It's no secret that of all the bikes Harley-Davidson has released in the last half decade, the Street Rod 750 has been met with the least favour from both the motoring media and riders alike.
I‘ll admit, I rather enjoyed the Street Rod despite its flaws, but that wasn’t enough to make Harley’s first introduction of the 750cc Street chassis into NZ a hit.
While the chassis was well sprung with decent suspension and the 750 Revolution X engine of the bike was quite a nice unit - producing a decent grunt and possessing far more character than the 500cc unit found in the Street 500 - the sporting credentials of the Street Rod are let down by some of the worst ergonomics to feature on a bike in living memory due to the combination of wide bars, wide pegs and a fat tank.
In a nutshell, the issue with Street Rod came down to the placement of the footpegs in relation to the seat and bars, which pushed the riders knees outward and felt quite unnatural.
Due to those rider ergos most prospective buyers gave the 750 Street Rod a miss in favour of its competitors such as Triumph‘s Street Cup.
So how could Harley have fixed the Street Rod 750 and saved the model from becoming just a mere memory for us in Australasia? We reckon there were three changes they could have made that would vastly improve the bike.
1| Swap out the Street tank
One of the ways Harley-Davidson kept the family resemblance with the lesser Street models going with Street Rod was by utilising the same fuel tank. While from certain angles it looks good, the low and wide tank is rather unsightly in such an aggressive machine from other angles. Plus while it offers plenty of realestate for clamping onto with your knees, it’s width does force your legs into a rather uncomfortable position.
The fix: Either reshape the Street tank to be narrower closer to the saddle or ditch it entirely for a whole new unit.
2| Re-route the exhaust
Re-routing the exhaust would enable Harley to fix the final issue, as part of the problem with the ergonomics of the bike came down to the exhaust, and in particular the fat catalytic converter which meant Harley had to put a footrest in the exhaust itself to prevent riders melting their boots.
The fix: go underslung. An underslung exhaust would not only look cool and get the catalytic converter away from the rider‘s boot, it would also improve the bikes centre of gravity further enhancing its sporting cred.
3. Adjust the foot peg position
Once the exhaust has been dealt with, Harley could see to the last piece of the ergonomics puzzle and adjust the position of the pegs. While the mid-mounted position is spot on for a sporty bike, the width of the pegs is awkward. Moving them inboard an inch or so would go a long way to fixing the problems in the Street Rod.
Sadly, it looks like Harley haven’t troubled themselves with fixing the Street Rod yet and in fact have dropped it from the NZ lineup - most likely due to poor sales.
A spokesperson for Harley-Davidson Australia & New Zealand has this to say on the Street Rod.
“Harley-Davidson continually focuses on maintaining a healthy balance in our model line-up to ensure that we reflect marketplace dynamics and minimize model complexity in dealer showrooms.
In light of this information, the Model Year 2020 range for Australia and New Zealand will not include the Street Rod XG750A but will continue to be sold in other selected markets.”
There is still hope, however.
With Harley-Davidson promising 100 new bikes by 2027 a new Street Rod could be among them. We have high hopes, as many if the bikes Harley has launched since have been all-new versions of established models a new, and less flawed Street Rod could be on the way.
For now, the customisation scene is the only place where the Street Rod’s problems may be addressed