Straight stretches of pavement approximately 1320 feet in length are the Night Rod Special’s native habitat, however, and that’s where you best appreciate the 1250cc, DOHC, four-valve V-twin engine as well. The Revolution engine isn’t as overwhelmingly torquey as a traditional, long-stroke V-twin cruiser motor, trading low-rev lunge for a racy, revvy character that really comes alive on the upper half of the tach. Experienced sportbike riders feel right at home on the V-Rod. Run it out to redline in every gear and you’ll be rewarded with unexpectedly brisk acceleration for a nearly 700-pound bike, and a soundtrack worthy of a superbike. The clunky, 5-speed gearbox isn’t on the same level as this charismatic motor, however. The clutch engagement zone is narrow and at the absolute end of the lever travel, and the transmission makes a discordant grinding sound each time a new gear is taken up. The slipper-clutch mechanism works well, however—a good thing with such a big, grippy tire at the business end of the drivetrain.