfighter-inspired tailsection.

Read our First Look Review of the Street Rod here.

Flat, drag-style handlebars, bar-end mirrors and a fly screen give the Street Rod a sporty look.
Flat, drag-style handlebars, bar-end mirrors and a fly screen give the Street Rod a sporty look.

For more nimble handling the Street Rod rolls on 17-inch wheels wearing Michelin Scorcher 21 tires, and Harley steepened the rake from 32 to 27 degrees, increased the rear suspension travel with new reservoir shocks by 31 percent to 4.6 inches, and gave it a stiffer 43mm inverted fork. Lean angles are way up over the Street 750, and the rider sits 4.1 inches higher (at 30.1 inches) on a scooped seat, reaching forward to a drag-style handlebar with bar-end mirrors.

Check out the new Road King Special here.

The increased ground clearance of the Street Rod means deeper lean angles are possible. The seat-to-footpeg ratio might be a bit tight for taller riders, however.
The increased ground clearance of the Street Rod means deeper lean angles are possible. The seat-to-footpeg ratio might be a bit tight for taller riders, however.

I had the opportunity to flex the Street Rod’s muscles on a short ride during Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida, where curves are in short supply but I could wring its improved engine out on the straight stretches. Harley says the bike is focused on city and urban riding, but power is definitely up to an exciting level for such a small motorcycle, and with its strongest punch down low in the 3,000 to 5,000 rpm range, vibration is not an issue. On one twisty stretch near Tomoka Marsh the bike felt very nimble and light, its triple disc brakes with ABS are strong and the suspension is firm but compliant front and rear. The bike’s only real limitation, even for some entry-level riders, will be its footpeg location, which was moved back for a sportier feel but is way too high for inseams of more than 27-28 inches. My knees were well above the gas cap, and my legs so cramped that I had trouble shifting and using the rear brake pedal.

Shorter riders may not suffer this restriction and should still be able to plant their feet at stops because of the scooped seat. Anyone who fits the Street Rod well, in fact, will enjoy its urban bulldog style, competent performance and low price of $8,699.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Harley is trying hard and I applaud them for going where Victory and Indian won’t go. However, your comments about the seating position are right on. I sat on one at the local dealer, and the seating position is huge deal breaker, and I’m only 5’9″,

    How they let this get all the way through development to launch is beyond me. For now, Triumph, Yamaha, and Suzuki have nothing to worry about.

  2. I just purchased the 2017 Harley Street Rod (maybe I shouldn’t have jumped the gun). I’ve done very little riding on it, but already I feel that this bike needs some help with it’s riding geometry. My hips become sore after only a few minutes of riding. I thought it might be me getting use to the bike but honestly, I keep hearing the same thing from friends and other folks in the online community that have ridden it. So… IDK. I will update my review after a few weeks of riding… (fingers crossed it gets better. Or I will have 10,600 (out the door) reasons to be sad.

  3. Perhaps they will take a page from their FXD models and offer a 2″ forward foot peg kit. The next step would be forward controls. Harley designers; are you paying attention out there??

  4. I have owned my Street Rod for 6 days now. It has over 330 miles to date. I find your claims about the foot pegs to be false. I am 5’10” and my knees are exactly where they are supposed to be. I love this bike, I drive it daily 40 miles back and forth to work. It handles highway traffic effortlessly.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here