The night before the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan officially opened its doors to the press, Harley-Davidson® took the wraps off its first all-new model in 13 years: the 2014 Street, which will be available as a 500 and a 750 when it goes on sale in the U.S. this spring, priced at $6,700 and $7,500 respectively. In short, the new Street is a liquid-cooled bike aimed at young urban buyers around the world, a model that Mark-Hans Richer, Harley's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, called "our path to the future." Given that heady responsibility, the attractively priced Street hich will be built at Harley plants in Kansas City (for the U.S., Canada and Mexico) and India (the rest of the world) deserves a close look.
Let's start with the engine, a liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin whose chain-driven single overhead camshafts operate four valves per cylinder via roller rockers with screw adjusters. Called the Revolution X, this all-new powerplant, with a vertically split crankcase and plain bearings, is a modern design that traces its lineage back to the V-Rod of 2001. Jeff Coughlin, Harley's chief powertrain engineer, says a 60-degree design was chosen to help reduce the height of the wet-sump engine, which helps keep seat height and center of gravity low, important considerations given that the Street is seen as a first bike for many potential customers.
Separate aluminum cylinders are fitted with pressed-in iron liners, and the only difference between the 500 and 750 versions, which share a 66.0mm stroke, is the bore. The 500's is 69.0mm, which makes for an actual displacement of 494cc. The 750's bore, at 85.0mm, makes for a displacement of 749cc. Redline for both engines is 8,000 rpm, and peak power for the 750, though not officially announced, was said by one Harley rep to be 54 hp at 7,500 rpm, with 44 pound-feet of peak torque arriving at an unspecified rpm. A single balance shaft keeps the V-twin from shaking too much, and a six-speed transmission works with Harley's familiar belt final drive.
Korry Vorndran, Harley's manager of product development, said the Street has been in development for the last two and a half years, and the goal was to produce a smaller, nimble bike that had enough suspension travel to handle rough urban streets. To that end, the blacked-out Street, which is based on a narrow, steel perimeter frame, offers two inches more travel front and rear than an Iron 883. "We wanted it to be light and fun, and have a more neutral riding position," explained Vorndran, who added that Harley has been more weight-conscious with the Street than it has with other models. Both Street models, for the record, tip the scales at a claimed 480 lb. wet, which is roughly 80 lb. lighter than, say, an Iron 883. The Street's fuel tank and fenders are steel.
Other Street hardware includes seven-spoke wheels and a simple fairing inspired by Harley's XLCR cafe racer from the 1970s, plus a slightly pulled back handlebar and a an attractive 2-into-1 exhaust. Single-caliper brakes are found front and rear, and components such as the headlight and turnsignals are designed for worldwide use, so they won't need to be changed for the bike's numerous markets.
It's no secret that the new Street, by also being built in India, avoids steep tariffs and will help Harley strengthen its foothold in the world's second most populous nation. But at the press conference in Milan, the clear and more frequently mentioned focus was young buyers the world over. Harley, in fact, spent thousands of hours interviewing these folks, learning just what they wanted in a bike. And what was it they wanted? Personal style and individualization, as proven by the slick, Milwaukee-built Street customs that Harley also had on display at the global unveiling in Milan. "Personal freedom in not just an American ideal," explained Richer, Harley's marketing boss. "It's spreading around the world. People want to be who they want to be right now. We live in a world of personalized expression, right down to the ink on their skin."