V-Rod and more
2001 Harley-Davidson introduced a totally new bike to their family.
It was called the 2002 V-Rod and to some it sounded like a very
bold venture to bring in a German Porsche engine that was liquid
cooled and add it to their very successful collection of motorcycles.
Bold move or not, it is obviously a success. Then it was just one,
now it has two cousins. The Night Rod and the Street Rod. Actually
it has two more cousins if you consider the Screamin Eagle V-Rod
and the Screamin
Eagle V-R-Rod Destroyer.
wanted to ride the new Destroyer, but they did not have one at Hacienda
HD, so I settled for a ride on the Night Rod and the Street Rod.
What a treat.
Hatch pulled them right off the showroom floor at Hacienda
Harley-Davidson for the test rides. They had less then 5 miles
on them so I really did not want to push the engine too hard. Bummer.
Didn’t even take them to the on ramp for the 101. Having ridden
many V-Rods in the past, I was very much aware of what they perform
like and they have always performed very well in the past.
performance, they all have the exact same engine. The Porsche Designed
chain driven four
overhead cams, eight
valves, 9,000 RPM, Liquid
cooled Revolution engine is still as great as it has ever been.
The V-Rod specs out at 115 HP and the Night Rod and Street Rod both
spec out at 120 HP with the new straight shot exhaust system.
I wanted to find out about these two new cousins were how they were
different from the standard V-Rod, and that I did. Below you will
find a comparison of some of the differences and how they fit in
a little different niche in the market.
Rod Test Drive
Rod that I rode was the Night Rod. Love the name. It makes you want
to disappear into the night. The first thing I noticed, and loved
right away, was the center pegs and controls. Remember this is a
sport bike first. But should you want to you could spend the day
on it cruising down the highway. Not only does it have the center
controls, it also has road pegs for the guy that wants to sit back
and spend the day on the highway.
claims that the center pegs enable the rider to sit in a more road
position with the ability to lean forward. Your feet
are not stretched way out front for the forward controls. I found
that the center pegs enabled me to sit more upright with less curve
in my back. This helped a great deal because of old back injuries.
pegs give the bike a much more sport feel. Aside from that this
bike is a lot like the V-Rod, but much better adapted to the environment,
that I believe the bike was created for.
from what I could tell was about the same as the standard V-Rod.
Great acceleration and rock solid on the curves and on the straight
a ways. The new Brembo Brakes were very effective and solid, a very
welcome new addition to the 2006 line-up. This bike should be in
the mid to low 12’s for the quarter mile. Very impressive
Street Rod is a step in the direction of serious fun! The first
thing that I noticed when I got on this bike was how tall it was.
The seat height for the V-Rod and Night Rod is 27”. The seat
height for the Street Rod is 31”. I am a little guy, so this
will not affect everyone the same. I am 5’ 8” tall.
When I sit on the V or Night Rod my feet are flat on the ground.
When I first mounted the Street Rod I felt like a little kid. When
the bike was given to me for the test ride there was a car parked
directly in front of it. When I tried to move it back I was using
my toes to move the bike. I had trouble with that. I ended up getting
off the bike to move it. Because of the high center of gravity it
was a pain to move.
of the height of the Street Rod there is a lot more clearance under
the bike enabling a very aggressive lean angle. The stock V-Rod
and Night Rod is 32 degrees, the new Street Rod is now an aggressive
Pair that with inverted
shocks up front with the
4-piston brake calipers
and a front fork angle of 30 degrees instead of the old 34 degrees
and you have a whole new animal. Two other neat things that they
did was, one they put the key
switch in the up front postion.
It is much more accessible and they have increased the fuel capacity
from 3.7 gallons to 5 gallons of fuel.
underway this bike was a totally different story. This bike was
born and bread to run. It reminded me of sitting on a Buell. This
was a serious fun bike that yearns
I wanted to head for Yarnell hill just north of Wickenburg and spend
the day there. I did not get a lot of time on the Street Rod, but
from what I could tell this is the bike you want for serious play.
You could feel the road as if you were part of it, not just riding
that was missing from the Street Rod was the road pegs. They are
not even an option. If you do want to go cross-country with this
road-grabbing machine you will just have to cramp up with the only
available places to rest your feet and that is on the center pegs.
If you spend a lot of time in parking lots or stop and go traffic
and you are only 5’ 8-10” you will not like the tall
seat. This bike, though only 615 pounds, is a lot to move with only
your toes. You can remedy this situation. Ride it, don’t park
the V-Rod, Night Rod and Street Rod are great machines. My favorite
is the Night Rod. This is my personal choice and not based on technical
specification or looks, but based on my riding preferences. The
center controls are a must and the added road pegs are great and
I can put my feet flat on the ground while stopped. The performance
is about the same for all three bikes with the edge to cornering
to the Street Rod. One thing that I did not like and never have
liked about the V-rods is the engine noise from the showroom stock
bike. With the chain driven overhead cams and eight-valve engine
design the engine makes a lot of noise. I want to hear the exhaust.
Obviously this can be easily fixed by upgrading to a pair of aftermarket
set of headers or exhaust. And of course if you want to go faster,
you can easily add a Turbo to the V-Rod.