Harley-Davidson unleash their most important model for 50 years. With a watercooled, 115bhp, 60¡ V-twin motor straight out of their VR1000 racebike, it marks the start of a new direction for the Milwaukee firm. This is big.
Massive, in fact, as Harley-Davidson hope this motorcycle will open up new markets and new owners to the legendary marque. They say this bike combines the heart of a superbike, the style of a custom and the soul of a drag bike. In the words of Bill Davidson, director of motorcycle development at the launch, "today is an historic chapter in the history of Harley-Davidson. We are very proud of this day.
To pull the covers off this motorcycle is a great moment for us." When the covers finally came off, nothing could prepare me for the bike I saw. This is the boldest move for Harley-Davidson in recent history and this is the VRSCA V-Rod.
V is for V-twin, R is for racing, S is for street, C is for custom and A means this is the first of a new breed of Harley, complimenting the existing Sportsters, Dyna Glides, Softails and Tourers. Shame there's not a cross over between the Dyna Glides and V-Rod, as I'm sure there will be a lot of demand for the Dyna Rod in the UK...
But to hell with jokes, what an attractive beast the V-Rod is. Looking like she's been machined from solid aloominum (this is America, remember) the V-Rod is the most gorgeous hunk of metal to come from Milwaukee in a century. And the story goes that the great Willie G Davidson wanted various parts of V-Rod to be fabricated from aluminium so much, that after protestations from his design staff, he simply sent them daily emails with one word in them: "Aluminium," until they finally got the message and backed down. Thank God they did, 'cos the V-Rod is one horny Harley - half drag bike and half Terminator 2, with a look of liquid metal.
The perimeter frame is hydroformed (formed under high pressure water) into those complex curves, lovingly cradling the motor. On top, is a powder-coated aluminium tank, under which sits the airbox, not the fuel tank (that's under the seat).
The headlight looks as if it's formed by brute, straightline speed itself, jutting outwards and finished with a Reflective Optic Headlight, above which nestles the classy-looking clam-shell instrument cluster. The standard exhausts are painstakingly crafted using elastoforming, (similar to hydroforming) to get that subtle blend of curves. Dual floating discs with four piston calipers and braided hoses grasp the solid ally front wheel, above which the highly stylized radiator and oil cooler sits...Oh sod it.
Continue the Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod review page 2/3
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