Well, I finally got to ride this motorcycle. I started drooling when I was in the demo line. I thought to myself “Yeah baby! I’m going to ride Harley-Davidson’s latest entry into the motorcycle arena.” I ran up to the sign in to make sure I got on the list to ride it. I was prepared for fisticuffs if anyone who dared enter my path to the sign-up sheet. Gave them my driver’s license and signed the waiver. I asked the lady at the sign up tent when does the demo ride start? Her response was “now!”
Behind me one of the demo ride chaperones calls out ”front and center.” He then goes on and gives us the usual speech, no stoppies, no wheelies and the always dangerous slingshots. He also explains that we’re required to follow all traffic laws. The other demo ride chaperones went over the ride protocol and our route. Both chaperones reaffirmed the concept that Harley-Davidson will not be responsible for any fines that you get in your disregard for the traffic laws.
During this whole dog and pony show. I was fooling around with all of my recording equipment trying to get it ready for the demo ride. I usually miss the first ride to set up my equipment. I was jerking around with my GoPro camera chest strap when I noticed all the sound around me had stopped. I looked up and everyone was looking at me. Yep, not good ran through mind. One of the chaperones asked me if I was okay with a smile on his face, then I knew that everything was cool. I immediately apologized for my lack of participation and the whole group got a little chuckle out of it. Note to self, try to stay in the now.
I threw my leg over the motorcycle and planted my ass in the seat. Rocked the motorcycle forwards and backwards to make sure it was in neutral. I reached forward under the speedometer and turned the ignition key. Hit the start button and the engine came to life without a hitch. No “one – potato – two – potato” emanating from the exhaust pipes. I heard some foreign sound that didn’t register in my brain. Oh well, it has the Harley-Davidson logo in the speedometer.
The controls on the handgrips are definitely not standard Harley issue. I was somewhat surprised and disappointed that the controls were not Harley standard issue. That is one of the first things I notice on a Harley-Davidson is how the controls pretty much transverse through each model. Well, I guess if you’ve never ridden a Harley before it’s all good?
Finally, after what seemed like a long time, one of the demo ride chaperones waves his arms around like he was landing jets on an aircraft carrier. Within minutes all lined up by the exit for the street. Right off the bat this motorcycle is a good fit for me. I’m 5’8” and the reach to the handlebars is comfortable. I’m not overreaching and leaning forward, but in a neutral sitting position. The seat is very accommodating for an entry-level motorcycle. Sometimes on an entry-level motorcycle they provide you with a plank to sit on.
I turn the throttle a few times and realized the liquid-cooled 749cc 60° V twin was quick to rev up without a lot of mechanical noise. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a tachometer embedded in the speedometer. But I could feel how quickly it revved up. The engine is compact and neatly tucked under the oversized fuel tank. You really wouldn’t know that the engine was under the tank if it wasn’t for the big air filter housing on the right side of the motorcycle.
The engine is fuel injected with four valves per cylinder. The valves are driven by a single overhead cam configuration. The compression ratio is 11:1. This is starting to enter the in-line for crotch rocket engine compression ratio zone. This motorcycle produces somewhere around 57 HP right around 8000 RPMs. 8000 RPMs is also when the rev limiter kicks in. Also, the engine produces a peek 41 pounds of torque at 4000 RPMs.
Once underway, I quickly realized the clutch cable needed some adjustment. The clutch would grab on the very end of the lever travel. This provided somewhat of a digital effect upon releasing the clutch lever. This probably is a very easy fix due to the cable adjustments on the clutch lever. The clutch lever kind of flopped around its holder which wasn’t too cool. Neither the clutch or brake levers are adjustable.
This motorcycle felt very light under me, almost dirtbike-ish. This motorcycle is somewhere around 500 pounds with all the fluids. Yep, all of the fluids! The steering was quick, definitely not like riding my 2014 Road King or Ultra Limited. The steering provided more of a sport bike experience then a cruiser experience. I’m pretty sure that’s one Harley-Davidson was looking for because this vehicle may be operated in tighter situations than their normal products.
I didn’t get a chance to go through all of the six gears in the gearbox on the demo ride. But the gearbox performed flawlessly during my whole demo ride. It was even complete with that well-known “clunk” when you put it in first gear. Finally, some Harley-Davidson DNA! This is probably a small complaint, but I wish the gear shift lever knob was a little bit farther forward from the foot peg. I missed a few shifts because of the boots that I was wearing. Not a fault of the motorcycle.
The Harley-Davidson Street 750 has seven spoke casted rims with the 17-inch front wheel and a 15-inch rear wheel. The rims are nothing fancy but they fit nicely with the whole design of a motorcycle. My favorite aesthetic feature of the motorcycle is the layout of the rear fender, seat and the fuel tank. The shape and size of the fuel tank really enhance the look of this motorcycle. This motorcycle comes in three colors, a pretty cool red, a dark gray and a black.
The 37mm front forks are nonadjustable. I was unable to see any type of adjusting mechanism for the two rear shocks. So this would leave me to believe that this motorcycle would not really be a good choice for two up riding any great distance. I’m not very happy with the brakes during my demo ride I had to make a hard stop. I had to squeeze like hell with my hand and push down pretty hard with my foot to de-accelerate this motorcycle. Definitely not what I’m used to, but I need to keep reminding myself that this is an entry-level vehicle.
I felt like there was very little quantum entanglement with any Harley-Davidson motorcycle that I have ever ridden past or present. I’m emotionally invested in the brand and I feel this is too much of a departure from their core product. It just seemed to “Honda-ized or Yamaha-ized” for me. It reminds me of a motorcycle that was built in the 80s with fuel injection.
My expectations were that was going to be on a miniature V- Rod. Although the engine has a lot of torque, it lacked the essence of a Harley-Davidson engine. It almost seems foreign if you’ve ever ridden one of Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles with a V-twin engines. But with that said, I think Harley-Davidson has hit the mark on an entry-level motorcycle with an outstanding price point.
Also, I realize this motorcycle is going to be used to penetrate European, India and Asian motorcycle markets. And if you’ve never ridden a Harley-Davidson motorcycle they just might pull this one off. I just don’t know how the faithful are going to absorb this motorcycle into the collective.