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So I've been reading about the first Harley Davidson Street Test Ride Event that was held last weekend in OC California. As opposed to the Indians who have only been treated to the Street 750, this event was the opposite and only gave people a chance to ride the Street 500.

One guy who went to the event liked the idea of the Street 500 but didn't really like the execution:

Unlike some who are already jumping up and down screaming about Harely selling out because they won't make ONLY the bike I want to ride, I think the plan of using an existing infrastructure and dealer network to reach a portion of the market currently going to oither manufactures is a GREAT idea.
I am NOT at all impressed with the execution. I mean the bike looked cool and even felt well balance when I sat on it, however from what I saw the bikes just looked cheaply made.
It wasn't all bad news though (though it was mostly bad news from this guy). He liked that the bike was lightweight and therefore easily maneuverable.

He then goes on to talk about some problems with the Street 500 in his opinion:

- Riding position is cramped
- Ignition switch is hidden under the handle bars
- awkward controls
- bars are narrow , but the mirror posts need to be longer to put the mirrors out further
- rear brake --> "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 peg and kind of far forward so there is no way you can press it until it engages without moving forward in the seat - your ankle don't bend that far."

So the first test ride review that we get isn't really the best news. Now this one guy could just be a big douche, or maybe he's right. Keep your ears and eyes open for second opinions. Given that the HD Street is aimed at entry level riders and people who want to spend less, I think there has to be some forgiveness for not having the most high quality engineering. There is a line between poor quality, and affordable quality. We will have to see which side of the line that the Street ends up falling on.

Here is a link to the guy's full review --> HARLEY-DAVIDSON STREET? 750 & 500 MOTORCYCLES - Lucky's blog - CycleFish

 

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Every person who has reviewed the bike has lambasted the brakes and rear view mirror to different degree so don't think they are being a douche.

And at the price point they are selling the bike ( don't know about your place but 4.5 -5 lakhs in india is by no stretch of imagination a budget/affordable motorcycle and is closer to a luxury purchase than a necessity ) , it is expected of them to deliver top quality in performance sectors like braking if not the entire package .
 

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Every person who has reviewed the bike has lambasted the brakes and rear view mirror to different degree so don't think they are being a douche.

And at the price point they are selling the bike ( don't know about your place but 4.5 -5 lakhs in india is by no stretch of imagination a budget/affordable motorcycle and is closer to a luxury purchase than a necessity ) , it is expected of them to deliver top quality in performance sectors like braking if not the entire package .
I totally agree with you ....

I have only one question for you ,did u test ride the bike yet ???
If not plz do a test ride n update us what u feel after the ride ,it will be interesting as you have done lot of home work regarding this bike ...

Well I guess in my case I don't have any option ,I will just by this bike can't stretch my budget nor I find any other bike interesting below this ,n am not a fan of sports bikes ...

Am in same dilemma as you are ,but am gonna bite the bullet n buy the bike ...
 

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- rear brake --> "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 peg and kind of far forward so there is no way you can press it until it engages without moving forward in the seat - your ankle don't bend that far."

This was the fault of the dealership - mechanics didn't do a good job of setting these bikes up. The rear brake lever is adjustable. Also, this guy didn't make it clear, but I believe the bike he rode was going to be used in the Rider's Training program. If so, then those bikes are specifically de-tuned for less power and are limited in 1st and 2nd gears.
 

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This guy is a Riders Edge training program instructor. His name is Doug and he is from Prairieville, LA. Here is what he has to say: a HD Shop I teach Riders Edge for has the Street 500 bikes in to replace the Buell Blasts that are getting very long in the tooth.

Have not had a chance to actually ride it yet but I sat on it and gained a feel for the setup.

First, it is physically as large as a Sportster and, in fact, I actually thought that there were two of the 500's side by side until I realized the tank design gave away the Sporty.

The stock seat is comfortable and not quite as tall as the standard sportster. Handlebar reach is comfortable and the pegs are set in a good mid-position.

Clutching was always problematic for new riders on the Blast due to the heavy clutch pull. Ladies will absolutely love the pull on the 500. Very easy and probably no more than 1/3 that of the Blast. No more hand fatigue after three exercises


Shifter position is nice too. The Blast had a strange setup that the spline shaft mounted a smooth round adapter that carried the actual shifter which was friction clamp held by a setscrew. It worked mostly, but got to be a PITA after it had some wear. It would become very difficult to tighten the clamp enough to prevent unwanted creep. This bike has a nice setup for adjustment and should be easy to set for different boot sizes. The same setup is on the rear brake lever.

With the engine running, finding neutral is very easy, and the shifting seems to be very smooth. Since the bike is using a wet clutch, it was hard to shift any until I started the bike.

The V-Twin engine sounds really nice too.

For the old-line HD folks, this bike and the 750 will have a radiator just like the V-Rod, so the old line "It Ain't a Harley" should be heard around dealerships again !

I will post something once I get a chance to ride the break-in periods.
 

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I totally agree with you ....

I have only one question for you ,did u test ride the bike yet ???
If not plz do a test ride n update us what u feel after the ride ,it will be interesting as you have done lot of home work regarding this bike ...

Well I guess in my case I don't have any option ,I will just by this bike can't stretch my budget nor I find any other bike interesting below this ,n am not a fan of sports bikes ...

Am in same dilemma as you are ,but am gonna bite the bullet n buy the bike ...
Is India not a popular cruiser market? Not too familiar with what goes on in india.

How new is HD to india?
 

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I totally agree with you ....

I have only one question for you ,did u test ride the bike yet ???
If not plz do a test ride n update us what u feel after the ride ,it will be interesting as you have done lot of home work regarding this bike ...

Well I guess in my case I don't have any option ,I will just by this bike can't stretch my budget nor I find any other bike interesting below this ,n am not a fan of sports bikes ...

Am in same dilemma as you are ,but am gonna bite the bullet n buy the bike ...
Not yet , the initial excitement has mellowed down so trying to get multiple work done once I make the 6 hr trip to delhi , infact I may even test ride it at kolkata as I'm scheduled to return there later this month(kolkata being my hometown ). I prefer to own the bike at kolkata because there the roads exist to ride a bike like this , riding in bareilly/UP is downright gambling your life or riding at 30kmph(even then you are not safe) .

We are both in same boat , only one option so like you it is either street or bust. My interest is still very high so i'm prepared to accept a certain degree of risk and a less than perfect product . I'm also against the riding ergonomics of sportsbike as well , pure headache riding them in traffic not to mention you need a high degree of upper body strength especially in your arms and shoulders. I don't think you have any major reason to worry , all things considered you are getting a good product , I'm already stretching my budget by some margin so extra cautious/critical .
 

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Is India not a popular cruiser market? Not too familiar with what goes on in india.

How new is HD to india?
here in india 2 kinds of motorcycle market exist -

1. bike as a necessity(like car is abroad ) - anything between 100-250cc single cylinder motorcyles for day to day use for everything from grocery shopping to occasional fun ride. Mass produced and cheap.

1. bike as a luxury product - as in for weekend rides , road trips or for satisfying the urge to own a luxury vehicle .

Certain motorcycles like KTM or royal enfield or cbr 250 can sell in both market.

Bikes from harley davidson or ducati or the 300-1000cc twin/quad from japanese makes are pure luxury vehicles. As such the market is very small if we are taking into account every bike from 100cc - 1400cc sold , otherwise it is growing . Cruiser is a purely luxury product , there are around 4-5k HD sold so far since they setup business in 2010 .
 

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It seems like the criticisms of the HD Street have been noticed by multiple different sources which makes me think they are real. Is this just something that we should be okay with because it is a cheaper HD, or does this mean that the HD Street is going to end up not being the success that we had hoped for?
 

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It seems like the criticisms of the HD Street have been noticed by multiple different sources which makes me think they are real. Is this just something that we should be okay with because it is a cheaper HD, or does this mean that the HD Street is going to end up not being the success that we had hoped for?


I am going to reserve judgement until I have a chance to look at one in person. I have watched some videos and read everything I can find from proplr that have ridden and seen these bikes. But I am coming from another perspective. I'm 60 and started riding at 8 years old off road, and on the street starting at 15. I love to ride. Big bikes, small bikes, scooters, you name it. I don't buy into the mindset that you must have an 800 pound machine. I just don't need that kind of power. I've recently owned 225cc and 250cc dual sports and had a great time riding them, both off road and on the street. Unless HD really blew it, a 500cc v-twin should have plenty of power for my riding. We have no freeways here. Main highways are 50-55 mph tops.

And, buying a first year model can be a bit of a risk. I would like to think that HD could pull off making a fine first year all new motorcycle. I've owned 2 Sportsters and liked them both very much. There must be something to the complaints about the rear brakes. HD surely is aware of this by now.

I am antsy to read a full blown road test by one of our US motorcycle magazines, or by a respected online US source (motorcycle.com?). Whats the holdup here?
 

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A few notes from my perspective:
-The rear brake complaint states that the foot lever is set up level with the peg and by the time you get braking you have to move in the seat to wrap your ankle down far enough. Sounds like a linkage adjustment might cure the problem (if it is adjustable). He didn't say that the rear brake is actually ineffective.
-Add a set long stem mirrors to fix the mirror issue... problem solved. My stock Sportster mirrors were useless too.
-Riding position is subjective. Mid controls feel cramped to me, I like forwards. Many people hate forwards and want mids. It is a matter of personal preference. I suspect there will be forward controls available for those of you who like them. It may take the aftermarket a bit to catch up, but they will eventually.
From what I have seen in the pictures of the Street with riders, is that their knees seem to be almost even with the top of tank. But consider that the tank is "laid down" relatively flat on the top, and gives the illusion of being a small bike. The wheel base is within a half inch of the Sportster, so it isn't any smaller (as confirmed in Sherri's post above).
-In my eyes, the switch location is no worse than my Sporty, which is on the right lower front below the gas tank. That comment is obviously from someone used to riding Jap bikes with the switch top-front and center. Minor detail in my opinion.
-Power of the 500. Well, it is a 500, not a 750, or 1200. What is he comparing it to?

I will have to see a Street (which won't be until June here, so I am told) before I judge the fit and finish of the bike. But there again, if you want top notch fit and finish, you always have the option of spending $20-25k USD to get it.
 

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The only dealer on the big island of Hawaii is in Kona, which is about 125 miles from my house via the southern most scenic route. And I am not holding high hopes of them allowing test rides. That would be too bad. The HD dealer I worked for for over 5 years before retiring was extremely accomodating about test rides. In recent years it's been my experience that many, maybe most motorcycle dealers are not doing test rides. But most HD dealers do test rides. That's saying a lot considering the high prices of many HD motorcycles.
 

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Hello guys,

The problem with the rear view mirrors could be solved in a very inexpensive way... just by inverting/flipping them over.

Just check out the link below to find detailed steps on to how to invert the mirrors on a HD bike.

How-to: Flipped Mirrors on a Harley-Davidson Sportster | xorl %eax, %eax

Do share your views on this:)

one of the article mentioned how flipping is not a favourable option with the street .

And flipped mirrors don't offer any better view , first of all those who do that do so for aesthetic reasons and not practical and with the street , the issue is the rider obstructs the rear view , don't see how flipping it will make it any better unless the person astride has a true hourglass figure :D
 

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one of the article mentioned how flipping is not a favourable option with the street .

And flipped mirrors don't offer any better view , first of all those who do that do so for aesthetic reasons and not practical and with the street , the issue is the rider obstructs the rear view , don't see how flipping it will make it any better unless the person astride has a true hourglass figure :D

It is actually the rider's shoulders and the arms that are stretched wide apart due to the wide handle bars that obstructs the rear view.

The flipped mirrors will not have this problem as each of them would be placed right below the handle bars and positioned wide apart and would give a better rear view.

Although i haven't tried them on personally... IMO not only do the flipped mirrors add aesthetic value to the bike :D but they also bring in a lot of value in terms of usefulness :cool: Else they wouldn't be used by so many riders

Any biker here using flipped mirrors?? Hope you'll be able to throw more light on this.
 

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Function > Form, it might look better but nothing like having mirrors positioned where they work best.
I agree. I recently addressed this very issue on my Sporty. I was looking at my shoulders with the original mirrors. Maybe 15% of the mirror was usable to see behind me.
I had posted a thread on the XLForum to get feedback from others with the same bike. The under bar mirror mod was mentioned, so I sat on my bike and visualized having to look under my already low handlebars at the mirrors. It is not ergonomic for sure, and just doesn't feel right. Maybe you get used to it, but I think people do it for the "cool factor". Personally I use my mirrors to ensure my safety, especially when slowing or stopping.
I spent $50 on a nice set of long stem mirrors which put the mirrors higher and outward. Now I can see behind me with 3/4s of the mirrors... huge difference. And they are still positioned in a natural place where I don't have to take my eyes off the road, or crane my neck down to look at them.

In this case I would take function over form every time.
 

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Bar end mirrors solve a lot of problems. Just saying ................
I had looked at that option too. While it may have been better than under bar mirrors, I thought the the bar end mirrors were rather small. I had regular stem mount mirrors that were very small on my old Sporty, and didn't like it. Of course that bike was a rigid mounted engine, so you couldn't hardly see out of the mirrors any way. And they would vibrate loose going down the road. Oh, the good ol' days... Lol.
 
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