Despite its financial struggles, Harley-Davidson is going forward with some of its anticipated motorcycle introductions. The Pan American adventure bike, for example, has a 2021 release date. So does the Custom 1250, though it may have a different name. However, not all of the company’s bikes are heading into 2021. Specifically, the Harley-Davidson Street 750 and 500, along with the Street Rod.
The Harley-Davidson Street 750, 500, and Street Rod were the brand’s entry-level models
While the Iron 883 is an excellent budget cruiser, it’s not Harley’s cheapest model. And up until 2021, it wasn’t even the cheapest motorcycle in the company’s Street range. Instead, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 and 750, along with the 750-based Street Rod, served as the brand’s entry-level models, Cycle World and Motorcyclist explain.
With a 494cc liquid-cooled V-twin, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 has the smallest engine in Harley’s 2020 lineup. With a 514-lb curb weight, the Street 500 is on the heavy side for a bike with its capacity, Motorcyclist reports. However, with a sub-$7000 starting price, a 6-speed transmission, maintenance-friendly belt drive, optional ABS, and a 28”-tall seat, it’s a decent entry-way into the American brand.
The Harley-Davidson Street 750 also has a liquid-cooled V-twin, albeit with a 749cc capacity. Interestingly, it weighs the same as the Street 500, Motorcyclist reports, though it naturally has more torque. Compared to some of its rivals, the Harley-Davidson Street 750 is a bit under-braked, and it could use a gear indicator, RevZilla and Bennetts report. As a result, Cycle World found the slightly more expensive Iron 883 Sportster to be the better purchase.
The Street 750 also serves as the basis for the Harley-Davidson Street Rod. It too has a 749cc liquid-cooled V-twin, but it comes with a few model-specific modifications that increase power and torque, Bennetts reports. The Street Rod also has a more upright riding position, stiffer suspension with more travel, increased cornering clearance, and upgraded front brakes, Cycle World reports.
However, compared to rivals like the Yamaha MT-07/FZ-07, the Street Rod is less comfortable to ride and more expensive, Cycle World reports. It’s still fun, but the ergonomics aren’t quite there, Cruiser reports.
Unfortunately, there won’t be a chance to fix them from the factory.
2020 was the last model year for the Harley-Davidson Street 750, 500, and Street Rod
Harley-Davidson recently revealed its 2021 motorcycle model lineup, Cycle World reports. The company updated its CVO, Touring, and Softail lines, but a few bikes ended up on the cutting-room floor. And among them are the Harley-Davidson Street 750, Street Rod, and Street 500.
This cancellation doesn’t exactly come out of nowhere, RideApart reports. Harley-Davidson’s French branch revealed in September 2020 that the Street bikes’ engines wouldn’t be updated to meet the new Euro5 emission regulations. Harley-Davidson still plans on supplying Street 500s to rider schools in North America, RideApart reports, but customer sales won’t continue.
What does this mean for the company?
The cancellation of the Harley-Davidson Street 500, Street 750, and Street Rod leaves the $9499 Iron 883 Sportster as the cheapest model. That’s a problem because its rival, the Indian Scout Sixty, starts at $8999. $500 doesn’t seem like a lot, but for first-time motorcycle buyers, it’s not insignificant.
But it’s even worse for potential Harley buyers outside of the US. The Harley-Davidson Sportster models’ engines also aren’t being updated for Euro5 standards, RideApart reports. That leaves the Softail Standard as Harley’s cheapest European model. And it starts at $13,599 in the US—with European taxes, that price only goes up.
However, non-US buyers won’t have to wait long for an entry-level Harley. To replace the Street 750 and 500 models, Harley-Davidson is releasing a parallel-twin bike called the 338R, VisorDown reports. But unlike the Street range, it’s not actually a Harley design: it’s based on a Chinese motorcycle, Cycle World reports.
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