Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750: Reviewed

The Best Harley I'll Never Ride

Street Rod 750
The Street Rod takes the cruiser-standard look of the Street 750 and gives it a much more aggressive vibeMorgan Gales

The Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750 is a mid-size, liquid cooled bike that revs up to 9,000 rpm, features dual front disc brakes, inverted forks, piggyback shocks, and for the first time in ages, H-D has a bike that can compete with in-class metrics. It puts out great power, it sounds like a Harley, it is so damn close to being the Japan-challenging standard that we've been waiting for, but a jammed-up riding position makes an otherwise awesome motorcycle an ergonomic nightmare.

H-D Street Rod
"Have I really only gone one mile? Why do my hip flexors hurt so bad?!"Harley-Davidson

When I first had my problems with the ergos, I figured it was because of my height. At 6 feet 4 inches, I'm used to being cramped up on bikes and immediately figured a second opinion was in order. Our videographer has been getting pretty good on two wheels and has a different perspective at 5 feet 6 inches, so I asked him to get on it and let me know what he thought about the bike (while keeping my opinions to myself). After a short ride, I posed the simple question: "So what did you think about it?"
"It's a toad, dude!"
"What do you mean?!"
"You're cramped up in the legs and stretched out up top—I feel like a toad!"
While I wondered how it was possible for two guys with a ten-inch height difference to have the same problems with ergonomics, it was apparent that the Street Rod 750's 'rider triangle' had some serious issues. With serious advancements in so many other areas, could the Street Rod's performance merits outshine the uncomfortable riding position?

H-D Street Rod
A heel pad on the exhaust provides a little relief when you need somewhere to move your right footMorgan Gales

Harley added some serious juice to the Revolution X engine for this model, debuting their High Output Revolution X which increases horsepower by 18 percent and torque by 8 percent. The liquid-cooled 60-degree v-twin is similar to the Revolution engine we first saw in the V-Rod back in 2001. The Revolution engine was developed with the help of Porsche’s Engineering Group in Dusseldorf, Germany and wasn’t approved by the engineers until it successfully reached 500 hours of non-stop runtime. While the Revolution X and it’s High Output brother didn’t go through the same rigorous testing, it shares a very similar blueprint and still shows a bit of its Porsche influence-- part of the reason they were able to squeeze so much more power out of the X and still maintain reliability. Long story short, the new engine doesn’t redline until 9,000 rpms, puts out around 70 horsepower and 47 foot-pounds of torque. Translation: this thing revs up about twice as high as your Sportster, puts out about the same bhp as a 1200cc Evo, and weighs about 50 pounds less.

H-D Street Rod
2017 Harley-Davidson Street RodMorgan Gales

While the engine is the most extreme leap forward, the suspension on the Street Rod gets a big bump in performance as well. Up front you’re set up with 43mm forks that hold steady in the turns, eat the bumps, and provide solid road feel. In the rear, the new piggyback shocks are a little bit stiff, making the ride feel more sporty than cruisy, but the dampening is effective and handles well. I didn’t get into the preload adjustment, but I think I would have benefited from softening things up a little bit.

Aesthetically, the Street Rod got a big boost from the base Street model. The front fairing is reworked to hold a little bit of a steeper angle, and looks good doing it. The new improved suspension not only functions well, but the orange springs and piggybacks, as well as inverted forks offer an obvious performance-minded style change. The rear changes from the sloped, wide boat-tail looking section to a slimmer, more tracker looking seat and fender with a much more aggressive line. An intake that sucks in more air and lower bars also lend a hand to the bike’s more sporty and edgy feel.

H-D Street Rod
H-D Street Rod 750Morgan Gales

Just about everything from this new model excited me when I first saw Harley-Davidson’s press release. It took the docile Street 750 model and added a boost of adrenaline to it. After riding the Street, I wanted a taller seat height and they gave me that-- going from 25.7 inches all the way up to 29.4 inches. I wanted more ground clearance and got that, too-- jumping from 5.7 inches to 8.1 inches. But when it comes to the foot controls, they left the same three-quarter mids that sit somewhere in the shin-jamming zone between sporty mids and comfortable, cruisy forwards. I had the same reaction the first time I sat on this bike as I did my first time on the Street 750: “Oh no, these foot controls are awful,” but I was so much more upset about it on the new model. I had been so excited for this to be the Revolution X that I could actually ride, but the combination of heightened seat, low bars, and high-weird-mid-forward foot controls left me sitting in the “toad position,” with cramped up legs and stretched out arms. The bike rode well and I wanted to like riding it, but my hip flexors just wouldn’t let me. I’m sure custom foot controls, maybe rearsets would fix the problem or at least help alleviate it, but with stock equipment it’s just tough to relax and enjoy the ride.

H-D Street Rod
Dual front disc brakes on the H-D Street Rod (Left), The new seat on the Street Rod that H-D calls 'race-style' (Right)Morgan Gales

The Street Rod takes the 750 platform into relevance. It is the kick in the ass of the Street 750 that was needed to make something of that platform and turn it into something more than a bike that we ride around in a parking lot while we have our learners permits. It’s more aggressive, higher revving, and more forward-thinking than any production bike we have seen from Harley-Davidson in decades, they just need to fix the ergonomics.

H-D Street Rod
Even at a standstill with Harley-Davidson's own model riding it, the legs look cramped up.Harley-Davidson
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750 Specifications
Length 83.9 in.
Seat Height, Laden 29.4 in.
Seat Height, Unladen 30.1 in.
Ground Clearance 8.1 in.
Rake (steering head) (deg) 27
Trail 3.9 in.
Wheelbase 59.4 in.
Tires, Front Specification 120/70 R17 V
Tires, Rear Specification 160/60 R17 V
Fuel Capacity 3.5 gal.
Oil Capacity (w/filter) 3.3 qt.
Weight, As Shipped 497 lb.
Weight, In Running Order 516 lb.
Engine High Output Revolution X V-Twin
Bore 3.4 in.
Stroke 2.6 in.
Displacement 46 cu in
Compression Ratio 12.0:1
Fuel System Mikuni Twin Port Fuel Injection, 42 mm bore
Exhaust Black two-into-one exhaust
Wheels, Front Type Black, 7-Split Open Spoke Cast Aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type Black, 7-Split Open Spoke Cast Aluminum
Brakes, Caliper Type 2-piston floated front and rear
Engine Torque Testing Method J1349
Engine Torque 47.2 ft-lb
Engine Torque (rpm) 4,000
Lean Angle, Right (deg.) 37.3
Lean Angle, Left (deg.) 40.2
Fuel Economy 54 mpg
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning
Gauges 3.5 inch electronic speedometer with high beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning, blade key ignition and fork lock, and locking gas cap