Harley Expands Street Line, Launches 2017 Street Rod

Inverted 43mm fork, a new speed cowl, 17″ wheels, and a new seat spruce up the Street line.

Ah, so here we are again. Harley-Davidson, with its century-old heritage and wisdom, needs to sink its hooks into another generation of  young riders, thus bolstering the future of the brand by banking on customer loyalty, the bravado of the Bar and Shield, the familial feeling among Harley riders, and remaining the perennial cool kid on the block.  Alas, the question plaguing many big corporations trying to tap into the youth remains–how?

When Harley announced the new Street lineup in 2013, subsequently introducing it in 2014, this represented a shift in thinking. The Street 500 and 750 were the first lightweight models to roll out of the minds in Milwaukee since the Sprints of the ’70s. (The Kansas City factory handles North American production and shipping, and the factory in Bawal, India, handles production for overseas markets. H-D outsourced production of the smaller-displacement models there as early as 2011.) The models featured the Revolution X motor, which, like the V-Rod’s Revolution, is liquid-cooled and employs a single overhead cam; the differences, however, span beyond displacement, including a single internal counterbalancer, vertically split crankcases, and screw and locknut valve adjustment. In a two-pronged strategy, H-D set its sights on two major demographics with distant but similar tastes, both of which demanded a larger chunk of The Motor Company’s attention: Millennials (specifically new riders) and the Southeastern Asia market.

And while the new Street family received more of a distant cousin’s welcoming party in North America, the overwhelming reaction from Asia remained positive. In a land where lightweight, maneuverable, cost-effective, 500cc-and-less motorcycles are the main mode of transportation and commuting, Harley seemed to have finally and successfully embraced the market overseas. And if those specific tastes sound like a lot of the scoots (hmm…cafes and scramblers) you see in your city, well Harley smells what’s cooking.

There she blows, a new entry-level bike ready to hop from borough to borough.

Welcome to the fray the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod, this designation repurposed from the V-Rod’s discontinued model. That’s where the comparisons end, however, as this Street Rod is the third member in the Street family and the first to feature a new, updated motor, the High Output Revolution X 750. That’s right, another new Harley motor. Only this time around, the design team merely revamped the liquid-cooled Revolution X with a larger air box, dual-throttle body, revised four-valve cylinder heads and high-lift camshafts, and a more voluminous muffler. Plus, the compression ratio bounds up to 12:1. With the target market ostensibly 18-34 year-old city dwellers, the brand-new Street Rod, equipped with the new High Output Revolution X 750, should be capable in the midrange, bopping through the accordion of stop-and-go traffic and offering the necessary giddyup.

The Street Rod’s air intake is inspired by superchargers, drawing attention to the new motor and helping with the power gains.

Rolling stock is new, too, with two fresh 17″ Split 7-Spoke black cast wheels, front and rear, wrapped in new Michelin Scorcher 21 radials. Up front, a 43mm inverted fork handles bumps, and coil-over rear shocks have an external reservoir to increase fluid capacity and improve control; rear travel increases to 4.6″. The seat was specifically designed for the Street Rod, a sporty piece that might call to mind something on, say, an XR1200. It’ll help achieve the leaned-over, aggressive riding style which many young guns employ carving through the city on brief jaunts. Couple that with a 29.4″ seat, 3.7″ higher, more gracious lean angle, and a drag bar, and you have yourself a sportier design capable of handling all the city terrors.

The drag handlebar moves the rider forward, and the bar-ends are a nice touch in cleaning up the front end.

 

Coil-over suspension with an external reservoir helps with control and adjustments.

Harley has good reason to expand the Street lineup. This is an entry-level motorcycle, one that allows a new rider to flaunt the Bar and Shield and break into the sport with style. As a bonus, Harley can start to cultivate its next crop of riders who may eventually upgrade to cruisers and, later, Touring models. Funnel the young through the ranks, and start that process early. Figures actually back up Harley’s augmentation; as maligned as the Street 500 and 750 might have seemed, sales of  Sportster and Street models increased from 23,396 in the first quarter of 2014 to 29,149 in the first quarter of 2015.

Consider this. CivicScience conducted a survey over the course of a year that compared adults ages 18 and up, regardless of gender, to adults ages 18-34 (Millennials, yo).  A simple question: Do you currently own a motorcycle? Of those aged 18 and up, 11% answered either, “Yes, but I need a new one,” or, “No, but I plan to buy one soon.” Of the Millennial demo, 14% are in the market for either their first bike or a new one.

Can Harley finesse its way into the tight pockets of new riders?  Offering a liquid-cooled, small-displacement package at a fair price point, one that represents enduring tradition, shows that Harley-Davidson is paying attention to all its markets and is starting to break from the norm while retaining standards that loyalists desire. Build from within, out. And tapping in to the Millennial market ain’t a bad way to expand your business model.

 

New Harley Rider: Smart Gear Tips From American Iron Magazine

When you first start riding a motorcycle many new riders are not sure where to turn for advice on the best gear to buy and use, especially on a Harley. The editors of American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine, and Motorcycle Bagger, have a simple list of best riding gear for new riders of Harley motorcycles.

Motorcycle Helmet.

    We are not going to go into the discussion of helmet laws, but rather focus on what is available and the pros and cons of your motorcycle helmet choices. The first rule on motorcycle helmets is buy a new one. No matter what the quality when new, a motorcycle helmet has a limited life and then the become less effective in the case of impact or other serious accident. Also make sure you buy a DOT approved helmet and not a cheaper, less protective “novelty” helmet. Helmets come in full, 3/4 and half helmet designs. The full helmet will be the most expensive and heaviest option, but it will offer the best protection from the weather, road debris and impact.

    Motorcycle Boots.

      Yes, you can wear any kind of over the ankle boot for protection when riding your Harley motorcycle. The American Iron Magazine Harley editors recommend wearing a high quality over-the-ankle boot that is comfortable to wear and has a strong rubber sole that will not slip on wet road surfaces.

      Motorcycle Jacket.

    Once again, you have many choices in a good motorcycle riding jacket. These include traditional leather or lighter, high-tech fabric. And colors are a personal choice. Whatever you chose make sure it is comfortable and covers you arms all the way past the wrists, and is long enough to protect your waist (front and back). The choice or protective body armor is up to you. In some motorcycle jackets this is available at the elbows, shoulders and spine.

    Motorcycle Gloves.

      You can use any kind of full finger gloves (we do not recommend fingerless riding gloves) when riding your Harley. Ideally, you need to make sure they are comfortable, especially when gripping the handlebars. They come in choice of leather or textile, and in short (to the wrist) or gauntlet in light, medium and heavy weights. Many experienced motorcycle riders carry more than one set of gloves on the road so they can swap them out based on thew temperature or weather conditions (wet or dry).

      Motorcycle Raingear.

Harley Launches Start Something Campaign with Marisa Miller

Harley-Davidson’s Start Something campaign featuring supermodel Marissa Miller, which is designed to encourage men to stop dreaming and start riding this summer, kicks into gear this week around the Maxim Hot 100 magazine issue, including an in-book ad, as well as exposure at the Maxim Hot 100 party in Los Angeles, on the Maxim Web site, social communities and their television program.

To help get men in gear, Harley-Davidson is also providing a few perks. Men can register for the chance to win one of hundreds of free Rider’s Edge New Rider Training Courses, as well as an exclusive package featuring the chance for one lucky winner and four friends to:

• Participate in the Rider’s Edge New Rider Training Course together
• Select the Harley-Davidson motorcycles of their choice
• Go on the road trip of a lifetime
• Meet supermodel Marisa Miller

The Start Something campaign extends the relationship Harley-Davidson has enjoyed with Marisa Miller, who first linked up with the Motor Company in 2008 to help launch the Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle motorcycle. Miller’s role in the Start Something campaign is to encourage…and challenge men to live out their dreams.

In addition to the new Start Something spread featuring Miller and her favorite ride in the Maxim Hot 100 issue, men can also visit h-d.com/start to download exclusive photos of Miller and her motorcycle, as well as view behind-the-scenes video from the ad shoot.