by arun mohan nadar , Photography : eshan shetty |
March 30, 2014 15:08 IST
ZigWheels cruises on the pocket-size and pocket friendly Harley-Davidson to see whether it lives up to its claim
The journey of Harley-Davidson in India has been an exceptional one, so far. Not too long ago the American bike maker entered our two-wheeler market (2009 to be precise) and now the iconic US brand has become an integral part of our country’s rapidly evolving biking landscape. Considering its premium price tag it demands, having sold close to 5,000 units in less than five years is quite a feat.
It seems that Harley was quick in spotting the potential of the Indian market and started assembling its CKD bikes, which in turn helped them achieve a more competitive pricing. Taking the Indian operations to the next level and in a bid to enter the volume, it has now forayed into local production which in turn has given birth to the Street 750.
With the focus on producing a large number locally, the market was expecting the makers to keep the pricing reasonable. And it did comes as a pleasant surprise when Anoop Prakash (MD, Harley-Davidson India) announced during the 2014 Auto Expo, that it would be sold from just Rs 4.1 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. Its cut-throat pricing meant that Harley-Davidson aficionados could now own the cult badge. The question is, at this affordable pricing, is the Street 750 a true blue Harley-Davidson or has the American bike maker cut too many corners to build a bike for a price? There has been a lot of curiosity around the motorcycle, so we decided to spend a sunny day in Delhi with the Street 750 to find the answer.
Design and features:
The first impression of the Street 750 is that it’s a compact motorcycle, unlike other Harleys. No, it doesn’t lack attitude or sporty stance, thanks to it’s raked out telescopic forks it is low, long and mean. The Street 750 was developed with feedback of over 3,000 individuals (mostly youth, which essentially is the target audience) and their influence is easily visible. They’ve taken the best from across the H-D range --- the Night Rod inspired round headlight with a cafe style speed screen, stubby mudguard and the fork gaiters. Apart from adding to the bike’s appeal, the fork gaiters also help in increasing the life and performance of the telescopic forks in our dusty environment. Behind the headlamp, sits a basic and easy to read single-pod analogue instrument cluster. It houses the speedometer, reserve fuel indicator, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics and various tell-tale lights. The highlight of the bike in terms of design has to be the tear-dropped fuel tank.
The profile of the tank gels with the silhouette of the Street 750 and has subtle creases on the sides and centre section of the tank, which is a nice touch. The fuel filler-lid is set on an offset, on the right hand side of the tank, but a flush-type filler cap would have been more welcome. Thankfully the fuel-lid comes with a lock, which isn’t found on most other Harleys. Below the tank, sits the V-twin motor finished in Stealth-like matte black shade, with brushed aluminium finish on the fins. The radiator grill has honeycomb mesh on it and announces its liquid-cooled heart. The rear of the Street is understated in comparison to the front; but the contoured seat, LED taillight and fat rear-tyre keep the proportion right. The grip on the bike is of good quality but falters in terms of visual appeal. We are sure many Harley owners will replace them with the Edge Cut Collection from the Street 750’s accessories range. Switch gear quality is decent and we do like the turn indicator knobs, but the same can’t be said of the engine kill switch and one sorely misses the pass light. It’s the same story when it comes to fit and finish as there are lot of loose wires that are visible and Harley needs to sort them out.
Having said that, the over-all build quality and paint finish are of typical Harley-Davidson standard and we hope the American bike-maker sorts out these minor issues. Overall in terms of design, the Street 750 is a proper attention grabber. The dark custom styling theme seems to have worked for the Street 750 as most of the youngsters love the all-black theme of the bike, especially, the matte black shade that we got to ride on. The Street 750 design can be summoned up as a combination of old school detailing, along with a modern design touch and one has to commend Frank Savage and his design team to pull off this feat. There are also a plethora of customisation options you can spec the Street 750 with and like Savage said, “The Street 750 is a blank canvas which I am providing to my customers and I want them to run wild with their imagination”. We couldn’t agree more.