Not Your Daddy's Harley

by Michael Satterfield

The world of motorcycles is a polarizing one and nothing is more polarizing than when a historic brand like Harley Davidson decided to introduce a bike that breaks with tradition. When most people think of Harley Davidson they think of names like Dyna Wide Glide, Road King, or the Fat Boy. They have big engines, larger frames, and generally, are fitted with saddlebags, all of this adding more weight and adding more to the price.

Now those bikes are legendary in their own way, but not all riders want a 1,700cc, 800lb bike that is known more for its highway cruising than canyon carving. Some riders want a bike that can go from a fun day in the canyons to the daily commute without skipping a beat, a bike that can run around town and hit the open road for a long trip. Those are the riders who should be looking at the Street Rod 750.

Growing up with both my father and grandfather riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles, I have had experience with the Springer Softail,  Fat Boy, and other models. But like many younger riders, I have never been drawn to the larger cruiser type motorcycles and the landscape of the motorcycle industry is changing. Harley has needed to expand and update its offerings to appeal to a larger audience for a long time and we should expect to see this category of entry-level bikes continue to grow.


When I first saw the Street Rod 750, all blacked out, I immediately thought of the 1977-79 Harley-Davidson XLCR 1000 Cafe Racer. A bike that was based on the Sportster but with a more of a European Cafe Racer style, the Street Rod 750 looks and feels like a modern incarnation of the XLCR and its mission is the same to shift the public perception of what a Harley-Davidson can be, I hope it will be more popular than the XLCR.

The styling of the Street Rod 750 is spot on, aggressive and sporty, but with enough classic Harley-Davidson cues to make it still a real Harley. The only aspects of the styling I didn't care for were the fuel cap and exhaust pipes, but those could be changed with aftermarket parts if the owner wanted to. It’s available in Vivid Black, Red Iron Denim, Electric Blue, Bonneville Salt Denim, and Olive Gold.


My first impression when sitting on the Street Rod 750 was that it was much wider then I thought it would be, it has a wide tank and a wide stance. But once you settle in and start to ride you don't notice the width. Overall I found the seating position to be comfortable even on longer rides. The controls are laid out well and the speedometer is easy to read at a glance. It is easy to ride at both lower and higher speeds, I found it to be well balanced and light to steer at low speeds or in traffic. The fit and finish on the bike is also impressive and is in many cases better than some of its overseas rivals in this category, Harley seems to understand that they need to provide a lot of value to win over buyers in this category.


The Street Rod is the ultimate version of the new 'Street' line up and therefore it gets a number of upgrades. The Street Rod produces 18-percent more horsepower (70 horsepower) and 8-percent more torque (47.2 ft/lbs of torque) than the standard Revolution X 750 engine.

The fork rake angle was changed from 32 to 27 degrees giving it quicker steering, the Street Rod 7050 also has a completely retuned suspension, longer swingarm, and the lean angle is more aggressive making canyon runs a blast. Out front, the 300mm-diameter dual front disc brakes and a single 300mm-diameter rear disc with optional ABS make sure the Street Rod 750 has braking to keep up with the extra horsepower.

All of these improvements only bump the price of the Street Rod 750 around $1,200 more than a standard Street 750. Making the Street Rod a good value coming in with a starting MSRP of $8,699. 

Price Breakdown:

  • Black Paint Base Price: $8,699
  • Color Paint $295
  • Optional Security System $395
  • Optional ABS Braking $750
  • Feight $330
  • California Emissions $50

Price as Tested:  $10,224

For more on the Street Rod 750 visit the official Harley-Davidson Website Here.