First Ride: Harley-Davidson FXDB Street Bob

Meet Bob he's the biking experience you never knew you wanted.

'Peg darkies' for those of you who don't know, are the result of leaning a bike over and grinding away the end of a rubber footpeg, leaving a long dark line as you go. Not quite as impressive as Toseland power-sliding everywhere like he does, but no less entertaining. This, the 2007 FXDB DYNA Street Bob (let's stick to 'Bob') does brilliant peg darkies.

Bob is the bike you always wanted, but just didn't know it yet. Harley has gone back to the roots of US bike traditions with Bob, 'Bobbing' being a term used to describe what owners did to strip their bikes to the bare minimum of parts.

Bob looks ace, matt black mean and moody. The ape-hanger bars look extreme but the reality of this self-imposed crucifixion is a really relaxed place to, er, hang and watch the road roll by. The single seat may be viewed as a little selfish, but, hey it's a self-indulgent toy for one.

Gearbox? It's a good 'un. The first three ratios are ideal for round town. You could ride the bike for days without realising it has another three. I'm not saying sixth is gimmicky but you really don't need it unless you're on a motorway. Top cog is a monstrously tall gear that has more in common with Bonneville than Bournemouth.

You can hustle Bob along at a fair old pace, if you can put up with some flex. It will carry decent corner speed and fire you around quicker than people would expect to see a cruiser going. I did sometimes get the feeling that the front end was patting its head while the rear was rubbing its belly but it's a Harley, what do you expect? The brakes are good too; four piston calipers on single discs front and rear provide plenty of stopping power and feedback through the huge lever and footpedal. I found the best way to stop fast was to lead with the rear.

The best part about this bike is that you get the big motor usually reserved for Harleys further up the price range - 1560cc of the most clichéd US icon since Reagan took a bullet. It really is a cracker, providing 91 of torque at 3125rpm. The 96 engine (evolution of the twin cam 88 lump) holds the whole package together, knowing you can pull up at the lights and not feel embarrassed to be riding a baby Harley, but also pull away from the lights faster than most 600 (napping) supersport riders. If you've never experienced riding a Harley, try this one, you might love it.


Best engine in a basic, cut-price pakage - ripe for modification!




PRICE NEW - £9095


POWER - 72bhp@4200rpm

TORQUE - 91lb.ft@3125rpm

WEIGHT - 290kg



TOP SPEED - 115mph

0-60 - n/a