Driving report Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

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Driving report Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

Down, wild

The part has a V-Twin, it says Harley-Davidson very small. Oh friends ?? 115 hp, the boulevard becomes a drag strip, the V-Rod is approaching.

It could be that the sitting position is reminiscent of the past. The airy space between the fittings or the idiosyncratic charm of levers and switches.

But that’s it, too, with the welcome-home effect that Harley innovations have exuded so abundantly over the past five decades. Now is the end of a 45 degree cylinder angle, with two-valve valves, with air cooling, with moderate temperament. Thanks to V-Rod. And it pulls on the toothed belt like two Milwaukee scrap iron at once, it spins up to 9000 revolutions on the speed ladder, it looks like a low-flying aircraft even without a wing. V-Rod embodies good and bad in one, is a sensation, a hammer, and is leading American motorcycle construction into the modern era in a way that nobody would have expected from Harley-Davidson.

The question that remains to be asked is whether Harley riders were hoping for that. Which is why Willie G. Davidson, who insisted on unveiling the new one in front of the public, quickly assured him that the old 45s would exist as long as he lived. To add even more in the aftermath: as long as there is gasoline. The man is no longer the youngest either. In any case, the plan is for the V-Rod to outlast him, and that’s what we’re talking about here.

But reporting on this motorcycle is not possible based on the otherwise usual list of priorities. Design, performance, driving behavior, sales expectations? It is best to start where the most lasting impressions work? and immediately create another novelty: This Harley has to be praised for its engine. Cheering. Because it revs up cleanly, because it accelerates just as smoothly as it spontaneously, does from 2000 rpm and pushes powerfully from a good 3000. And that does not describe the greedy punch that grabs the whole load, which weighs just under 290 kilograms, at medium speeds and throws it forward. The route is the goal? Because that was once upon a time. The Revolution engine does away with such comforts, storms and pushes from one curve to the next. Sure, she also masters the duty, slips the sightseeing program down without constant jerking. But it finds its real purpose in accelerating.

Which shouldn’t be surprising, because the rough draft of this 60-degree V-Twin comes from sport and struggled to win the Superbike laurel in the VR 1000. In vain, but not in vain: Harley sent the engine to Weissach and commissioned the engineers at the Porsche Development Center there to trim it for road use. The cooperation between the traditional companies has history, but the Swabians have never been allowed to advise according to their taste: In the end, Harley demanded, a sporty engine that could be used for an entire series should come out.

In order to maintain the freedom of revolving, the increase in displacement was moderate, and there was no avoiding the strongly oversquare stroke-bore ratio. About the piston, each 100 millimeters thick? like crankshafts and connecting rods, do they come from Germany? flat combustion chambers are arched, each with two 34.5 millimeter exhaust and 40 millimeter intake valves. They are operated by two chain-driven and ?? also that ?? overhead camshafts. The mixture is prepared by a Magneti-Marelli injection, the skilfully calculated electronics are contributed by the US major supplier Delphi, directly behind the throttle valve it goes downflow into the cylinders, directly above is the air filter. And the tank? Fills every corner of the triangle frame as a vile plastic bubble, but barely visible.

Certainly, all in all a real revolution for Harley-Davidson. For the rest of the world it is actually state of the art, but in its application it is extremely remarkable: In the mix of drivability, performance and running behavior, the V-Rod drive is at the top, which would indicate that it does not even vibrate. What the balance shaft leaves of the good vibrations so often sung about by this manufacturer is swallowed up by the elastic suspensions. Great, thinks the rest of the world. The precise five-speed gearbox can also please, even if the rustic actuation forces still remind you a little of Fat Boy and Co. Of course, it rests with the motor in a shared housing and irreverently does without the primary chain.

This saves construction length, but the delicate overall dimensions did not fit into the concept: 1713 millimeters of wheelbase inspire respect and seem to scream for eternally wide highways and moderate curve radii. Okay, the V-Rod already lost on the cart course because of the early but not vicious stops, but it still masters normal life quite nonchalantly. Turns in surprisingly willingly, after a short period of getting used to the wide handlebars, it can still be kept on a curve course if bumps or grooves over the 180 mm rear tire want to cause unrest. The question of whether a long wheelbase and 99 millimeter caster ensure wonderful stability at high speed could not yet be answered: The presentation took place in California and the police officers all showed great interest. After all, the prescribed test route was good enough to certify that the brakes apply softly and play well with powerful handling, in order to certify that the softly appealing Showa fork has sufficient damping and still leads properly in undulating corners. Whether the reserves are suitable for third-rate Black Forest streets will probably not be clarified until September, when Harley Germany expects the first harbingers of the total of 800 2002 contingent.

The rear, conventional struts also come from Showa and have a suspension travel of just 60 millimeters ?? in front are ?? s 100 ?? extremely economical. Fortunately, the pleasantly shaped seat cushion filters a lot away. And, including the handlebars and notches far in front, fits into a triangle in which ergonomists should at least have had a say. You sit comfortably for a long time. Casual anyway, which would finally make the transition to what is usually the focus of Harleys. So: in terms of philosophy, it is supposed to transfer the tradition of the ultra-cool hot rods, with which the US youth once dueled from one traffic light to the next, on two wheels. Should symbolize power, dynamism, speed.

This original American niche was still fallow at Harley, no wonder considering the previous engine performance. On the other hand, it was clear that you need new buyers, that these people have different ideas about technology than their fathers, that ultimately future noise and emissions regulations demand a potential way out. In order to clear this tangle of really serious problems, Willie G.’s design department put himself at risk and ?? has won. At least that is what initial reactions suggest, ranging from open mouths to “Oh, Jesus, it’s a Harley!”.

D.he success is not only based on the imposing overall appearance, but, similar to an MV, on the sum of deliciously distributed detailed solutions. Instruments, headlights, exhaust system, disk wheels ?? the eye is caught everywhere. The steel frame, which weighs at least 30 kilograms, is also skilfully twisted into formal elegance. However, the V-Rod gains its greatest expressiveness from its radical reduction to the metallic. Worthy of a company that counts itself among the pioneers of mechanical engineering. Harley boss Jeff Bleustein must have felt that when Willie G. lifted the cloth: The man simply got wet eyes. Many could soon get them: 38,000 – that’s the minimum price the V-Rod should cost.

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