2010 Harley Street Bob Comparison Review

Bryan Harley | May 19, 2010
Harley has kept the design of the 2010 Street Bob clean and simple with bobbed fenders showcasing the black  steel-laced spoke wheels and Michelin Scorcher tires.
Harley has kept the design of the 2010 Street Bob clean and simple with bobbed fenders showcasing the black, steel-laced spoke wheels and Michelin Scorcher tires.
Pop the clutch  Hutch! This is what happens when you ask a track guy who loves to ride moto as well to help out on a cruiser test.
See what happens when you ride the Street Bob. Next thing you know you’re popping wheelies and terrorizing the streets.

The 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob’s styling is injected with an attitude that makes you want to hang out with the Boozefighters and go raise some hell in Hollister. You don’t ride around on a bike with your arms hung high gripping factory ape-hangers and your body curled up on a Bobber solo seat, legs tucked in tight on the pegs of the mid-mounted foot controls without feeling like a rebel. And Hollister is a good reference point, because the stripped-down styling of the Street Bob is influenced by the bobber-riding crew that rumbled into the sleepy California town back in 1947. Harley has kept the design of the Street Bob clean and simple with bobbed fenders showcasing the black, laced-steel spoke wheels and Michelin Scorcher tires. H-D has kept the look of the rear uncluttered by omitting a pillion and installing a retro-style taillight. The bare-minimum of a round headlamp ties into the minimalist styling as well and even the bullet-shaped turn signals are unobtrusive, with the rear set tucked in tight to the back fender and the front pair slung under the curve of the ape-hangers.

And while Harley is known for slathering its motorcycles in copious amounts of chrome, the Street Bob comes from the other side of the tracks with a blacked-out treatment on its engine heads and primary cover teaming with the toned-down hues of its flat blue paint. The blacked-out treatment extends to its tank console, battery cover, and runs down its chain guard. But there are a few touches of chrome in an otherwise dark disposition. The big air cleaner is dressed up with a chrome cover, the 49mm fork with its polished aluminum triple clamp and stainless steel bars flash a little silver, and the staggered, straight-cut shorty exhausts shine up the bike’s right side.
The Street Bob’s engine is full of the V-Twin character that is the envy of other cruiser manufacturers. At the heart of the motorcycle is its air-cooled, Twin Cam 96, and even though it’s rubber-mounted the bike is full of vibes at idle that fortunately dissipate once the bike gets rolling. But sitting at a stoplight the motorcycle will figuratively rattle the fillings out of your teeth and are still present at low rpm but become barely noticeable in the mid- and upper-rpm range. A spin on our Dynojet 200i reinforced what we learned behind the throttle, that the Street Bob has a fairly smooth torque curve that comes on strong around 2000 rpm and peaks out in the mid-range with a top reading of

Dyno Chart for the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird and the 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob.
We threw the 2010 Street Bob and Triumph Thunderbird on our Dynojet 200i to get these rear wheel power numbers.

82.94 lb-ft at 3300 rpm. And even though the 1584cc engine’s numbers came up way short in comparison to the torquey Thunderbird, the Street Bob packs plenty of punch and has no difficulty launching the 658-lb fully fueled bike off the line. Because even though it’s down on power, the Street Bob is also almost 100-pounds lighter, so the differences in output between the pushrod-operated, overhead-valve equipped Street Bob and the dual overhead cam-driven Thunderbird isn’t as great as the numbers would have you believe.

Another equalizer is how quickly the 9-plate, wet clutch of the Street Bob engages. Barely unleash the clutch cable and the Street Bob’s gears grab-and-go as it catches much earlier in the release. This caught me by surprise on occasion during slow speed maneuvering when the bike lunged forward, but the majority of the time it is a boon. And while the clutch action is lively, the 6-speed Cruise Drive Transmission still engages with a familiar ‘click,’ but every year Harley seems to dial it in a little bit better as the 2010 version is a touch quieter and better-sorted than before. Even though you feel every shift, the tranny at least hit each gear without a miss and the new helical-cut fifth gear offers a broad range of power, from loping along in low revs at 55 to winding it out up to 90 mph. Frequently I believed I was in the top gear before realizing I had one more click to go.

With a 19-inch tall, 100mm-thin front tire raked out at a modest 29-degree angle and a fairly slim 160mm tire on the rear, coupled with a relatively low 26.7-in. seat height, the Street Bob is extremely agile for a cruiser. The main

Its the Revolutionary War Revisited in the battle between the British-made  liquid-cooled parallel twin and the air-cooled American-made V-Twin.
With almost identical displacements, 6-speed gearboxes, EFI, belt drives and twin exposed rear shocks, the Triumph Thunderbird and Harley Street Bob match up favorably.

limitation in the turns are the 31-degrees of lean angle allowed by the foot pegs. The action at the high bars is light and doesn’t inhibit steering. The Street Bob transitions well and definitely came through in our cruiser comparo as the nimbler of the motorcycles in the test with its combination of a tighter rake, lighter bike, and smaller tires. Its suspension is very compliant, squishy with a 215-lb passenger compressing the springs but not overly soft. The twin, exposed rear shocks that are the trademark of H-D’s Dyna family only blew through their 3.1-inches of travel on the biggest of unexpected potholes and provide a comfortable ride. The only uneasiness we experience is when the narrow wheels and chassis set-up gets a little shaky cresting 90 mph, but most people aren’t going to be bombing down the freeway at that speed on a cruiser anyway. That’s our job.

Scrubbing off that speed is the duty of single discs front and rear. The front disc is a tad less than 300mm in diameter with a 4-piston fixed caliper applying the stopping pressure. The front has decent feel and grips without overpowering the wheel, but the 2-piston floating rear caliper lacks both feel and power when it bites down on the disc. To boot, the brake pedal for the rear is close to the frame and at times we were only able to cover it with a corner of our foot.

The Street Bob’s combo of mid-controls and high bars curls up the rider in what we affectionately dubbed the ‘Crouching Tiger’ riding position. The seat is well-padded and has a good shape to it, but the riding position will wear on you over an extended period of time, especially in the hips. In keeping with its bobber theme, instrumentation on the Street Bob is minimal. The tank-mounted console features an analog speedo foremost and no tach. Its odometer is in the form of a small digital display, but you can at least toggle through the two tripmeters and a clock. Small lights embedded in the gauge inform riders of necessities like low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, and a helpful 6-

The 1584cc TWin Cam 96 engine is surprisingly peppy and has no difficulty setting the 658-lb  curb weight  cruiser in motion.
With a tighter rake and smaller tires on a lighter bike, the Street Bob was easily the more nimble of the two cruisers.

speed indicator light. But if the sun is behind you, it’s difficult to tell that the indicator is illuminated. Locating turn signals independently on each bar is refreshing, as is the fact that they’re self-cancelling.

With a 4.7 gallon tank and testing out at 38.33 mpg, the Street Bob has the potential to range about 170-180 miles in between trips to the gas station. Not bad for a bike that’s not set up to as a tourer. But sometimes it’s more about the ride than the destination. Motorcycle USA’s Editorial Director probably sums up the appeal of the Street Bob best.

“The highlight of the Street Bob is its old-school image. Not everyone wants to rack up hundreds of miles and if they were, this isn’t the bike to do it on. If you are looking for a sick-looking ride to start customizing and putting your unique taste into it, then this is a good way to start.”


Bryan Harley

Cruiser Editor |Articles | Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.

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