So we currently have one documented test ride of the Street 500 from a small California blog. First impressions were that the 500 looked and felt cheap, main complaints were with the bars
Now I know Harley wanted to keep them affordable but there is a difference between low cost and cheap. Just simple things like handle bars that look like they came of a bicycle to exposed connectors and wires make it look cheap!
What is refreshing is that this guy is smart enough to tell that benchmarking the Street 500/750 against your favorite Harley is an exercise in frivolity. He loved how nimble the 500 was, saying it was exactly as tossable as you would expect from a 500cc 500 lb bike...
Now again I am not comparing this to the existing Harley line because I know it is a completely different beast and wasn't meant to be like the current big Harleys. I will first give you the ONE thing I liked... the bike was light and nimble and you could throw it into corners like you would expect from a 500cc 400 pound bike. However, at least in my opinion, the bike is full of design/engineering flaws. It's like they didn't even test ride the prototypes before they went to production with what looked good on paper.
Uh oh, what are these niggles the man speaks of?
First thing you will notice right off is the riding position is VERY cramped - and I am an average 5'7" guy. Then there is the ignition switch that is hidden under the certer of the handelbars. You can even really see it while sitting on the bike so you have to insert the key by feel and then if you have anyt other keys on the key chain, they will dag and vibrate on the front part of the tank. Then there is the hanlebars and controls... very awkward! The way the brake and clutch are set up you have to kind of reach over the grips and down to get them. You would think you could just loosen the mount and turn them , but because of the mirror mounts, you can't.
That should be easy enough to verify. Can any of our Indian testers confirm similar niggles with the 750s?
Speaking of the mirrors, you can't see anything but your shoulders. The bars are narrow like on a lot of smaller bikes, but the mirror posts need to be longer to put the mirrors out further. The worst design flaw I found was the rear brake. I thought it was just me but when we got back from the ride all 8 people got off the bikes and the first thing everyone said was "what's up with that useless rear brake. It is set up level with the foot pag and kind of far forward so there is no way you can prees it until it engages without moving forward in the seat - your ankle don't bend that far.
Some of these complaints are of course purely subjective, others are valid, but I would say that most can be remedied through adjustments or aftermarket parts.
And finally the power... there is none what so ever. I know it is only 500cc, but even mid range in second thru forth gear there is no get up.
This is the only real part that scares me, WTF are people going to do with no midrange? Especially a bike billed for urban warriors, good one harley, sell us a bike for the city and then gear it with no usable in town power....
and God do the red tins ever make the Street 500/750 look low budget...