Recently, Harley-Davidson announced the launch of their first all-new motorcycle platform in 13 years, in the form of a pair of these stylish cruisers, at EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori), Milan in November 2013. And what makes these twin motorcycles more special is the fact that they will be assembled at the plant in Bawal, Haryana, India and Kansas City, Missouri, USA. This implies that India is one of the only two producer markets for these mean machines.
Both these cruisers will be launched by the mid of 2014, as the final announcement of their date and timelines are expected to be revealed during the Delhi Auto Expo in February next year. Indians have got a reason to rejoice, as these cruisers will be the cheapest Harley bikes since the inception of Harley-Davidson.
The Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 motorcycles are built for urban environments with all-new liquid-cooled Revolution X powertrains, nimble agility and the sound and looks that let everyone know they are genuine Harley-Davidson machines. Both look like mirrored brothers of each other, and the design explains this to a large extent.
Both the cruisers have a blacked-out theme and are decorated with a lot of striking features such as a round bikini fairing and typical cruiser front end, a masculine and flat matt metal tank, metal fenders, lots of chrome accents here and there, a small round headlamp in a beautiful casing, all-black 2-in-1 exhaust, comfy saddles for pillion and rider, black pullback handlebars, comfortable typical cruiser seating posture for rider with a large wheelbase of 1511mm, steel frame, neat and distinctive finishing of rear side with LED tail lights and mini bullet turn signals, mid-mount controls, easy lock-to-lock sweep, 17-inch front and 15-inch rear Michelin tires with alloy rims and feet-set-forward rider footrests. They also have a nicely illuminated instrument console with a round speedometer and digital display for other details. Also, Harley-Davidson claims to provide an extra ground clearance and suspension travel of 50mm each for both the bikes at the front chassis when compared to Iron 883.
What sets them apart are their engines. The Street 500 will have a 494cc, 4-valves per head, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, rear-wheel drive via toothed belt drive, 60-degree V-twin, Revolution X engine with brilliant power and torque values, whereas the Street 750 will have a 749cc, 4-valves per head, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, rear-wheel drive via toothed-belt, 60-degrees V-twin, Revolution X engine with more immaculate power, torque and acceleration figures as compared to its 500cc siblings. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed gearbox, with one-down and five-up shift pattern. Harley-Davidson is tight-lipped on the performance figures, but going with the history of the machines they have built in the past, we can expect them to get the better of the competition.
As far as braking is concerned, the cruisers will have single-calliper, ventilated disk brakes at its both wheels. They also have a specially tuned suspension system which includes Telescopic Fork with Smart Reflectors at front and Dual Shock Absorbers with Rectangular-section Steel Swing-arms at the rear. This motorcycle duo will be available in a single variant in Black and Red shades.
Whats interesting to see though is Harley-Davidsons strategy to price them competitively to suite the cost-sensitive taste buds of Indian market observers. With the Indian assembly of both the beasts with higher content of localization, its safe to expect a sub 4-lakh price tag for the Street 500 and a sub 5-lakh for the Street 750.
Overall, both the bikes will be aimed at younger customers, with a mouth-watering price tag and it will be a huge success if it provides the same feeling, performance and thrill which makes Harley-Davidson a formidable competitor, on which we can safely lay our bets. And if Harley-Davidson hits the bulls eye with its price dart, it surely is going to expand its span over the high-end performance biking segment with a larger share. Thumbs up for another winner from the 110 year old cruiser legacy, then.