Back in the day, street rod was a car term—strictly pre-'49 rolling on four wheels, either a mildly modified classic or something more wicked sporting hammered sheet metal wrapped around an exotic powertrain on a frame with beefed-up suspension. And since the term "street rod" is getting tossed around pretty loosely these days in the automotive world, Harley-Davidson has taken full advantage by grabbing it (Actually, bringing it back. Remember the 2006-07 VRSCR?) for what is essentially a hot-rodded version of the standard Street 750.

High Output Revolution X V-twin engine
Harley-Davidson says that the new High Output Revolution X V-Twin engine is good for an 18-percent increase in horsepower and 8 percent more torque over the standard Revolution V. The air intake is reminiscent of something you'd see on top of a street rod supercharger.Photo: Harley-Davidson

The new Harley-Davidson Street Rod went into full production on February 20, 2017, and is slated to roll into dealerships as early as the middle of March, shortly after the new bike's official introduction at Daytona Bike Week. We'll be on hand to test ride the new Street Rod when that happens next week, but for now, we'll go over all of the mechanical highlights and improvements over the Street 750 that were released today by H-D.

Targeting a younger rider who lives in an urban environment, the 2017 Street Rod is the first revamp of the Street model since the platform was introduced in 2014. Prior to that, you might recall a Harley-Davidson concept bike called the RDX 800. The RDX had much of the performance-bike aesthetics that hopeful Harley cruisers were hoping to see in the Street 750. But what resulted in the production Street was a more subtle blacked-out middleweight cruiser that we nicknamed the baby V-Rod in our last middleweight cruiser comparison.

Horsepower and torque numbers topped the dyno charts in that six-bike test but left us wanting more in the handling and braking departments. Also, the fit and finish of our particular test bike was substandard. We’ll soon find out if the Motor Company has addressed these issues in the new Street Rod but on paper, the bike appears to be a better motorcycle with improvements made in all the right places.

H-D Street Rod brakes
Yes! Dual 300mm discs up front with ABS now on the option list.Photo: Harley-Davidson
Street Rod rear shocks are like the RDX 800 concept bike
Coil-over rear shock absorbers have an external reservoir to increase fluid capacity and improve ride quality. This is similar to what we saw on the RDX 800 concept bike prior to the production of the Street 750.Photo: Harley-Davidson

If you’re enticed by the new more aggressive look of the Street Rod, the Motor Company backs it up with a new High Output Revolution X 749cc liquid-cooled V-twin that Harley claims delivers 18 percent more horsepower and 8 percent more torque than the standard Revolution X (in US and Canadian markets only). This is accomplished by adding a larger airbox, a new dual-throat throttle body, higher-lift cams with revised four-valve cylinder heads, a higher-volume muffler, and a bump in compression from 11.0:1 to 12.0:1. This updated V-twin also redlines at 9,000 rpm, up 1,000 rpm compared to the standard X engine.

The Street chassis has been re-engineered with a tighter rake (from 32 degrees to 27) to quicken steering, reservoir shocks have been added at the rear to increase suspension travel by a claimed 31 percent in an effort to improve ride quality, and a slightly longer swingarm contributes to a taller ride height. The standard Street 750’s lean angle of 28.5 degrees is increased to 37.3 degrees right and 40.2 degrees left on the Street Rod, and the standard 15-inch rear wheel is now a 17-incher.

H-D Street Rod drag bars
The view behind the new speed screen shows new drag-style bars with mirrors at each end.Photo: Harley-Davidson
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod seat height
The Street Rod has a new seat contour, and seat height is raised by 4.1 inches, to 29.8 inches.Photo: Harley-Davidson

“The Street Rod is the most nimble motorcycle in the current Harley-Davidson lineup,” says Mathew Weber, Harley-Davidson’s Chief Engineer for the new Street Rod. “Tires, wheels, suspension and frame geometry are engineered to work together and deliver handling that’s light and precise at all speeds.”

One of the biggest shortcomings of the standard Street 750 was its brakes. With a single disc front and rear, the feel was non-existent with weak initial bite. And with the lever squeezing down to the bar, we were left wondering how much, if any, front braking was left. Although that same setup is carried over this year on the standard model, we are thrilled to see a pair of 300mm discs up front on the new Street Rod. We’ll let you know how well they work in our First Ride Review.

The 2017 Street Rod side view
The 2017 Street Rod has a new color-matched speed screen, a short, streetfighter-inspired tail, and all-new LED tail lamp and turn signals.Photo: Harley-Davidson
First Look: 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750
We'll get a chance to ride the new Street Rod next week at the 2017 Daytona Bike Week press launch. Stay tuned for the First Ride Review.Photo: Harley-Davidson

So more power, improved suspension, tweaked geometry, and better brakes are all steps in the right direction, and the new Street Rod style certainly has our attention. But is this performance-tuned cruiser worthy of a name like Street Rod? We’ll find out soon at Daytona next week!

The Street Rod will be offered in three colors including Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, and Olive Gold. Base MSRP is set at $8,699, and ABS is an option for another $750.

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