Harley-Davidson VRSCX

Harley-Davidson VRSCX

Fast-Acting cure for the common commute

WORDS: Tim Carrithers

Milwaukee is only cranking out 1400 of these warmed-up Screamin’ Eagle V-Rods to commemorate 23-year-old A. Hines Pro-Stock drag racing dominance. His 160-inch air-cooled two-valve pushrod version is presumably quicker (6.968 seconds @ 197.45 mph) and stronger (360 lb/feet of torque, measured at the clutch) but this one looks like a better bet for navigating Highland Avenue to the 101 South at 6:30 p.m. without being *** for a pair of handcuffs. Besides, I have the keys and a full tank of gas.

Three blocks out and one thing is abundantly clear. The Rod takes some serious getting used to. Drag bike steering geometry is a tad bit cumbersome when you’re trying through bumper-to-bumper humanity on 678 pounds of Milwaukee’s finest. The American Chiropractic Association had nothing to do with Harley’s Clamshell riding posture. Those clams at Fisherman’s Warf never looked all that comfortable with it either, now that I think of it. Still, looking cool tends to dull the pain enough to sit through an hour’s worth of freeway before the lumbar spine doth protest.

But here’s my new favorite thing. Stop the bike, turn, switch the ignition off and walk away. Delphi electronics in Harley’s Smart Security System key fob disable the starter, ignition system and EFI. Saddle up again and the magic fob turns everything back on from inside your pocket. No fumbling around with the key. Just turn the switch and go. Slick.

Give it some real estate to reel in and the bigger-bore 1245cc Revolution twin standard pulls hard enough to inspire a firmer grip. It’s smooth like silk at 70 mph. Gearbox? Flawless. Fuel injection? The same. Fuel disappears at a predictably rapid rate - The four-pot Brembo front brakes are genuinely stellar. Passenger accommodations fairly define cruel and unusual punishment for those who have outgrown their GrrAnimals.

Lobbying for a $20,000 tactical adrenaline pump that services one customer may be somewhat challenging in a double occupancy household. If your powers of persuasion come up short, I have one last suggestion short of open collusion or coercion. Buy two.

[Our Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod came with Harley’s Smart Security System. Walk away from the bike with that key fob automatically immobilizes engine electronics until you return.

[Andrew Hines on the Pro-Stocker at Sears Point