More Than Meets The Eye
The Muscle looks tougher than the original V-Rod, as its name suggests. The most obvious change is the pair of screened-in air scoops at the leading edge of the faux fuel tank, which are much better integrated than the old louvers. The clipped rear fender is broader to accommodate the 240mm-wide tire, with the taillight and turn signals tucked tight up underneath and a folding license-plate holder on the left. The airbox cover, radiator scoops and fenders are now color matched, while the aluminum swingarm remains polished.
Gone are the old bar risers with gauges perched high on top, replaced by an attractive polished-aluminum handlebar with internal wiring. The gauges now look less like an afterthought, and the teardrop reflector-optic headlight is a better fit. Dash features analog speedo and tach, plus a multi-function digital display. Harley's coded-key security system is a $345 option.
All '09 V-Rod models get the 1250cc Revolution motor that debuted in the '07 VRSCX Screamin' Eagle CVO edition. Breathing is improved via the redesigned air intakes plus freer flowing, satin-chrome, dual-side exhausts with a crossover pipe and turnout mufflers. Output has been increased markedly, to 104.9 rear-wheel horsepower and 76.8 lb.-ft. of torque. A new A&S (Assist & Slip) slipper clutch eases downshifts. There's a relocated oil dipstick, too. Pewter powdercoated powertain with polished engine covers spruces up the looks.
The Muscle is the first Harley equipped with an inverted fork, in this case a 43mm Showa unit that's sadly nonadjustable. Dual Showa shocks return with five-position ramp-style preload adjustments, now with black-painted springs. New five-spoke wheels weigh less than the previous slotted discs, improving suspension compliance and handling while reducing the effects of crosswinds. Front wheel measures 19 inches in diameter, the rear 18 inches. Four-piston Brembo brakes are employed all around, with ABS a $795 option. Note there's no unsightly ring gear.
A two-piece, two-up textured saddle replaces the original one-piece seat, with a more supportive lower backrest that improves rider comfort. At 26.7 inches above the street, it's also .4-inch lower than before. The rider's portion flips up, right to left, to access the underseat fuel filler. The 1-inch-diameter handlebar is far wider than before: 40.2 inches compared to the original Rod's 34.5 inches. Harley's unique one-per-side, push-to-cancel turn signal switches are retained. Foot controls aren't quite as forward as before, measuring 1.5 inches closer to the seat.