Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special vs. Victory Hammer S | American Muscle

Is it the meat or the motion?

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special
Price: $16,495

Hard Parts

You feel that chubby 240mm rear tire around every corner, but Harley and Dunlop have minimized its impact on handling. If you want a cruiser that zigs, opt for the more athletic Street Rod.

Fuel Cell
All '07 'Rods get the 5-gallon fuel cell under the seat for a twinge more range than before. The fuel gauge was consistently inconsistent on our bike, so the extra range is handy.

The only demonstrable difference between this and Harley's other 1130cc Revolution twins is the black-on-black treatment. It's much more impressive above 5000 rpm than below.

Our bike came with the optional H-D Factory Security System ($325) that disables the ignition system when you and the magic key fob walk away from the bike, and enables it again when you come back.

The simple fork and twin shocks look a good deal better than they work. Light on spring rate and heavy on compression damping, the 'Rod can be a punisher over rough pavement.

Harley calls it the clamshell, but the 'Rod's riding position rewards long arms and legs, letting you lean into the wind at freeway speeds to take some strain off the old lower lumbar. Those of shorter stature love the pavement-skimming seat, but are less enthusiastic about the stretch to the stubby, drag-style bar and forward foot controls.

Tech Spec
Price: $16,495
Engine type: l-c 60-degree V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v
Displacement: 1130cc
Bore x stroke: 100.0mm x 72.0mm
Compression: 11.3:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 5-speed
Frame: Tubular steel double-cradle
Front suspension: 49mm fork
Rear suspension: Dual shocks, adjustable for spring preload
Front brake: Dual four-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake: Single dual-piston caliper, 300mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-R19 Dunlop D208F
Rear tire: 240/40-R18 Dunlop D419
Rake/trail: 34.0 degrees/4.5 in.
Seat height: 26.4 in
Wheelbase: 65.7 in.
Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
Weight (wet): 676 lbs.
Weight (dry): 646 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 103.8 bhp at 8400 rpm
Measured torque: 69.0 lb.-ft. at 7650 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 12.26 sec. at 109.44 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 4.6 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 34/41/36 mpg
Colors: Black Denim/Vivid Black; Vivid Black/Black Denim
Available: Now
Warranty: 24 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: Harley-Davidson Motor Company
3700 W. Juneau Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53208
(414) 343-4056.

An engine is essentially an air pump, and the V-Rod's does its best pumping from 5000 rpm on up. This one didn't run as strong as the original 'Rod's 109.3 bhp and 74.3 lb.-ft. of torque. You'll see a couple of fairly significant dips in the torque delivery downstream of that point. Otherwise, it's a steady climb until the arrival of those 103.8 peak ponies at 8400 rpm.

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