HD Street 750 - A runt with grunt (long read) - Harley Davidson Street Forum - Street 500 and 750
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 04:46 AM Thread Starter
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HD Street 750 - A runt with grunt (long read)

Much has been said about what an authentic Harley should and shouldn't be.

So I won't really add fuel to that fire.

Like any other product, the Street 750 is a motorcycle first, and a brand next.

While most of us buy into brand names, what we finally use every day is a product.

And I feel that that's the way this motorcycle should be evaluated.

I decided to book this bike without having ridden it, heard it, or seen it - even though I was at the Auto Expo in Noida for three days.

I decided purely on the merits of the spec sheet, and what I've picked up over 25 years of owning, riding and maintaining motorcycles.

While I used to be a Harley fan back in the day when few people in this country even knew what one was, I quickly lost interest when HD actually reached our shores.

Stories about overheating, impractical ground clearance in the city, high cost of running and maintenance, and all this with outdated (albeit reliable) technology, made the high sticker price completely unjustifiable to someone who works for a monthly salary.

And then this runt comes along.

Liquid cooled 750cc V-twin, made-in-India consumable parts (read: replaceable for money instead of an arm and a leg), good ground clearance, reasonable kerb weight, NOT made in Korea or China, sensible price point, and enough torque to make for an entertaining ride, every time.

The only thing I was concerned about was whether the bike would fit me.

And I've decided now that though the bike LOOKS small under me (6ft 2in, 90kgs), it doesn't FEEL small, and that's all that matters.

I took the bike out for a 15 minute ride - a whole month after I'd booked it - and I wasn't disappointed.

This is one motorcycle that feels as good as it looks on paper.

I found that the bike blends into the situation in which its being ridden. In traffic, its happy to change direction like a housefly, and if a section of road were to open up, it picks up its skirts and charges for the next traffic snarl with a muffled snort, like a little girl-rhinoceros.

Its an instantly endearing motorcycle, doesn't attract hateful stares from people on lesser machines at traffic lights, doesn't intimidate you with its own bling, power and noise, and yet assures you in a very personal way that it is by no means a 'commuter' or a compromise.

I turn 40 this year, and being of a fairly self-assured disposition (not in need of any props), I find this combination of virtues delightful.

There are a few things I thought could be better - and a lot of reviewers have covered these points already - but I'll list them out anyway.

1) The rearview mirrors. They're befuddling. What exactly do they do? Because they sure-as-**** don't allow you to keep an eye on anything more than your own shoulders. Shoulder-view mirrors then?

2) The brakes. They work, though not as dramatically as they would on lets say a KTM 390, but they do their work in a different country where you can't hear, feel or get any feedback from them. Brake Process Outsourcing?

3) The front wheel. I really think HD should have gone with an 18-incher. That front wheel is JUST too small for a bike of this length, and this is NOT an advantage on bad roads. Personally, I'm already exploring options for an 18 inch wheel from HD (maybe from the Iron 883) which I can swap for the stock one.

4) The pillion eighth. Thats pretty much what the pillion seat is. So if your 'better half' is actually nothing more than your 'better eighth', perfect. Otherwise, no.

5) Neutral. In fifteen minutes I had to come to a stop five times on account of traffic, and not once could I find neutral without considerable trouble.

6) Tyres. I've grown up on MRF, and I'm fiercely proud of what they do. But that tread pattern just looks so wrong on this bike. Especially when there are pictures of these motorcycles wearing Michelins winking at you from the internet. Purely from an aesthetic perspective, HD could have got MRF to do better.

On the other hand, there are some things I rather like about the bike, which some people seem to hate.

I like that one can see all the wires. Thats strangely reassuring when you've ridden Enfields all your life.

I like that the bike doesn't have much (any?) chrome. Chrome is hard to maintain when one lives near the sea.

I like that its not loud.

And most of all, I like that it's already giving me ideas on how I can make it more suited to me. And I DON'T mean the HD accessories catalogue.

This is a bike I will use regularly, on rotation with my RE 500 and RD 350. It is a bike that will do 94kms a day on weekdays, and 750kms on weekends.

It will stand outside my house, ready to be ridden, not in the garage under a cover and four coats of polish.

Yes, it wears a Harley badge.

And no, it will NOT be the ticket to a warm welcome into the Harley Owners Group. (I've already got hate mails from my friends who ride 'real' Harleys)

Because this is a bike you buy for very personal reasons, not 'community' reasons.

The Street 750 is sensible, practical, personal choice.

And for having finally made something worthy of those words, something thats stands on its own merits without the crutch of the HD name, congratulations, Harley Davidson!

SwamiAshwinananda
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 08:18 AM
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@Swamiashwinananda ,interesting take on the bike

U brought up an issue which was in mind since a long time

Quote:
The front wheel. I really think HD should have gone with an 18-incher. That front wheel is JUST too small for a bike of this length, and this is NOT an advantage on bad roads. Personally, I'm already exploring options for an 18 inch wheel from HD (maybe from the Iron 883) which I can swap for the stock one.
My query is
1 . Say if we change the front tyre from 17" to 18" or even bigger like in iron say 19" ones how does it affect handling and balance of the bike ,since the forks are designed for 17" wheels ,can anyone throw some light on this ???

2 . Itseems MRF has designed a 170/ 15" rear tyre what do u guys think about it ???

3 . Say if we can swap the front wheel with 19" one ,can we do the same with rear tyre to balance it by adding 16" one or 17" lol...

I have no idea how much work it requires and what all things to be done before we can change the stock tyres ,if someone can explain me about it will be great help coz am seriously considering to change them first thing ,first in my to do list if it's practical...

Thank you
Santosh
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 08:45 AM
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While I agree the front wheel looks really small , going for a larger radius will inversely affect handling . Maybe nothing significant but noticeable nonetheless.

An example - triumph bonnie base model has 17" alloy rims. Triumph bonnie T100 has 19" spoke rims , the 17" version is universally heralded as the best while the T100 is catered towards those who are more foccussed on aesthetics and proportions.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by basuroy View Post
While I agree the front wheel looks really small , going for a larger radius will inversely affect handling . Maybe nothing significant but noticeable nonetheless.

An example - triumph bonnie base model has 17" alloy rims. Triumph bonnie T100 has 19" spoke rims , the 17" version is universally heralded as the best while the T100 is catered towards those who are more foccussed on aesthetics and proportions.
Since I'm not as technical as I'd like to be, I'm intrigued by your remarks and would like to know why exactly you think a) 'larger radius will INVERSELY affect handling' b) why you think the 19"-shod Triumph Bonneville TT100 is 'catered towards those who are more foccussed on aesthetics and proportions (sic)'

Im my limited experience, larger wheels absorb road irregularities much better than smaller ones. Of course, changing the size of your wheels is going to have an impact on many things including your ground clearance and how easily you can lean and turn, which is why i said I'm CONSIDERING that option, and will implement it only if i find that the tradeoff between impact absorption and handling/performance is worthwhile. But the bottom-line for me is that this is NOT a sports bike, and I don't intend to ride it like one - so small precision losses are tolerable.

Changing the back wheel will have an even more profound impact on performance, top speed and probably a whole bunch of other things, which is why I'm not even considering that possibility.

Would love to hear from Desert Tortoise, who seems to be by far and away the most technically qualified person on this forum, what he thinks a one-inch increase in front wheel diameter will do for this motorcycle, apart from the obvious aesthetic improvement.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 11:38 AM
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wow i love the depth of these reviews

thanks for sharing

and all the "dislikes" with the street you mentioned are all things that can be fixed down the road

no bike is perfect anyways - especially not for this price
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 04:35 PM
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Thanks for the writeup. I'm a 60 year old that started riding over 52 years ago. I am interested in both the 500 and 750 Streets. I rode an Enfield (2007) for a few years too. I've owned about 25 motorcycles over the years, and some didn't like to go into neutral when stopped. Years ago I got into the habit of shifting into neutral just before the motorcycle stops rolling, and it always works. Since I live on the big island of Hawaii, the 500 would probably do me well. We have nothing like typical US freeways here. Our main highways are 50-55 mph, and the 500 should handle that without breaking into a sweat.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 05:20 PM
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Increasing front wheel diameter will increas trail, which increases the bike's resistance to turning. Also, a larger diameter front wheel in raise the nose of the bike slightly, increasing both rake and trail, further increasing the bike's resistance to turning, unless you slide the fork tubes up in the triple clamps an amount equalt to one half the increase in front wheel diameter.


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post #8 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 05:55 PM
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Larger diameter wheels roll over bumps more easily than smaller diameter ones, which is why you see 21 inch front wheels on any serious off road motorcycle. They will ride better on a street bike too. But, consider that a turning wheel is a gyroscope. The larger the wheel, all else such as mass being equal, the greater the gyroscopic effect, meaning the greater the stability imparted on the bike (you can offset this with lighter wheels, part of the reason people will fork over thousands of bucks for carbon fiber wheels). But more stability means the bike is harder to turn. As with anything in engineering there is a balance, or compromise depending on your disposition, between stability and quick turning. The acceptable range is not one point, but a range of values between dangerously unstable and a bike that won't change direction without a herculean heave on the bars (ride an old Laverda triple for a taste of what too stable feels like)

Also, if you look at my diagram, notice the dimension called "offset". You can see that it is the horizontal distance between parallel lines through the center of the steering axis and the center of the fork tubes. In general, reducing offset increases trail. You can build a quick turning bike that is still stable at all speeds and loads (anything that compresses the fork like braking or cornering loads or the weight of a passenger of touring gear decreases trail and trail making the bike potentially unstable if too much trail is lost, trail also decreases as you lean the bike in a corner) by using less offset at the triple clamps. I did this with an old K100RS. They were built with too little trail and with the right, or was it wrong, combination of speed, weight, cornering loads and lean angle the bike could lose enough trail to go into the death weave of a lifetime. Very scary. A friend who worked in Research at BMW building and testing the prototypes of the original R80G/S, K100 and K75 knew the effect well and has a cure. He installed triple clamps from another BMW that use less offset than the stock parts do. The machining involved was not trivial and the job cost as much as a premium shock. While we were at it, we raised the rear of the bike with a longer than stock shock, lowered the nose by sliding the fork tubes up in the triple clamps 25 mm, both of which would make a stock K100 dangerously unstable, but with 15 mm less offset the bike is absolutely stable at all speeds regardless of load, cornering angle, even with a blown out rear shock, nothing feeds back into the steering. It does turn in a touch slower now, not much however because by raising the rear and lowering the nose we reduced rake and that reduced offset also reduced wheelbase (look at the diagram to see why). Very confidence inspiring now that the infamous K-bike weave is forever gone.

The moral of the story is that a 17 inch front wheel does not necessarily imply an unstable bike. It will be interesting to see what the trail figure is for the Street. I will bet it is in the 106-110 mm range, which is more than enough trail.

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post #9 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Santosh kumar View Post
@Swamiashwinananda ,interesting take on the bike

U brought up an issue which was in mind since a long time



My query is
1 . Say if we change the front tyre from 17" to 18" or even bigger like in iron say 19" ones how does it affect handling and balance of the bike ,since the forks are designed for 17" wheels ,can anyone throw some light on this ???

2 . Itseems MRF has designed a 170/ 15" rear tyre what do u guys think about it ???

3 . Say if we can swap the front wheel with 19" one ,can we do the same with rear tyre to balance it by adding 16" one or 17" lol...

I have no idea how much work it requires and what all things to be done before we can change the stock tyres ,if someone can explain me about it will be great help coz am seriously considering to change them first thing ,first in my to do list if it's practical...

Thank you
Santosh
Another avenue to explore is dropping to say a 16" and increasing the sidewall aspect on the front tire would keep you with the same total front wheel diameter however it will cusion those bad road jolts and the like...
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-04-2014, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Livin On View Post
Another avenue to explore is dropping to say a 16" and increasing the sidewall aspect on the front tire would keep you with the same total front wheel diameter however it will cusion those bad road jolts and the like...
Technically true, but I have no idea why you would do this. A tire with a tall soft sidewall will make for a sloppy, wobbly, miserable steering bike, which is why the trend is towards shorter sidewalls and radial construction. Let the suspension soak up the bumps, not the tires. Your idea presupposes the suspension is inadequate, which every road test suggests in emphatically not the case. Even modern touring bikes are using 17 inch front wheels.

I am more concerned about the tall sidewall of that 15 incher on the rear. The rear is begging for a 17 inch wheel and low profile tire IMHO.

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