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Harley-Davidson V-Rod

Harley-Davidson V-Rod American modern classic sports motorbike

By Harley-Davidson standards, the 'V-Rod' verged on the radical! It was clearly a cruiser - in true Harley style. But, it was a different kind of cruiser to what 'hog' fans were used to. The VRSC - V-Twin Racing Street Custom - had superbike-like performance. Top speed was 135mph. In handling terms, the V-Rod was ultra-precise, in a straight line. That was to be expected - due to 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. A dry weight of 594lb was not that excessive - which helped out agility-wise, too.

Stylistically, the V-Rod was striking, to say the least! A 'silver machine', if ever there was one, it was a banquet of à la carte aluminium. No 'iron horse', this, the V-Rod was an object-lesson in à la mode metalwork. Solid disc wheels - and a feast of frame tubes - were for starters. They underlay an elegantly-shaped tank, and slanted headlamp. The clean lines of the pipes blended in with the design. The 1130cc V-twin was itself a visual delight.

That 115bhp motor had its roots in Harley's VR1000 race-bike. Porsche Engineering assisted in its development. Harley dubbed it a 'Revolution' - rather than 'Evolution' - engine. Water-cooled - and with a 60° 'V' - its twin overhead camshafts, and four valves per cylinder, took Harley performance to a whole new level. It was performance that far exceeded that of the 'push-rod' motor, of old. Harley aficionados had long been on bikes that looked better than anything else on the road. Or, so they thought, anyway! Now - with the advent of the V-Rod - they were competing technically, too. Talk about having your cake ... and eating it!


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