Harley-Davidson Street Bob (2006 - ) review

Here's the first installment from Harley-Davidson's 2006 line-up: the retro Street Bob

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Sun, 1 Jan 2006 - 12:01

Details
Manufacturer:
Harley-Davidson
Category:
Custom
Price:
£ 9095
Overall
4
Need Insurance?
Mega styling, a proper Harley.
Poor brakes and build quality.

NEXT YEAR COULD well be a bumper one for Harley-Davidson with five additions to its range. The more cynical among us often say that H-D mainly tends to roll out variations on its existing themes, but that's not the impression I have as I catch the Street Bob in the flesh for the first time.

Lurking in the shadows of a monastic Spanish courtyard, this bad boy in matt black is definitely saying something to me.

I don't yet know what, but just sitting on it makes me want to find out. Will its obvious 'attitude' translate? Will my upper lip take on a fixed, snarly aspect? Will I stop and punch the first copper I see? I'm knackered from an unsociably early flight, but itching to see just how this bike is going to make me feel. 'Feel' being the all-important element here, since emotion is what the world's most famous motorcycling brand has built its reputation on over the past hundred years. It is the very point to and purpose of cruising motorcycles.

With each passing year I become more impressed by low-tech engineering. Less fuss, more function; fewer parts, more feel. Sturdy old-school metal with a dose of minimalism - and that's precisely what appears to be quietly rumbling and shaking beneath me. "Simplify, man!" as Dennis Hopper once said, and he was right.

The many subtle styling touches to the Street Bob add up nicely to provide a look that's both new and nostalgic. Low slung powder-coated motor, ape hanger bars and a Fat Bob fuel tank wrapped in the new black denim paint job. Nicely done, I'd say.

H-D is known for producing no fuss motorcycles, but the Street Bob appears to have even less fuss than normal - or any passenger facilities. This solo look harks back to the postwar shed-built creations of returning Yankee servicemen. Bored without Nazis to pursue, they cobbled together minimalist machinery to chase each other around on. This look was known as the 'Bobber'.

I haven't ridden a Harley for a while, but I do ride a V-twin on a daily basis and it's interesting to note just how different these engines can be. This is my first thought as I chug out into the early evening sun and familiarise myself with the low-revving 'potato' engine sound. The twin cam 1450cc motor is somewhat strangled in standard form, but manages a pleasing exhaust note and enough character to put a smile on my face. Fuel injection keeps the delivery smooth and the six speed 'box enables it to accelerate at a good clip.

It's as I'm going through the gears that a second thought comes to me. The small modifications made across the Dyna range are translating below me into one fairly large advance. The gear shift - always an area for improvement for H-D - is lighter and smoother than ever before, and mated to a much lighter clutch action. What used to be a bit of a pain is now a pleasure. The motor is up on power and torque and the chassis has been stiffened to give a slightly sharper ride. The four-piston rear disc offers as much performance as the single front rotor and is enough to haul the Street Bob's considerable 290 kilos to a standstill in reasonable time.

The high bars do so much for this bike. They look distinctive and give you that bad ass feeling as you rumble through dusty old towns, broadcasting mass attitude with a single glance. My only criticism is the lack of ground clearance on the right hand side, as opposed to the left, which is fine.

Grinding aside, Harley-Davidson has got it bang-on with this bike - it really hits the spot. Within 10 minutes of being on board the Street Bob, I'm totally relaxed and enjoying the pace. It's very easy and genuinely good to ride, and offers lashings of escapism. I'm having way too much fun to hand the thing back. At £8795 for a big slice of iron pie, Harley has here what might prove to be a more-ish recipe.

NEXT YEAR COULD well be a bumper one for Harley-Davidson with five additions to its range. The more cynical among us often say that H-D mainly tends to roll out variations on its existing themes, but that's not the impression I have as I catch the Street Bob in the flesh for the first time.

Lurking in the shadows of a monastic Spanish courtyard, this bad boy in matt black is definitely saying something to me.

I don't yet know what, but just sitting on it makes me want to find out. Will its obvious 'attitude' translate? Will my upper lip take on a fixed, snarly aspect? Will I stop and punch the first copper I see? I'm knackered from an unsociably early flight, but itching to see just how this bike is going to make me feel. 'Feel' being the all-important element here, since emotion is what the world's most famous motorcycling brand has built its reputation on over the past hundred years. It is the very point to and purpose of cruising motorcycles.

With each passing year I become more impressed by low-tech engineering. Less fuss, more function; fewer parts, more feel. Sturdy old-school metal with a dose of minimalism - and that's precisely what appears to be quietly rumbling and shaking beneath me. "Simplify, man!" as Dennis Hopper once said, and he was right.

The many subtle styling touches to the Street Bob add up nicely to provide a look that's both new and nostalgic. Low slung powder-coated motor, ape hanger bars and a Fat Bob fuel tank wrapped in the new black denim paint job. Nicely done, I'd say.

H-D is known for producing no fuss motorcycles, but the Street Bob appears to have even less fuss than normal - or any passenger facilities. This solo look harks back to the postwar shed-built creations of returning Yankee servicemen. Bored without Nazis to pursue, they cobbled together minimalist machinery to chase each other around on. This look was known as the 'Bobber'.

I haven't ridden a Harley for a while, but I do ride a V-twin on a daily basis and it's interesting to note just how different these engines can be. This is my first thought as I chug out into the early evening sun and familiarise myself with the low-revving 'potato' engine sound. The twin cam 1450cc motor is somewhat strangled in standard form, but manages a pleasing exhaust note and enough character to put a smile on my face. Fuel injection keeps the delivery smooth and the six speed 'box enables it to accelerate at a good clip.

It's as I'm going through the gears that a second thought comes to me. The small modifications made across the Dyna range are translating below me into one fairly large advance. The gear shift - always an area for improvement for H-D - is lighter and smoother than ever before, and mated to a much lighter clutch action. What used to be a bit of a pain is now a pleasure. The motor is up on power and torque and the chassis has been stiffened to give a slightly sharper ride. The four-piston rear disc offers as much performance as the single front rotor and is enough to haul the Street Bob's considerable 290 kilos to a standstill in reasonable time.

The high bars do so much for this bike. They look distinctive and give you that bad ass feeling as you rumble through dusty old towns, broadcasting mass attitude with a single glance. My only criticism is the lack of ground clearance on the right hand side, as opposed to the left, which is fine.

Grinding aside, Harley-Davidson has got it bang-on with this bike - it really hits the spot. Within 10 minutes of being on board the Street Bob, I'm totally relaxed and enjoying the pace. It's very easy and genuinely good to ride, and offers lashings of escapism. I'm having way too much fun to hand the thing back. At £8795 for a big slice of iron pie, Harley has here what might prove to be a more-ish recipe.

NEXT YEAR COULD well be a bumper one for Harley-Davidson with five additions to its range. The more cynical among us often say that H-D mainly tends to roll out variations on its existing themes, but that's not the impression I have as I catch the Street Bob in the flesh for the first time.

Lurking in the shadows of a monastic Spanish courtyard, this bad boy in matt black is definitely saying something to me.

I don't yet know what, but just sitting on it makes me want to find out. Will its obvious 'attitude' translate? Will my upper lip take on a fixed, snarly aspect? Will I stop and punch the first copper I see? I'm knackered from an unsociably early flight, but itching to see just how this bike is going to make me feel. 'Feel' being the all-important element here, since emotion is what the world's most famous motorcycling brand has built its reputation on over the past hundred years. It is the very point to and purpose of cruising motorcycles.

With each passing year I become more impressed by low-tech engineering. Less fuss, more function; fewer parts, more feel. Sturdy old-school metal with a dose of minimalism - and that's precisely what appears to be quietly rumbling and shaking beneath me. "Simplify, man!" as Dennis Hopper once said, and he was right.

The many subtle styling touches to the Street Bob add up nicely to provide a look that's both new and nostalgic. Low slung powder-coated motor, ape hanger bars and a Fat Bob fuel tank wrapped in the new black denim paint job. Nicely done, I'd say.

H-D is known for producing no fuss motorcycles, but the Street Bob appears to have even less fuss than normal - or any passenger facilities. This solo look harks back to the postwar shed-built creations of returning Yankee servicemen. Bored without Nazis to pursue, they cobbled together minimalist machinery to chase each other around on. This look was known as the 'Bobber'.

I haven't ridden a Harley for a while, but I do ride a V-twin on a daily basis and it's interesting to note just how different these engines can be. This is my first thought as I chug out into the early evening sun and familiarise myself with the low-revving 'potato' engine sound. The twin cam 1450cc motor is somewhat strangled in standard form, but manages a pleasing exhaust note and enough character to put a smile on my face. Fuel injection keeps the delivery smooth and the six speed 'box enables it to accelerate at a good clip.

It's as I'm going through the gears that a second thought comes to me. The small modifications made across the Dyna range are translating below me into one fairly large advance. The gear shift - always an area for improvement for H-D - is lighter and smoother than ever before, and mated to a much lighter clutch action. What used to be a bit of a pain is now a pleasure. The motor is up on power and torque and the chassis has been stiffened to give a slightly sharper ride. The four-piston rear disc offers as much performance as the single front rotor and is enough to haul
the Street Bob's considerable 290 kilos to a standstill in reasonable time.

The high bars do so much for this bike. They look distinctive and give you that bad ass feeling as you rumble through dusty old towns, broadcasting mass attitude with a single glance. My only criticism is the lack of ground clearance on the right hand side, as opposed to the left, which is fine.

Grinding aside, Harley-Davidson has got it bang-on with this bike - it really hits the spot. Within 10 minutes of being on board the Street Bob, I'm totally relaxed and enjoying the pace. It's very easy and genuinely good to ride, and offers lashings of escapism. I'm having way too much fun to hand the thing back. At £8795 for a big slice of iron pie, Harley has here what might prove to be a more-ish recipe.

Score Breakdown
Overall
4
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