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Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle test

Harley’s muscle bike

Well finally! A new miracle drug for boredom and depression is coming from the USA. MOTORRAD tried them out.

It was obvious, somehow something had to come afterwards. Behind the shiny chrome V-Rod, the sporty Night Rod Special or the now discontinued Street Rod. Harley’s latest creation is called V-Rod Muscle and is based on the face of the legendary quarter mile. Bold like no other of the water-cooled series, it embodies the self-confidence cast in metal of strength, dominance and dynamism. And of course they are also available in four different colors, but the test machine rolled into the yard in Vivid Black. A wonderful black, so dark that it still casts shadows even in the tunnel. thanks for that.

What has happened in the last few years in the land of opportunity? Well, Bush has stirred up a lot of dust and an Austrian strongman has become governor. In contrast, at Harley, they have taken their attention to detail even further. Because without having driven just a meter, you are stunned at the Muscle. Standing in front of this black monster, flattened with a gigantic fly swatter, doesn‘t want to take your eyes off the cockpit, lamp or the mirrors. Madness! The three-part cockpit all have rods. Here, however, it looks more massive, as if milled and polished from the aluminum block. Likewise the lamp holder or the handlebar? No manufacturer has ever styled such technical basics so beautifully, radiant and at the same time solid. This trend continues across the bike. Particularly successful: the LED indicators embedded in the mirror holder ?? small works of art.


Yes, we can – thought the Americans. And hit the chrome and polishing drum with the V-Rod Muscle.

But let’s leave the gawking. Into the high-quality imitation leather of the comparatively angular saddle. In contrast to the model sister Night Rod and the V-Rod, which can already be described as classic in this context, this has a small backrest against which the driver can support himself when accelerating hard. You know that from drag racing. The seat height is comfortably low at 700 millimeters. When starting the engine one is surprised. Fear of hearing loss or take off the helmet again, check whether the pad has slipped. Because such a muffled breeze blows from the two silencers, which are laid flat backwards? That the engine is running is most likely to be noticed by the slight vibration. To interlock gear wheels ?? schraack! Here we go.

Drive, ergonomics, driving behavior

The colossal handlebars stretch your upper body just right over the dummy tank? not too casual, not too sporty. And it’s not too wide either. The geometric triangle made up of footrests, seat bench and handlebars enables the average Central European to adopt a sporty, casual I-am-boss-and-can-break-through-any-wall-sitting posture. Of all Rods, it could undoubtedly do that best: On the one hand, it has a slightly shorter translation, on the other hand, with a measured 124 hp, it pushes almost as much as its sisters. And what’s more: the exhaust system of the new exhaust system? one tube per side ?? promotes both power and torque yield almost over the entire speed range. Vibrations can only be felt very finely and do not interfere. The engine runs smoothly and has a very linear, smooth starting performance. Especially in the middle, between 4000 and 6000 tours, the Muscle pumps up to eight Newton meters and three horsepower more to the rear wheel and lives up to its name. In connection with the shorter translation …

Hold tight! With just 3.6 seconds from zero to one hundred, the V-Rod Muscle marks the fastest acceleration of a Harley ever measured by MOTORRAD. With that you can go for thick max at the traffic lights. And shock one or the other. The preferred hunting ground of the drag queen, however, are open roads. with the widest possible arches and endless horizons. The machine turns in very casually, but the mighty 240 mm rear tire develops its own life, especially on uneven terrain, the motorcycle wants to stand up and has to be forced onto the ideal line with counter-steering. In terms of suspension, the Muscle is not exactly a litter. The rear suspension struts could respond more sensitively. But what should you expect with 74 millimeters of travel? The upside-down fork, on the other hand, does its job very well. And for a motorcycle of this type, the muscle touches up late. Anyone who has mastered the art of always driving wide radii is undoubtedly on the move quite quickly with it.

But that is not the purpose of this machine, despite its ability to accelerate. Much more important is what it transports. In the case of muscle, is that pure energy and joie de vivre? almost like a miracle drug for a bad mood. Added to this is the pride of ownership: parked in front of the bar in winter, it lures even non-smokers into the cooler despite sub-zero temperatures; in summer, gawkers probably only disappear when the black street torpedo has been shot out of sight. And while die-hard Harley freaks with a weakness for knuckle and shovelheads answered the question about the brake: ?? What for ??? answer, the V-Rod Muscle driver grins at most. Because the relatively brute acceleration can also be decelerated just as effectively and easily dosed: ABS-assisted, the 307-kilo chunk comes to a standstill after about 43 meters when braking from 100 km / h. A good value, it corresponds to an average deceleration of 9.0 m / s ?. The Americans did everything right with the muscle version. Seldom has a Harley looked so elegant and dynamic at the same time. And never has she implemented this promise so easily.

Technical data Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle


Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 60-degree V-engine, one balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts each, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 53 mm, unregulated catalytic converter , alternator 439 W, battery 12 V / 19 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt, secondary ratio 72:30.

Bore x stroke 105.0 x 72.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1247 cm³
Compression ratio 11.5: 1
Rated output 89.0 kW (121 hp) at 8250 rpm
Max. Torque 115 Nm at 6500 rpm

landing gear
Double loop frame made of steel, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the forehead, Ø 300 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 300 mm, four-piston fixed caliper, ABS.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.00 x 19; 8.00 x 18
Tires 120/70 ZR 19; 240/40 VR 18
Dunlop Sportmax D 208 tires tested

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1700 mm, steering head angle 56.0 degrees, caster 141 mm, spring travel f / r 102/74 mm, seat height * 700 mm, weight with a full tank * 307 kg, load * 181 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18.9 / 1.9 liters.

Two year guarantee
Service intervals every 8000 km
Colors blue, red, black, silver
Price in black: 18,445 euros
Additional costs around 350 euros

Top speed1 230 km / h

0 100 km / h 3.6 sec
0 ?? 140 km / h 6.1 sec
0 200 km / h 15.3 sec

60 ?? 100 km / h 4.1 sec
100 ?? 140 km / h 4.8 sec
140 180 km / h 6.4 sec

Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100) 49/99 km / h

Country road 5.9 l / 100 km
Theor. Range road 320 km
Fuel type super

* MOTORCYCLE measurements; Manufacturer information


+ Power output soft, strong, even
+ Very noble workmanship, eye-catching design
+ Braking: ABS-assisted with good effect

– Risk of burns to the calves, which come very close to the exhaust when stopping
– Self-steering behavior of the 240 rear tire

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