Top test Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Top test Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Top test Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Length runs

She has always been ells long, strong as a bear and extremely vital too. In 2008, the V-Rod added even more displacement, power and torque to not only show the Harley fan base what it’s made of.

When it saw the light of day six years ago, the Harley Davidson community was amazed.

The elongated, flat one V-Outwardly, Rod broke with all Harley traditions. It was not a Sportster or a chopper, not a cruiser and certainly not a tourer. And then the engine: water cooling, injection, two overhead camshafts and four-valve heads. "Revolution Engine" Harley called the V2, in whose creation the Porsche development department was not insignificant. The Revolution Engine had pressure, accelerating 285 kilograms V-Rod to two hundred in 14.4 seconds. Harley fans also enjoyed letting the wind blow around their noses like a hurricane with their legs stretched forward and arms outstretched. The Street Rod, released two years ago, with a sportier seating position and lean angle-friendly chassis, flopped, and is no longer in the range in 2008.

Probably a new V-Rod, recognizable from afar by an elegant spoked wheel at the front. Only up close does she reveal a much more serious change: "1250" is discreetly stamped into a chrome-plated side cover on the motor housing. Five millimeters more bore resulted in 115 cm3 more displacement with the same stroke; it is now exactly 1246. With new ones "High flow"-Cylinder heads, new seals and modified exhaust camshafts are now a whopping 125 hp and a maximum of 115 Nm, eight hp and ten Newton meters more than before.

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Top test Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Top test Harley-Davidson V-Rod
Length runs

The motor


The V-Rod’s engine is powerful, but unspectacular.

So the acceleration is even wilder, the pull even stronger? First of all, the increase in performance seems to make the V-Rod more relaxed, because the consumption of premium fuel has decreased a little compared to its predecessor. It is an average of 5.6 liters on the country road, at a constant 130 km / h on the motorway it is 5.9 liters. Previously it was 5.8 and 6.3 liters respectively. Perhaps it is the two new oxygen sensors in the exhaust manifolds that ensure optimized control of the injection system and that bring slight savings. But the V-Rod has become significantly more expensive: The base price is now 17,975 euros.

The 60-degree V-Twin still impresses with its impeccable throttle response, reacts to a cold start with a slightly increased idle speed, and runs smoothly and smoothly from the start without noticeable vibrations. It doesn’t sound sporty and nervous, and it has nothing in common with the swing of old Harley cars. Only the comparison of the performance diagrams and torque curves really shows the difference between the old and the new V-Rod. Over the entire speed range, the new one keeps its predecessor between three and ten hp at a distance and confirms the promised top performance of 125 hp. The difference in the torque curve is even more serious. Where the old V-Rod shows two ugly dips at 2500 / min and 5000 / min, the larger-capacity variant shines with even more torque and over the entire speed range. A clear step forward.

No wonder that Harley’s youngest offspring is humming forward with a low number of strokes, but huge strides. The short-stroke twin implements the smallest gas command gently and gracefully and is fascinating because of its exemplary load change reactions, because the toothed belt transfers the powerful torque to the mighty rear wheel with almost no play. The engine purrs like an electric motor: calm, relaxed, confident. It feels almost unspectacular, downright tame.

Driving behavior


A sporty Harley.

But the V-Rod also has a different face. It is not without reason that the rev counter scale goes up to 10,000 rpm, the speedometer goes up to 220 km / h. If you turn on the gas tap and not only run the engine in the lower half of the speed range, you can experience the second wild self of the V-Rod. Beyond the 5000 mark, she tenses every fiber of her muscles like an animal, shooting forward like a catapult. The gears are stepped through clack, clack, clack, whereby you sometimes have to dig deep under full load so that no gear step is blocked. Finally, at just over 9000 rpm, the rev limiter brakes the 1250.

Subjectively, one gets the impression that the new one is storming ahead even faster than the old V-Rod. The engine looks more agile, more powerful, more powerful. At any speed, in any gear. In truth, however, both accelerate almost equally quickly. The fact that the acceleration game ends in a draw may be due to the 25 kilograms of extra weight that the new model has to drag compared to the 2006 model; a few kilos of it are accounted for by the new, optional ABS for an additional 990 euros. When it comes to pulling through, on the other hand, the new, higher-torque engine has the edge at medium speeds. 4.8 seconds pass from 100 to 140 km / h, up to 180 km / h the V-Rod takes another 5.8 seconds. For comparison: the old Rod achieved 5.1 and 6.2 seconds respectively.

1715 millimeters wheelbase, weight over six centimeters. 55 percent of these press on the rear axle. It’s hard to believe that the V-Rod not only runs straight ahead under these specifications, but also runs acceptably around the curve. It also doesn’t do quite as well as its predecessor from the last top test, which was still on a narrower 180/55 tire. Just because of the wide slipper, its handling has deteriorated slightly, although it circles more willingly around corners than a stubborn Suzuki M 1800 used for comparison, whose 240 tire is, however, mounted on an even wider 8.5-inch rim.



ABS is optional.

The Harley also reacts much more sensitively than its predecessor to ruts and lane deformations. Nevertheless, thanks to the tight damping of the fork and spring struts, it remains surprisingly purposeful and stable when the pilot forces the load to turn in with courageous effort and actively shifting his weight. He’s best to do it alone. With a pillion passenger, the V-Rod becomes even more cumbersome, and above all, the passenger does not feel a trace of pleasure on the short, sloping bench seat.

For a power cruiser, the lack of lean angle is surprising again. The end of the line is first announced by the fearful nipples of the footrest system, then the mighty radiator cowling and later the silencers and the side stand scrape across the asphalt. The new servo-assisted slipper clutch proves to be helpful for sporty driving. It successfully reduces the punching of the rear wheel to a minimum when downshifting quickly and also reduces the manual clutch force required.

The brakes play well too. When the driver reaches in hard at the front and rear, Brembo’s four-piston calipers have the new 300 mm discs firmly under control, offer considerable deceleration and are easy to dose. And finally there is an ABS for both the V-Rod and the Harley Tourer. It is neither integral nor partially integral; the front and rear brakes can still be dosed separately. The control range seems a bit rough, and for maximum deceleration it is extremely important to operate both brakes with the same commitment, otherwise the V-Rod will lag far behind its possible braking distance (42.9 meters from 100 km / h). And who would want to bend the noble piece when length runs so nicely.



How is the V-Rod doing?


The water-cooled two-cylinder does not produce phenomenal performance, but the type of power delivery beguiles the senses. Buttery smooth throttle response and hardly noticeable load change reactions make the V-Rod supple and tame, especially in inner-city traffic. From medium speeds onwards, the engine revs up freely and quickly. The starting behavior could hardly be better. The clutch is smoother than on the previous model.

landing gear

The thick flap on the rear wheel makes the new V-Rod unwieldy. It is also sensitive to ruts. On the one hand, the rather tight chassis tuning ensures good driving stability, whereby the V-Rod is not free from stirring movements when driving fast, on the other hand, the driver is hit hard in the back. There are no adjustment options on the spring elements.


Finally ABS: It’s great that Harley made it through. But you have to brake hard at the front and rear for decent deceleration values. Foot and hand levers pulsate strongly in the coarse control range.

everyday life

The driver is hard hit by the wind if he lets the V-Rod run properly. The passenger has absolutely nothing to laugh about on the sloping seat roll. Then it is no longer important that you can neither store luggage properly nor load a lot. But the V-Rod only wants to be a cruiser and not a tourer. The range, on the other hand, is good.


More displacement and power do not prevent the V-Rod from being more economical with fuel than its predecessor. Nevertheless, consumption and maintenance costs are only mediocre.


Even the basic version costs 17975 euros? without ABS. In view of the rather low point yield, there is no better price-performance rating than a 4.0.

Other / conclusion


Fascinating and expensive, the V-Rod is a real Harley.

Other plus

  • Rear-wheel drive via low-maintenance toothed belt
  • Mechanical cruise control: an adjusting wheel on the right handlebar fitting to fix the throttle grip
  • "Keyless"-Remote control with fully automatic immobilizer and alarm system
  • Larger wheel bearings and hollow-drilled axles to improve driving behavior

Other minus

  • The driver’s left knee constantly hits the cover of the horn between the cylinders
  • Despite the baffle on the exhaust manifold, the right calf gets uncomfortably hot
  • The pillion seat, which is far too tight, slopes backwards unpleasantly and hardly offers the passenger a secure hold


The new V-Rod is even more exciting than its predecessor. With even more displacement and performance, Harley-Davidson gives the power cruiser enormous pulling power paired with lively performance characteristics, without neglecting the smooth running. A real wolf in sheep’s clothing, wild and at the same time tame, very confident and of fascinating elegance.

Technical data Harley-Davidson V-Rod


Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 60-degree V-engine, a balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, injection Ø 53 mm, uncontrolled catalytic converter, alternator 489 W, battery 12 V / 19 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt.
Bore x stroke 105.0 x 72.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1247 cm³
Compression ratio 11.3: 1
Rated output 92.0 kW (125 PS) at 8250 rpm
Max. Torque 115 Nm at 7000 rpm

landing gear

Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 49 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the front, Ø 300 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 300 mm, four-piston fixed caliper, ABS spoke wheel / disc wheel 3.00 x 19 ; 8.00 x 18

Tires: 120/70 ZR 19; 240/40 VR 18

Tires tested: Dunlop, front D 208, rear Elite 3

Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1715 mm, steering head angle 56.0 degrees, caster 115 mm, spring travel f / r 102/102 mm, permissible total weight 488 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18.9 / 1.9 liters.

Service data:

Service intervals: every 8000 km
Oil and filter change: every 8000 km 4.3 l
Motor oil: 20 W 50
Telescopic fork oil: H.-D. Type E
Spark plugs: Champion 10R12A
Idle speed: 1200 ± 50 / min
Tire pressure: solo (with pillion passenger)
front / rear: 2.5 / 2.5 (2.6 / 2.9) bar

Guarantee: two years
Colors: blue, gray, red, black
Price: 17,975 euros
Additional costs: 450 euros
Price test motorcycle 18965 euros

MOTORCYCLE measurements


Top speed 230 km / h

0 100 km / h 4.0 sec
0 ?? 140 km / h 6.4 sec
0 200 km / h 14.8 sec

60 ?? 100 km / h 4.2 sec
100 ?? 140 km / h 4.8 sec
140 180 km / h 5.8 sec

Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100) 49/98 km / h

Tachometer deviation
Display red area 9000 / min
Effective 9000 rpm

Consumption in the test
at 130 km / h 5.9 l / 100 km
Country road 5.6l / 100 km
Theor. Range 338 km
Fuel type super

mass and weight
L / W / H 2450/880/1230 mm
Seat height 700 mm
Handlebar height 1020 mm
Turning circle 6350 mm
Weight with a full tank 310 kg
Payload 178 kg
Wheel load distribution f / r 45/55%

Driving dynamics
Brake measurement
Braking distance from 100 km / h 42.9 m
Average braking deceleration 9.0 m / s2

Directional stability when braking. Requires a lot of hand strength. In order to achieve maximum deceleration, you have to decelerate with the front and rear brakes, otherwise valuable meters will be wasted. Rough ABS control processes can be felt.

Handling course I
(fast slalom) lap time 22.3 secvmax at the measuring point 90 km / h

Due to the wide 240 mm rear tire, high steering forces are required when changing lean angles. At the turning point, the V-Rod makes a wide arc and stands up. The powerful motor makes a lot of meters between the pylons.

Handling course II
(slow slalom) lap time 34.2 sec
vmax at the measuring point 43.8 km / h

The tightly coordinated suspension struts ensure proper stability. The limited lean angle typical of vehicles prevents better times and higher speeds.

Circular path
Ø 46 meters:
Lap time13.3 sec
vmax at the measuring point 41.9 km / h

When cornering, the Harley must be kept on course with counter pressure on the handlebars. Noticeable but acceptable righting moment when braking in an inclined position.

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