Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Harley-Davidson V-Rod 2000s American sports bike

By Harley-Davidson standards, the V-Rod verged on the radical. It was clearly a cruiser – in true Milwaukee style. But, it was a different kind of cruiser to what Harley fans were used to. The V-Rod VRSC – V-Twin Racing Street Custom – had superbike-like performance. Top speed was 135mph. Handling-wise, things were just as impressive. In a straight line, the V-Rod was ultra-precise. That was only to be expected – given its long wheelbase. The front forks were raked out to 38°, after all. But, whereas in the past, cornering would then have been compromised, the V-rod’s cutting edge engineering saw it sail through twists and turns. And that with a dry weight of 594lb.

Visually, the V-Rod was striking, to say the least. A full-on silver machine, Harley did not stint on aluminium. This was no iron horse. Rather, the V-Rod was an object-lesson in à la mode metalwork. Solid disc wheels set off intricate frame tubes. An elegantly-shaped tank morphed into a slanted headlamp. The clean lines of the pipes blended in perfectly. The 1130cc V-twin engine was a design delight in itself.

The 115bhp motor had its roots in Harley’s VR1000 race bike. Porsche Engineering assisted in its development. For marketing purposes, Harley declared this Evolution engine a Revolution, no less! It boasted twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Water-cooled – and with a 60° V – it took Harley performance to a whole new level. The venerable old pushrod motor was history. Hog riders could not believe their luck. They had long been on motorcycles that ruled the roost, looks-wise. Well, in their opinion, at any rate. Now – with the advent of the V-Rod – they were competing on the technical front, too. Talk about having your bike and eating it!

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