It’s no wonder Harley chose Austin to debut its new Street 750. The X Games were in town featuring some of the most talented two-wheel riders around, high-flying “Freestyle” athletes catching big air with wicked whips. The young fans of extreme sports are potential customers, and the hip and edgy crowd that inhabit the trendy town possess the character Harley hopes to embody in its latest offering. Austin also exhibits the type of environment Harley says the 2015 Street 750 is built for, from bustling city streets and congested commutes to rural rolling roads like the twisted Three Sisters.
Motorcycle-USA had a stroke of good fortune in the opportunity to ride a pre-production Street 750 back in March, our seasoned tester Justin Dawes finding acceleration “better than expected” and saying handling is “absolutely the highlight of the Street.” And while Dawes rode pre-production, the models we sampled in Texas are the first units to roll off Harley’s Kansas City manufacturing line. So later we’re going to cross-reference Dawes’ experience with our own riding impressions. Since we have already reviewed Harley’s liquid-cooled 750, we opened a forum for readers to ask questions about The Motor Company’s latest cruiser, which we’ll address first.
The first question that came in was from reader GC who wrote “One thing I’ve always thought would be helpful is to publish the height, weight and inseam of the reviewer (and the rider in the pictures if different). For me, the key question for Street 750 vs Star Bolt is going to be riding position / comfort, since the performance specs seem almost identical.”
OK GC. I’m a hair over six-feet-tall, weigh 225 pounds and have a 34-inch inseam. At my height, I sit fairly high in the saddle. My knees are bent above the tank, the tank sporting a wide, low profile, and the bars are up and easy to reach but
On the freeway, the small café-style windscreen of the Street 750 provides a little buffer from the wind, but at six-feet-tall I sit fairly high in the saddle and was subjected to a degree of head-buffeting at higher speeds.
The 2015 Street 750 is quick between lights, agile enough to skirt traffic and hug turns thanks to light steering.
the rider’s triangle is a little cramped for me. At a laden 25.7-inches, the low seat height of the Street 750 makes it easy to get two feet firmly on the ground. The seat’s padding is firm but comfortable and is designed so it rolls back to the pillion seat without creating a lip. The Star Bolt’s rider’s triangle is definitely more open, but it’s also a bigger bike overall.
Sherri didn’t hesitate to hit us with the million dollar question about the country of origin for certain parts. Sherri would “like to know the specific brand of shocks and brakes. Would also like your impression of the general fit and finish.”
We inspected the brakes up close, but they’re plain black housings so we couldn’t tell much. When asked about what calipers were on the Street 750, the Harley rep said they tested out several options and went with the best one for the application. In polite terms, no comment. After being shot down once, we didn’t bother to ask about the shocks because we know the answer would have been the same. Harley has a reputation for being tight-lipped about such matters, so this is no surprise, but what they do isn’t any different from just about all the major players out there. Though we feel there’s a degree of respect that could be gained through transparency, manufacturer’s feel the need to protect brand identity by keeping the list of outsourced parts a company secret.
But we can comment on the 2015 Street 750’s level of fit-and-finish. It’s small café-style windscreen and fork gaiters combine for a sporty front end. The blacked-out treatment of the engine, pipes, and air intake add a little attitude as well while its gas tank has been slammed as much as possible while still giving cylinder head clearance. The machining on the rims of the black, seven-spoke cast wheels is a nice touch, too.
Admittedly, Harley’s high standards of fit-and-finish have left us jaded though. We’ve come to expect that out of everything coming out of Milwaukee, but when you’re working under budget constraints, concessions have to be made to reach a $7499 selling point. On the list of deviations from the norm is housing both turn signals on the left handlebar as the units aren’t self-cancelling so often riders still had their blinkers on after executing turns. The bars are a bit busy with all wiring and cables run externally, an electrical junction on the left switch gear housing sits out in the open and the elbow connector coming off the front brake master cylinder is budget-looking. The rear fender of the Street 750 is steel but the plastic piece hanging below it used to house the taillight, turn signals and license plate is not up to usual Harley standards.
Another reader named RD asked about the pillion accommodations to which we can only say small and tight. The pillion pad is slight and tapers while the passenger pegs are close, so it’s going to be an intimate outing for a passenger as they snug up to the rider. Fine for running around town, but we don’t see too many people riding across country to Sturgis like that. That’s not what the Street 750 is made for. But Harley does offer a detachable two-up luggage rack, sissy bar, backrest and saddlebags, so it can be easily converted to be more two-up friendly.
Lastly, Chris Cope reached out on Google Plus. Cope, from Penarth, Wales, does a little bike-testing himself, and asked if they improved the brakes, saying “That was the big problem in early reviews.” To which we replied “The brakes are still soft, the front is spongy and neither the back nor front are very powerful. Otherwise, very rider-friendly. Responsive throttle, light clutch action, smooth-shifting, light handling and surprisingly comfy suspension.”
This wraps up our reader’s questions, so we read Dawes’ first ride report and commend him for a review that hit just about all the marks. The first thing we both agree on is the Street 750’s handling.
Dawes wrote, “Turn-in effort is very light, and changing direction happens in a snap. I was expecting the steering to be slightly sluggish with a skinny 110/80R17 front tire and flat profiled 140/75R15 rear, but it turns wonderfully. The handling is absolutely the highlight of the Street. Corning clearance is excellent thanks to the tall footpegs.”
We couldn’t agree more. Harley touts the Street 750 as an urban cruiser, and in the fast-paced streets of downtown Austin, it shines. It’s quick between lights, agile enough to skirt traffic, and turns in with little effort. Transitions are quick and smooth. The mid-mount controls are high enough to allow for plenty of lean. The only drawback of its clearance is that it scrapes the bottom of the lower pipe before the foot pegs. Overall the bike is compact and light, its seat low, and surprisingly comfortable suspension for someone my size.
As far as the liquid-cooled, 749cc Revolution X engine is concerned, Dawes said “Grabbing a handful of the right grip brings forth a torquey bottom-end that continues into the mid-range. On top, the power does flatten out just before the rev-limiter kicks in. On the dyno, he said “The Street 750 produced a respectable 52.89 horsepower at 7900 rpm and 39.36 lb-ft of torque at 6400 rpm, however, the torque curve was nearly flat all the way through the rev range.”
It is a spunky engine that provides enough power to play without being overwhelming. Crisp throttle response and precise fueling through its 38mm Mikuni throttle body
The Revolution X V-Twin of the Street 750 has a chain-driven SOHC, is hard-mounted and counterbalanced, and its engine and transmission are one unit.
The 4.3-gallon ‘teardrop’ gas tank of the 2015 Harley Street 750 is low and wide.
provides punchy launches off the line in stoplight dashes. The Revolution X V-Twin is hard-mounted, counterbalanced and operates with little vibration. It has a chain-driven, single-overhead cam and its heads have been sliced at an angle to ease servicing. After revving the engine hard on a temperate day during stop-and-go maneuvers, the rear cylinder head gives off a little heat in the gap between the seat and tank. It’s six-speed transmission and engine are one unit, helping keep the bike’s center of gravity down and allowing the powertrain package to be wedged in tight and neat.
Both Dawes and I were pleasantly surprised with its gearbox. He wrote “Shifts are quiet and smooth as you row through the Street’s six-speed transmission, and the gear ratios are perfectly spaced.” Clutch pull is light and it does smooth into gear with no fuss and little noise, a big departure from the engagement of a Big Twin.
Another area in which the 2015 Street 750 surprised us in the suspension department. With a big body like ours aboard, we figured we’d be taxing the shocks to the limit at every opportunity. The reality was quite the contrary as the motorcycle’s suspension keeps it composed and the ride comfortable. The dual coil-over rear shocks are pre-load adjustable while the 37mm fork has a healthy 5.5-inches of travel. It’s sprung well, its spring rates taut and rebound smooth, not bouncy.
As far as the riding position is concerned, both Dawes and I are about the same weight, and I think I’ve got him by a hair or two as far as height goes. He said Street 750 ergos for him “brings your knees above the top of the flat, low tank giving a feeling that you are atop the Street rather than in it. The reach to the bars is easy and comfortable but also close. Simply stated, the Street 750 looks big but rides small.” This ties in with my comment that riding quarters are tight for riders our size and I sit high in the saddle. On the freeway, the small café-style windscreen provides a little buffer from the wind, but we experienced a degree of head-buffeting at higher speeds.
Which brings us to its brakes. Dawes felt that “Braking performance is the low-point of the Street 750.” I got that sentiment too, as shared with reader Cope. At 11.5-inches on the front and 10.25-inches rear, the discs are fairly small, the front brake is spongy and power is slow coming. The rear caliper bites a little deeper, faster, but even its power isn’t overwhelming. Stomping on the rear alone at speed, its two-piston floating calipers dug in and the wheel locked, but the bike wasn’t coming to a halt very quickly despite the long black streak of rubber it left behind.
One final observation is aimed at its exhaust. The black 2-into-1 pipes emit a more subdued rumble than the signature note, revvy and refined but not rumbly. This will keep emission emissaries like CARB and the EPA happy, but it isn’t the same deep-seated drumming Harleys are known for.
As mentioned in our introduction, Harley had a huge presence at this year’s X Games in conjunction with the release of its Street 750, setting up just inside the Grand Plaza Entrance. Harley was attempting to convince ESPN to add flat track racing as an official medal event and were showcasing a Street 750 converted to a flat tracker to show the bike’s potential. Defending flat track champion Brad Baker helped the promotional juggernaut, while Harley brought out some great Street 750s customized by its in-house styling department.
Those bikes showcased the bike’s potential, bobber to café racer. Common themes were new intakes and exhausts, solo seats, piggyback rear shocks, and updated brakes. One went as far as throwing on a dual set of wave rotors on the front. Be it clip-ons or high-bars with internal throttles, the Street 750s $7499 MSRP means owners could have a little left over in their pockets to get crackin’ on some customization. Harley already has over 100 aftermarket parts and accessories for the Street models, and it shouldn’t take long for outside sources to follow suit.
We might not be ready to drop off the vert ramp on the Street 750, but we’d gladly flog it around town. It’s a light bike that’s lithe in traffic, with easy-to-manage controls and suitable power. We’ve seen its customizing potential thanks to Harley’s in-house styling team, seen fans hooning over the flat tracker at the X Games, and its price point leaves plenty of possibilities in a bike with profuse potential.