January 25, 2005 Harley has reworked a new version of its V-ROD cruiser to make a significantly different motorcycle - the Street Rod. The Street Rod is restyled, but there's much more than just a facelift - it also has much more ground clearance during cornering, much better sports suspension including inverted forks, more horsepower and a new steering geometry designed for quicker turning and a more nimble ride. The riding position is now upright and ideal for around town, and the fuel capacity has been increased from 15 to 19 litres. The new model shows that Harley is listening - it addresses all of the criticisms made by the motorcycle press of the VRSCA and VRSCB models.
The V-ROD arrived three years ago as a breath of fresh air from Harley - a new liquid-cooled Porsche-designed motor with serious horsepower, and a visual presence unlike anything we'd seen before.
But those who'd hoped the new bike would offer a Harley with genuine street racer credentials were disappointed with the cruiser seating position, ground clearance , 40 degree rake and long wheelbase. For all its strengths, a street "scratcher" it was not.
The all-new 2006 VRSCR Street Rod is the newest member of the liquid-cooled Harley family addresses nearly all the concerns of the street race brigade - an upright riding position, 40-degree lean angle (up from 32-degrees) and a retuned suspension to deliver agile performance and a premium, hot rod roadster
Carrying on the VRSC family tradition, the Street Rod wields the power of the liquid-cooled, 1130cc Revolution V-Twin engine.
However, the fuel-injected, 60-degree V-Twin has been pumped up with a pair of chrome straight-shot dual exhaust pipes that help boost horsepower from 115 to 120 hp at 8,250 rpm while maintaining its 9,000-rpm redline. The VRSCR Street Rod is also AUD$1000 cheaper than the VRSCB and UAD$2500 cheaper than the VRSCA and will retail for AUD$27, 995 plus on road costs and will be available in dealers from March, 2005.
The Street Rod's distinct styling and upright riding position are the result of a new suspension combination, highlighted by massive 43mm inverted forks. Aero-cut polished, forged aluminium triple clamps are equally robust and deliver a steeper rake/fork angle (30/32 degrees) for more aggressive handling in the corners. The change in rake and fork angle shortens the bike's wheelbase by 0.7 inches to 66.8 inches (17.5mm reduction to 1697.0mm). When matched with performance suspension calibration on the rear shocks, the set up delivers a sporty, performance-oriented ride.
Complementing the suspension changes is a generous 40-degree lean angle and Brembo four-piston caliper brakes with 300mm dual front rotors. The Street Rod's handlebar and risers are shorter and less swept back. Combined with mid-mounted foot controls and a higher 75cm seat height, this places the rider forward and into a more naturally aggressive position for spirited cornering.
One of the other common roadtester criticisms of the original V-ROD was the fuel capacity, where the bike's fuel range had been sacrified in the interests of styling. The Street Rod's more aggressive styling has not been at the expense of range though, with the tank capacity increased from 15 to 18.9 litres.
Adding to the Street Rod's muscular looks are standard 10-spoke Staggered Cast Aluminium wheels (an option on other models prior to now), while radial, ZR-rated Dunlop tires deliver the performance message to the pavement with authority.
The VRSCR Street Rod is available in five colour options, including Vivid Black with a black frame, or Black Cherry, Rich Sunglo Blue, Mirage Orange and Yellow Pearl all with a silver-leaf frame. Highlighting each paint option is the silver and black engine with polished covers, plus selected, blacked-out components.
It's not hard to see the new Street Rod significantly outselling its liquid-cooled older brothers - it's more affordable, faster, and more capable of backing up its looks when the road goes swervy. Harley has a new mini-site devoted to the Street Rod at harley-davidson.com