Harley-Davidson Street 750 vs Royal Enfield Desert Storm: Is it worth the upgrade?
Okay. No matter how it sounds in the title, this isn't a contest, a comparison or whatever else you might want to call it. Because if it were - apart from the price, and possibly ease of maintenance - the Harley-Davidson Street 750 would win on every parameter. What this is then, is an attempt to find out if the new Harley makes for a good upgrade for existing Royal Enfield owners. Now, the new Street 750 has a lot going for it. It is a motorcycle with street presence. It has a lovely engine - torquey, easy revving and reasonably refined. It handles well, has comfortable seating ergonomics and is overall, a fun motorcycle to ride. And apart from the appalling brakes, there's all to like. But that's from a motorcycling journalist's point of view; mine. Would a Royal Enfield owner share my thoughts? Also Read: Harley-Davidson Street 750 Review
To find out, I have invited Ameya Deshpande for a ride. Ameya (name NOT withheld on request as he believes being talked about on the World Wide Web will help his cause in social circles; he is single) owns a Royal Enfield Desert Storm. But, Ameya isn't a motorcycle enthusiast as we know it; he isn't really passionate or even hugely interested in motorcycles. He sees them as a means; a means to full-fill his Passion for riding, and riding long distance at that.Also, the only reason he picked up a Royal Enfield, he tells me, is because every motorcycle touring website he visited had a Royal Enfield in it. So, he concluded, it must be the best bike for the job. In fact, the first time he rode an Enfield was when he got on his Desert Storm while taking its delivery. He has now had the motorcycle for three years, and has managed an average of two long distance trips a year. Does he need something better now? He doesn't think so. But then, he doesn't know any better, for he hasn't ridden anything else.
So, on our 300km round trip on the outskirts of Mumbai which starts at Ghodbunder, I ask him to have a go on the Street 750 first. He chooses to follow my lead as we take to the busy but fast four-lanned NH8. The plan is to head past Virar and then find a connecting road which will lead us to the Nasik highway. This way we should get some fast, some winding and some poorly surfaced roads; a good mix to find out what a motorcycle capabilities really are. But, before I can get into the rhythm of riding this particular version of the Royal Enfield Classic, Ameya goes past and pulls over. We have pulled up for our first break barely half an hour into the ride.
But, as it turns out, he is hungry. So while we wait for our order of Misal Pav to arrive, I ask him about the Street 750 expecting child-like enthusiasm in his reply. He, however, sounds more annoyed than anything else. He is struggling with the sharp and alert throttle response of the Harley. He also thinks it's a little too quick. He tells me he saw 140kmph, and he wasn't even trying! But instead of feeling jubilant, Ameya's a tad harrowed. He clearly, is intimidated by the Street 750.