By Bruce Mike
I picked the Street 750 up on a Saturday morning from our friends at St. Croix Harley-Davidson. On this particular day, St. Croix was hosting a ride so the parking lot was packed with bikes. They rolled the 750 out for me and my first thought was, this bike is tiny. The bike was parked amongst a bunch of baggers and big twins which had something to do with it. It also has a 17” front wheel and a 15” rear so it is pretty small.
As I walked around the bike I was approached by a number of folks who had an interest and questions about the bike. While I couldn’t answer all their questions, having not ridden the bike yet, I took it as a good thing that there was so much interest. What I found when checking out the bike’s aesthetics was somewhat disappointing. There was exposed wiring, unfinished welds and a horn that looked like an afterthought. It was obvious that Harley held to a specific cost when manufacturing this bike.
Harley-Davidson hasn’t had a new bike platform in 12 years. That all changed in 2015 with the Street 750 (XG750) and Street 500 (XG500) whose prices start at $7,499 and $6,799, respectively. I think we all know the Harley owner demographic is aging and they need to do something to attract the younger market. These bikes may do it. HD hasn’t had a “starter” bike since the Buell Blast and while the 883 Sportster may be considered a starter, it’s several hundred dollars more than the 750 Street. Personally, I’m hoping they sell a million of the Streets and they expand this platform.
The all-new powerplant, which Harley calls the “Revolution X”, is a V-twin, but it’s a 60-degree V instead of the familiar 45. It’s liquid-cooled and fuel-injected which is something I look for in a new bike. The motor has a max horsepower of 57 at 8000 rpm. Torque is 43 ft-lbs at just under 3,800 rpm. I forgot to check it but Harley claims fuel economy at 41 mpg combined. That seemed about right. It doesn’t sound at all like your stereotypical Harley but it does sound like a nice solid V-twin. Traditional Harley folks won’t like this bike but they aren’t the target audience.
Riding this bike was both really fun and sometimes not fun at all. The ergonomics were not good. I’m a short guy and the pegs and seat made feel like I was too tall. The brakes were not going to stop me on a dime and the rear brake pedal kept getting in my way. I believe some of these things could have been adjusted for a better fit but others needed upgrades or replacement. The mirrors were worthless which may be a problem specific to me. I had to change out the mirrors on every Harley I’ve owned. I put close to 150 highway miles on this bike and with the stock seat, bars and pegs, it was not without discomfort.
The fun part of riding this bike was the way it handled. The liquid-cooled motor gives it great power and quick acceleration. It cruised along nicely on the interstate at 70 mph and didn’t feel like I was pushing it at all. It’s quicker than an 883 and with a 455 lb curb weight it’s more agile. The suspension was good for riding around town which is where I would ride this bike. I dragged the heat shield in tight right turns which threw up some pretty good sparks.
The paint on this bike was black, black and more black. There was no chrome. I like no chrome because I tend to not wash my bikes very often. The Harley-Davidson badging on the bike was understated which fit it’s overall look nicely. I think this bike is meant to look clean and simple and it does that very well.
As I get older my preference is leaning towards lighter and more agile bikes. While I will always have some kind of touring bike I really want a different bike for riding around town. Everybody seems to think the Street 500 and the Street 750 is Harley’s way of targeting a more younger demographic. I wonder if maybe older folks may be the ones who buy these bikes. Why not? they are simple, easy to ride, easy to maintain and they’re built in Kansas City. These are all good things for an older guy like me.
Harley isn’t alone in building a bike like this. Pretty much every Japanese manufacturer has a bike similar to the Street 750 so if the Harley-Davidson brand isn’t important, check out your options. I will guarantee you this though, if brand matters, nobody does motor clothes like Harley does.
Whenever I ride a new bike, after I drop it off at the dealer, I ask myself, would I own one? In this case, yes. It would remain stock as long as it took me to get it in my garage and start taking it apart. For me, that is the greatest thing about this bike. It’s a blank canvass. I currently have a ‘72 Ironhead chopper. The most fun I had with it was building it with my brother and nephew. It is horrible to ride.
I think the Street 750 would make a great Street Tracker and it would be tons of fun to ride. It is liquid-cooled and fuel-injected and that beats the heck out of air-cooled and carburated all day long.
Special thanks to St. Croix Harley-Davidson for loaning us this bike. Check out their website stcroixhd.com or just stop by, 2060 Highway 65, New Richmond, WI 54017.
By Mark Descartes
Congratulations! You’ve passed your MSF class, got your license, bought some good gear and a used motorcycle. After a year and a few thousand miles, you are ready for your first new machine. You want fuel injection, disc brakes and reliability. It has to have some style and, now that you are all popular, room for a passenger. A bike from an American manufacturer would be a bonus.
You sold your first bike to your friend and have been saving your nickels. With a budget of $8,000, a lap around the internet directs you to the Harley-Davidson Street 750. Let’s ignore the brand name for a minute and simply look at the bike. What you have is an all-new machine, from the wheels up. The Street 750 runs a modern, 60º liquid-cooled V-twin with 4-valves per cylinder, SOHC and EFI. It churns out a measured 57 rear-wheel hp at 8,000 rpm. Peak torque is an impressive 43 ft-lbs at 3,750 rpm. This is no wheezy, shaky pushrod 883.
Sit on the bike and notice the low 28” seat height. Foot controls are thankfully standard bike placement, below your knee. I had no problem with the seat/tank/foot peg triangle with my 32” inseam. Those of longer leg can run an optional seat or install foot forward controls. The handlebar is black and wide with a mild rise and pull back. Steering effort is light with generous steering stops. The bike is very easy to maneuver at slow speeds or when parking. Like most cruisers, the Street 750 scrapes parts at low lean angles, but an owner would quickly adapt. Clutch is cable-actuated as a concession to cost but has a light pull. Neither extended city riding nor a 100-mile jaunt on the interstate were uncomfortable. The cockpit and clutch are friendly for new, returning and/or smaller riders.
What about that motor? You have to spin the Street 750 to unleash the horsepower. Unwind it to 4,000 rpm to harness 30 of the available 57 horses. Max hp is at the 8,000 rpm redline. The good news is that the Street 750 makes good torque across the rev range. From 2,000 rpm on up, it makes 35 to 42 ft-lbs. It is a fun, tractable motor that blends low-end torque for quick launches with top end horsepower. There is no tach on the Street 750 (available from the H-D catalog). Using my seat-of-my-pants tach, I found it most rewarding to run each gear to 5,000 rpm before shifting.
The low seat height and tight seating are design choices and are good. H-D shrunk the rear wheel to 15” to keep the seat height low but retain suspension travel. This allows the Street 750 to run a generous 5.5” of travel up front and 3.5” in the rear. You combine the sprightly motor with real-world suspension and a better-than-average 489-pound curb weight and you have a fully modern cruiser that you will want to keep riding. This bike wants to party.
The all-black paint isn’t my first choice and some of the brackets look like shop class afterthoughts but all sins are forgiven when underway. The Street 750 hides its weight well. At all speeds, the wide bars and low center-of-gravity make the bike a joy to ride. Swerves are easy. There is no leaden steering. Mid-corner line changes are easy. The suspension travel is longer than that of the competition and the Street 750 is better for it. For a mid-weight cruiser, the Street 750 rides well. Finally – a cruiser that handles!
Let’s talk about that brand name. For some riders, there is only one brand to ride and that is Harley-Davidson. The closest cousin to the Street 750 is the Iron 883. Comparing the two, the Street has an MSRP of $7,499. The 883 will cost you an additional $900 (MSRP $8,399). The liquid-cooled, 8-valve Street 750 makes more horsepower and torque than the pushrod Sportster engine. The Street 750 is quicker 0-60 and has a lower quarter-mile time that the 883. Most telling, the Street 750 is a whopping 80 pounds lighter than the Iron 883. Some riders may turn up their nose to the newest H-D family member and that is too bad. There are other models that fill the bill. But for the rider that wants a faster, lighter, better handling Harley V-twin, the Street 750 is the clear choice.
I put on almost 200 miles of mixed urban and highway riding. The Street 750 makes an excellent city bike. The torquey engine, lower mass and light handling make it a delight to launch from lights and negotiate corners and traffic. It is easy to park and fun to ride.
The all black paint was too much for me. I felt it looked cheap. I would spring for the optional Mysterious Red Sunglo paint. It greatly softens the lines of the machine. To be sure, Harley-Davidson will offer a bewildering number of items to customize your new Street 750. Having said all that, I would seriously consider a Street 750 as my first bike, a city bike or my only bike. The Motor Company wisely started with a clean sheet and has truly built a better machine. Couple that with a sub-$8,000 price and that it is built in Kansas City, and you have a winning combination.
Wife’s First Reaction®: “Its very…um…black”.
Modern motor delivers the goods.
15” rear wheel lowers seat height while retaining rear suspension travel.
Cruiser-esque seating position.
Fit and finish reflect price point.
15” rear wheel limits tire choices.