2013 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
110 years is a big number, so naturally, Harley will be celebrating this anniversary with a full-on, party-hearty attitude. And for a company that’s already unveiled three new machines this year—the 2012 Softail Slim and Seventy-Two, and the 2013 CVO Breakout—that’s perfectly understandable. So, for the official 2013 mainline model launch, instead of an outrageously singular, eye-blinking new design, there’s…Hard Candy. But more on that later.
The 2013 model year—Harley’s 110th—is flush with bikes that are mostly carryovers, save for a few distinct exceptions, including ten 110th Anniversary Edition models and a restyled Dyna Street Bob model.
Street Bob Redux
For the main line machinery highlight, Harley has chosen to update the Street Bob— or to quote them directly, “restyle” it. The refreshening treatment includes things like new blacked-out triple clamps, and a chopped rear fender with side-mounted license plate and stop/turn/tail lights instead of last year’s middle fender-mounted unit. The mini-ape handlebar is now mounted on new rubber-isolated risers too, but the only real physical change takes place in the tail section, which has been further cleaned up.
There’s also a round air cleaner cover, a new full-length wrinkle-black cast console, and new scallop graphics in a two-tone paint option, as well as Hard Candy Custom Big Red metalflake paint option. But the defining elements of the Street Bob are retained for 2013—a solo seat, chopped fenders, Fat Bob fuel tank and ape-hangers.
To keep the rear simple, the 2013 ‘Bob employs the now-current Harley tradition of combination stop/turn/tail lights. The powertrain is finished with polished covers instead of chrome, and the black cylinders are left un-highlighted. The standard running kit still includes the rubber-mounted Twin Cam 96 motor, though the bike we spent the most time on had the Twin Cam 103 engine upgrade.
Harley-Davidson Styling Manager Tony Pink emphasizes the stripped-down focus, saying, “...we cleaned off the rear fender, ditched the battery box trim, and bolted on a classic round air cleaner cover. Then we selected an array of options for H-D1...” That means customers can choose from 14 different paint and graphics options, two seat options, and several handlebar, wheel, and foot control configurations, as well as the Twin Cam 103 upgrade.
Bob and Weave
But what about the ride? As part of Harley’s Dark Custom line, the Street Bob has always emphasized short-hop style over long-haul capability, and that continues to be the case for 2013. The handlebar’s height (10 inches tall on a 2-inch riser) is just enough to give you an instant street menace, while providing surprisingly good leverage in higher-speed bends—though low-speed maneuvers can leave you feeling a bit disconnected from the front end, and shorter riders may need to stretch to the outside bar during tight-radius turns. The mini-apes also meant you were hung out in the wind on extended freeway blasts, and the constant fight to keep a steady grip on the bar can take the fight out of you after half an hour or more.
We tried both the mid-mount footpegs (standard) and the forward control-equipped bikes, and preferred the mid-mount ergonomics, though your tailbone eventually feels the added pressure as it’s pushed into the 26.7 inch solo saddle. Fortunately H-D didn’t mess with the Bob’s suspension—and the 3.1 inches of travel for the rear dual coil-over-spring shocks is sufficient over uneven surfaces, with good damping qualities. The fork too, has a generous 5 inches of travel, soaking up even the worst road construction obstacles admirably.
The standard Twin Cam 96 engine is becoming a rarity in the Harley line-up, and while the 96 gets you plenty of low-end grunt, with a linear powerband and smooth fueling, we were more impressed with the optional 103’s added oomph and extra kick at higher speeds, particularly when passing cars uphill. The six-speed Cruise Drive on either engine configuration shifts effortlessly, with solid engagement.
There’s not much new on the 2013 Street Bob, but we remain fans of the bike’s no-nonsense attitude, easy ergonomics and solid ride quality. It continues to provide an entertaining ride with heaps of style, and now, even more customization possibilities, all for a reasonable $12,999 (base) pricetag.
The Rest Of The 2013s
Other models for the new year include the limited edition CVOs, featuring the new CVO Breakout, the CVO Road King, CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide and CVO Road Glide Custom.
Meanwhile, the versatile Sportster line returns with five models, while the Softail platform boasts six models this year, including the Softail Slim, and the Fat Boy which now features Mirror Chrome Aluminum Bullet Hole Disc wheels as standard equipment.
Eight Touring models, from the Street Glide to the fully-loaded Electra Glide Ultra Limited, are coming out of the box with fresh color and graphics options, while the 2013 Dyna line includes the new Street Bob and new Switchback, as well as three other models.
The V-Rod power-cruiser line rumbles on with the Night Rod Special and V-Rod Muscle, each available in new colors for 2013.
Ten For 110
Then there’s that whole big Anniversary deal, and Harley is definitely pushing the celebration. The Motor Company will produce a limited run of 110th Anniversary Editions, each serialized and featuring exclusive Vintage Bronze/Vintage Black paint and other details. A highlight of each Anniversary model are solid bronze fuel tank badges, plated in black nickel and then distressed to highlight the bronze. In addition to the anniversary tank badge, each will carry a serialization badge and have all available factory-installed options as standard equipment.
The 1200 Sportster Custom 110th Anniversary Edition will be limited to a quantity of 1500; the Super Glide Custom 110th Anniversary Edition will have 1450 units; and the Fat Boy Lo 110th Anniversary Edition will have a run of 1750 units.
The Heritage Softail Classic 110th Anniversary Edition will be limited to 1900 machines, and offer Smart Security, ABS, and Chrome Profile Laced Aluminum wheels with Whitewalls.
The Road King 110th Anniversary Edition will offer Smart Security, ABS, Cruise Control and be limited to 1750.
The Electra Glide Ultra Limited 110th Anniversary Edition will be limited to a quantity of 3750.
Finally, riders looking for a Trike option can roll with the Tri Glide Ultra Classic, which is also available in an Anniversary Edition. For full details, specs and photo galleries, visit: www.motorcyclecruiser.com
Milwaukee is also continuing to push its successful Parts and Accessories and HD1 customizing programs, and the big focus for 2013 is Hard Candy Custom, a styling movement ripped from the 1960s that emphasized dazzling metal flake paint and brilliant chrome. Harley-Davidson brings these new Hard Candy Custom options, including “big flake” paint finishes, to five models for 2013; three of those finishes will be selectively offered as a solid-color option on those machines.
We have to admit it’s rather appealing that you can now order a traditional metal flake finish on your bike as Original Equipment paint. The Hard Candy Big Red Flake color was first rolled out last year on the 2012 Seventy-Two model, and for 2013 that color is joined by Hard Candy Lucky Green Flake and Hard Candy Coloma Gold Flake. At least one Hard Candy Custom color will be offered on the Seventy-Two, the Street Bob, the Blackline, the Softail Deluxe, and the Forty-Eight.