Our ride review of the Harley-Davidson Street 750 below has been live since Mar 29, 2014, moments after we rode the bike in Delhi region. At the time, we pointed out poor brakes to say- ‘The big Harley stops when you want it to, but the brakes lack powerful bite, require pressure at the levers and fail to communicate a reassuring enough feel when trying to haul the bike down urgently from really high speed. ABS is also missed, and Harley would do well to add this to the new bike.’
Since then, several respected publications worldwide echoed similar concerns, including a German report of total brake failure during testing. The recently introduced, 2016 year model Street 750 has improved brakes, as mentioned in our review here although users of earlier bikes have been left in the lurch, with the company refusing to address their pleas for any solution, that offers them a reasonable, or affordably priced upgrade to safer brakes. Story here
Our Mar 29, 2014 review as under.
Who would have imagined the Indian big-bike market could grow so fast? Turn the clock not so far back to 2009, and Harley-Davidson had only just commenced India operations, with the Harleys for mangoes exchange legend doing the rounds. No one could have foretold just a few years down the line, the famous American company would actually be manufacturing motorcycles in India. And that's exactly where we are, the famous cruiser bike maker moving at breakneck speed in our market, with prices cascading down and Indian bike enthusiasts having never had it this good.
It's been quite a wait, with so many of us itching to ride the Indian-made Street 750 ever since our September 2013 issue where we announced Harley will manufacture this bike in India. The Street 750 is H-D's first new motorcycle platform since the V-Rod of 13 years ago. Bookings are open, and here's what we've just experienced in the saddle.
The Street 750 is a big cruiser in the flesh, in typical Harley style, a neat bikini fairing housing its classic circular headlamp. You can customize the Street 750 by ditching the front fairing, to leave your headlight exposed. It's a muscular, low bike, with powerful presence, drawing attention from bystanders whenever you get out for a ride. The front telescopic fork pipes come with rubber boots to protect them, a good thing in India's rugged conditions. There's a solitary instruments pod, with speedometer prominently displayed and reading up to 180kph. The Street 750 comes with plush feeling, high quality grips, as on all Harley bikes, but we found the motorcycle switchgear lacked quality, despite being easy to come to terms with, and its mirrors could have offered better rear view vision too, calling for moving your elbows out of the way to see enough behind the bike.
The cruiser typical teardrop shape tank sports a lockable and offset filler-lid, which flows smoothly backwards into a wide riding saddle and distinctive, stepped tail, making the Street 750 such an easily recognized motorcycle. Overall quality and fit-finish is inadequate on these early bikes, and not quite on par with other Harley bikes tested by us in India. There's still room for improvement all round in this regard that the company needs to work quickly to get in place.
The Street 750 is powered by a new engine from Harley, four-stroke, 60 degree – wide, for a low centre-of-gravity that promotes better handling – V-twin engine that displaces 749cc, with fuel-injection. It's been christened 'Revolution X' and comes with four valves per cylinder that are chain driven by single overhead camshafts. The Street 750 goes one-up on several sibling Harley bikes, to offer liquid-cooling, as visible from a massive radiator, that rides up the front of the motorcycle from low under the motor. The new Revolution X engine outputs an ample torque spread, its 6.62kgm at 4000rpm figures translating into a nice, easy flowing power delivery on the road, with performance feeling rapid for a cruiser bike of these proportions. Harley doesn't disclose power figures as a rule, but the Street feels good for an estimated 55-60bhp, with power transferred to the rear tyre via a Harley typical toothed belt. Belt drive helps make the Street 750 a quiet motorcycle to ride and this is a reliable system better suited to Indian conditions and calling for lower maintenance as compared to a drive-chain. It's a pity more manufacturers haven't opted for belt drive systems on their bikes in India as yet.
Harley-Davidson has spent time ensuring this new-generation liquid-cooled 'Revolution X' engine makes no acoustic compromise, and we found the Street 750 two-into-one exhaust system drums out a nice, throaty and exciting sounding rumble, easily modified if you're looking for an even louder note. The Street comes with a well weighted, smooth functioning clutch, and six-speed gearbox that shifts smoothly, with precise and even light feel in a 1-down, 5-up pattern. Harley stylists could have done better with this motorcycle exhaust, the Street 750's dark, long unit looking a touch ordinary and out of place on a premium modern motorcycle.
The Street 750 delivers strong acceleration, with immediate throttle response, and the bike feeling good for a 100kph dash in close to 5 seconds. Top speed is in the region of a true 170kph, the bike pulling smoothly up to an indicated 180kph in top gear on our ride. Third is good for close to 120kph, fourth for 145kph and fifth 160kph, all speeds as indicated on the instruments. The Street 750 engine feels really smooth at all times, and is completely buzz and vibe free. It's a refined powerhouse that can cruise all day long at an indicated 130kph, at which speed the engine still has plenty of shove in reserve, before it runs up to meet the limiter. The engine is flexible, easy to master and ride in traffic and all six gear ratios feel well matched to the power on offer.
Harley-Davidson has given the Street 750 a cruiser-typical long wheelbase, 1534mm, while the bike seats riders in comfort, low with a back-upright riding posture that's supported by feet-set-forward footpegs. The Street 750 riding saddle is comfy, and well padded. Harley could have done slightly better on pillion comfort, the rear seat failing to offer as much room as the pilot’s. The Street 750's steel constructed frame spine is supported on 7-spoke alloy rims, telescopic front suspension and a set of dual rear shock absorbers with a rectangle section steel swinging arm.
The Street 750 offers 2 inches more ground clearance and 2 inches of extra suspension travel over any other Harley-Davidson currently sold in India. The 222kg Street 750 isn't a light or nimble motorcycle, but it is still manageable and not cumbersome, even in crowded urban Indian conditions. The handlebars are wide for good leverage, and the bike steers with a confident, neutral feel, going exactly where pointed. Cornering manners are good for a heavy cruiser. Ride quality is good too. The Street 750 runs on Indian-manufactured MRF tyres front and rear, these working well to give the bike confident grip up to reasonably high speeds, only starting to feel stressed when riding beyond 140kph. Traction is otherwise good even when hustling the big Harley through a set of quick corners.
MRF tell us they have already developed a tailor-made, oversize 170/70 x 15 inch rear tyre especially for the Street 750, ready to fit to the bike and upgrade from the stock 150/70 unit. Braking is via a pair of single, ventilated discs at both ends. The big Harley stops when you want it to, but the brakes lack powerful bite, require pressure at the levers and fail to communicate a reassuring enough feel when trying to haul the bike down urgently from really high speed. ABS is also missed, and Harley would do well to add this to the new bike.
The Street 750 is produced by Harley-Davidson for India, in India at Bawal, Haryana, using several key components sourced from Indian vendors. This isn't the very first time the well known American manufacturer has built bikes outside the US, but India becomes today the only other manufacturing facility outside America, with an aim to rapidly ramp up localisation, all the while striving to maintain H-D quality standards.
At Rs 4.10 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), our ride confirms the Street 750 delivers in spades, offering an undiluted, 'pukka' Harley feel, at a never before value-for-money price. It's a landmark bike, not just for Harley, but for the expanding and evolving Indian big-bike market, a big bonus being the refined, smooth performing Revolution X engine offering liquid-cooling, which isn't otherwise available on sibling Harley bikes, unless they cost far more, this also making for a notable advantage in hot and sun-drenched India. The Street 750 makes a solid case for itself, offering better value-for-money over not just every other Harley-Davidson bike, but almost every other big-bike today available in our market. There's absolutely no doubt, barring lacklustre overall quality that Harley is sure to work on and improve in time to come, the Street 750 has what it takes to earn itself a coveted crown in India, to rise and become the largest selling big-bike here in the not so distant future.