Responding to an expanding global market, as well as the desires of a new generation of riders here in the U.S., Harley-Davidson has surprised us with a genre-bending new model, the 2017 Street Rod. Looking a bit like the offspring of a flat-tracker and a supermoto, the Street Rod was born as an effort within the Motor Company to proactively create the first custom Street 750, before, as Product Planning Manager Jeff Strunk says, “Roland Sands or somebody else got to it first.” Lead Designer Chetan Shedjale’s RDX800 concept was chosen as the winning design, with a focus on an edgy style and stoplight-to-stoplight, urban warrior performance. Despite its obvious resemblance to the recently announced XG750R American Flat Track race bike, Shedjale was careful to point out that the Street Rod is not a replica-racer. Instead, its styling was meant to appeal to a global audience—albeit with a healthy dash of “Americana.”
Stopping short of wild performance claims, Harley’s team explained to us that they wanted the Street Rod to not only look the part, but also offer an exciting and nimble ride, especially in urban environments. Harley steepened its rake from 32 to 27 degrees, increased the rear suspension travel by 31 percent, to 4.6 inches, and gave it a stiffer 43mm upside-down fork and a slightly longer swingarm. The rider sits 4.1 inches higher (at 30.7 inches) on a scooped seat, reaching forward to a flat, drag-style handlebar. Lightweight, 17-inch cast aluminum wheels front and rear are shod with sporty Michelin Scorcher 21 tires, and up front, two big 300mm discs provide stopping power (ABS is standard). Because of its increased ride height, the Street Rod is capable of lean angles of 37.3 degrees (right) and 40.2 degrees (left) vs. 28.5 degrees for the standard Street 750.
Powering the Street Rod is a “High Output” version of the Street 750’s Revolution X liquid-cooled V-twin that, thanks to improved airflow, a new dual-throat throttle body, valve changes and a bump in compression, pumps out a claimed 8 percent more torque and 18 percent more horsepower. The fun lasts longer too, with an increase in redline from 8,000 to 9,000 rpm.
The 2017 Street Rod is available in three colors: Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim and Olive Gold. Availability and pricing are TBD.