Top test Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

Top test Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

Top test Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

Emotional rescue

Words are missing. At least the Germans. Because just at the time when the rest of the motorcycle world is looking for new concepts, Harley of all people hits the heart with the V-Rod.

Would you like a few more horsepower? Slightly more displacement, more torque please?

A few grams less? Disguised, undisguised? Central questions when it came to motorcycle development in recent years. But also questions that made you tired. Manufacturers and customers. Because an even more central question crept into the back of my mind. Is it these things that really make riding a motorcycle??
One possible answer now comes from Milwaukee. Harley-Davidson V-Rod. A motorcycle the likes of which the world has never seen. Very new, very moving, very different. But does this Harley drive differently? MOTORRAD had the exclusive opportunity to be the first to put the V-Rod through its paces. In the top test.
But also here emotional chaos at the first showdown. “What is that now?” Everyone asks himself. He lets his gaze wander over and over again in a pleasing manner over a previously unknown design language, which announces a new dynamic even while standing still. That second “American way of drive”, which has nothing to do with restrained chugging around (new German cruising). The message is clear: Now we are moving forward, straight ahead as quickly as possible.
That could not be done with what Harley had been for sale in the engine room until then and called the “evolution engine” with American sense of mission. It is therefore only logical that Harley now calls the new source of power “Revolution Engine”. And that brings us to that quality that the connoisseur of a Harley, despite its appearance, despite its name, despite water cooling and injection, despite two overhead camshafts and four-valve heads and despite the significant development work of a well-known German sports car manufacturer, simply does not trust: Rod goes like hell!
But not because the short-stroke engine with 1131 cm3 easily puts comparable engines in its pocket in terms of performance. On the contrary, with a measured 115 hp it is more on the conventional side. The V-Rod experience is rather expressed through its ambivalence. “What is that now?” The question is still in the room.
When you first sit down, for example, familiar Harley braids clearly dominate. Handlebars up, but not too high, legs apart and feet forward. Not uncomfortable, but dynamic? Even the pressure on the starter doesn’t convey that. Flawless throttle response, constant, slightly increased idle speed, no choke, hardly any vibrations, almost gentle. Neither athletically nervous nor that Harley feeling. Hmm? First course, dry, light »Klong«, the sound rich but not spectacular, it goes out of town. Traffic light sprints? Do not impose. On the contrary: if you stand for a long time, you will be amazed for longer. The world cares. Roll slowly so everyone can see it. Shift at 4000 rpm at the latest, the engine hums cautiously, pushes appropriately, not with the elemental force of a Honda VTX 1800, but at least. The smooth throttle response and the exemplary load change reactions go well with this, because the toothed belt delivers the torque to the rear wheel with almost no play. Everything is consistent, everything is good, but everything is unspectacular. The V-Rod, a blender?
No, humans are creatures of habit. Why the hell does the cockpit jump at you, why a tachometer up to 10,000 rpm and a speedometer up to 220 km / h, why a Dunlop D 207 with the best athlete’s low profile? The answer “finds out” if you turn the gas tap properly. Then it does it again and again because the V-Rod shows its second face and opens up a hitherto unknown motorcycle experience for the driver. Because sitting posture and driving experience do not go together at first. The opposite poles approach with each new full-throttle orgy and at the end of a long day of motorcycling, instead of the initial feeling of “legs ahead into the abyss”, a symbiosis that can be addicting forms.
When exactly the switch from the cruiser engine to the power engine takes place remains a secret. Despite a slight hitch at 5000 rpm (see performance diagram), the transition is as fluid as it is inspiring. Fortunately, the fathers of the V-Rod took this trait into account and gave it a chassis that can cope with the outbursts of temper. The artfully curved double loop frame, the massive 49er telescopic fork and the eternally long light metal swing arm with gentle stirring around the steering head digest even full throttle driving on the autobahn better than the hurricane-ridden pilot. Basically it hangs helplessly on the handlebars, pressing its legs against the oncoming wind ?? and still don’t go off the gas because he can’t believe what he sees. The speedometer needle shoots playfully up to the 220 mark, sometimes even beyond. That corresponds to a real 221 km / h. Not an issue behind the fully paneled pulpit of a sports motorcycle. On the V-Rod, however, you feel like you are in a three-masted lookout on the storm-lashed curve of Cape Horn.
And when the traffic light starts or an intermediate sprint on the country road, like Münchhausen once in a while on his cannonball. Again because of the sitting position? and because what the V-Rod can do in terms of acceleration, nobody will believe anyway. 3.6 seconds from zero to one hundred are almost an athlete’s level and 14.4 seconds to 200 km / h defends all honors. Much more impressive than the values ​​themselves are the ease with which the V-Rod stomps them into the asphalt. 1710 mm wheelbase, 285 kilograms live weight, 54 percent of the weight on the rear wheel ?? this Harley is built to accelerate. Always goes, storms forward without insidiousness like a rising front wheel or a spinning rear wheel, craves speed ?? and sometimes turns into the limiter beyond the red range at 9000 rpm because the pilot is infected by this lively character. Wake up, join in. And even takes curves as a challenge. In order to master them just as convincingly after a short familiarization period as the driving tests on a closed route, regardless of whether slalom or circular path. Sure, at some point footrests and radiator trim will be attached, much later the silencer and side stand mount. But that’s only really annoying in very tight corners. This is also documented by the times during the measurements when the V-Rod on the circular path is, for example, significantly closer to a Suzuki SV 650 than to a Honda VTX. The fact that quick changes of lean angle on the V-Rod with its forever long wheelbase and heavy wheels are only possible with the courageous effort of the pilot and with active weight shift is gladly accepted, even enjoyed, because the short spring travel and the full damping of Fork and spring struts set clear limits to comfort, but nip any instabilities in the bud. And because this amazing engine in combination with the grippy Dunlop sings the song of praise of the actual profession of the V-Rod anew every time you exit a curve: Charge forward ?? but without any undesirable side effects. The fact that the brakes play along fits perfectly into the picture. Got it right in front and back, then the four-piston calipers bite? for Harley standards? vehemently into the 292-millimeter discs, achieve a considerable deceleration of 9.8 m / s2 in the brake test and in practice leave time to prepare for the next bend. Time that has to stay because the V-Rod can only be persuaded to change direction with the sheer joy of burning straight ahead.
NOf course, it would take more time to convince a passenger to do an Emotion Tour on the new Harley. The backward sloping seat bun, footrests on the swing arm and spring struts that crush the Achilles tendons with every bump in the road are clearly too much, despite the chassis reserves of the bad. The V-Rod driver is doomed to be lonely. Is that good for the power-to-weight ratio when accelerating? and not so bad for interpersonal relationships, because he makes new friends with the frequent refueling stops (15 liters of fuel are enough on the country road for around 250 kilometers, with frequent sprints or on the motorway for significantly less). People with whom he can share his feelings, agree. Even when stationary. What a motorcycle! And that is emotionally the greatest thing even with unpretentious contemporaries.

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Top test Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

Top test Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod
Emotional rescue

What else caught my eye – Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Plus: The first Harley with wet sump lubrication, easy oil check and refillRear-wheel drive via maintenance-free toothed beltSimple seat unlocking via the ignition lockGood accessibility to fuses and light bulbsBattery and coolant tank easily accessible in front of the airboxComfortable pillion passenger seat (with backrest on request) and no anti-lock catalytic converter available as an accessory bad weather protection. Legs lie directly in the spray water of the front wheel Radiator cover acts as a container for dirt from the road Hand lever is inconveniently cranked and cannot be adjusted With 15 liters very small tank No space for the extensive tool kitA different pillion seat will not fundamentally change the space conditions Separate steering / ignition lock. Ignition lock on the right under the seat Chassis settings / Tire spring base raised to the maximum (level 5), standard level 3 Tires: Dunlop D 207 front and rear, air pressure in the test 2.4 / 2.8 bar


Braking measurement Braking distance from 100 km / h 39.4 m Average braking deceleration 9.8 m / s2 Comments: Due to the long wheelbase, the rear wheel can transmit high braking force. Front wheel tends to lock, but slips relatively good-naturedly and only breaks sideways late. Handling course I. (fast slalom) Best lap time 23.46 secVmax at measuring point 83.9 km / h Comments: Relatively stable and little disruptive spring movements when changing lean angles. Delayed turning in due to the extreme steering geometry. Handling-Parcours II. (Slow slalom) Best lap time 32.33 secVmax at the measuring point 47.3 km / h Comments: Satisfactory handiness for this caliber. Acceptable lean angle, which is limited by notches and exhaust. At the tight turning point, the Harley has to be forced onto the desired line with physical effort and high steering force. No disturbing load change reactions. Orbit 46m 0Best lap time 12.65 secVmax at the measuring point 45.75 km / h Comments: Requires constant steering force and light physical effort in an inclined position. Due to the extremely low center of gravity and wide tires, large lean angles are necessary. Low, easily controllable erection torque when braking.

Verdict – Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Harley ?? they understood. Motorcycling: a feast for all the senses. And that is excellently promoted by the V-Rod. New aesthetics when stationary, tremendous dynamism while driving. The latest creation from Milwaukee is doing very well with 511 points, at least in cruiser circles, thanks to its great engine. Traditionally, however, the Harley pricing.

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